United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fayetteville Division
JASON C. HULSE PLAINTIFF
SOUTHERN HEALTH PARTNERS, INC. and ROBYN SIMS DEFENDANTS
HOLMES, III CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
Jason C. Hulse, filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§1983. He proceeds in forma pauperis. Although
he was proceeding pro se when he filed the original
Complaint, an attorney then entered an appearance on his
behalf (ECF No. 6).
case is before the Court on the Motion for Summary Judgment
(ECF No. 76) filed by the Defendants. Plaintiff has responded
(ECF No. 82) to the Motion. Additionally, Defendants have
filed a reply (ECF No. 84). The Motion is now ready for
maintains he was denied adequate medical care while
incarcerated at the Washington County Detention Center
(WCDC). Specifically, he contends Defendants had a custom or
policy of denying medical treatment to inmates on the basis
that the inmate was awaiting transfer to the Arkansas
Department of Correction (ADC).
April 14, 2015, Plaintiff was involved in a motorcycle
accident. (ECF No. 82-5). He was arrested and various charges
were filed against him including possession of drugs and
driving while intoxicated (DWI). (ECF No. 78-1 at 4). A
parole violation was also lodged against him.
the accident, Plaintiff was treated at the Northwest Medical
Center for injuries including head pain, shoulder pain, and a
laceration across his right knee. (ECF No. 82-4). He was
discharged in the early morning hours of April 15, 2015, with
a prescription for an antibiotic, Bactrim, and a pain
reliever, Norco. Id.
was then booked into the WCDC. (ECF No. 78-1 at 4). Plaintiff
testified that he repeatedly asked to see a nurse before he
was booked in. (ECF No. 82-5 at 36). He wanted to request
follow-up medical treatment and ask when he would start
receiving his pain medication and antibiotics. Id.
at 37. He indicates he was told several times that he would
be screened by the medical company before he was put in a
regular jail cell. Id. at 36. Plaintiff testified
that when this did not occur, he began asking the nurse at
pill call for medical care. (ECF No. 82-5 at 42).
never received the pain medication and was told it was a
non-narcotic facility. (ECF No. 82-5 at 49). He did not
receive the antibiotics until after his stitches were taken
out on April 28, 2015. Id. at 50. His knee became
infected and it took about a week for it to clear up.
Id. at 52-53.
convicted of a parole violation on May 5, 2015. Plaintiff was
sentenced to serve time in the ADC and was being housed at
the WCDC awaiting transfer. (ECF No. 78-1 at 2); (ECF No.
82-5 at 82-83). He remained incarcerated at the WCDC until
January 11, 2016, when he was transferred to the ADC. (ECF
No. 78-1 at 5).
Health Partners, Inc. (SHP), became the contract medical care
provider for inmates at the WCDC on November 1, 2014. (ECF
No. 78-1 at 1). The doctors and nurses providing medical
services at the WCDC were employees or agents of SHP.
has had in place since August 29, 1991, a policy that
requires medical care professionals in Counties housing ADC
inmates to obtain prior approval for treatment or medical
services for a condition that is routine or non-life
threatening. (ECF No. 78-1 at 2 & ECF No. 78-2 at 1).
September 15, 2015, ADC's Administrator of Medical and
Dental Services sent a memorandum to Arkansas County Sheriffs
and Jail Administrators explaining the process for an
eligible jail detainee to access medical and dental services
through the ADC. (ECF No. 78-1 at 2 & 78-3). The
memorandum states in part:
A jail inmate is eligible for necessary medical and dental
services' claims to be paid by the ADC if the services
are provided specifically for the ADC inmate by an off-site
provider. If the jail has contracted for a provider to see
ADC inmates at the jail, and the services are not provided to
detainees or inmates who are not ADC inmates, such services
will be considered off-site medical or dental services. ADC
will not pay claims for services provided to all detainees,
inclusive of those not sentenced to ADC.
