United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, El Dorado Division
O. Hickey Chief United States District Judge
the Court is Defendants Mike Loe, Doug Wood, Greg Hawley, Dr.
Daryl Elkin, and Kelly Blair's Motion for Summary
Judgment (ECF No. 42) and a Supplement to the motion (ECF No.
51). Plaintiff has filed a response. (ECF No. 46). However,
Plaintiff has not filed a response to the Supplement, and the
time to do so has passed. The Court finds this matter ripe for
a civil rights action filed pro se by Plaintiff,
Craytonia Latoy Badger, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Plaintiff is currently incarcerated in the Arkansas
Department of Correction (“ADC”) East Arkansas
Regional Unit in Marianna, Arkansas. Plaintiff's claims
in this action arise from alleged incidents that occurred
while he was incarcerated in the Columbia County Detention
Center (“CCDC”) in Magnolia, Arkansas.
filed his Complaint on April 25, 2018, in the Eastern
District of Arkansas. (ECF No. 2). On April 27, 2018,
Plaintiff amended his Complaint seeking immediate injunctive
relief.The case was transferred to the Western
District of Arkansas, El Dorado Division, on May 1, 2018.
(ECF No. 8).
Complaint, Plaintiff alleges numerous claims against
Defendants arising from incidents that occurred during his
incarceration in the CCDC between May of 2015 and April of
2018. Plaintiff's claims include denial of adequate
medical care, discrimination, unlawful conditions of
confinement, falsifying medical documentation, and inadequate
responses to grievances.
Plaintiff alleges that Defendants denied him medical care
when they refused to arrange for him to have surgery to
remove a knot on his head and failed to provide him with his
mental health medication. (ECF No. 2, pp. 20-23). Plaintiff
also alleges Defendant Elkin “falsified”
documentation in his medical file in order to make it appear
that Plaintiff had been seen and treated by him. Id.
at p. 17. In addition, Plaintiff claims Defendant Elkin
discriminated against him because he treated Plaintiff
differently than he did his private patients who were not
incarcerated. He also alleges that Defendant Wood
discriminated against him when he allowed another inmate to
be seen by a mental health doctor and denied Plaintiff's
request to be seen the following day. Id. at pp. 15,
19, 23-24. Plaintiff also claims he was subjected to unlawful
conditions of confinement by Defendants Elkin, Hawley, Wood,
and Loe when another inmate urinated on the floor thereby
“contaminat[ing] of our [environment] with his
waste.” Id. at p. 15. Plaintiff also alleges
that Defendants failed to adequately respond to grievances he
submitted while he was in the CCDC. Id.
sues Defendants Loe, Wood, and Hawley in both their
individual and official capacities. He sues Defendants Elkin
and Blair in their individual capacities only. (ECF No. 2, p.
12). He seeks damages and injunctive relief. (ECF No. 5).
January 24, 2019, Defendants filed the instant Motion for
Summary Judgment arguing that they are entitled to summary
judgment because: (1) there is no proof of any personal
involvement by Defendant Loe; (2) Defendants were not
deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's serious medical
needs; (3) Plaintiff was not subjected to unconstitutional
conditions of confinement; (4) Plaintiff does not have a
constitutional right to a grievance response; (5) Defendants
are entitled to qualified immunity; and (6) there is no basis
for official capacity liability because there is no
unconstitutional policy implemented by Defendants that
violated Plaintiff's rights. (ECF No. 42).
April 9, 2019, Plaintiff filed a response in opposition to
Defendants' motion and a separate Statement of Facts
arguing that there are genuine issues of material fact which
preclude summary judgment. (ECF Nos. 46, 47). Plaintiff also
argued that Defendants failed to address the claims of
discrimination and falsifying documents. That same day the
Court directed Defendants to supplement their summary
judgment motion to address Plaintiff's claims regarding
discrimination and the falsification of documents. (ECF No.
3, 2019, Defendants supplemented the summary judgment motion
arguing: (1) Plaintiff was not discriminated against based on
the medical care provided by Defendant Elkin; (2) Defendants
did not falsify any healthcare documents and did not deprive
Plaintiff of necessary medical care; (3) Defendants did not
discriminate against Plaintiff by refusing his request to go
to a mental health doctor; (4) Defendants are entitled to
qualified immunity; and (5) there is no unconstitutional
policy implemented by Defendants that violated
Plaintiff's rights, and therefore no basis for official
capacity liability. (ECF No. 51). To date, Plaintiff has not
filed a response to Defendants' Supplement.
judgment is appropriate if, after viewing the facts and all
reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the
non-moving party, 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); Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). “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.” Nat'l
Bank of Comm. v. Dow Chem. Co., 165 F.3d 602, 607 (8th
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.” Nat'l
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).
