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Perry v. Roy

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit

April 3, 2015

RICO PERRY, Plaintiff, Appellant,
SUSIE ROY; CLAIRE ROCHA, Defendants, Appellees

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Benjamin M. McGovern, with whom Amanda O. Amendola and Holland & Knight LLP, were on brief, for appellant.

Tory A. Weigand, with whom James A. Bello and Morrison Mahoney LLP, were on brief, for appellees.

Before Torruella, Thompson, and Kayatta, Circuit Judges.


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TORRUELLA, Circuit Judge.

This appeal stems from an action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 filed in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts by Appellant Rico Perry (" Perry" ), an inmate at the Bristol House of Correction, against Susie Roy (" Nurse Roy" ) and Claire Rocha (" Nurse Rocha," and together with Nurse Roy, " Appellees" ), both of whom were staff nurses at said correctional institution. The complaint alleged that the medical treatment Perry received from Appellees for injuries resulting from a violent scuffle with prison guards did not meet the constitutional standard required by the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments.

Perry now challenges the grant of summary judgment in favor of Appellees and the resulting dismissal of his § 1983 action. Because the record establishes that there are issues of material fact in dispute that need to be decided by a factfinder, we remand this case to the district court for proceedings consistent with this opinion.

I. Background

A. Factual History

We review the facts in the light most favorable to Perry, the party opposing summary judgment. Rockwood v. SKF USA Inc., 687 F.3d 1, 3 (1st Cir. 2012) (citing Agusty-Reyes v. Dep't of Educ., 601 F.3d 45, 48 (1st Cir. 2010)).

On Saturday, June 9, 2007, at approximately 1:10 a.m., while Perry was being booked into the Bristol facility following transfer from another correctional center, a fight broke out between him and several

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correctional officers. During the course of this incident, the officers caused serious injuries to Perry.

Within five minutes of this altercation, Perry was evaluated by Nurse Roy, who asked him about his injuries. Perry swears that his mouth was " pouring blood" from a long gash, his jaw was " clenched," and he had a lump on his head. Although he could barely talk, Perry was able to tell Nurse Roy that he was in pain and that his jaw was broken. He claims further that Nurse Roy did not " thoroughly examine" him, nor did she ever " come to focus on his jaw." Nurse Roy did, however, observe and diagnose a cracked tooth, clean the open wound, provide Perry with gauze, rinse his mouth with saline water, and advise Perry to obtain a sick slip for the tooth to enable him to see a dentist, who would be available the following Tuesday, June 12, 2007. But he was not given ice or aspirin for his pain, or otherwise provided any treatment for the jaw. Perry then requested to file a grievance report. Nurse Roy relates a fundamentally different story, backed up by her notes. She says that Perry complained only of the cut (not a broken jaw), that she checked his jaw, and that he could open it wide and verbalize without difficulty. For summary judgment purposes, though, we must assume that Perry's version of the exam (or lack thereof) might be believed by the jury.

Approximately one hour after the incident with the correction officers and the evaluation by Nurse Roy, Perry was formally booked into the Bristol facility. Later that night, while in his cell, Perry passed out and was awakened by Nurse Roy, who applied smelling salts to him. He asked Nurse Roy to be taken to the hospital again, but this request was also ignored.

At around 4:10 a.m., he complained to a second attending nurse, Nurse Rocha, that he had been beaten by correctional officers and had an unattended broken jaw. Perry requested again to be taken to a hospital. Nurse Rocha examined Perry through a glass window for less than a minute and noted that Perry had an " egg" on his forehead. Although Nurse Rocha initially said she would help him, her willingness to help came to naught after she spoke to Lt. Robert Shubert, who had been involved in the incident where Perry was hurt. Perry claims that the officer asked her to let Perry " sleep it off." Thereafter, Nurse Rocha denied all further care. Perry does, however, concede that Nurse Rocha told Lt. Shubert that she did not believe he had a broken jaw. Nurse Rocha claims that, despite telling her that he had a broken jaw, ...

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