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Lara v. Corizon Correctional Healthcare, P.A.

United States District Court, D. Idaho

March 31, 2019

CARLOS LARA, Plaintiff,


          David C. Nye Chief U.S. District Court Judge.


         There are three motions currently pending before the Court. First, is Defendant Rona Siegert's Motion for Summary Judgment. Dkt. 21. Second, is Plaintiff Carlos Lara's (“Lara”) Cross-Motion for Partial Summary Judgment. Dkt. 30. Third, is Defendants Corizon Correctional Healthcare (“Corizon”), P.A. Brown (“Brown”), Sam Pierson (“Pierson”), and Grant Roberts' (“Roberts”) Motion for Summary Judgment. Dkt. 33.

         Having reviewed the record and briefs, the Court finds that the facts and legal arguments are adequately presented. Accordingly, in the interest of avoiding further delay, and because the Court finds that the decisional process would not be significantly aided by oral argument, the Court will decide the Motions without oral argument. Dist. Idaho Loc. Civ. R. 7.1(d)(2)(ii). For the reasons set forth below, the Court finds good cause to GRANT Defendants Motions for Summary Judgment (Dkt. 21; Dkt. 33) and DENY Plaintiff's Cross-Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (Dkt. 30).


         Lara is a prisoner in the custody of the Idaho Department of Correction (“IDOC”), currently incarcerated at Idaho State Correctional Center. He alleges that in February 2017, he developed an ingrown toenail on his left foot. Dkt. 3, at 8. On February 15, 2017, Defendant Brown, a physician's assistant, removed the toenail, cleaned Lara's wound, and told him to hold gauze over the wound until he could get back to his unit. He also told Lara to hold toilet paper on the wound until the bleeding stopped and to take ibuprofen for pain. Lara reminded Brown that he is allergic to ibuprofen, at which point Brown “got mad at [him] and yelled, ‘Oh well! It will probably get infected anyways.'” Id.

         Lara requested pain medication for his toe the next day and was told by a nurse to fill out a Health Services Request (“HSR”) form. Id. at 8-9. Two days after Lara's toenail was removed, another nurse informed him that he “should have been given gauze for such a wound.” Id. at 9.

         Lara obtained gauze from the medical unit, but when he removed the gauze later that morning, “he had puss [sic] and blood leeking [sic] out of his toe.” Id. Lara claims that his wound ultimately became infected. Three days after the toenail was removed, he was examined by a nurse after he submitted an HSR. She informed him that “she would talk to P.A. Brown about the infection and try to get [him] on antibiotics.” Id. at 10.

         The next day, a nurse changed Lara's gauze, and he was placed on a course of antibiotics. Although Lara states that he was in significant pain, the unidentified medical provider that performed his next evaluation allegedly “refused him pain medication.” Id. Eight days after the toenail was removed, P.A. Brown examined Lara, “looked at the toe, and said, ‘I told you it would get infected' then he [l]aughed . . . and said, ‘Well, welcome to prison.'” Id. at 11.

         Lara submitted several concern forms and grievances with respect to his medical treatment following the removal of the toenail. Most of them were returned with the instruction, “Submit an HSR.” Id. at 11-14. With respect to his concerns that a physician's assistant was not qualified to remove his toenail, Defendant Pierson responded (1) that a physician's assistance can, indeed, perform “surgery, ” and (2) that “surgery on a toe is not surgery”; Pierson also opined that Lara was given antibiotics for no reason, as there was no sign of infection in his toe. Id. at 11-12. Another concern form regarding the infection was returned to Lara by Defendant Roberts, who stated that Plaintiff knew “the risks and side effects” and had the right to refuse care. Id. at 12.

         Lara also filed a grievance with respect to the medical treatment for his toe. Defendant Pierson was the Level 1 Responder, and Defendant Roberts was the Level 2 Responder. The grievance was denied with the following response: “You agreed to the procedure, and the risk involved. If you need additional care please submit an H.S.R. to be seen in clinic.” Id. at 13. Lara appealed. Defendant Siegert, acting as the appellate authority, affirmed the denial of the grievance, stating, “I would encourage you to follow up with a provider by submitting an HSR, if your toe does not feel better soon.” Id. at 14.

         Plaintiff alleges that after his condition grew worse he was placed on multiple rounds of antibiotics, and ultimately underwent a second toe surgery on April 20, 2017. Id. at 14-15.

         On May 1, 2017, he filed the instant action. His Complaint includes a number of claims against various defendants. This Court conducted an Initial Review and allowed Lara to proceed only with his Eighth Amendment medical treatment claims against Defendants Brown, Pierson, Roberts, Siegert, and Corizon. Dkt. 7, at 25-27. All other claims, and all other Defendants, were dismissed without prejudice. Dkt. 19.

         Siegert filed her Motion for Summary Judgment on March 5, 2018. Dkt. 21. Shortly thereafter, Lara filed a Cross-Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (Dkt. 30), and then, on July 24, 2018, Defendants Corizon, Brown, ...

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