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Hamrick v. Lopez

United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division

April 3, 2017

JEFFERY LEE HAMRICK PLAINTIFF
v.
STEVE LOPEZ, DAVID BUFFORD, MARGIE GRIGSBY, and JOHN STALEY DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

         INTRODUCTION.

         The defendants in the case at bar have filed the pending motion for summary judgment. See Document 14.[1] For the reasons that follow, the motion will be, and is, granted.

         PLEADINGS.

         Plaintiff Jeffery Lee Hamrick (“Hamrick”) began this case by filing a complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983. Hamrick joined Steve Lopez (“Lopez”), David Bufford (“Bufford”), Margie Grigsby (“Grigsby”), and John Staley (“Staley”) in their official and individual capacities as officials with Lonoke County, Arkansas. Hamrick alleged that while he was incarcerated in the Lonoke County, Arkansas, Detention Center (“Detention Center”) on an alleged parole violation, the following occurred:

[In February of] 2015, I was incarcerated in Lonoke [County] Detention Center at which I was a [trustee]. I was tested at the beginning of March for [tuberculosis] and the results came back negative by Dr. Lisa Dillon. Between the months of June and July, there were five Hispanic men housed up front that had tested positive for [tuberculosis] and were being treated. As a [trustee], it was my duty to clean their cells. I was not provided a respirator and there were no [tuberculosis] lights or filters throughout the entire facility. I came to [the Arkansas Department of Correction in August of] 2015 to Malvern Diagnostic Center where I was informed that I had tested positive for [tuberculosis] and was confirmed with a chest x-ray. The following nine weeks I was treated with a vaccination.

See Document 2 at CM/ECF 4. Hamrick asked that the defendants be ordered to pay him monetary damages.

         The defendants thereafter filed the pending motion for summary judgment. They asked that the complaint be dismissed and offered the following reasons why:

[Hamrick's] complaint does not state facts to support an “official capacity” claim against the Defendants. In short, the complaint does not refer to any custom, policy or official practice at the Lonoke County Detention Center that would even minimally [pass] muster as an official capacity claim under [42 U.S.C.] 1983. Furthermore, Defendants' actions did not violate clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known, therefore the Defendants are entitled to qualified immunity. And, the undisputed facts do not demonstrate how each individual Defendant subjectively knew of an excessive risk to [Hamrick's] health or safety and then disregarded it. In other words, the undisputed facts do not demonstrate the Defendants acted with deliberate indifference. Finally, [Hamrick] is unable to prove he acquired the [tuberculosis] germs at the detention center, which is fatal to his claim.

See Document 15 at CM/ECF 7.

         Hamrick was notified of his right to file a response to the defendants' motion for summary judgment and was given fourteen days from February 24, 2017, to do so. He filed nothing in response to the motion, and the time for doing so has now passed.

         FACTS.

         The defendants accompanied their motion for summary judgment with a statement of material facts as required by Local Rule 56.1(a). Hamrick filed nothing in response. Because he did not controvert the facts contained in the defendants' statement, the facts set forth in the statement 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. Those facts are as follows:

         1. Beginning on February 17, 2015, and continuing through August 21, 2015, Hamrick was incarcerated in the Detention Center on an alleged parole violation. See Document 2 at CM/ECF 3; Document 16 at CM/ECF 1.

         2. During that period, Staley was the Lonoke County, Arkansas, Sheriff; Lopez was the Detention Center Administrator; and Bufford and Grigsby were Detention Center employees. See Document 2 at CM/ECF 1-2; Document 16, Exhibit A at CM/ECF 1.

         3. The defendants were not medical professionals and provided no medical care to inmates at the Detention Center. See Document 16 at CM/ECF 1.

         4. The inmates' medical care was provided by representatives of AR Care, a private health care company, and Detention Center officials relied upon the medical advice of the AR Care representatives. See Document 16 at CM/ECF 1.

         5. At some point during Hamrick's incarceration, the Detention Center came to house inmates who were positive for, and being treated for, tuberculosis. See Document 16 at CM/ECF 1.

         6. Tuberculosis is caused by a bacteria that manifests itself as either a latent tuberculosis infection or tuberculosis ...


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