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Koenig v. Cortez

United States District Court, D. Maryland

December 30, 2014

BRUCE W. KOENIG, #288937, Plaintiff,
v.
K. CORTEZ, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM

J. FREDERICK MOTZ, District Judge.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Bruce Koenig ("Koenig"), an inmate formerly confined at the maximum security facility North Branch Correctional Institution ("NBCI"), filed this civil rights complaint and affidavit on November 27, 2013. He alleges that Nurse Cortez violated his Eighth Amendment right to necessary medical care and his rights under the Americans with Disabilities and Rehabilitation Acts when (1) in October of 2013, she failed to intervene on his behalf when he was forced on an examination table by correctional officers and taken back to his cell and (2) in November of 2013, she saw him for a sick-call visit and spoke away from him, so that he could not hear what she was saying. He accuses the nurse of screaming at him and walking out of the examination room without conducting an examination. ECF No. 1.

Koenig additionally complains that NBCI correctional officers denied him showers and out-of-cell activity during a 2013 prison lockdown, refused him medical treatment in October and November of 2013, improperly ended a medical examination when he could not get up on an examination table; and caused him to experience severe pain when cuffing him from behind. Id.

PENDING MOTIONS

Defendants have filed motions to dismiss or, in the alternative, motions for summary judgment. ECF Nos. 16 & 22. Although Koenig was provided notice of those filings and afforded several extensions to file responses, defendants' pleadings, construed as motions for summary judgment, remain unopposed. An oral hearing is not necessary. The matter may be determined on the briefing before the court. See Local Rule 105.6. (D. Md. 2014).

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a):

A party may move for summary judgment, identifying each claim or defense-or the part of each claim or defense-on which summary judgment is sought. The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. The court should state on the record the reasons for granting or denying the motion.

Summary judgment is appropriate under Rule 56(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure when there is no genuine issue as to any material fact, and the moving party is plainly entitled to judgment in its favor as a matter of law. In Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986) the Supreme Court explained that in considering a motion for summary judgment, the "judge's function is not himself to weigh the evidence and determine the truth of the matter but to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial." A dispute about a material fact is genuine "if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Id. at 248. Thus, "the judge must ask himself not whether he thinks the evidence unmistakably favors one side or the other but whether a fair-minded jury could return a verdict for the [nonmoving party] on the evidence presented." Id. at 252.

The moving party bears the burden of showing that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact. No genuine issue of material fact exists if the nonmoving party fails to make a sufficient showing on an essential element of his or her case as to which he or she would have the burden of proof. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). Therefore, on those issues on which the nonmoving party has the burden of proof, it is his or her responsibility to confront the summary judgment motion with an affidavit or other similar evidence showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.

In undertaking this inquiry, a court must view the facts and the reasonable inferences drawn therefrom "in a light most favorable to the party opposing the motion." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986) (quoting United States v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655 (1962)); see also E.E.O.C. v. Navy Federal Credit Union, 424 F.3d 397, 405 (4th Cir. 2005). The mere existence of a "scintilla" of evidence in support of the non-moving party's case is not sufficient to preclude an order granting summary judgment. See Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252.

This court has previously held that a "party cannot create a genuine dispute of material fact through mere speculation or compilation of inferences." Shin v. Shalala, 166 F.Supp.2d 373, 375 (D. Md. 2001) (citation omitted). Indeed, the court has an affirmative obligation to prevent factually unsupported claims and defenses from going to trial. See Drewitt v. Pratt, 999 F.2d 774, ...


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