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McAdoo v. Martin

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Hot Springs Division

March 21, 2017

DAARON McADOO PLAINTIFF
v.
SERGEANT AMY MARTIN; and OFFICER BEN CASH DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          SUSAN O. HICKEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This is a civil rights action filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff proceeds pro se and in forma pauperis.

         Plaintiff's claims arose during his incarceration in the Hot Spring County Detention Center (HSCDC) from February 21, 2013, to June 14, 2013, at which time he was transferred to the Arkansas Department of Correction (ADC). Defendants' Exhibit (hereinafter Defts' Ex.) 1. Plaintiff is currently incarcerated in the ADC, Wrightsville Unit.

         Plaintiff asserts the following claims: (1) failure to protect; (2) excessive force; and (3) denial of medical care. The claims all stem from an altercation Plaintiff had with another inmate on May 27, 2013.

         On August 1, 2016, a bench trial was held. At the conclusion of Plaintiff's presentation of evidence, Defendant was granted judgment as a matter of law on the failure to protect claim.

         At the conclusion of the trial, the two remaining claims were taken under advisement pending preparation of this opinion. The following shall constitute the Court's findings of fact and conclusions of law in accordance with Rule 52 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

         1. Background & Evidence Presented

         The following is a summary of witnesses' testimony and the Court's findings of fact:

         When Plaintiff was booked on February 21, 2013, an intake screening form was completed. Although his inmate booking sheet, Defts' Ex. 1, indicated that Plaintiff was hospitalized following a car accident during which he had fainted or had a head injury, Plaintiff testified that he was in a car accident but suffered no injury and did not see a doctor.

         On May 22, 2013, Benjamin Cash began working at the HSCDC. He testified that he had not been working in any type of law enforcement for fourteen months prior to his being hired. He did have past experience working at the ADC for two years and at Saline County Detention Center for seven months. While at the ADC, he attended the training academy and received training on the use of force and inmate policies and procedures. Prior to the incident at issue in this case, he had received no training at the HSCDC. Plaintiff's Exhibit (hereinafter Plff's Ex.) 6.

         Plaintiff was housed in D-pod because he was awaiting transfer to the ADC. On Monday, May 27, 2013, at approximately 8:49 p.m., Plaintiff and Inmate Duddles were involved in an altercation. Defts' Ex. 3. Deputy Cash testified that he and Deputy Ellis were in the control tower looking down into D-pod. They saw Plaintiff pacing and yelling. Deputy Cash went down to the pod and asked if everything was alright. Plaintiff responded that "everything's cool man we're straight."

         Deputy Cash returned to the control tower and observed that Plaintiff continued pacing, yelling, and striking the tables with his fist. Deputy Cash returned to the pod and as he walked into the pod he saw Plaintiff in an aggressive stance with his fist closed. The two inmates began to hit each other. Deputy Cash testified he ordered the inmates to stop fighting. Deputy Cash indicates that Inmate Duddles quit fighting but that Plaintiff did not.

         Deputy Cash testified that Plaintiff was hovering over Inmate Duddles striking him with a closed fist. Plaintiff's side was turned toward Deputy Cash. Deputy Cash stated that he told Plaintiff to stop fighting three times. Deputy Cash testified he grabbed Plaintiff by the waist, took him to the floor, and placed his knee on the Plaintiff's back. There were about twenty inmates in the pod. Plaintiff was not handcuffed because he complained of his shoulder hurting.

         According to Deputy Cash, he used the minimum amount of force necessary to bring an end to the altercation. Deputy Cash contends the use of force was necessary to maintain order and protect Plaintiff, himself, and others. Deputy Cash pointed out that the officers were out numbered by the inmates. Because of this, Deputy Cash testified he tried to put an end to the altercation before it escalated.

         Deputy Cash testified he called Sergeant Martin and reported that the Plaintiff appeared to be hurt and was complaining of shoulder pain. Deputy Cash indicated that Plaintiff began complaining of shoulder pain as soon as he hit the floor. Plaintiff appeared to be in a lot of pain.

         Deputy Cash's incident report provides:

At this time I Deputy Cash had Deputy Ellis open the D-pod door, as I Deputy Cash entered D-pod I witnessed Inmate McAdoo and Inmate Duddles exchanging punches, I Deputy Cash gave both inmates a direct order to stop fighting, both inmates refused my direct order and continued to fight.
At this time I Deputy Cash ran and grabbed Inmate McAdoo in attempt to restrain him, as I Deputy Cash grabbed Inmate McAddo[.] Inmate Duddles stopped fighting but Inmate McAdoo continued to try and fight. At this time I Deputy Cash took Inmate McAdoo to the floor with the minimal amount of force necessary to gain control of Inmate McAdoo. After gaining control of Inmate McAdoo I Deputy Cash escorted him to the booking area and placed him in Holding Cell 1.

Defts' Ex. 3. Deputy Cash also submitted a defense action report on which he indicated that Inmate McAdoo' shoulder was injured during the takedown. Defts' Ex. 5.

         On May 27, 2013, Sergeant Amy Martin[1] was the acting jail administrator. She was not at the jail when the altercation occurred. Instead, she testified she was contacted at home at approximately 8:30 to 9:00 p.m. and informed of the altercation. She was also informed that Plaintiff might be injured. She advised jail personnel to contact the transport officer and have him take the Plaintiff to the hospital.

         At the time, Sergeant Martin testified the jail was staffed by only two deputies, Deputy Cash and Deputy Ellis. Sergeant Martin testified that one deputy stayed in the tower at all times while the other deputy stayed up front to book inmates. The jail does have a video system to monitor the inmates but it does not record. Sergeant Martin believed the jail was at capacity--fifty inmates--at the time of the incident.

         When the transport officer could not be reached, Sergeant Martin went to the jail. Sergeant Martin testified she lived about twenty to twenty-five minutes from the jail. Once she arrived, she had Deputy Ellis take the Plaintiff to the hospital. By then it was approximately 11:34 p.m. Defts' Ex. 6. When Plaintiff returned to the jail, he was wearing a splint to hold his shoulder in place against his body. He also had a prescription for ten hydrocodone tablets to be taken by mouth every four hours, as needed. Plff's Ex. 1.

         Sergeant Martin testified that Sheriff Ed Hollingworth established the policy that the facility would be narcotic drug free. Instead of narcotic pain relievers, inmates would receive Tylenol and/or Ibuprofen. In Plaintiff's case, Sergeant Martin testified he was put in a one man holding cell to be monitored. ...


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