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Mead v. Palmer

United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Western Division

February 27, 2014



DONALD E. O'BRIEN, Senior District Judge.


Currently before the Court is Defendants' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment. Docket No. 11. The Defendants argue that the Plaintiff's 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 Complaint regarding his dentures should be dismissed. In his Complaint, Mr. Mead, who is an involuntarily committed patient at the Civil Commitment Unit for Sex Offenders (CCUSO) in Cherokee, Iowa, argues that he has been denied appropriate medical care.[1] The parties appeared for hearing on November 8, 2013. After listening to the parties' arguments, the Court took the matter under consideration and now enters the following.


Mr. Mead filed his initial pro se Complaint on February 7, 2013. On February 14, 2013, this Court entered an Initial Review Order allowing Mr. Mead's Complaint to proceed and appointing attorney Pamela Wingert to represent Mr. Mead. Docket No. 2. On March 18, 2013, plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint. Docket No. 8. In the Amended Complaint, Mr. Mead set out one primary issue:

Plaintiff has continued to be in custody at CCUSO under the supervision of Defendants. Plaintiff requires extensive dental care that he is unable to afford. Plaintiff has had many teeth pulled while he has been in the custody of the State of Iowa and this has left him with an inability to chew food properly. He suffers from acid reflux and now is diabetic. Defendants have failed to provide Plaintiff with adequate dental care and have been deliberately indifferent to his need for dental care. Plaintiff continues to suffer from these violations of his constitutional rights and seeks compensatory, punitive and injunctive relief.

Docket No. 8, p. 2-3. On July 31, 2013, the Defendants filed a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment related to Mr. Mead's dentures claim.

At approximately the same time, Mr. Mead filed a second pro se Complaint in this Court, 13-CV-4067-DEO, arguing that his religious rights were being infringed by the Defendants. On August 9, 2013, the Court entered an Initial Review Order in 13-CV-4067 consolidating Mr. Mead's religion claim with the above captioned case. Docket No. 12. On September 20, 2013, Ms. Wingert filed an Amended Complaint which outlined both Mr. Mead's dentures claim and Mr. Mead's religion claim.

On October 14, 2013, Mr. Mead filed a Resistance to the Motion for Partial Summary Judgment. Docket No. 25. On October 21, the Defendants filed a Reply to the Resistance. Docket No. 26. As stated above, the Court held a hearing on the Partial Motion for Summary Judgment on November 8, 2013. Both parties agree that the pending Partial Motion for Summary Judgment applies only to Mr. Mead's dentures claim. The prior hearing and this present Order does not cover the currently pending Motion for Summary Judgment on the religion claim. A hearing on that motion will be scheduled at a later date.


42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 provides:

Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress....

Summary judgment is appropriate only if the record shows "there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P., Rule 56(c). A fact is material if it is necessary "to establish the existence of an element essential to [a] party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett , 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). There is a genuine issue as to a material fact if, based on the record before the court, a "rational trier of fact" could find for the non-moving party. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp. , 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986).

When considering a motion for summary judgment, a "court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party...." Hutson v. McDonnell Douglas Corp. , 63 F.3d 771 (8th Cir. 1995). This requires a court to draw any reasonable inference from the underlying facts in favor of the nonmoving party and to refrain from weighing the evidence, making credibility determinations, or attempting to discern the truth of any factual issue in a manner which favors the moving party unless there is no reasonable alternative. See Matsushita , 475 U.S. at 587; and Morris v. City of Chillicothe , 512 F.3d 1013, 1018 (8th Cir. 2008) (citing Thomas v. Corwin , 483 F.3d 516, 526-27 (8th Cir. 2007).

Procedurally, the movant bears the initial burden "of informing the district court of the basis for its motion and identifying those portions of the record which show a lack of a genuine issue." Hartnagel v. Norman , 953 F.2d 394, 395 (8th Cir. 1992) (citing Celotex , 477 U.S. at 323). Once the movant has carried his burden, the non-moving party is required "to go beyond the pleadings" and through "affidavits, or by the depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, ' ...

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