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Brown v. Hickman

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Harrison Division

February 17, 2015



MARK E. FORD, 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.

Plaintiff is not currently incarcerated and lives in Harrison, Arkansas. The events that are the subject of this suit occurred while Plaintiff was incarcerated in the Boone County Detention Center (BCDC). Plaintiff maintains his constitutional rights were violated in the following ways: (1) Nurse Jones and Dr. Lee were deliberately indifferent to his medical needs; (2) Defendants Hickman, King, and Watson failed to investigate crimes allegedly committed against the Plaintiff; (3) Defendants' postcard only mail policy violated the Plaintiff's First Amendment rights; (4) Plaintiff was denied access to the law library; and (5) Defendants Hickman, King, and Watson retaliated against him.

Defendants filed a Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 36). The Plaintiff asked the Court's assistance in responding to the Motion by the preparation of a questionnaire. The questionnaire was prepared and Plaintiff has now filed his Response (Doc. 42). The Motion is ready for decision.

1. Background

Plaintiff was incarcerated in the BCDC from August 31, 2012, until August 16, 2013 and then again from August 27, 2013, until September 11, 2013. Plaintiff's Response, Doc. 42 (hereinafter Resp. ) at ¶ 1. According to Plaintiff, he began verbalizing requests for medical care as early as September of 2012. Id. at ¶ 3(A). Specifically, he states he spoke with Nurse Jones in September of 2012 and twice in October of 2012. Id. at ¶ 3(E).

The first written medical request contained in the summary judgment record is dated November 9, 2012. Resp. at pg. 40. Plaintiff said that it was just as a reminder that he wanted to see the doctor about getting a CT scan because he was experiencing amnesia, memory loss, double vision, headaches, and nausea. Id. at ¶ 3(B); Defendants' Exhibit (hereinafter Defts' Ex. ) C-1 at 1. Plaintiff stated he also needed attention for a "leg high sprain or fracture." Resp. at ¶ 3(D). Plaintiff states he sprained or fractured his ankle when walking in B-pod. Id.

He alleged that the problems with amnesia, memory loss, double vision, headaches, and nausea were a result of injuries he sustained when he was kidnaped. Resp. at ¶ 3(C). In fact, Plaintiff indicated he was kidnaped on three separate occasions. Resp. at ¶ 3(C). The first kidnaping occurred on or about May 1, 2012. Id. He was kidnaped by Steve Gillham and his cousin Richie. Id. He was held captive for about three hours. Id. at ¶ 10(I). He states he was punched in the back of the head twice, lost consciousness, and was electrocuted. Id. at 3(C). He did not seek medical attention at the time because he did not know the severity of his injuries. Id. Plaintiff believes he suffered a concussion and states he was confused and having memory problems. Id.

The second kidnaping occurred on June 2, 2012.[1] Resp. at ¶ 3(C). He was kidnaped by Rudy Salisbury. Id. He states he was lead into a trap where he was choked unconscious. Id. Gary Buyerley and Bridgette Varner were present. Id.

The final kidnaping occurred on June 29, 2012.[2] Resp. at ¶ 3(C). Plaintiff states he was again lead into a trap. Id. Buyerley held his arm and Salisbury would not let him go. Id. Plaintiff did not sustain any injuries during this kidnaping. Id. The latter two kidnapings were the result of Plaintiff owing Salisbury money. Id.

Plaintiff maintains he submitted medical requests prior to November 9th. Resp. at ¶ 3(E). He maintains two grievances are missing. Id. On November 10th, Nurse Jones indicated Plaintiff was scheduled to be seen. Id. at ¶ 3(F).

On November 11th, Plaintiff submitted a grievance/request form to the Nurse, Jason Day, and Ryan Watson. Resp. at ¶ 4(A) & pg. 41. Plaintiff stated the nurse was supposed to refer him to Dr. Lee to get a CT scan and x-rays. Id. at ¶ 4(B). He asked who would refer him to a neurologist. Id.

Plaintiff was seen by Dr. Lee on November 13th. Resp. at ¶ 4(C). After he examined the Plaintiff, Dr. Lee ordered an MRI of Plaintiff's brain. Id. Plaintiff states he was not treated for his symptoms and Nurse Jones did not order the MRI until December 12th following a confrontation. Id. at ¶ 4(D). The MRI was done on December 13th and it was normal. Id. at ¶ 4(E) & pg. 48. No further testing was done and Plaintiff states he received no treatment. Id. at ¶ 4(F). Plaintiff also believed the MRI showed no evidence of recent hemorrhage because medical staff delayed three months before ordering it. Id. at pg. 49.

According to Plaintiff, the physician who did the MRI stated that Plaintiff should have a CT scan immediately as his physical and mental symptoms merited it. Resp. at pg. 51 (grievance dated December 15, 2012). Plaintiff stated that the physician believed it was probable that Plaintiff suffered a severe concussion and perhaps a contusion and should be see by a neurologist. Id.

Plaintiff was asked to describe how Nurse Jones exhibited deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. He responded:

Nurse Jones was made aware of my medical needs [and] symptoms as early as Sept. 2012. I met with her and Detective Watson at the B pod door on two occasions in October 2012. She said she would get me immediate treatment. There were two medical grievances from Sept. & Oct. 2012 that were never answered or returned. The November medical request (grievance) refers to these and was not contested. My symptoms were obviously requiring treatment serious concussion. She knew I was ill and did not do her job.

Resp. at ¶ 5.

Plaintiff was asked to describe how Dr. Lee exhibited deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. He responded:

I saw Dr. Lee perhaps on November 13, 2012. See the grievance dated Nov. 11, 2012. His observations are relevant and I should have received medical treatment or relief from the serious medical condition' a concussion that left me with obvious amnesia, nausea, vomiting, confusion, my pupils were not affixed. A question arises why did he not order medical testing then? He is the doctor. Nurse Jones called in the MRI Dec. 12, 2012. There is no record of me being prescribed any treatment for relief at all. Nothing was done. I was needing medical attention for a serious medical condition. I suffered needlessly. Dr. Lee was employed by Sheriff Hickman of Boone County.

Resp. at ¶ 6.

Plaintiff also claims Detective Watson, Jason Day, and Sheriff Hickman exhibited deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. Specifically, Plaintiff states:

Detective Watson met with me on two occasions with Nurse Jones in October 2012 and also advised medical needs immediately. Jason Day was also made aware of my medical request. He is the jail administrator. Both he and Sheriff Hickman should be held responsible for my medical needs as I was house in their facility.

Resp. at ¶ 7.

BCDC inmates are allowed to order commissary items if they have sufficient funds to pay for the items. Resp. at ¶ 8(A). Plaintiff had sufficient funds to order commissary on multiple occasions. Id. at 8(B). The commissary sells over the counter pain medication such as Ibuprofen, sinus medication, Tums, triple antibiotic cream, and flexible adhesive bandages. Id. at ¶ 8(C). Plaintiff ordered an antacid on one occasion on September 24, 2012. Id. at ¶ 8(D). Plaintiff did not order any other over-the-counter medication during his incarceration at the BCDC. Id. at ¶ 8(E).

During Plaintiff's incarceration at the BCDC, he was able to send and receive personal mail. Resp. at ¶ 9(A). He was able to send and receive legal mail in envelopes. Id. at ¶ 9(B). He had access to stamped postcards, envelopes for legal mail, and something to write with. Id. at ¶ 9(C). He did not have to put legal mail on postcards. Id. at ¶ ...

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