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Hampton v. Brazell

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

July 19, 2016

BOBBY JOE HAMPTON, Plaintiff,
v.
WARDEN MARTY BRAZELL, SERGEANT MOON and MILLER COUNTY MEDICAL STAFF, Defendants.

          Bobby Joe Hampton, Plaintiff, Pro Se.

          Warden Marty Brazell, Defendant, represented by Jason E. Owens, Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, P.A., Joshua D. Standerfer, Rainwater, Holt & Sexton & Kaylen Suzanne Lewis, Rainwater Holt Sexton PA.

          Sergeant Moon, Defendant, represented by Jason E. Owens, Rainwater, Holt & Sexton, P.A., Joshua D. Standerfer, Rainwater, Holt & Sexton & Kaylen Suzanne Lewis, Rainwater Holt Sexton PA.

          Bi-State Detention Center, Respondent, represented by Troy A. Hornsby, Miller, James, Miller & Hornsby, L.L.P..

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          BARRY A. BRYANT, Magistrate Judge.

         This is a civil rights action filed by Plaintiff, Bobby Joe Hampton, pursuant to the provisions of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff proceeds pro se and in forma pauperis. 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 a Motion for Summary Judgment by Defendants Brazell and Moon.[1] ECF No. 28. A hearing was held on February 2, 2016, to allow the Plaintiff to give a sworn oral statement in response to the Motion. ECF No. 39. Plaintiff also submitted two grievances exhibits at the hearing. ECF No. 40. After careful consideration of the briefing, exhibits and sworn statement of the Plaintiff, the undersigned makes the following Report and Recommendation.

         1. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff's Complaint centers on an incident which occurred while he was incarcerated in the Miller County Detention Center ("MCDC"). ECF No. 1. Plaintiff proceeds against Defendants Brazell and Moon in both official and personal capacity, and against Miller County Medical Staff in official capacity only. ECF No. 1, pp. 4, 8, 9. Plaintiff alleges he was placed in segregation and only allowed one hour every three days for recreation in violation of Arkansas state law, which requires one hour every twenty-four hours. ECF No. 1. The disciplinary charge against him was dismissed after a hearing. Plaintiff alleges Defendant Moon did not investigate to see if he was guilty before punishing him. ECF No. 1, p. 9.

         Plaintiff further alleges he was forced to shower in full restraints and fell in the shower. ECF 1. When he fell, he hurt his ankle. He alleges he was denied medical care for his ankle. He now has a permanent limp and permanent marks from the shackles. ECF No. 1, p. 18. In Plaintiff's Proposed Hearing Exhibit, he states he had been told he has "a certain type of arthritis and pain" which he now takes pain meds for, due to lack of care for the severely sprained ankle. ECF No. 35, p. 1. Plaintiff alleges he filed grievances concerning his punishment and lack of medical treatment for his ankle, but received no response. ECF No. 1, p. 4. Plaintiff also alleges his personal belongings were taken from him in segregation, including his legal materials, paper and envelopes, and writing instrument. ECF No. 1, p. 9.

         Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages, and a transfer from the facility.[2] ECF 1, pp. 11-12.

         Plaintiff appeared in person, and gave a sworn statement in response to the Motion. Plaintiff testified he was placed in segregation on July 17, 2014 after a verbal disagreement between an officer and another inmate. He testified it was assumed he was part of the incident because he was later seen talking to the inmate involved in the disagreement. In segregation, he was denied recreation, grievances, personal hygiene, and only had one sheet and a mat. When he was taken from segregation he was in shackles and handcuffs. He was taken to the shower and told to figure out how to get his clothes off and take a shower. He fell in the shower and twisted his ankle severely. He pushed the panic button for help. He told the officers of his injury and asked for medical help. No medical help came. Another officer came and told him to get up and go back to his cell. He was told if he did not he would be sprayed. He went back to his cell soaking wet and limping. He never got medical care while in Miller County. He filed medical requests and grievances concerning the lack of response to the requests. Plaintiff submitted two exhibits at the trial as evidence of this. Plaintiff testified he never received any medical care for the ankle, never saw the nurse. Plaintiff testified he was in segregation from July 17, 2014 until July 21, 2014.

