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Freeman v. Vineyard

United States District Court, D. Colorado

July 9, 2015

DEMETRIUS FREEMAN, Plaintiff,
v.
ALICIA VINEYARD, MLP, Defendant.

OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

MARCIA S. KRIEGER, Chief District Judge.

THIS MATTER comes before the Court on the Defendant Alicia Vineyard's Motion for Summary Judgment (#54), Plaintiff Demetrius Freeman's Response (#57), and Ms. Vineyard's Reply (#58).

ISSUE PRESENTED

Mr. Freeman is a prisoner in the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons ("BOP"). At the time of the events giving rise to his claim in this action, he was incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution in Florence, Colorado ("FCI-Florence") at which the Defendant, Ms. Vineyard was employed as a Mid-Level Practitioner and Physician's Assistant. Mr. Freeman alleges that Ms. Vineyard violated his Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment by being deliberately indifferent to his medical needs in failing to provide him with proper medical treatment.

Ms. Vineyard moves for summary judgment, arguing that (1) Mr. Freeman failed to exhaust the administrative remedies available to him as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA"), 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a); and, in the alternative, (2) Mr. Freeman's claims are barred by operation of the applicable statute of limitation. This is the second action brought by Mr. Freeman based on events that occurred in 2009.

MATERIAL FACTS

For purposes of this motion, the Court construes all controverted evidence most favorably to Mr. Freeman.[1]

A. The facts pertinent to this action

1. The Event

The medical event occurred on December 7, 2009. Mr. Freeman notified Ms. Vineyard that he was having a sickle cell crisis, but Ms. Vineyard refused to provide pain medication and failed to perform a blood test that would have demonstrated the emergency. This resulted in surgical removal of Mr. Freeman's spleen. After the surgery, Ms. Vineyard then denied Mr. Freeman access to rehabilitative equipment in contradiction of a surgeon's orders.

2. The Administrative Remedy Process

As a BOP inmate, Mr. Freeman is required to complete a four-tiered administrative remedy process prior to seeking judicial review. See 28 C.F.R. § 542.10-19. Ordinarily, the first level requires that an inmate seek informal resolution of his grievance with the staff of the institution in which he is incarcerated. See 28 C.F.R. § 542.13. The second level requires the inmate to submit a written Administrative Remedy Request to the institution's warden. See 28 C.F.R. § 542.14. If dissatisfied with the warden's response, an inmate may appeal to the Regional Director as the third level. See 28 C.F.R. § 542.15(a). Alternatively, if "the issue is sensitive and the inmate's safety or well-being would be placed in danger", an inmate may seek review directly from the Regional Director, and bypass informal resolution or review from the warden, See 28 C.F.R. § 542.14(d)(1). The fourth and final level of the administrative review process regardless of the prior steps is an appeal of the Regional Director's determination to the General Counsel in the Central Office. See id.

While housed at FCI-Florence, Mr. Freeman made several requests in the administrative remedy process with regard to Ms. Vinyard's actions:

(1) a request (BP-10) dated June 18, 2010 (designated #594994-R1) stating that he was being denied access to medical treatment. This request was denied because Mr. Freeman failed to first attempt to informally resolve the problem (level one) and then appeal to the Warden (level 2). Mr. Freeman appealed this denial (BP-11) on October 8, 2010 (designated #594994-A1). The appeal was rejected because Mr. ...

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