United States District Court, D. Colorado
OPINION AND ORDER ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY
S. Krieger Senior United States District Judge.
MATTER comes before the Court on the Defendant's
Motion for Summary Judgment (# 108), the
Plaintiff's Response (# 117), and the
Defendants' Reply (# 119). For the
following reasons, the motion is denied.
Court exercises jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331.
William Curtis was an inmate at the Fremont Correctional
Facility within the purview of the Colorado Department of
Corrections. In January 2015, Mr Curtis experienced a number
of symptoms of diabetes, most notably a loss of almost 30
pounds in a period of two weeks. On February 7, 2015, a
correctional officer noticed this extreme and rapid weight
loss and requested that he be seen at the medical clinic. The
next morning, on February 8, Mr. Curtis was seen at the
Fremont medical clinic by Defendant Nurse Renee Lloyd and
Nurse Practitioner Trudy Sicotte, Nurse Lloyd's
supervisor. Despite exhibiting symptoms of diabetes
keto-acidosis, Nurse Lloyd determined that Mr. Curtis was not
experiencing a medical emergency and he was returned to his
cell house without treatment. Later that day, he lost
consciousness. NP Sicotte ordered that Mr. Curtis be
transported to a nearby hospital.
Second Amended Complaint (# 43), alleges two
Eighth Amendment violations under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
against Nurse Lloyd. It alleges that Nurse Lloyd (1)
unreasonably delayed treatment and (2) unreasonably denied
treatment. Nurse Lloyd moves for summary judgment on both
claims (# 108).
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure facilitates the entry
of a judgment only if no trial is necessary. See White v.
York Int'l Corp., 45 F.3d 357, 360 (10th Cir. 1995).
Summary adjudication is authorized when there is no genuine
dispute as to any material fact and a party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). Substantive
law governs what facts are material and what issues must be
determined. It also specifies the elements that must be
proved for a given claim or defense, sets the standard of
proof, and identifies the party with the burden of proof.
See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby Inc., 477 U.S. 242,
248 (1986); Kaiser-Francis Oil Co. v. Producer's Gas
Co., 870 F.2d 563, 565 (10th Cir. 1989). A factual
dispute is “genuine” and summary judgment is
precluded if the evidence presented in support of and
opposition to the motion is so contradictory that, if
presented at trial, a judgment could enter for either party.
See Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. When considering a
summary judgment motion, a court views all evidence in the
light most favorable to the non-moving party, thereby
favoring the right to a trial. See Garrett v. Hewlett
Packard Co., 305 F.3d 1210, 1213 (10th Cir. 2002).
movant has the burden of proof on a claim or defense, the
movant must establish every element of its claim or defense
by sufficient, competent evidence. See Fed. R. Civ.
P. 56(c)(1)(A). Once the moving party has met its burden, to
avoid summary judgment the responding party must present
sufficient, competent, contradictory evidence to establish a
genuine factual dispute. See Bacchus Indus. Inc. v. Arvin
Indus. Inc., 939 F.2d 887, 891 (10th Cir. 1991);
Perry v. Woodward, 199 F.3d 1126, 1131 (10th Cir.
1999). If there is a genuine dispute as to a material fact, a
trial is required. If there is no genuine dispute as to any
material fact, no trial is required. The court then applies
the law to the undisputed facts and enters judgment.
moving party does not have the burden of proof at trial, it
must point to an absence of sufficient evidence to establish
the claim or defense that the non-movant is obligated to
prove. If the respondent comes forward with sufficient
competent evidence to establish a prima facie claim
or defense, a trial is required. If the respondent fails to
produce sufficient competent evidence to establish its claim
or defense, then the movant is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477
U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986).
Lloyd challenges both Mr. Curtis' ability to prove a
prima facie case and invokes the doctrine of
qualified immunity. The arguments overlap when the qualified
immunity analysis is applied.
immunity protects individual state actors from civil
liability if their conduct “does not violate clearly
established statutory or constitutional rights of which a
reasonable person would have known.” Messerschmidt
v. Millender, 565 U.S. 535, 546 (2012). When a defendant
asserts qualified immunity, the burden shifts to the
plaintiff to: (1) show facts that “make out a violation
of a constitutional right, ” and (2) establish that, at
the time of the conduct at issue, it was clearly established
under existing law that the defendant's conduct would
breach a constitutional right. Pearson v. Callahan,
555 U.S. 223, 232 (2009). The Court may address these
questions in whichever order is best suited to the case. If
the plaintiff fails to satisfy either prong of this inquiry,
the Court “must grant the defendant qualified
immunity.” Holland ex rel. Overdorff v.
Harrington, 268 F.3d 1179, 1186 (10th Cir. 2001).
However, if the ...