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Bradford v. Hanson

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

April 19, 2018



          Susan O. Hickey United States District Judge

         This is a civil rights action filed pro se by Plaintiff William A. Bradford, Jr., under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Currently before the court is a Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendant Susan Hanson. (ECF No. 27). Plaintiff has filed a response. (ECF No. 35). The Court finds this matter ripe for consideration.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff is currently incarcerated in the Arkansas Department of Correction (“ADC”) - North Central Unit, in Calico Rock, Arkansas. This case arises from incidents that occurred while Plaintiff was held at the Hempstead County Detention Center (“HCDC”) in Hope, Arkansas.

         Viewed in the light most favorable to Plaintiff, the relevant facts are as follows. Plaintiff was booked into the HCDC on February 17, 2017, where he remained until he was released to the ADC on April 11, 2017. (ECF No. 29-1, p. 2). During this time, Defendant Hanson worked for the HCDC as a jailer.[1] Defendant Hanson's duties as a jailer included monitoring inmates who took insulin. Any HCDC inmate who needed to monitor their blood sugar would be brought to the intake area, where they were allowed to take a blood sugar reading and then administer their insulin if the inmate deemed it necessary. (ECF No. 29-2, p. 2). Each time an inmate checked their blood sugar level, the name of the inmate, the jailer monitoring the process, the inmate's blood sugar level, and amount of insulin taken, if any, was recorded in a “Blood Sugar Log.” Id.

         On Friday, March 17, 2017, Plaintiff went to take his insulin shot and discovered his glass vial of insulin was broken. He informed Defendant Hanson of this and, in an effort to preserve what little insulin remained in the bottle, Defendant Hanson drew insulin from the broken vial into four syringes and placed them in a refrigerator. After the insulin was removed from the vial, Plaintiff filled out and signed an order form for additional insulin. (ECF No. 29-1, p. 7). That day, Plaintiff received an insulin injection from one of the four syringes, which he claims was contaminated. The injection caused a big, red knot to form at the injection site. The following day, Plaintiff went to receive another insulin injection and Defendant Hanson used the same syringe, causing another swollen knot to form. Plaintiff alleges that on March 19, 2017, Defendant Hanson presented the same syringe for his use once again. Plaintiff then told Defendant Hanson he did not want to take the insulin injection because his side was swollen from the previous injections, he was in extreme pain, and he did not feel safe receiving another injection of insulin from the broken bottle.

         Plaintiff filed his initial Complaint on April 24, 2017.[2] On June 21, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Supplement to his Complaint, asserting claims for medical neglect, cruel and unusual punishment, and medical malpractice against Defendant Hanson.[3] (ECF No. 14). He alleges she knowingly gave him contaminated insulin and “Plaintiff undes went [sic] the unwanton [sic] infliction of pain by the forced use of contaminated diabetic needle causing two painful swollen knots on Plaintiff left side also initiated from the contaminated insulin from a broke vial of insulin.” (ECF No. 14, pp. 1-2).

         On January 9, 2018, Defendant Hanson filed the instant Motion for Summary Judgment, arguing that she is entitled to judgment as a matter of law because: (1) she was not deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's serious medical need; (2) there is no verified proof that any delay in medical treatment caused a detrimental effect to Plaintiff; (3) there is no proof that her alleged medical deliberate indifference caused an injury to Plaintiff; and (4) she is entitled to qualified immunity. (ECF No. 27). In addition to the motion, Defendant Hanson submitted a separate Statement of Undisputed Facts. (ECF No. 29). Defendant Hanson states she “did not know or believe the insulin in Plaintiff's vial and which she put in the syringes was contaminated or dangerous to Plaintiff's health or safety” and “she did not know or believe the syringes she used to remove the insulin from Plaintiff's vial were contaminated or dangerous to Plaintiff's health or safety.” (ECF No. 29, p. 3). Defendant Hanson also submitted an affidavit from Joan Mclean, an advanced practice nurse who treated inmates at the HCDC in 2016 and 2017. Ms. Mclean states, “it is [her] opinion that diabetics do, sometimes, develop ‘knots' or raised areas on the body where insulin injections are administered. . . . ‘[K]nots' or raised areas at the insulin injection site do[] not automatically mean the needle or the insulin the diabetic used are contaminated or unsafe.” (ECF No. 29-3).

         Plaintiff filed his Response on March 26, 2018, which consists of two notarized affidavits of Plaintiff. In one of the affidavits, Plaintiff states, inter alia, that Defendant Hanson knew that the syringes used to remove insulin from Plaintiff's vial were dangerous to his health and safety. (ECF No. 35, p. 1). In the second affidavit, Plaintiff states, inter alia, that he does not dispute that knots and raised areas at the insulin injection site for a diabetic can occur or that these conditions are not always caused by contaminated or unsafe insulin or needles. (ECF No. 35, p. 9).


         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 Chem. 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 jury could believe it, a court should not adopt that version of the facts for purposes of ruling on a motion for summary judgment.” Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380 (2007).


         The Court will first address Defendant Hanson's arguments for summary judgment on Plaintiff's deliberate indifference claim. Then, if necessary, the Court will take ...

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