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Todd v. Godbolt

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

January 20, 2016

MICHAEL TODD, Plaintiff,
v.
JOHNNY GODBOLT; and SERGEANT STAGGS, Defendants.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

BARRY A. BRYANT, Magistrate Judge.

This is a civil rights action filed pro se by the Plaintiff, Michael Todd, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff is currently incarcerated at the Arkansas Department of Correction Varner Unit ("ADC").

Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and (3)(2011), the Honorable Susan O. Hickey, United States District Judge, referred this case to the undersigned for the purpose of making a Report and Recommendation. Currently before the Court is Defendant Godbolt's Motion for Summary Judgment.[1] ECF No. 19. I held a hearing on December 8, 2015, at which time, I heard Plaintiff's sworn testimony in response to the Motion for Summary Judgment. After careful consideration, I enter the following Report and Recommendation.

1. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff filed his Complaint on May 30, 2013. ECF No. 1. The claims Plaintiff allege in his Complaint concern his incarceration in the Hempstead County Detention Center ("HCDC"). In his Complaint, Plaintiff names Sergeant Staggs and Captain Johnny Godbolt as Defendants. ECF No. 1. Plaintiff did not specify in his Complaint whether he was suing Defendants in their official or individual capacity. Specifically, Plaintiff claims Defendants violated his constitutional rights by (1) denying him a medically prescribed mattress for two to three weeks; and (2) retaliating against him. ECF No. 1.

Defendant Godbolt filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on April 24, 2015. ECF No. 19. In this Motion, Defendant Godbolt argued: (1) Plaintiff only alleged official capacity claims but failed to point to any policy or custom of Hempstead County that violated his constitutional rights; (2) Defendant Godbolt was not deliberately indifferent to any serious medical need suffered by Plaintiff; and (3) Plaintiff was not retaliated against. ECF No. 20.

The Court held a hearing on this Motion on December 8, 2015. At this hearing, Plaintiff provided sworn testimony as his response to Defendant Godbolt's Motion. Plaintiff also filed, prior to the hearing, a written response to Defendant Godbolt's Motion. ECF No. 24.

2. SUMMARY JUDGMENT RECORD

In their Motion for Summary Judgment, Defendant Godbolt asserts the following as undisputed facts. Plaintiff was booked into the HCDC on March 11, 2013. ECF No. 20-1. On March 12, 2013, Plaintiff was seen by the HCDC nurse, Nurse McClean, for complaints of back pain. At this visit, Plaintiff was prescribed pain medication and anti-inflammatory medication for his back pain. Nurse McClean also noted Plaintiff requested an extra mattress. ECF No. 20-2. On March 21, 2013, Plaintiff filed another medical request regarding his back pain. Nurse McClean saw Plaintiff on March 30, 2013 and continued Plaintiff on the previously prescribed pain medication. ECF No. 20-3. There are no further medical requests relating to Plaintiff's back.

On May 10, 2013, Plaintiff filed a grievance complaining that Sergeant Staggs took Plaintiff's extra mattress. Defendant Godbolt responded to Plaintiff's grievance noting he was unsure why Sergeant Staggs took the mattress but it was possible it was needed for another inmate. ECF No. 20-4. Defendant Godbolt swears by Affidavit that he later learned the mattress was in fact taken due to an influx of new inmates into the HCDC. ECF No. 20-5. When an extra mattress became available again, it was given to Plaintiff. ECF No. 20-5. There is no evidence Plaintiff was prescribed an extra mattress by a medical professional.

Finally, Plaintiff filed a grievance on May 13, 2013 complaining that he had been incarcerated for more than sixty (60) days without charges being filed. Plaintiff claims this incarceration is in retaliation for a previous lawsuit he filed against HCDC. Officer Gary Dorman responded noting formal charges had been filed against Plaintiff and Defendant Godbolt had nothing to do with Plaintiff being charged. ECF No. 20-6.

At the summary judgment hearing, I asked Plaintiff to provide a sworn statement detailing how he believes his constitutional rights were violated in response to the Defendant Godbolt's Motion for Summary Judgment. Below is a summary of his sworn testimony:

Plaintiff testified he was booked into the HCDC on March 11, 2013. On March 12, 2013, Plaintiff made a sick-call request and saw the nurse. On March 21, 2013, Plaintiff made another sick-call request and again saw the nurse. Then sometime after March 30, 2013 Sergeant Staggs took away Plaintiff's extra mattress (leaving him with only one) and did not return it for two or three weeks. Plaintiff testified that a Dr. Jones prescribed him the mattress but Plaintiff did not indicate when Dr. Jones gave this prescription.

Plaintiff also testified he suffered more pain while without his extra mattress than he would have suffered with the mattress. Additionally, Plaintiff testified Nurse McClean also stopped his pain medication at the same time Sergeant Staggs took away his extra mattress. When Sergeant Staggs returned ...


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