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Mercer v. Martin

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

August 8, 2016

TODD H. MERCER, PLAINTIFF
v.
SHERIFF DANNY MARTIN, Nevada County, Arkansas; JAILER PATRICIA FRANKLIN; and CHIEF DEPUTY MILLER, DEFENDANTS

          OPINION

          HON. BARRY A. BRYANT UNITED STATES 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 case is before me by the consent of the parties (ECF No. 31). Currently pending before me for decision is Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 35). Plaintiff has responded to the Motion (ECF No. 48). Both sides have filed reply briefs (ECF Nos. 49 & 50). The Motion is ready for decision.

         1. Background

         Plaintiff is currently incarcerated in the Bossier Medium Security Facility in Plain Dealing, Louisiana. At the times relevant to the Complaint, Plaintiff was incarcerated in the Nevada County Detention Center (NCDC). While incarcerated there, Plaintiff contends his constitutional rights were violated in the following ways: (1) Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his need for mental healthcare; (2) he was subjected to psychological torture when held in a cell with bright lights and a video camera that stayed on 24 hours a day; (3) he was subjected to unconstitutional conditions of confinement; and (4) he was segregated without explanation or just cause.

         Plaintiff was booked into the NCDC on July 30, 2014. Defendants' Exhibit (hereinafter Defts' Ex.) 1. He remained incarcerated there until August 6, 2014. Id. A total of seven days. Id.

         Plaintiff was booked in by Jailer Patricia Franklin. Defts' Ex. 5 at ¶ 3. When he was booked in, a medical questionnaire was completed. Defts' Ex. 2. Plaintiff indicated he had the following medical conditions: allergies; Hepatitis C; an enlarged prostate; a damaged disc in his lower back; bi-polar disorder; post manic depression; and a personalty complex. Id. He stated he was not under the care of a doctor and had no medications or prescriptions. Id.

         Plaintiff was cooperative during booking and according to Jailer Franklin gave "no indications he was experiencing mental health problems or that he needed immediate attention." Defts' Ex. 5 at ¶ 4. It was noted that Plaintiff should be kept separate from other prisoners because he had Hepatitis C. Defts' Ex. 3. Plaintiff signed the form. Id. Jailer Franklin states Plaintiff "knew why he was placed in a cell isolated from the general population in order to protect the other inmates from the risk of contracting hepatitis." Defts' Ex. 5 at ¶ 11.

         According to Defendants, Plaintiff received a clean jail uniform and bedding when booked in. Defts' Ex. 5 at ¶ 8. His cell had been cleaned and disinfected prior to him being placed in it. Id. at ¶ 9. Jailer Franklin indicates that the jail is cleaned routinely and cells and mats are cleaned and disinfected by the 309[1] trustees whenever a cell or bed becomes open. Id. at ¶ 10.

         During his stay at the NCDC, Jailer Franklin stated that, based on her personal observations, Plaintiff "never appeared to be in need of mental health care. None of the other jailers observed him appearing to need mental health care." Defts' Ex. 5 at ¶ 5. Sheriff Martin indicated it would be his decision to request mental health care for one of the inmates. Defts' Ex. 6 at ¶ 4.

         Sheriff Martin explains that:

[u]nless the inmate is obviously in need of care, in . .. order for an inmate to receive mental health care, the inmate must initiate the mental health care process by requesting and completing a written complaint and/or request for mental health care. The completed form would be picked up from the inmate and be given to the jail nurse who would then meet with the inmate.

Defts' Ex. 6 at ¶ 8. Plaintiff never requested a grievance or request form for medical or mental health care. Defts' Ex. 5 at ¶ 6; Defts' Ex. 6 at ¶¶ 7 & 9.

         According to Sheriff Martin, jail uniforms are washed daily by 309 inmates and every two days each inmate receives a clean uniform. Defts' Ex. 6 at ¶ 11. Inmates are provided hygiene products and may shower in their cells whenever they choose. Id. at ¶ 13.

         Sheriff Martin also asserts the jail is cleaned routinely and cells and mats are cleaned and disinfected by the 309 trustees whenever a cell or bed becomes available. Defts' Ex. 6 at ¶ 13. Further, Sheriff Martin indicates that "[i]nmates can clean and disinfect their own mats and cells with cleaning supplies and disinfectants furnished by the jailer upon request." Id. at ¶ 14.

         Plaintiff was allowed to serve interrogatories on Dr. Jody Meek, a board certified psychiatrist, of Shreveport Behavioral Health, Shreveport, Louisiana. (ECF No. 27). Dr. Meek's responses were received by the Court on January 27, 2016, and copies sent to the parties. Dr. Meek reviewed Plaintiff's records covering the dates of November 2011 through April of 2012. Defts' Ex. 7 at ¶ 3.

         Dr. Meek only saw the Plaintiff on a single occasion on November 18, 2011, when he performed an initial psychiatric evaluation. Defts' Ex. 7 at ¶ 4. Dr. Meek diagnosed the plaintiff with bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and poly substance dependence. Id.

         Dr. Meek was asked to give the general symptoms of these disorders. Defts' Ex. 7 at ¶ 5. He stated:

a. Bipolar Disorder: mood disorder with periods of both depression/sadness and mania. Mania is usually characterized by a mood disturbance of elevated or expansive mood lasting for days at a time. During these times, on[e] could experience grandiosity, racing thoughts, deceased need for sleep, overly talkative or impulsivity in pleasurable activities.
b. Generalized Anxiety Disorder: excessive worry over a number of events. The person finds it difficult to control the worry, restlessness, difficulty concentrating, ...

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