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Waters v. Munyan

United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Little Rock Division

March 7, 2017




         The following Proposed Findings and Recommendation have been sent to United States District Judge Billy Roy Wilson. You may file written objections to all or part of this Recommendation. If you do so, those objections must: (1) specifically explain the factual and/or legal basis for your objection; and (2) be received by the Clerk of this Court within fourteen (14) days of this Recommendation. By not objecting, you may waive the right to appeal questions of fact.


         I. Relevant facts

         Plaintiff David Waymon Waters filed a pro se complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on July 2, 2015. Defendants are Dr. Garry Stewart and nurse Monte Munyan, both of the Faulkner County Detention Center.[1] Waters asserts the following in his complaint:

[O]fficer Cobley took me to see Monte Munyun I then asked him why did they take my prescribed meds or why aren't they being filled and he stated that Dr. Steward who is not my Doctor or didn't prescribe my medication for me said he was trying to save the county money so that's why he's not filling my prescriptions. I have congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, arthritis in my back and legs and rotator cup problems and I suffer from depression. I was taking Tyzanadine, Terizosin, Meloxicam, Wellbutrin, Furosemide, 81 mg Baby Aspirin, Meteroprolol, Hydrocodon 10.325, Ranatidine. The Doctor took me off Wellbutrin, Terizosin, Meloxicam and Hydrocodone 10.325 so now I'm in constant pain and I'm having mood swings and my blood pressure is high all the time and my vision is blurred. The medical staff is ignoring me and not taking me serious.

Doc. No. 2, page 5. Waters also claims on at least one occasion he received 9 pills in an 8 pill package, and once received 6 pills in a 5 pill package. Finally, Waters alleges “Munyan put me on the bench from 4:30 p.m. till 8:30 p.m. for medical watch, but really he was punishing me cause I said that I filing a lawsuit. I still think their trying to kill me.” Doc. No. 2, page 6.

         Waters was arrested and booked into the Faulkner County Detention Center on March 27, 2015. Doc. No. 34-15. At that time, Waters stated he was taking Meloxicam, Furosenide, Metoprolol, Ranitidine, Terazosin, Klor-Con, Tizendine, Bupropion, and Nitrogen. Doc. No. 34-3. Waters saw Stewart regularly during his incarceration at the detention center, and he was prescribed multiple medications. Doc. Nos. 34-4 to 34-12. According to defendants' undisputed statement of facts, Waters was given Tizanidine, a muscle relaxer, from April 22, 2015, to May 27, 2015, and from June 4, 2015, until his release. Waters was given Terazosin, for prostate issues, from April 9, 2015, until May 27, 2015. Waters' sister brought him 30 day prescriptions for Terazosin on April 15, 2015, and June 27, 2015. Waters received Metroprolol for high blood pressure and heart rate issues starting on May 20, 2015, and his blood pressure was checked regularly while he was at the detention center. On April 9, 2015, Waters was given Meloxicam for arthritis. Waters' sister brought in 30 day prescriptions for Meloxicam on April 15, 2015, and June 27, 2015. Waters' sister brought him a 30 days supply of Wellbutrin on April 15, 2015, and Waters' family brought in Bupropion on June 27, 2015. Waters was given Prozac in the place of Wellbutrin on June 4, 2015. Waters was given Furosemide at the detention center on April 22, 2015, and the prescription was reordered on June 16, 2015. Waters's sister brought him a 30 day prescription of Furosemide on June 27, 2015. On April 2, April 25, and May 29, 2015, Waters was given baby aspirin. Waters was prescribed Ranitidine on April 9 and May 29, 2015, and Waters' sister brought him a 30 day prescription on April 15, 2015, and June 27, 2015. Waters was also given Klor-Con, ibuprofen, Lasix, Prednisone, and Amoxicillin during his incarceration at the detention center. On June 4, 2015, Stewart discontinued all of Waters' medications, and prescribed Tizanidine, Lasix, baby aspirin, ibuprofen, and Metroprolol. Stewart prescribed ibuprofen for shoulder pain on June 18, 2015. On June 25, 2015, Stewart saw Waters for medications and dental, and prescribed Terazosin, Wellbutrin, and Meloxicam. On one occasion, Waters was given nine pills instead of eight. In response to a grievance Waters filed, detention center officials acknowledged the vendor made a packaging error, which was not repeated. Doc. No. 34-13. Waters was released on July 21, 2015. Doc. No. 34-18.

         Although the alleged denial of appropriate medication is Waters' primary claim, he also alleges he was placed on medical watch in retaliation for a threat to file legal action. The undisputed facts demonstrate that Waters was placed on the booking area bench on suicide watch on May 17, 2015, and monitored from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., at which time he signed a “No Harm Agreement.” Doc. Nos. 34-16 & 34-17.

         Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, a brief in support, and a statement of facts, on September 12, 2016. Doc. Nos. 32-34. Waters has not responded, despite an order advising him of his right to do so. Doc. No. 35.[2]

         Defendants argue they are entitled to summary judgment because they were not deliberately indifferent to Waters' medical needs, that Waters was not denied due process when he was placed on suicide watch on the booking area bench, that they are entitled to qualified immunity, and that there is no basis for official capacity or county liability. Doc. No. 33.

         Because Waters failed to controvert the facts set forth in defendants' statement of undisputed facts, Doc. No. 34, those facts are deemed admitted. See Local Rule 56.1(c). The defendants' statement, and the other pleadings and exhibits in the record, establish that the material facts are not in dispute.

         II. Standard of review

         Under Rule 56(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, summary judgment is proper “if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Celotex v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 321 (1986). When ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the court must view the evidence in a light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Naucke v. City of Park Hills, 284 F.3d 923, 927 (8th Cir. 2002). The nonmoving party may not rely on allegations or denials, but must demonstrate the existence of specific facts that create a genuine issue for trial. Mann v. Yarnell, 497 F.3d 822, 825 (8th Cir. 2007). The nonmoving party's allegations must be supported by sufficient probative evidence that would permit a finding in his favor on more than mere speculation, conjecture, or fantasy. Id. (citations omitted). A dispute is genuine if the evidence is such that it could cause a reasonable jury to return a verdict for either party; a fact is material if ...

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