Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Barton v. Taber

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

November 14, 2018

Regina Barton, as personal representative for the Estate of Jeffry Alan Barton Plaintiff - Appellee
v.
Donnie Taber, individually and in his official capacity as the Malvern Chief of Police; Tim Callison, individually and in his official capacity as a Malvern Police Officer Defendants Chad Ledbetter, individually as the Hot Spring County Sheriff; George Wright, individually and in his official capacity as Hot Spring County Jail Administrator; Amie Martin, individually and in her official capacity as Hot Spring County Deputy Defendants - Appellants Brian Keith Orrell, Jr., Administrator of the Estate of Brian Orrell, in his Individual Capacity, also known as Brian Orrell; Zachary Owens, individually and in his official capacity as an Arkansas State Trooper Defendants Hot Spring County, Arkansas Defendant-Appellant City of Malvern, Arkansas; State of Arkansas Defendants

          Submitted: April 11, 2018

          Appeal from United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas - Hot Springs

          Before SMITH, Chief Judge, WOLLMAN and LOKEN, Circuit Judges.

          WOLLMAN, CIRCUIT JUDGE.

         Regina Barton, as personal representative for the Estate of Jeffry Alan Barton (Barton), filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Arkansas Civil Rights Act of 1993, Ark. Code Ann. § 16-123-105. She alleged that Hot Spring County Deputy Amie Martin was deliberately indifferent to Barton's serious medical needs and that Hot Spring County Jail Administrator George Wright failed to adequately train or supervise Martin, thereby causing the deprivation of Barton's constitutional rights. Regina Barton further alleged that Hot Spring County did not adequately train its detention facility workers and that its policies failed to ensure that detainees received adequate medical care. We affirm the district court's denial of qualified immunity to Martin, we reverse the denial of qualified immunity to Wright, and we dismiss the County's appeal for lack of jurisdiction.

         I. Background

         On September 12, 2011, Barton was involved in a single-vehicle accident at an overpass located on U.S. Highway 270. He was placed under arrest after a portable breath test indicated that his blood alcohol concentration was .117. Barton could not stand without assistance. When he fell to the ground during the search of his person, he briefly was not responsive, and an officer checked to make sure that he still had a pulse. Officers thereafter placed Barton in a patrol car, and Arkansas State Trooper Zachary Owens transported him to the Hot Spring County detention center for booking.[1]

         Martin was working at the detention center when Barton arrived at approximately 3:15 p.m. According to Martin, he "appear[e]d to be highly intoxicated, his speech was slurred, [and] he was having trouble standing alone." Trooper Owens led Barton to a room for additional testing to determine his blood alcohol concentration. After numerous attempts, Barton was able to provide only one adequate sample, which indicated a blood alcohol concentration of .115.

         Owens thereafter escorted Barton to the booking area where Martin was stationed. Barton sat on a bench as Owens completed paperwork. When asked by Owens to stand beside him, Barton walked over to Owens and held the handrail before collapsing to the ground. Two trustees helped Owens return Barton to the bench, where he remained seated while Owens finished explaining the citation and asked him to sign certain documents. Owens instructed Barton three times where to sign the document, but Barton did not seem to understand the instructions, and he did not sign the document. Owens told Martin that Barton was under the influence of alcohol and hydrocodone.

         Martin's arrest-disposition report noted that Barton was under the influence of alcohol and hydrocodone upon his arrival at the detention center, but that he was conscious, breathing normally, and did not appear to be suicidal. Martin wrote that Barton was unable to answer any questions about his medical needs or his next of kin. He could not sign his name or provide a phone number of someone she could call for him.

         Although she knew that Barton had been involved in a car accident immediately before his arrest and that he was heavily intoxicated, Martin did not conduct the healthcare screening that the detention center's policy requires. She decided to accept Barton into the detention center, placed him in a holding cell, and allowed Trooper Owens to leave. Martin herself left the detention center at approximately 4:50 p.m.

         During the night, a trustee reported to a jailer that Barton did not seem to be doing well and that his condition was not improving. Barton died in his cell sometime that night. His body was found at 12:03 a.m. on September 13, 2011. An autopsy determined that the cause of death was a heart condition-anomalous right coronary artery, fatty infiltration of right ventricle and atrium of heart. Small amounts of ethanol and hydrocodone and a non-toxic level of anti-anxiety medication were found in Barton's system.

         Wright was serving as the jail administrator when Barton was detained. Although he had no contact with Barton, Wright was responsible for ensuring that the detention center's personnel were adequately trained and were implementing the County's policies, which Wright admitted he did not fully understand. Those policies instructed booking officers to conduct a healthcare screening of an arrestee before releasing the arresting officer; to refer an intoxicated arrestee to detoxification, or in the alternative, to seek medical clearance before admitting the individual into the detention center; to keep intoxicated arrestees under close observation; and to refuse arrestees who appear to be in a medical emergency.

         The district court denied, in relevant part, the defendants' motion for summary judgment. It concluded that neither Martin nor Wright was entitled to qualified immunity on the § 1983 claims or summary judgment on the state-law claim. With respect to the County, the district court determined that there was a question of fact whether the "County had a custom of remaining deliberately indifferent to the objectively serious medical needs of its ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.