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Trujillo v. Corizon Health, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

March 28, 2019

CORIZON HEALTH, INC., f/k/a CORRECTIONAL HEALTH SERVICES; JANINE DICKENSON, R.N.; TOM PETERSON, R.N.; MICHAEL RYAN, R.N.; and LUKE KERANEN, A.T.C., sued in their individual and official capacities, Defendants.

          Zorislav R. Leyderman, for plaintiff.

          Jeffrey Kent Boman, MINNESOTA ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE; Charles Gross and Corinne Ivanca, GERAGHTY O'LOUGHLIN & KENNEY, P.A., for defendants.


          Patrick J. Schiltz United States District Judge

         Juan Trujillo brought this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against defendants Janine Dickenson, Luke Keranen, Tom Peterson, and Michael Ryan (collectively the “state defendants”)-four medical professionals who worked at a correctional facility at which Trujillo was incarcerated-for allegedly acting with deliberate indifference to Trujillo's serious medical needs. This matter is before the Court on the state defendants' motion for summary judgment. For the reasons that follow, the Court denies the motion.[1]

         I. BACKGROUND

         The facts are sharply disputed. For purposes of ruling on the state defendants' summary-judgment motion, however, the Court must accept Trujillo's version as true, even if the Court is skeptical about some of what Trujillo has claimed. See Bennett v. Miles, 603 Fed.Appx. 507, 509 (8th Cir. 2015) (reversing a district court's grant of summary judgment when there were “conflicts between the physicians' evidence” and the inmate's “attestations regarding his symptoms and complaints when he saw the physicians”). Briefly, Trujillo's account is as follows:

         On May 17, 2011, Trujillo fractured a bone in his right leg while playing soccer at the Minnesota correctional facility in Moose Lake. ECF No. 60-16 at 4. Dickenson (a nurse) examined Trujillo shortly after he was injured. Trujillo told Dickenson that he was in “really bad pain” and thought that he had a broken leg. ECF No. 60-2 at 11-12, 15. At that point, Trujillo's leg had already swollen so much that he could not wear pants or put on shoes. ECF No. 60-2 at 12.[2] Dickenson told Trujillo that he “don't got nothing, ” id. at 15-i.e., that his injury was not serious-and she sent him away with ACE wrap, crutches, and some ice, ECF No. 32 at 1. Hours later, Trujillo's leg had swollen to the size of a soccer ball. ECF No. 60-2 at 12-13.

         Trujillo's symptoms persisted over the next two weeks, through meetings with Keranen (an athletic trainer) on May 18th, Peterson (a nurse) on May 20th, and Ryan (a nurse) on May 31st. See ECF No. 60-16 at 2-3. Trujillo's leg was severely swollen during this entire time. See ECF No. 60-2 at 12-13, 17-19. Moreover, Trujillo told each of these defendants that he was in pain, and all of these defendants saw that Trujillo could not put normal pressure on his leg or properly bend his knee.[3] Two months later, after Trujillo was finally seen by a doctor, Trujillo was diagnosed with a bone fracture. By then, however, the fracture had improperly healed, resulting in a deformed leg. Fixing Trujillo's leg will require painful surgeries and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. ECF No. 60-16 at 4-5.

         II. ANALYSIS

         A. Standard of Review

         Summary judgment is warranted “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.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A dispute over a fact is “material” only if its resolution might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing substantive law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute over a fact is “genuine” only if “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Id. When considering a summary-judgment motion, the Court “must view the evidence and the inferences that may be reasonably drawn from the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party.” Winthrop Res. Corp. v. Eaton Hydraulics, Inc., 361 F.3d 465, 468 (8th Cir. 2004).

         B. Merits

         To recover on his § 1983 claim, Trujillo must prove deliberate indifference to a serious medical need-i.e., he must prove that he had “an objectively serious medical need and that prison officers knew of the need but deliberately disregarded it.” Gordon ex rel. Gordon v. Frank, 454 F.3d 858, 862 (8th Cir. 2006). A serious medical need is “one that has been diagnosed by a physician as requiring treatment, or one that is so obvious that even a layperson would easily recognize the necessity for a doctor's attention.” Camberos v. Branstad, 73 F.3d 174, 176 (8th Cir. 1995) (quotation omitted). “The subjective inquiry must show a mental state akin to criminal recklessness: disregarding a known risk to the inmate's health.” Gordon, 454 F.3d at 862. “Whether an inmate's ...

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