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Davis v. Watson

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Hot Springs Division

June 25, 2019




         This is a civil rights action provisionally filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and (3)(2011), the Honorable Susan O. Hickey, Chief United States District Judge, referred this case to the undersigned for the purpose of making a Report and Recommendation.

         Currently before the Court is Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECF Nos. 49, 50, 51).

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff filed his Complaint on January 12, 2018. (ECF No. 1). Plaintiff alleges his constitutional rights were violated while he was incarcerated in the Clark County Detention Center (“CCDC”) from May 19, 2017, through December 29, 2017. (ECF No. 1 at 2). As required by the PLRA, Plaintiff's Complaint was screened prior to service, and several of the Defendants and claims dismissed on April 9, 2018. (ECF No. 13). Two of Plaintiff's official capacity claims remain. Plaintiff alleges he has diabetes and high blood pressure. (ECF No. 1 at 5). Plaintiff alleges CCDC does not provide a diabetic diet and he suffered from blood sugar levels as low as the “fifties or sixties” as a result. (ECF No. 1 at 15). He alleges the meals consisted of cereal, fresh fruit, bologna or salami sandwiches on white bread, and a small bag of chips. A “TV dinner” was occasionally provided. (Id. at 5). Plaintiff states his free-world doctor told him not to eat white bread or pork, and all the meals were white-bread sandwiches with pork cold-cuts. He therefore traded his sandwiches for the bags of potato chips which came with the meals and ate those instead. (Id. at 12). He alleges that when he asked for a diabetic snack he was given an apple. (Id. at 15). He states the jail administrator used to let his family send him diabetic snack packages, but they told him that he could not have another diabetic snack box from his family, so he is stuck in a cell with nothing to eat if his blood sugar gets too low. (Id. at 14, 17).

         Plaintiff also alleges he was forced to sleep in a cell in which the window glass was missing, leaving the cell was open to the elements during cold weather. (Id. at 6). Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages. (Id. at 7).

         Defendants filed their Motion for Summary Judgment on December 19, 2018. (ECF Nos. 49, 50, 51). On December 20, 2018, the Court entered an Order directing Plaintiff to file his Response to the Motion. (ECF No. 52). Defendants filed a Supplement containing an executed affidavit from Defendant Barnes on December 31, 2018. (ECF No. 53). Plaintiff filed his Response on January 14, 2019. (ECF Nos. 54, 55).


         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.” National Bank of Commerce v. Dow Chemical 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." National 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).

         III. ANALYSIS

         Defendants argue summary judgment in their favor is appropriate because: (1) there was no policy, practice, or custom of CCDC that resulted in deliberate indifference to Plaintiff's diabetic needs; (2) the window in question was covered with plexiglass, there was heat in the cell, and Plaintiff failed to file any grievances concerning his conditions of confinement. (ECF No. 50 at 5-15).

         Plaintiff argues the facility lacks a kitchen or food preparation area and does not have a dietician, resulting in the failure to provide his diabetic diet. (ECF No. 55 at 1). He points to two facility inspection reports from 2017 and 2018 and argues that the reports prove that his complaints are “correct and true.” (Id. at 1).

         Plaintiff's remaining claims are against Defendant in their official capacity alone. Under Section 1983, a defendant may be sued in either his individual capacity, or in his official capacity, or in both. In Gorman v. Bartch, 152 F.3d 907 (8th Cir. 1998), the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals discussed the ...

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