United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Pine Bluff Division
following Recommended Disposition
(“Recommendation”) has been sent to United States
District Judge D. P. Marshall, Jr. Any party may file written
objections to this Recommendation. Objections must be
specific and include the factual or legal basis for
disagreeing with the Recommendation. An objection to a
factual finding must specifically identify the finding of
fact believed to be wrong and describe the evidence that
supports that belief.
original and one copy of the objections must be received in
the office of the United States District Clerk within
fourteen (14) days of this Recommendation. If no objections
are filed, Judge Wright can adopt this Recommendation without
independently reviewing all of the evidence in the record. By
not objecting, you may also waive any right to appeal
questions of fact.
Thomas Earls (“Earls”), an inmate at the Cummins
Unit of the Arkansas Department of Correction
(“ADC”), has filed this § 1983 action
against Arthur Brown, an ADC correctional officer, and Dr.
Steven Stringfellow, a dentist. Earls claims that Officer
Brown and Dr. Stringfellow denied him constitutionally
adequate care to treat an impacted wisdom tooth. Doc.
Brown and Dr. Stringfellow have each filed Motions for
Summary Judgment, Briefs in Support, and Statements of
Undisputed Facts. Docs. 25-27 & 34-36. Earls has
filed Responses in opposition. Docs. 41-43.
addressing the merits of Defendants' Motion for Summary
Judgment, the Court will summarize the relevant undisputed
facts giving rise to Earls' claims against
June 20, 2016, Earls turned in a health services request form
seeking care for an impacted wisdom tooth. He wrote that the
tooth was hurting and causing headaches. He further advised
that he previously had a “similar wisdom tooth”
that “had to be cut out.” (Med. Records, Doc.
36-1, Exh. A at p. 1; Earls Depo., 27-2, Exh. B
at p. 5).
June 21, 2016, medical staff received Earls' request and
made an appointment for him to see Dr. Stringfellow the next
day, June 22. (Stringfellow Decl., Doc. 36-2, Exh. B
June 22, 2016, Dr. Stringfellow's office called Earls
twice for his appointment, at 6:30 a.m. and 10:00 a.m., but
Earls was not escorted to his appointment. (Med. Records,
Doc. 36-1, Exh. A at p. 2; Stringfellow Decl.,
Doc. 36-2, Exh. B at 1).
Stringfellow has no involvement in scheduling dental
appointments or transporting inmates to their appointments.
He does not know why Earls was not transported to his June 22
appointment. (Stringfellow Decl., Doc. 36-2, Exh. B
June 22, 2016, Earls was housed in administrative segregation
at the Cummins unit, and Officer Brown was one of three
correctional officers in the administrative segregation area
where Earls was being held. Officer Brown received
instruction from the control booth to get Earls “on
standby for medical.” Officer Brown promptly advised
Earls that he was on standby for medical and asked him if he
needed a jumpsuit for the transfer. (Brown Aff., Doc.
27-1, Exh. A at ¶¶ 2, 4, 10-11).
next step would have been to take Earls to the
“bullpen” to await an escort to his dental
appointment. Brown did not take this “next step”
because he never received an order to move Earls from his
cell to the bullpen. (Id., at ¶¶ 8- 9,
Officer Brown lacks the authority to transfer an inmate from
administrative segregation to a medical appointment without
receiving an order instructing him to do so. Nor can he
transfer an inmate by himself, because at least two
correctional officers must transport inmates. (Id.,
at ¶ 14).
his interactions with Earls on June 22, Officer Brown was
unaware of why Earls was scheduled for a medical
appointment. Officer Brown did not observe anything about
Earls' appearance suggesting he was in pain. Earls does
not recall telling Officer Brown that he was in pain. ...