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Muckenfuss v. Arrington

United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Pine Bluff Division

December 21, 2017

WESLEE ALLEN MUCKENFUSS PLAINTIFF
v.
SCOTTY ARRINGTON, Deputy Jailer, et al. DEFENDANTS

          OPINION AND ORDER

         I. Introduction

         On January 25, 2016, Plaintiff Weslee Allen Muckenfuss (“Muckenfuss”) filed this pro se ' 1983 action alleging that, while he was a pretrial detainee in the Drew County Detention Center ("DCDC"), he was denied constitutionally adequate medical care. Doc. 2. Muckenfuss filed three Amended Complaints. Docs. 11, 51 & 66.

         After the initial screening required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a) and subsequent preliminary rulings, Muckenfuss was permitted to proceed with his § 1983 claims against Scotty Arrington (“Arrington”), Daniel Durham (“Durham”), Chris Nunn (“Nunn”), Barbara Parnell (“Parnell”), Susan Potts (“Potts”), Alma Vincent (“Vincent”), Veronica Watson (“Watson”), (collectively “Defendants”), all employees of the DCDC.[1] All are sued in their individual capacities. Muckenfuss claims that the Defendants, other than Potts, unnecessarily delayed providing him with adequate medical care for injuries he allegedly sustained during an attack in his cell. His injuries included a broken nose, broken ribs, and a collapsed lung. He also asserts a failure-to-train claim against Potts, the jail administrator. Muckenfuss seeks $300, 000 in damages.

         Defendants have filed a Motion for Summary Judgment, a Brief in Support, a Statement of Undisputed Facts, and a Reply. Docs. 113-115; 118. Muckenfuss has filed a Brief in opposition. Doc. 117.

         Before addressing the merits of Defendants' Motion, the Court will summarize the relevant undisputed facts giving rise to Muckenfuss's claims.[2]

         1. On October 26, 2014, at 11:00 p.m., Muckenfuss, a pretrial detainee, [3] was injured while confined in a two-person cell.[4] (Doc. 53).

         2. At approximately 1:00 a.m., two hours after Muckenfuss was injured, jailers removed him from his cell and took him to the inmate visitation area for observation. Jail staff provided Muckenfuss with first aid, including an ice pack and ibuprofen. (Doc. 53 at p. 2; Doc. 114-3 at p. 4; Doc. 114-6 at ¶ 19-20; Doc. 114-3 at pp. 3-5).

         3. Muckenfuss's visible injuries included a bloody nose, a swollen face, and bleeding from his left ear. Muckenfuss complained to jail staff that he thought something was broken next to his nose, that his ribs were broken, and that he was having “a hard time breathing.” (Doc. 53 at p. 1).

         4. In response to Muckenfuss's complaints, jail staff called Administrator Potts and an ambulance. (Doc. 114-3 at pp. 5-6; Doc. 114-6 at ¶ 11-12).

         5. At approximately 2:57 a.m., Muckenfuss was examined by EMT's, who instructed jail staff to keep a “close watch” on Muckenfuss. However, they did not take Muckenfuss to the hospital.[5] (Doc. 114-3 at p. 5; Doc. 117 at p. 2).

         6. Through the rest of the evening and into the next day, Muckenfuss's nose continued to bleed, and he continued to complain to jail officials about his injuries. (Doc. 117 at p. 3).

         7. At approximately 12:45 p.m. on October 27, 2014, jail officials took Muckenfuss to the Mainline Medical Clinic for a medical appointment that Potts had scheduled for him. Muckenfuss was examined and x-rays were taken. The nurse practitioner who initially examined the x-rays advised that she could not see “anything wrong” but would have someone else examine the x-rays. She permitted Muckenfuss to return to the DCDC. (Doc. 114-4 at p. 4; Doc. 114-6 at ¶¶ 13-14).

         8. At approximately 3:05 p..m., Muckenfuss returned to the DCDC from his appointment at the Mainline Medical Clinic. (Doc. 114-4 at p. 4).

         9. At approximately 5:45 p.m., jail officials received a telephone call from the Mainline Medical Clinic advising that further review of Muckenfuss's x-rays showed “something ruptured” and he needed to be taken to the hospital. At approximately 7:05 p.m., after arranging for transportation, jail officials took Muckenfuss to the Drew County Memorial Hospital, where he received further treatment for his injuries, including a ...


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