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Story v. Delaney

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, El Dorado Division

January 30, 2018

JANET DELANEY, Jail Administrator, Columbia County, Arkansas, DEFENDANT


          Susan O. Hickey United States District Judge.

         Before the Court is the Report and Recommendation filed on June 13, 2017, by the Honorable Barry A. Bryant, United States Magistrate Judge for the Western District of Arkansas. ECF No. 42. Plaintiff has filed timely objections. ECF No. 43. The Court finds this matter ripe for consideration.


         Plaintiff filed the present 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action on January 21, 2016. ECF No. 1. Plaintiff sues Defendant in her official and individual capacities for deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. ECF No. 1, p. 8. Plaintiff alleges that on November 29, 2015, he slipped when exiting a shower at the Columbia County Detention Center (“CCDC”) due to standing water and injured his hand and back. ECF No. 1, p. 5. Plaintiff filed a grievance[1] on November 30, 2015, and met with Defendant that same day. ECF No. 1, p. 5; ECF No. 41-1, p. 2. Plaintiff states that Defendant looked at his thumb and admitted that it was swollen, but “didn't address the issue with [his] back at all.” ECF No. 1, p. 5. Plaintiff states that he told Defendant he was in pain and needed medical attention. ECF No. 1, p. 5. Plaintiff alleges that he was not given any medication for his pain and that he should have been taken to the hospital. ECF No. 1, pp. 5-6. Plaintiff does not allege that he requested Defendant provide him with pain medication and, regardless, it is undisputed that Defendant is not a medical professional. Defendant directed another officer to provide Plaintiff with a medical request form so that he could be seen by a medical professional later that afternoon. ECF No. 1, pp. 5, 9. Plaintiff states that he filled out the medical request form on November 30, 2015, “but didn't see the doctor until December 1, 2015.” ECF No. 1, p. 5.

         Plaintiff states that the doctor who examined him, Doctor Antoon, ordered that x-rays be taken of Plaintiff's hand and back. ECF No. 1, p. 5. Defendant admits that on December 1, 2015, Doctor Antoon ordered that x-rays be taken of Plaintiff's right hand and lower back. ECF No. 41-1, p. 5. The record does not reflect any other course of treatment or prescriptions ordered by Doctor Antoon. Plaintiff states that x-rays were not performed until sometime after he was transferred to the Arkansas Department of Correction (“ADC”) on December 10, 2015. ECF No. 1, p. 6. Two x-rays were taken of Plaintiff's hand shortly after he was transferred to the ADC. Both indicated that his hand had not been fractured. ECF No. 31, p. 13; ECF No. 38-3, p. 2. Likewise, an x-ray of Plaintiff's back taken less than three months after he was transferred to the ADC yielded normal results. ECF No. 31, p. 12.

         On April 28, 2017, Defendant filed a Motion for Summary Judgment. ECF No. 36. Defendant argues that she is entitled to summary judgment because: (1) “Plaintiff has not presented any verifying medical evidence showing that the Defendant was deliberately indifferent to his medical needs[;]” (2) she is protected by qualified immunity; and (3) there is no basis for official capacity liability.

         On May 5, 2017, Plaintiff filed a response to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, a brief in support of his response, and a statement of facts and argued that summary judgment was inappropriate. ECF Nos. 39, 40, 41. Among other things, Plaintiff states that he was taken to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (“UAMS”) on April 28, 2017, in regard to his alleged hand injury. ECF No. 39, p. 2. He states that he was seen by a “bone specialist” who agreed “that the Plaintiff['s] right hand was in fact injured because he placed a (cast) on it for (6) six weeks and said if it did not heal” Plaintiff would need surgery. ECF No. 39, p. 2. Plaintiff did not provide the Court with any medical record evidence detailing this alleged examination.

         On June 13, 2017, Judge Bryant entered a Report and Recommendation and recommended that Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment be granted and that Plaintiff's claims be dismissed with prejudice. ECF No. 42. In regard to Plaintiff's official capacity claim, Judge Bryant found that Plaintiff failed to identify an allegedly unconstitutional policy that was the moving force behind his injury and, therefore, summary judgment is appropriate on that claim. ECF No. 42, pp. 5-6. Judge Bryant further found that Defendant was entitled to summary judgment on Plaintiff's individual capacity claim, concluding that “there are no facts to support [a finding that] Defendant Delaney was deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's medical needs.” ECF No. 42, p. 8. Accordingly, Judge Bryant found it unnecessary to reach the issue of whether Defendant is entitled to qualified immunity.

         On June 22, 2017, Plaintiff filed objections to Judge Bryant's Report and Recommendation. ECF No. 43. In his objections, Plaintiff re-asserts many of his previous arguments as well as arguing that Judge Bryant only addressed his alleged hand injury, but failed to address his claimed back injury. ECF No. 43, ¶ 2. Plaintiff also states that Judge Bryant erroneously found that Plaintiff was given pain medication. ECF No. 43, ¶ 5. Further, Plaintiff states that he “has produced everything to the court that came out of the Plaintiff['s] medical jacket, the Plaintiff was sent to (UAMS) on April 28, 2017 where [he] was treated for the injury to [his] right hand the Bone specialist put a (cast) on it for six weeks because [his] right thumb was injuried [sic].” ECF No. 43, ¶ 10.


         The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provide that when a party moves for summary judgment “[t]he court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The Supreme Court has issued the following guidelines for trial courts to determine whether this standard has been satisfied:

The inquiry performed is the threshold inquiry of determining whether there is a need for trial-whether, in other words, there are genuine factual issues that properly can be resolved only by a finder of fact because they may reasonably be resolved in favor of either party.

Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986); see also Agristor Leasing v. Farrow, 826 F.2d 732 (8th Cir. 1987); Niagara of Wis. Paper Corp. v. Paper Indus. Union-Mgmt. Pension Fund, 800 F.2d 742, 746 (8th Cir. 1986). A fact is material only when its resolution affects the outcome of the case. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. A dispute is genuine if the evidence is such that it could cause a reasonable jury to return a verdict for either party. Id. at 252.

         The Court must view the evidence and the inferences that may be reasonably drawn from the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Enter. Bank v. Magna Bank, 92 F.3d 743, 747 (8th Cir. 1996). The moving party bears the burden of showing that there is no genuine issue of material fact and that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Id. The nonmoving party must then demonstrate the existence of specific facts in the record that create a genuine issue for trial. Krenik v. Cnty. of Le Sueur, 47 F.3d 953, 957 (8th Cir. 1995). A party opposing a properly supported motion for summary judgment may not rest upon mere allegations or denials, but must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 256. The non-moving party “must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.” Matsuhita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). “A case founded on speculation or suspicion is insufficient to survive a motion for summary judgment.” Nat'l Bank of Commerce of El Dorado, Ark. v. Dow Chem. Co., 165 F.3d 602, 610 (8th Cir. 1999). The non-moving party “must come forward with sufficient evidence to support their claims and cannot stand on their complaint and unfounded speculation.” Id. (internal citations omitted).


         Plaintiff has sued Defendant in both her individual and official capacities. The Court will address each of these claims in turn.

         I. Official ...

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