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Waller v. Rice

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

February 27, 2018

KENNETH WAYNE WALLER PLAINTIFF
v.
NURSE SHERI RICE; CAPTAIN MITCHAM; and SHERIFF MIKE MCGOUGH DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Susan O. Hickey United States District Judge

         Plaintiff proceeds in this matter pro se and in forma pauperis pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Currently before the Court is Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 28). Plaintiff has responded. (ECF No. 34). Defendants have filed a reply. (ECF No. 36).

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff filed his Complaint on February 13, 2015. (ECF No. 1). At the time Plaintiff filed his Complaint he was an inmate[1] of the Union County Detention Center (“UCDC”). Plaintiff is not currently incarcerated. Plaintiff alleges he received “poor medical care” for his chronic heart condition from Defendant Rice. (ECF No. 1, pp. 4-5). Plaintiff further alleges that on January 21, 2015, Defendants McGough and Mitcham ordered him to be moved to the nursing station for the remainder of his confinement. (ECF No. 1, p. 5). Plaintiff claims he was told that he would “be observed by staff and Nurse Rice every 15 mins.” (Id.). Plaintiff states that when he was moved to the nursing station he was placed in a cell that was infested with ants, had no hot water, and he was “denied to take showers or personal hygiene.” (Id.). He further alleges he was placed “in isolation away from the kiosk denied visitation from my family and access to continue to utilize my First Amendment [right] to file grievances on the inhumane treatment as an inmate and being punish for asking for immediately cardiac attention to treat my severe chest pains.” (Id.). He also claims Defendants McGough and Mitchell put him in isolation with Defendant Rice “to keep from dealing with grievances[2] and providing the information I requested under the Freedom of Information Act.” (Id.).

         Defendants filed their Motion for Summary Judgment on October 11, 2017. (ECF No. 28). That same day, the Court entered an Order directing Plaintiff to file a response to the Summary Judgment Motion by November 1, 2017. (ECF No. 31). The Court subsequently granted Plaintiff's request for an extension. (ECF No. 33). Plaintiff responded on November 29, 2017, filing his Brief Answers in Response (ECF No. 34) and Statement of Undisputed Facts (ECF No. 35). Defendants replied on December 6, 2017, noting Plaintiff alleged unconstitutional false imprisonment for the first time in his Brief Answers in Response.[3] (ECF No. 36).

         Defendants argue Plaintiff's case should be dismissed for the following reasons: (1) Plaintiff stated no official capacity claims against Defendant McGough or Union County; (2) Plaintiff failed to provide any evidence of deliberate indifference to his medical needs by Defendant Rice; (3) Defendants McGough and Mitcham were not deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's medical needs because they are non-medical officials who believed he was being adequately cared for by medical staff and there was no evidence of deliberate indifference[4]; (4) Plaintiff, a pretrial detainee, was placed in one of the nurses' station medical observation cells to monitor his cardiac condition, not as punishment; and (5) Plaintiff did not allege he was deprived of any identifiable human need while in the observation cell for, at most, ten days. (ECF No. 29, pp. 7-11).

         Plaintiff filed two documents in response to the Summary Judgment Motion-his Brief Answers in Response (ECF No. 34) and his Statement of Undisputed Facts (ECF No. 35). The Statement of Undisputed Facts does not comply with the Court's Order (ECF No. 31) directing Plaintiff to identify each numbered paragraph that contains facts which he disputes and, for each paragraph, explain why he disputes those facts. Instead, in his Statement of Undisputed Facts Plaintiff repeatedly referred to unidentified responses which were to be incorporated by reference.

         For example, Plaintiff's response to Defendants' Statement of Fact Paragraph One reads as follows:

See, Plaintiff's response to Defendants' Paragraph #1, as stated therein are hereby incorporated by reference and repeated with full force and effect as if fully re-stated here. In the interest of judicial economy, those objections will not be repeated except to say that, for the same reasons stated in those objections.

(ECF No. 35, p. 1). The Court cannot identify what response Plaintiff is referring to in this statement. With the exception of Paragraphs Six and Eight, this response is repeated, with minor non-substantive variations, for all Defendants' Statement of Facts. Plaintiff, thus, only disputes facts in Paragraphs Six and Eight of Defendants' Statement of Facts. Accordingly, Defendants' other Statement of Facts are deemed admitted pursuant to Local Rule 56.1(c).

         In Paragraph Six, Defendants state that “Plaintiff was booked into the Union County Detention Center on December 27, 2014. Plaintiff reported a heart condition during the booking procedure and listed several medications he takes.” (ECF No. 30, ¶ 6). Plaintiff disputes this statement as follows: “Plaintiff family delivery and gave the deputy on duty all medication Plaintiff takes. The weekend nurse on went over meds with Plaintiff.” (ECF No. 35 at ¶ 6 objection). Plaintiff, thus, disputes that the medications were merely listed; he instead asserts his family delivered all of his medications to the facility on the day of his arrest and the weekend nurse reviewed them with him.

         In Paragraph Eight, Defendants state “Plaintiff was brought to Nurse Rice on January 6, 2015, to address complaints about his medication he was not receiving.” (ECF No. 30, ¶ 8). Plaintiff disputes that he was brought to Nurse Rice on this date and states he offers additional material facts. (ECF No. 35, ¶ 8). Plaintiff does not identify these alleged material facts. Plaintiff did, however, attach a copy of a kiosk grievance dated January 6, 2015, to his Complaint. The date of the grieved incident was January 6, 2015. In it, Plaintiff states he visited Nurse Rice that day and was unhappy with the medical care received. (ECF No. 1, p. 7). Plaintiff's dispute concerning this fact is therefore contradicted by his own submitted documentation. Accordingly, Paragraph Eight of Defendants' Statement of Undisputed Facts is deemed admitted.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Summary judgment is appropriate if, after viewing the facts and all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986), the record “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). “Once a party moving for summary judgment has made a sufficient showing, the burden rests with the non-moving party to set forth specific facts, by affidavit or other evidence, showing that a genuine issue of material fact exists.” Nat'l Bank of Commerce v. Dow Chemical Co., 165 F.3d 602, 607 (8th Cir. 1999).

         The non-moving party “must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.” Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586. “They must show there is sufficient evidence to support a jury verdict in their favor.” Nat'l Bank, 165 F.3d at 607 (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986)). “A case founded on speculation or suspicion is insufficient to survive a motion for summary judgment.” Id. (citing Metge v. Baehler, 762 F.2d 621, 625 (8th Cir. 1985)). “When opposing parties tell two different stories, one of which is blatantly contradicted by the record, so that no reasonable ...


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