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Foots v. Rose

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Texarkana Division

March 13, 2018




         This is a civil rights action filed pro se by Plaintiff, Ronnie Deon Foots, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Currently before the Court are Motions for Summary Judgment filed by Defendants City of Lewisville, Arkansas, and Chief Jason Tomlin (ECF No. 30) and Defendants Victor C. Rose, Theartice Early, Dr. Antoon, Officer Clark, and Officer Cox (ECF No. 36). Plaintiff has filed a response. (ECF No. 42). Defendants City of Lewisville and Tomlin filed a Reply to Plaintiff's Response. (ECF No. 43). The Court finds this matter ripe for consideration.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff filed his original Complaint on May 6, 2016, against Defendants Victor Rose, Theartice Early, Chief Tomlin, Dr. Antoon, and Officer Cox.[1] (ECF No. 1). On May 25, 2016, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint naming Officer Clark as a Defendant. (ECF No. 6). Plaintiff alleges claims for excessive force, denial of adequate medical care, and unconstitutional conditions of confinement. (ECF No. 6). At the time of the events in question, Defendant Tomlin was the Chief of Police for the City of Lewisville, Arkansas; Defendant Rose was the Sheriff of Lafayette County, Arkansas; Defendant Antoon was under contract to provide healthcare services to inmates in the Lafayette County Detention Center (“LCDC”); and Defendants Early, Cox, and Clark were employees of the Lafayette County Sheriff's Department.[2] Plaintiff is suing Defendants in both their official and individual capacities. (ECF No. 6). Plaintiff is no longer incarcerated.

         In 2007, Plaintiff suffered a gunshot wound to the head and as a result suffers from periodic seizures. Plaintiff takes the medication Dilantin to control the seizures. Plaintiff also states he has extreme difficulty standing, walking, and keeping his balance. He uses a cane and wheelchair. (ECF No. 6).

         On December 10, 2012, Defendants Clark, Cox, and Tomlin arrived at Plaintiff's residence with a warrant for his arrest for delivery of a controlled substance. Plaintiff claims he told the Defendants to come in and then informed them he had cocaine in his sock. (ECF No. 42, p. 2). Plaintiff states that Defendant Tomlin instructed him to get down on the floor but claims he could not immediately do so because of his physical disabilities. Plaintiff alleges Defendant Tomlin was aware of his physical limitations prior to his arrest due to Plaintiff's previous interactions with Defendant Tomlin. (ECF No. 32-1, pp. 13, 11-24).

         Plaintiff alleges that during the course of his arrest Defendant Tomlin used excessive force when he “turned me upside down by my feet and hit my head[, ]” causing Plaintiff to suffer a seizure which lasted two to three minutes. (ECF No. 32-1, pp. 13, 11-24). Plaintiff also claims Defendants Cox and Clark used excessive force against him when they “ignored the facts I was disabled and couldn't walk without my wheelchair and that I had seizures[, ]” claiming “their response was to drag me, literally, out of my house.” (ECF No. 6, p. 4). Plaintiff claims he asked for his seizure medication and wheelchair and Defendant Tomlin told him “they will take care of you at the county jail.” (ECF No. 32-1, pp. 20, 14-23). Plaintiff was subsequently transported by Defendant Cox to the LCDC.

         Plaintiff alleges that once he was booked into the LCDC he was placed in A-Pod. Plaintiff claims he then informed Ms. Cooper, an LCDC employee not named in this lawsuit, that:

I needed my seizure medication and my wheelchair . . . I repeatedly told them that my medication was at my house, along with my wheelchair, and that my grandmother would bring them both to me. The jailers said, once again, that they would have to run it by Lt. Theartice [Early]. As the days passed on, I received no help or relief regarding my meds and my wheelchair. I continuously spoke to deputies through the intercom and I asked them to speak to Sheriff Rose. The deputies told me that Sheriff Rose was aware of me, but had not given them orders or permission to do anything. Sheriff Rose, along with Lt. Theartice [Early] simply ignored the fact that I needed my wheelchair and seizure medication.

(ECF No. 6, pp. 4-5).

