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Norman v. Cooper

United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division

October 31, 2018

CHAD W. NORMAN PLAINTIFF
v.
WILLIAM COOPER, et al. DEFENDANTS

          RECOMMENDED DISPOSITION

         I. Procedure for Filing Objections

         This Recommended Disposition (“Recommendation”) has been sent to Judge D.P. Marshall Jr. Any party may file written objections to this Recommendation. Objections should be specific and should include the factual or legal basis for the objection.

         To be considered, objections must be received in the office of the Court Clerk within 14 days of this Recommendation. If no objections are filed, Judge Marshall can adopt this Recommendation without independently reviewing the record. By not objecting, parties may waive the right to appeal questions of fact.

         II. Background

         Plaintiff Chad W. Norman claims that Defendants violated his right to constitutionally adequate medical care while he was detained at the Pulaski County Detention Facility (“PCDF”). (Docket entries #2, #9) Separate Defendants Chase, Cooper, Johnson, Little, Mitchell, and Nichols (“Medical Defendants”) have moved to dismiss claims against them based on Mr. Norman's failure to comply with the April 18, 2018 Order that required him to respond to outstanding discovery requests within 30 days. In the alternative, the Medical Defendants ask that the dispositive motions deadline be extended. (#39) Mr. Norman has not responded to the motion.

         Separate Defendants Holladay and Rogers (“County Defendants”) have moved for summary judgment on the merits of Mr. Norman's claims against them. (#41) Mr. Norman has not filed a response to the County Defendants' motion for summary judgment, and the time for doing so has passed.

         III. Medical Defendants' Motion to Dismiss

         On December 1, 2017, the Medical Defendants propounded interrogatories and requests for production of documents to Mr. Norman. On April 10, 2018, they moved for a court order compelling Mr. Norman to respond to discovery requests after having agreed to two extensions for Mr. Norman to respond. (#33) Mr. Norman did not respond to the motion to compel.

         On April 18, 2018, the Court granted the Medical Defendants' motion to compel and ordered Mr. Norman to respond to the outstanding discovery requests within 30 days of that Order. Mr. Norman was cautioned that his claims could be dismissed if he failed to comply. (#35) To date, Mr. Norman has failed to comply with the April 18 Order requiring him to provide discovery responses.

         Courts can dismiss a lawsuit as a sanction for failing to abide by an order compelling a party to respond to discovery requests. Fed.R.Civ.P. 37(b)(2)(A)(v). Dismissal is a harsh, rarely used sanction-and for good reason. In this case, however, Mr. Norman's refusal to provide discovery responses has brought this case to a standstill. The outstanding discovery requests were propounded almost a year ago. The order compelling him to respond to discovery requests was issued six months ago; yet Mr. Norman has not been in contact with the Court since then.

         The Medical Defendants' motion to dismiss (#39) should be GRANTED. Mr. Norman's claims against Defendants Chase, Cooper, Johnson, Little, Mitchell, and Nichols should be DISMISSED, without prejudice.

         IV. County Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment

         A. Standard

         Summary judgment on the merits means that the Court rules in favor of a party without a trial. A moving party is entitled to summary judgment only if the evidence, viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any fact that is important to the outcome of the case. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56; Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322B23 (1986); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 246 (1986).

         B. Facts

         On February 16, 2017, Mr. Norman was convicted of battery and was subsequently booked into the PCDF. (#42-1) The Pulaski County Sheriff's Office contracts with Turn Key Health to ...


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