United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Harrison Division
GEORGE J. PURIFOY PLAINTIFF
JERRY WILLIAMS, Jail Administrator, Carroll County Detention Center, CCDC; ANDREA MORRELL, Shift Supervisor, CCDC; MELISSA EASTER, Sergeant/Accounts Officer, CCDC; A. LEMUS, Sergeant/Shift Supervisor, CCDC DEFENDANTS
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
TIMOTHY L. BROOKS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
George J. Purifoy filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. He proceeds pro se and in forma
pauperis. This case arises out of Plaintiff's
incarceration in the Carroll County Detention Center
("CCDC"). Plaintiff maintains his constitutional
rights were violated in the following ways: (1) he was denied
adequate medical care, primarily for
hypoglycemia; (2) he was served an inadequate diet; (3)
he was charged exorbitant prices for basic hygiene items and
over-the-counter medications; (4) his access to televised
news was limited to one or two channels consisting of "a
nonstop barrage of political brainwashing"; (5) his
possession of reading material was unfairly restricted, and
he was not allowed to have material mailed to him; and (6) he
was denied pastoral visits and church services. Plaintiff has
named as Defendants to this action the Jail Administrator,
Lieutenant Jerry Williams; two shift supervisors, Sergeant
Andrea Morrell and Sergeant A. Lemus; and the accounts
officer, Sergeant Melissa Easter. The case is now before the
Court on the Defendants' Motion Summary Judgment (Doc.
22). Plaintiff has responded to the Motion, see Doc.
26, and the matter is now ripe for decision.
was booked into the CCDC on March 23, 2017. (Doc. 24-2 at 1).
He had no medication with him. His weight was noted as 170
pounds, and his height was 5'11". Id.
his deposition, Plaintiff testified that he had been
hypoglycemic his entire life. (Doc. 24-10 at 18). He claimed
that if he did not get enough to eat, he would start feeling
lightheaded and shaky and sometimes pass out, but if he got
something to eat, he would be fine. He also confirmed that in
the free world, he would carry a snack with him in case he
started feeling lightheaded. Id.
respect to medical treatment for hypoglycemia, Plaintiff
testified that he had not seen a doctor on a regular basis in
20 to 30 years. Id. at 19. Instead, he only saw a
doctor when something was wrong. Id. He preferred
managing his hypoglycemia on his own, through diet, and he
testified that he had never taken any medication for this
condition. Id. at 19, 20. He also did not measure
his blood sugar on a regular basis. Id. at 21.
According to Plaintiff, his normal weight is about 180
pounds, but he does not believe his weight affects his
hypoglycemia. He testified that his episodes of hypoglycemia
would sometimes occur every few weeks or every few months,
but other times would occur more frequently, such as every
day for a month. Id. at 22.
after he was incarcerated at the CCDC, Plaintiff began
experiencing nose bleeds, bleeding gums, bloody stool, and
problems with urination. Id. at 26. According to
Plaintiff, he informed the jail staff about these symptoms,
but he was ignored. About a week or so after he entered CCDC
custody, on March 31, 2017, Plaintiff submitted a medical
request in which he stated he had informed booking staff of
his hypoglycemia and had received no medical attention. (Doc.
24-5 at 1). He stated that he was beginning to have tremors
in his hands, his vision was sometimes cloudy in the evening,
and he occasionally had vertigo. Id. Plaintiff also
complained in the grievance that the meager rations he was
served at the jail were insufficient to maintain his blood
sugar level. Id. He claimed that since he had no
money in his jail account, he could not purchase commissary
items to supplement his diet. Id. Nurse W responded
in writing to his grievance, noting, "I have added this
for you." Id.
to Plaintiff, on April 2, 2017, he began receiving a snack at
night. (Doc. 24-10 at 60). Plaintiff testified that for most
of the month of April, he was in solitary confinement and did
not have access to a kiosk. Id. at 45. He indicated
that he was rarely let out of the cell during that time.
Id. On April 25, 2017, Plaintiff asked staff if he
needed to see the doctor to have his hypoglycemia addressed.
(Doc. 24-5 at 2). He said he had mentioned this condition
during intake and had made a request to see a doctor at that
time, but he had not received any attention. Nurse W
responded in writing that Plaintiff was already receiving a
peanut butter sandwich at night. Nurse W also indicated that
the extra sandwich was on his med list, and that the jail did
not provide snacks during the day.