         When asked if he suffered any lasting injury from the fall in the shower, Plaintiff testified he did. Specifically, he testified when he was transferred to the Bi-State facility, the medical staff there told him he had a severe ankle injury. Because this injury was not treated, he now had some kind of arthritis and would always walk with a limp. When asked if the physician told him the limp and arthritis were due to the lack of care, Plaintiff testified "Yes, because it had not been treated. May forever have pain." Plaintiff testified this information was in his Bi-State medical file. He testified he has been switching between ibuprofen and other pain medications.

         When asked about his due process claim, Plaintiff testified he actually thought the process worked fine. He was released from segregation after the disciplinary hearing. His complaint was that he was punished before anyone confirmed that he did anything.

         Plaintiff testified he talked to Defendant Brazell the day of the disciplinary hearing, and was told disciplinary charges were not grievable. He never actually spoke to Defendant Brazell about his ankle, but he did write to him. Plaintiff testified Defendant Brazell answered him, but responded to something completely different. He would never respond on paper to him regarding his ankle. Plaintiff brought two grievances to the hearing as exhibits. Exhibit One is on an MCDC Detainee Request/Grievance form and is dated March 13, 2015. It states Plaintiff has sent in numerous grievances about being denied medical care and his living conditions, but received no response. He requests a response. Warden Brazell responded to his grievance on March 16, 2015, stating he has been seen by medical and they have sent him for tests. The response noted he was diagnosed with a non-strangulated hernia and prescribed ibuprofen. The response further noted the warden is advised that "you hardly ever got up to take [the ibuprofen.]." Exhibit Two is also on an MCDC Request/Grievance form, and is dated March 14, 2013. Plaintiff stated he has sent numerous grievances to Warden Brazell and Lt. Adams, but has received no response. The March 16, 2015, response states all grievances have been answered by Lt. Adams and the Warden. Neither grievance makes any mention of Plaintiff's ankle. With his Complaint, Plaintiff submitted an SHP inmate sick call slip dated February 14, 2013, asking for pain medication for "excruciating pain" from an abscessed tooth. ECF No. 1, p. 20. Plaintiff submitted no grievances or medical requests to the Court which showed him asking for medical care for his ankle.

         Plaintiff was asked if the one hour of recreation every seventy two hours was Miller County custom or policy, or particular to his case. Plaintiff testified he had seen them do that to other inmates, but he had never seen anyone try to shower in full restraints.

         Plaintiff was asked if his lack of legal and writing materials in segregation hurt him in any way, such as making him miss a deadline. Plaintiff testified his only harm was not being able to shower or brush his teeth.

         Defendants' attorney stood by his brief. He stated Plaintiff was in segregation from July 17, 2014 to July 21, 2014, and some of Plaintiff's points fall outside that time line. He further stated Miller County has no medical staff. Medical care is provided by Southern Health Partners. Therefore, no one named or served in this case was responsible for medical care. He requested the opportunity to respond to the Bi-State medical records if they were ordered by the Court.

         Following the hearing, the Court requested and received Plaintiff's medical records from the Bi-State facility. These records were received on May 25, 2016. ECF No. 47. A summary of the records related to Plaintiff's ankle are as follows:

• 7/29/2015: Plaintiff's intake screening form for Bowie County Correctional Facility. This form contains a section asking about chronic medical conditions and medication. The notation for these sections indicates Plaintiff denies any chronic medical conditions or medication needs. There is no mention on the form of any issue with his ankle. ECF No. 47-1, p. 7.
• 8/8/2015: Plaintiff filed a medical request form complaining of left ankle pain. He was seen for sick call, and the clinical assessment notes state "left ankle slightly swollen and painful." Plaintiff was prescribed ...

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