Court will first address Plaintiff's various claims
relating to denial of medical care. Then the Court will take
up Plaintiff's discrimination, conditions of confinement,
and inadequate grievance procedure claims. Finally, the Court
will examine whether Defendants Loe, Wood, and Hawley are
entitled to summary judgment on Plaintiff's official
Denial of Medical Care
alleges that Defendants denied him medical care. The Eighth
Amendment prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment
prohibits deliberate indifference to the serious medical
needs of prisoners. Luckert v. Dodge Cnty., 684 F.3d
808, 817 (8th Cir. 2012). To prevail on his Eighth Amendment
claim, Plaintiff must prove that Defendants acted with
deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs.
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976). The
deliberate indifference standard includes “both an
objective and a subjective component: ‘The [Plaintiff]
must demonstrate (1) that [he] suffered [from] objectively
serious medical needs and (2) that the prison officials
actually knew of but deliberately disregarded those
needs.'” Jolly v. Knudsen, 205 F.3d 1094,
1096 (8th Cir. 2000) (quoting Dulany v. Carnahan,
132 F.3d 1234, 1239 (8th Cir. 1997)).
he suffered from an objectively serious medical need,
Plaintiff must show he “has been diagnosed by a
physician as requiring treatment” or has an injury
“that is so obvious that even a layperson would easily
recognize the necessity for a doctor's attention.”
Schaub v. VonWald, 638 F.3d 905, 914 (8th Cir. 2011)
(internal quotation and citation omitted). To establish the
subjective prong of deliberate indifference, “the
prisoner must show more than negligence, more even than gross
negligence, and mere disagreement with treatment decisions
does not give rise to the level of a constitutional
violation. Deliberate indifference is akin to criminal
recklessness, which demands more than negligent
misconduct.” Popoalii v. Corr. Med. Serv., 512
F.3d 488, 499 (8th Cir. 2008) (internal quotation and
citation omitted). A plaintiff must show that an official
“actually knew of but deliberately disregarded his
serious medical need.” Gordon v. Frank, 454
F.3d 858, 862 (8th Cir. 2006). However, intentionally denying
or delaying access to medical care may constitute deliberate
indifference. See Estelle, 429 U.S. at 104-05;
Dulany, 132 F.3d at 1239.
alleges Defendant Loe denied him medical care because he
failed “to approve the cost of the plaintiff to have
the ‘knot' on his head exam[ined] and
removed.” (ECF No. 2, pp. 3, 21). Defendant Loe argues
he is entitled to summary judgment because he was not
involved with the medical care provided to Plaintiff and
consequently was not deliberately indifferent to
Plaintiff's medical needs.
state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must
allege facts, which if proven true, would demonstrate that
the named defendants violated the plaintiff's federal
constitutional rights while acting under the color of state
law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988).
Although federal courts must view pro se pleadings
liberally, such pleadings may not be merely conclusory. The
complaint must allege facts, which if true, state a claim as
a matter of law. Martin v. Aubuchon, 623 F.2d 1282,
1286 (8th Cir. 1980); see also Martin v. Sargent,
780 F.2d 1334, 1337 (8th Cir. 1985) (“[a]lthough it is
to be liberally construed, a pro se complaint must
contain specific facts supporting its conclusions”).
time of the events in question, Defendant Loe was the Sheriff
of Columbia County. General responsibility for supervising a
detention center is insufficient to establish personal
involvement. Reynolds v. Dormire, 636 F.3d 976, 981
(8th Cir. 2011). “Liability under section 1983 requires
a causal link to, and direct responsibility for, the
deprivation of rights. To establish personal liability on the
part of a defendant, [the plaintiff] must allege specific
facts of personal involvement in, or direct responsibility
for, a deprivation of [his] constitutional rights.”
Clemmons v. Armontrout, 477 F.3d 962, 967
(8th Cir. 2007) (internal quotation and citation omitted).
support of the instant motion for summary judgment, Defendant
Elkin submitted an affidavit stating in relevant part:
No one in the Sheriff's office, including the Sheriff,
makes any decision as to whether or not [to] provide a
particular medication, diagnostic testing, or medical
treatment based on the cost of the medication, testing, or
treatment…I do not consult with the Sheriff regarding
any medical decision or treatment for an inmate under my
care. I did not consult Sheriff Loe regarding medications or
treatment decisions for the Plaintiff. I did not speak to
Sheriff Loe about the cost of Plaintiff's medication[.]
(ECF No. 44-7). Here, there is no summary judgment evidence
Defendant Loe was involved in providing medical care to
Plaintiff. Accordingly, Plaintiff's claim for denial of
medical care against Defendant Loe fails as a matter of law
and Defendant Loe is entitled to summary judgment.
Denial of Surgery
Plaintiff alleges Defendants Wood, Hawley, Blair, and Elkin
denied him medical care because they refused to authorize
surgery to remove the knot on Plaintiff's head during his