17, 2017, Plaintiff submitted a request stating he noticed
jaundiced bruising appearing on his left leg and was
beginning to experience some pain. Id. at 4. Nurse W
responded that jaundiced bruising simply indicates a healing
bruise. She advised Plaintiff to have "Bing" look
at it the next day at med pass. Id.
to Plaintiff, Officer Collins handled the issue of his
bruising by taking pictures and sending them to Dr. Bell.
(Doc. 24-10 at 44). On May 18, 2017, Dr. Bell put Plaintiff
on a low dose of aspirin and Ibuprofen. (Doc. 24-4 at 1).
Plaintiff was told he was put on the list to see the doctor.
22, 2017, Plaintiff asked that his prescriptions for 81 mg
aspirin and 600 mg Ibuprofen be renewed. (Doc. 24-5 at 5).
Nurse R responded that the medications had been ordered.
Plaintiff testified he did not ask to see a doctor with
respect to this request because he had already been told by
Officer Collins that he was on the list to see the doctor.
(Doc. 24-10 at 48).
15, 2017, Plaintiff submitted a request stating he had been
told by Officer Collins that the doctor wanted to see him.
(Doc. 24-5 at 6). He also complained of having
"occasional chest pain and possible circulatory
problems." Id. He was told that he would see
the doctor the following month.
August 4, 2017, Plaintiff submitted a request stating he had
been passed over several times for doctor's visits and
wanted to make sure he was not forgotten the next time the
doctor came. Id. at 7. He stated he was experiencing
several problems including recent bleeding in his soft
tissues and stool. Id. Nurse R responded that he was
on the list to see the doctor on August 18th.
August 14, 2017, Plaintiff submitted a request stating he was
having increasing difficulty with his symptoms of
hypoglycemia. Id. at 8. He complained that the extra
peanut butter sandwiches he had been receiving in the
evenings hardly contained any peanut butter. He also asserted
that the "meager diet provided here simply isn't
enough calories to get me through between mealtimes."
Id. Nurse R responded that he would be seeing the
doctor on Friday and should talk to him about it.
testified that he was seen by Dr. Bell on Friday, August 18,
2017. (Doc. 24-10 at 55, 60). Plaintiff talked to Dr. Bell
about his hypoglycemia. Dr. Bell ordered Plaintiff's
blood sugar to be tested twice a day for one week, put him on
double portions and a high protein diet, and continued his
nighttime snack. Id:, Doc. 24-4 at 2.
Plaintiff's weight was recorded as 160 pounds on that
date. (Doc. 24-4 at 2). Plaintiff indicated during the
medical visit that he did not believe it was necessary to
test his blood sugar so long as he had enough to eat. (Doc.
24-10 at 61). Dr. Bell, however, stated that he wanted to see
what Plaintiff's blood sugar was, so he ordered that it
testified that with respect to his diet, the kitchen staff
claimed he was just put on a high protein diet, which meant
he received an "extra piece of tofu with [his]
meal." (Doc. 24-10 at 55). Plaintiff testified he was
not sure who had prevented him from receiving double
portions, but he knew that Sergeant Easter was "over the
kitchen." Id. He testified that he did not
believe Sergeant Easter had any reason to deprive him of a
medically ordered diet. Id. at 56.
August 21, 2017, Plaintiff submitted a request stating that
the doctor had put him on a special diet because he was 25
pounds underweight, but the evening snack he was receiving
consisted only of "two pieces of bread with barely any
peanut but[t]er scraped across one piece." (Doc. 24-5 at
9). He stated this was a direct threat to his personal
health. Sergeant Lemus noted that he had seen an inmate
putting two tablespoons of peanut butter on the sandwiches
the previous morning. Nurse R also responded that two
tablespoons was more than enough peanut butter for a snack.
August 23, 2017, Plaintiff submitted another request about
the peanut butter sandwiches. (Doc. 24-5 at 10). He said
"[t]here is nowhere near two tablespoons of peanut
butter on these sandwiches and anyone that says so hasn't
looked at them and is lying or is completely blind."
Id. He stated he showed two officers the sandwiches
on different dates to prove how little peanut butter had been
placed on them. In response, Nurse R confirmed that she had
been told that two tablespoons of peanut butter was placed on
each sandwich. Plaintiff submitted a second request that same
day for medical attention, in which he claimed he was not
receiving his ointment or vitamins. (Doc. 24-5 at 11). In
response, Nurse R stated that both items were on the medical
August 28, 2017, Plaintiff submitted another grievance about
his blood sugar not being tested twice a day as ordered by
the doctor. (Doc. 24-3 at 21). He claimed his blood sugar had
only been tested successfully on one occasion since the
doctor gave the order. Nurse R responded that she would look
into it. On September 5, 2017, Plaintiff submitted another
grievance, claiming nothing had been done yet about this
issue. The following day, Nurse R replied that the order was
back on the list for his blood sugar to be tested two times a
day for a week.