         Several days later, Plaintiff asked for a handicap accessible shower with a seat because APod did not have handicap accessible shower facilities. According to Plaintiff, when he complained about not having a handicap accessible shower “they ignored my situation, and only gave me a small tub to bathe with that would only hold about two (2) gallons of water.” (ECF No. 6, p. 5). Plaintiff claims he tried to use the shower in A-Pod without a shower seat because “the small tub of water was ineffective in cleaning myself.” (ECF No. 6, p. 8). He alleges he lost his balance, fell, and hit his head. Plaintiff claims that his head was bleeding and that he had a “slight” seizure. Plaintiff states that instead of calling for an ambulance, the jailers contacted Defendant Early. Plaintiff alleges that he was then put into a wheelchair and taken to “isolation, with my head still bleeding, and me being dizzy” in accordance with orders from Defendant Early. (ECF No. 6, p. 6). Plaintiff claims he was not examined by medical personnel, but that Defendants Rose and Early:

saw that my head was busted and bleeding, and their solution to that was to put me in isolation. In fact; it became clear to me that Sheriff Rose and Lt. Theartice [Early] had ordered their deputies to put me in isolation for the purpose of hiding me from the inmate population, who had witnessed my busted head from falling in the shower. They left me in isolation for a whole week without medical attention, and without my seizure meds.

(ECF No. 6, p. 6).

         Plaintiff claims that Defendants Rose and Early intentionally housed him in a pod without handicap accessible shower facilities knowing that he could not stand for an extended amount of time. Plaintiff states he had previously been housed in D-Pod, where there is a shower with a seat for people who are disabled. Plaintiff states that at some point “Sgt. Cooper[3] began allowing me to take showers in the intake because they had a handicapped seat in the shower stalls” but that he “still had to hobble back and forth to my Pod with great difficulty and pain.” (ECF No. 6, p. 8).

         Plaintiff further claims that on another occasion he stood up and his “legs gave out.” (ECF No. 6, p. 6). Plaintiff states that he fell, hit his head, and began to have a seizure. (ECF No. 6, p. 6). An ambulance was called and Plaintiff was taken to the hospital. He claims the nurse told him his “Dilantin level in his blood was low.” Plaintiff then requested a MRI and an x-ray because of his recent falls. According to Plaintiff, the nurse informed him they could not conduct those scans without permission from the LCDC. Plaintiff states that his Dilantin dosage was increased and he was given pain medication while in the hospital.

         Once he returned to the LCDC, Plaintiff claims he was:

finally seen by the Jail's doctor. Dr. Antune prescribed a generic medication for epilepsy, and some type of muscle relaxer. I asked Dr. Antune what he was prescribing, because it was not Dilantin. Dr. Antune's response was; ‘It is something new for 2012, and that Dilantin had played out.' That night, or the next night, after taking that medication, I had another seizure.

(ECF No. 6, p. 7). Plaintiff claims Defendant Early once again did nothing to assist him. Plaintiff further alleges that after he started taking the medication prescribed by Defendant Antune he began to lose weight, started sleeping a great deal, and felt weak.

         On another occasion, Plaintiff claims he “blacked out” and Defendant Early advised the jailers “to just leave me in my cell when situations such as this arose, as if ignoring them, (my medical issues)[.]” (ECF No. 6, p. 8). Plaintiff claims he was left on the floor until other inmates helped him back onto his bed. Plaintiff acknowledges that after this incident he was allowed to use a wheelchair at the jail but claims “they continued to make me use that small tub of water to bathe with.” (ECF No. 6, p. 8).

         Plaintiff also claims that at some point during his incarceration in the LCDC he noticed blood in his urine. He states that he informed jail staff but that:

Their only response was to say; “We'll run it by the Lt. [Early].” There was no immediate response to this critical occurrence. Days passed and I stopped seeing blood in my urine, but then, one day I noticed blood in my boxer shorts.

(ECF No. 6, p. 8). Plaintiff was then taken to the hospital. He claims the nurse at the hospital told him there was not any blood present in his urine and that he “would have to come right away” when he saw blood in his urine so medical staff could determine where it came from “rather than waiting three days to be checked out, which had just occurred.” (ECF No. 6, p. 8). Plaintiff alleges that the hospital doctor concluded he was probably passing kidney stones.

         Plaintiff further alleges there was another incident at the LCDC where he again noticed blood in his urine and passed out in the bathroom. He claims another inmate came to check on him and found him on the bathroom floor. Plaintiff alleges he once again informed the deputies at the LCDC that the nurse at the hospital had told him he needed to be taken to the hospital as soon as he noticed blood in his urine “but nothing was done to help me.” (ECF No. 6, p. 9).

         Plaintiff claims that a few weeks later he “felt light headed, and passed out while trying to use the rest room.” (ECF No. 6, p. 9). According to Plaintiff, this time he was taken to the hospital. He again asked for an x-ray or MRI but instead was given pain medication and sent back to the LCDC. Plaintiff claims the nurse at the hospital checked his blood and said there was no medication in his system. Based on this information, Plaintiff claims Dr. Antoon had been giving him “fake medication.” (ECF No. 6, p. 10). Plaintiff claims that sometime after this last visit to the hospital, Defendant Early “approved for them to change my housing ...

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