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Queen v. Randall

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

January 8, 2018




         The following Proposed Findings and Recommendation have been sent to United States District Judge James M. Moody Jr. 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. Introduction

         Plaintiff Jared M. Queen, a former inmate at the Faulkner County Detention Center (“FCDC”), filed this pro se civil rights complaint against Defendant Major John Randall in both his individual and official capacities. See Doc. No. 1. Queen seeks $2.5 million in damages for Randall's alleged violation of his constitutional rights. Id. Specifically, Queen alleges that FCDC staff failed to protect him from an attack by other inmates which resulted in a broken jaw. Id. at 3. Queen further alleges that after his broken jaw was wired shut, jail staff did not provide him with an adequate diet. Id.

         Before the Court are Defendant Randall's motion for summary judgment, supporting brief, and statement of undisputed material facts (Doc. Nos. 22-24) as well as Queen's Response (Doc. No. 26). Randall's statement of facts, and the other pleadings and exhibits in the record, establish that the material facts are not in dispute and that Randall is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.

         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 its resolution affects the outcome of the case. Othman v. City of Country Club Hills, 671 F.3d 672, 675 (8th Cir. 2012). Disputes that are not genuine or that are about facts that are not material will not preclude summary judgment. Sitzes v. City of West Memphis, Ark., 606 F.3d 461, 465 (8th Cir. 2010).

         III. Undisputed Facts

         Undisputed Facts Submitted by Randall

         Queen was received into custody by the FCDC on June 16, 2016. Doc. No. 24-1 at 1, 3. On August 6, 2016, Queen was allegedly attacked by multiple other detainees. Id. at 1, 5. Randall had no knowledge of Queen's alleged attack. Id. at 1. Randall is not medical staff or medically trained personnel. He does not make medical decisions for the inmates but follows the orders given by the doctor and medical staff at the FCDC. Id. Queen was taken to Conway Regional Health System following the August 2016 altercation. Id. at 1, 7, 10. At the time, Queen's jaw was not wired shut, and he was instructed to eat soft foods. Id. at 1, 7-10. On August 7, 2016, Nurse Monte Munyan ordered that Queen receive a chopped diet. Id. at 1, 12. On August 11, 2016, Dr. Garry Stewart, the jail doctor, ordered a chopped diet for Queen. Id. at 1, 23. On August 12, 2016, the medical staff instructed jailers to inspect all food trays to ensure the kitchen staff had adequately chopped Queen's food. Id. at 1, 13. Queen had jaw surgery on September 2, 2016, at which point his jaw was wired shut. Id. at 1, 11. The post-surgery instructions provided that all foods should be blended with liquids. Id. at 1, 9.

         Although Queen requested Ensure® nutrition drinks (“Ensure”) several times following his surgery, Ensure was never prescribed by a medical professional. Id. at 2, 28. Queen filed a medical request on September 13, 2016, admitting that the jail was giving him “liquid” food to eat and that they were putting the food in the blender to give to him; Queen stated that he did not like the blended food and it made him throw up. Id. at 2, 32. It was noticed on September 13, 2016, that Queen had removed the wires from his jaw; the nurse ordered that a blended diet continue. Id. at 2, 20. On September 14, 2016, Queen filed a grievance stating he was on a hunger strike. Id. at 2, 28. Again, on September 19, 2016, Queen filed a grievance stating that he could not eat the “blended up” food provided by the jail. Id. Randall did not make the decision on what food to provide Queen following his surgery but instead followed the orders provided to him by the medical staff. Id. at 2.

         Queen's Response

         Queen does not dispute the facts submitted by Randall but adds to them. He points out that while medical department notes say he was to continue a blended diet on September 13, 2016 (Doc. No. 24-1 at 26), notes dated September 27, 2016, say he was to continue on a “pureed” diet (Doc. No. 24-1 at 19). Queen further points out that he had been asking to be put on a vegetarian or vegan diet for some time prior to the August 2016 incident that resulted in his broken jaw. He states that he complained of having all his food blended together, and maintains that he could not eat what was given to him. None of the facts submitted by Queen dispute the facts submitted by Randall, and ...

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