August 29, 2017, Plaintiff asked for his multi-vitamin to be
administered at night. (Doc. 24-5 at 12). Nurse R responded
that she had changed it. On September 12, 2017, Plaintiff
submitted a request stating that his blood sugar was still
not being monitored per the doctor's instructions. (Doc.
24-5 at 13). He claimed that it had been only taken once
since his last complaint. Nurse R responded that she would
look into it. Then, on September 15, Nurse R sent Plaintiff a
note stating that she had not realized they were low on
supplies to get his blood sugar tested. She informed him that
supplies had been ordered and once they were received, she
would order his blood sugar to be taken.
October 9, 2017, Plaintiff submitted another grievance about
his medical care, explaining that he had been asking to see
the doctor for two weeks, and he was told the list for the
month was full, so he would have to wait until the next
month. (Doc. 24-3 at 29). Lieutenant Williams responded in
writing, indicating that he had talked to medical staff, and
Plaintiff would be seen by the doctor that same month, on
October 20, 2017. Plaintiff was also told that if he felt he
had additional medical concerns that rose to the level of an
emergency, he should not hesitate to inform the staff.
medication sheet indicates that his blood sugar was to be
checked daily from October 18, 2017, until October 21, 2017.
(Doc. 24-4 at 4). The sheet that covers dates from April 2,
2017, to October 18, 2017, contains no other order for blood
sugar checks. The only change in his diet that appears on the
medication sheet is the addition of the peanut butter
sandwich at bedtime on April 2, 2017.
was next seen by the doctor on October 20, 2017. (Doc. 24-4
at 3). Plaintiff was complaining of stress, anxiety, and poor
sleep. His weight was noted to be 165 pounds. Dr. Bell
ordered Plaintiff to have double portions of food at supper
time and for his blood sugar to be checked as needed. On
October 24, 2017, Plaintiff submitted a request stating that
the doctor had authorized double portions of food, and the
tofu he had been receiving was making him constipated. A
handwritten note in Plaintiff's medical file stated that
the double portion order "was added to [his]list
testified that he did not know if any of the Defendants were
aware of all the delays he had been experiencing in trying to
see the doctor. (Doc. 24-10 at 49). However, he assumed that
the Defendants knew because "they're the ones that
are in charge," and "they're the ones that are
running the show here." Id. Plaintiff testified
he never directly talked to Lieutenant Williams about his
medical care. Id. at 49-50. However, Lieutenant
Williams was involved in the grievance process and
"there's been some that he's chimed in on."
respect to Sergeant Morrell, Plaintiff testified that he did
not believe she was involved in any way with his medical
grievances. Id. at 51. Plaintiff also testified that
he did not know if either Sergeant Easter or Sergeant Lemus
was aware of his having been told by Officer Collins that the
doctor wanted to see him. Id. at 51-54.
also did not know if the Defendants were personally involved
in his medical care. Id. at 53-54. None of the
Defendants was present when Plaintiff was seen by the doctor.
Id. at 54. Plaintiff also testified that he never
had a discussion with any of the Defendants about his medical
care, and none of them ever tested his blood sugar levels.
Id. at 65.
respect to the existence of any Carroll County policy or
custom, Plaintiff testified that "someone was not
following the doctor's order." He conceded, however,
that this was not a policy of the County. Nevertheless,
Plaintiff maintains the facts "clearly demonstrate
negligence on the part of the Defendants in that they failed
in their administrative capacity to assure the execution of
valid orders from a licensed medical professional."
(Doc. 26 at 2).
submitted grievances about his diet on the following days:
6/8/2017-food being served by other inmates; one of them
rubbed his eyes and was picking his nose and then handed out
my food and drink;
6/10/2017-inmates still handing out my food; did not receive
milk this morning;
6/16/2017-situation regarding inmates handing out my food has
not been rectified;
6/17/2017-breakfast tray served by another inmate and
Corporal Madel was in the pod;
6/19/2017-over weekend and this morning inmates allowed to
6/22/2017-situation regarding inmates handing out trays not
getting rectified; inmates "cherry picking for larger
portions;" inmates "scratching" themselves; he
asked that the inmates at least be given gloves;
6/26/2017-inmates delivering trays;
6/28/2017-inmates serving trays;
7/5/2107-inmates serving trays;
7/24/2017-food portions have become miniscule and unevenly
divided; cornbread and brownie have been tiny slivers where
as other inmates' helpings were twice as big; inmate
server laughed when ...