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Jones v. Brown

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fort Smith Division

August 6, 2014

FURLIN DUKE JONES, Plaintiff,
v.
SHERIFF RON BROWN; and NURSE LAURIE WALLS, Defendants.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE

JAMES R. MARSCHEWSKI, Chief Magistrate Judge.

This is a civil rights action filed by the Plaintiff pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff proceeds pro se and in forma pauperis.

The Plaintiff is currently incarcerated in the Arkansas Department of Correction (ADC), Randall L. Williams Correctional Facility, located in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. The events that are the subject of this case occurred while Plaintiff was incarcerated in the Crawford County Detention Center (CCDC) in Van Buren, Arkansas. Plaintiff maintains he was denied adequate medical care and was subjected to unconstitutional conditions of confinement.

Defendants have each filed a summary judgment motion (Docs. 21-23 & 24-26). Plaintiff has filed a response to the motions (Doc. 33). The motions are now ready for decision.

1. Background

Plaintiff was incarcerated in the CCDC from November 28, 2012, to January 2013 and again from April of 2013 to September of 2013. Plaintiff's Response (Doc. 33)(hereinafter Resp. ) at ¶ 1. He states he was incarcerated "waiting on new charges." Id. at ¶ 2.

According to the Plaintiff, there was mold in Pod 1 all around the air vents and on the wall by the shower.[1] Resp. at ¶ 3. He indicates the area was cleaned only once during his incarceration at the CCDC. Id. Plaintiff believes it was the County's responsibility to clean the area. Id.

Plaintiff was asked whether he ever attempted to clean the area. He responded that he was never asked. Resp. at ¶ 3. He indicates he complained about the presence of the mold to detention center officials. Id. In response, Lieutenant Cupp stated it was not black mold. Id. Because of the mold, Plaintiff states he experienced shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. Id.

Plaintiff never communicated with Sheriff Brown about the mold problem. Resp. at ¶ 4(A). Plaintiff maintains the Sheriff is liable because he "is over the county jail and is to over see the welfare of inmates well being and health." Id.

The day to day operations of the jail are entrusted to the jail administrator and the assistant jail administrator. Resp. at ¶ 4(B). The Sheriff had little involvement in the day to day operations of the jail. Brown Exhibit A. The Sheriff does not review inmate grievances unless they are addressed specifically to him. Id.

The Department of Health has inspected the detention center twice in the last two years. Brown's Ex. A; Resp. at ¶ 5(A)(without knowledge to agree or disagree). Sheriff Brown contacted the Department of Health about a year ago because there was a lawsuit with similar allegations about the presence of mold. Brown's Ex. A. After Bobby D. Williams, an inmate, made similar allegations, Sheriff Brown again contacted the Department of Health and had them inspect the jail again. Id.

The Department of Health found no evidence of mold growth in the jail. Brown's Ex. B. The most recent inspection occurred on June 24, 2013. Id.

Plaintiff indicated on his medical intake form that he had been exposed to tuberculosis (TB) at the Malvern Technical Violators Program and were taking medication. Resp. at ¶ 8(A). Plaintiff submitted several grievances in April and May of 2013 stating he was not getting his TB medication. Id. at ¶ 8(B). Plaintiff had been incarcerated at the Malvern Technical Violator Program and was on medication for latent TB. Id. at ¶ 8(C). Latent TB is non-symptomatic and is not contagious. Walls' Ex. A; Resp. at ¶ 8(D)(Without knowledge to agree or disagree).

Plaintiff's medication was brought to the detention center and he had sufficient medication to last three weeks. Resp. at ¶ 8(E). Plaintiff received the medication until it was gone. Id. at ¶ 8(G). On April 12th, before Plaintiff's medication ran out, Nurse Walls requested a copy of Plaintiff's medical records from the Malvern facility. Id. at ¶ 8(F).

The Arkansas Department of Health, through the local Crawford County Department of Health, handles TB medication for inmates in the CCDC. Walls' Ex. A; Resp. at ¶ 8(H)(without knowledge to agree or disagree). On April 26th, Nurse Walls was told by Teddie of the Crawford County Department of Health that she was working on Plaintiff's case and would be getting orders from the appropriate physician at the Arkansas Department of Health. Resp. at ¶ 8(I). Teddie indicated that once the orders were obtained she would restart Plaintiff on the regimen. Id. at ¶ 8(J).

On April 26th, Nurse Walls explained to Plaintiff why he was out of medication and the difference between latent and active TB. Resp. at ¶ 8(K). On April 29, 2013, Plaintiff submitted a grievance asking about his TB condition and whether the jail had received his medication. Id. at ¶ 9. Nurse Walls responded in writing the next day stating that she had already talked to the Plaintiff about his condition and that the medication would be reinstated after the Crawford County Department of Health received orders to do so. Id. at ¶ 10(A). She explained that the Crawford County Health Unit was in charge of his case and would be coming to see him and explain about his medication. Id. at ¶ 10(B). She also informed the Plaintiff that she had not received his medical records from the Malvern Technical Violator Program. Id. at ¶ 10(C). While Nurse Walls states that she provided Plaintiff educational materials regarding latent TB, Plaintiff asserts he was not given proper information. Id. at ¶ 10(D).

On April 30th, Nurse Walls made a second request for Plaintiff's medical records. Walls' Exs. A & F. Plaintiff submitted a request on May 1st asking if his TB medication was in. Resp. at ¶ 11(A). Nurse Walls again explained that the Crawford County Department of Health was in charge of the Plaintiff's TB case and would be see him and bring his medication. Id. at ¶ 11(B). Nurse Walls explained that the Plaintiff did not have active TB disease. Id. at ¶ 11(C). Rather, he had latent TB which is not contagious and did not cause him to have any TB symptoms. Id. at ¶ 11(D).

Plaintiff submitted a grievance on May 2nd asking for an explanation of his TB. Resp. at ¶ 12(A). Nurse Walls explained to Plaintiff the difference between TB ...


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