United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
B. SARIS, CHIEF, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
se plaintiff Derrick Washington, an inmate at MCI-Cedar
Junction, Walpole, Massachusetts, brings this action pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in which he alleges that
correctional officers used excessive force in the course of a
forced extraction on September 29, 2008. During the
extraction, the officers used chemical agents on Washington
who has asthma. The Court appointed trial counsel and the
claims against the officers settled just before trial.
also claims that after the extraction, Nurse Gagliani failed
to provide him with adequate medical care and was
deliberately indifferent to his medical needs. Because the
pleadings must be liberally construed, the Court treats this
claim as arising under the Eighth Amendment of the United
States Constitution. The extraction and Washington's
subsequent interaction with Nurse Gagliani were videotaped.
Defendant Nurse MaryJo Gagliani has moved for summary
judgment. The court assumes familiarity with the Memorandum
and Order setting forth the factual background of this case
issued on April 9, 2018. For the reasons set forth below, the
Court ALLOWS the motion.
judgment is appropriate when there is “no genuine
dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a).
“An issue is genuine if it can be resolved in favor of
either party, and a fact is material if it has the potential
of affecting the outcome of the case.” Leite v.
Bergeron, 911 F.3d 47, 52 (1st Cir. 2018) (quoting
Tang v. Citizens Bank, N.A., 821 F.3d 206, 215 (1st
Cir. 2016)). When ruling on a motion for summary judgment,
the court “view[s] the facts in the light most
favorable to the party opposing summary judgment, ”
Rivera-Colón v. Mills, 635 F.3d 9, 10 (1st
Cir. 2011), but “conclusory allegations, improbable
inferences, and unsupported speculation” are
insufficient to create a genuine issue of material fact to
survive summary judgment. Sullivan v. City of
Springfield, 561 F.3d 7, 14 (1st Cir. 2009) (quoting
Prescott v. Higgins, 538 F.3d 32, 29 (1st Cir.
Eighth Amendment claim for inadequate medical care consists
of a subjective and an objective component. See Perry v.
Roy, 782 F.3d 73, 78 (1st Cir. 2015). As to the
objective component, the plaintiff must plead facts which, if
true, demonstrate that the deprivation was
“sufficiently serious.” Id. (quoting
Leavitt v. Corr. Med. Servs., 645 F.3d 484, 497 (1st
Cir. 2011)). “[A] serious medical need is ‘one
that is so obvious that even a lay person would easily
recognize the necessity for a doctors'
attention.'” Id. at 78-79 (quoting
Gaudreault v. Municipality of Salem, 923 F.2d 203,
2018 (1st Cir. 1990)). The subjective component requires
factual allegations supporting an inference of
“deliberate indifference” by the defendant, a
benchmark which “defines a narrow band of
conduct.” Id. (quoting Fenney v. Corr.
Med. Servs. Inc., 464 F.3d 158, 162 (1st Cir. 2006)).
This standard requires allegations supporting a conclusion
that “that the absence or inadequacy of treatment is
intentional” rather than simply inadvertent.
Perry, 782 F.3d at 78.
upon reviewing the video recording and evidence submitted by
the parties, including plaintiff's deposition testimony
and the medical records, the Court concludes that no
reasonable juror could find that Nurse Gagliani was
deliberately indifferent to Washington's serious medical
needs. See Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372,
380(holding in an excessive force case, that there was no
genuine dispute of fact in light of the video). When Nurse
Gagliani first spoke to Washington, he stated that he wanted
“all” medical care, but he later fell silent. At
some point, he said: “I can't think right
now.” When Nurse Gagliani specifically asked him on
multiple occasions if he wanted his eyes flushed out,
Washington, whose hands were handcuffed behind his back, did
not respond. Nurse Gagliani stated that she would interpret
his silence as a refusal. The video of their interaction
shows her cleaning abrasions on his knees, forehead, left
elbow, and right foot. She did not bandage any of the wounds.
She also checked his pulse.
claims that because Nurse Gagliani's treatment was not
more thorough, he suffered multiple asthma attacks,
contracted Hepatitis A through the open wounds on his feet,
suffered from an untreated fractured hand for months, and
experienced headaches and dizziness for weeks after the
incident. Washington contends that his presentation at the
time created a situation of urgency and the nurse should have
brought him to triage or bandaged his wounds. He also claims
that she intentionally withheld treatment because she
believed that his injuries were the result of his own
the videotape is viewed in the light most favorable to
Washington, Washington, who was extremely verbal and
belligerent before he was extracted from the prison yard, was
likely unable to verbalize any complaints or respond to the
nurse's inquiries as a result of the pepper spray.
However, even if Nurse Gagliani should have conducted a more
thorough examination of Washington, there is no evidence
other than the visible wounds that were cleaned, that he had
a medical need that was so obvious that a nurse would
recognize the necessity for more medical attention. See,
e.g., Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 838
(1994) (“But an official's failure to alleviate a
significant risk that he should have perceived but did not,
while no cause for commendation, cannot under our cases be
condemned as the infliction of punishment.”)
Washington made no complaints to the nurse about any pain in
his hand. He did complain to another nurse the next day and
he was eventually taken for an x-ray. The record is unclear
as to when and whether his hand was broken. Even if his hand
were fractured during the fracas, there is no evidence that
shows that Nurse Gagliani was deliberately indifferent to any
possible fracture. (Docket #278, 814). There were records in
the prison that Washington suffered from asthma. However,
there is no evidence he was gasping for breath or having an
asthma attack at the time she treated him. Finally, there is
no reliable evidence he contracted hepatitis A from his
unbandaged foot wounds or that the nurse was deliberately
indifferent to this risk.
Court ALLOWS Nurse Gagliani's motion for