No. 78-3 at 1).
his arraignment, which Plaintiff believes occurred on April
17, 2015, a guard tried to get Plaintiff medical assistance
but was informed to just tell the Plaintiff to put in a
medical request. (ECF No. 82-5 at 41). On April 18, 2015,
Plaintiff submitted a medical request asking to have a nurse
check his stitches. (ECF No. 79-8 at 1). On April 19, 2015, he
submitted a medical request asking why he had not been
screened by a nurse, that he needed his stitches checked, and
asking when he would be getting his antibiotics. Id.
On April 22, 2015, Nurse Loni Plumlee responded: “added
to nurse call.” Id. Plaintiff was seen by the
nurse on April 24, 2015, or April 25, 2015. (ECF No. 82-5 at
46). No treatment or chart notes were provided with respect
to any nurse visits.
April 27, 2015, Plaintiff submitted a medical request stating
he had not been screened and his stitches were supposed to be
taken out in seven days. (ECF No. 78-8 at 1). If medical
staff could not see to his needs, Plaintiff asked to be
transported to the hospital where he could receive proper
care. Id. He submitted another request asking who he
had to contact to file a complaint for negligent medical
treatment. Id. at 2. Nurse Plumlee responded asking
what his complaint was. Id.
April 28, 2015, Plaintiff asked to be seen by the psych
nurse. (ECF No. 78-8 at 2). In response, Nurse Plumlee said
he had been added to the psych nurse list. Id.
April 29, 2015, Plaintiff again asked to be added to the
psych nurse list. Id. Plaintiff indicated there had
been a misunderstanding and he believed a guard had put him
down as refusing to see the nurse. Id. On April 29,
2015, Plaintiff submitted another request in which he stated
he was supposed to have the dressing on his knee changed
twice daily as a result of the stitches having to have been
cut and torn out. Id. at 3. On May 1, 2015, Nurse
Plumlee responded that he had been added to the treatment
book and asked if Plaintiff's dressing had been changed
since his April 29th request. Id. Plaintiff
responded that he was given a large Band-Aid and ointment.
4, 2015, Plaintiff submitted a request asking to be seen by
the doctor for a hernia. (ECF No. 78-8 at 3). On May 5, 2015,
Plaintiff asked if he had been added to the doctor's
list. Id. On May 6, 2015, his request was closed by
Nurse Plumlee with a notation that Plaintiff had been seen by
the nurse. Id. Plaintiff responded by saying he
needed to be seen by the doctor not the nurse. Id.
7, 2015, Plaintiff again asked to see the psych nurse. (ECF
No. 78-8 at 4). On May 13, 2015, Nurse Plumlee indicated
Plaintiff had been added to her list. Id.
8, 2015, Plaintiff complained that he had previously been
seen on April 24th by the same nurse who was on duty that
evening. (ECF No. 78-8 at 4). Plaintiff stated he wanted to
request that the “hateful” nurse not have
anything to do with him. Id. He stated he wanted to
be seen by a doctor not a nurse. Id. He also
indicated his hernia was getting bigger. Id. In
response, he was told he was on the doctor list for that
Friday, May 15th. Id.
9, 2015, Plaintiff complained about the delay in his
treatment and the manner in which he was treated by the one
nurse. (ECF No. 78-8 at 5). He indicated again that he had a
hernia that was getting progressively worse and asked to be
seen by a doctor. Id. If no doctor was available, he
indicated he wanted to go to the hospital. Id.
10, 2015, Plaintiff submitted another request about his
hernia. (ECF No. 78-8 at 3). He indicated it had grown in
size and was painful. Id. Plaintiff stated he wanted
to see the doctor ASAP. Id. On May 12, 2015, Nurse
Plumlee responded that he was on the doctor's list for
Friday, May 15th. Id.
11, 2015, Plaintiff submitted two requests asking that his
hernia issue be addressed. (ECF No. 78-8 at 6). He indicated
it was bulging more and burning. Id. On May 20,
2015, Nurse Plumlee responded: “Sir, since you are an
ADC inmate, ADC has to approve any Dr. visits with our doctor
here or an outside doctor visit. [W]e are working with them