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Foster v. Andrews

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

August 13, 2019

GARY ANDREWS, Lieutenant, Faulkner County Jail Unit 1; RUSTY PAGE, Sergeant, Faulkner County Jail Unit 1; CHRISTOPHER RIEDMUELLER, Captain/Jail Administrator, Faulkner County Jail Unit 2; and TIM RYALS, Sheriff, Faulkner County Jail DEFENDANTS


         The following Recommended Disposition (“Recommendation”) has been sent to United States District Judge James M. Moody, Jr. You may file written objections to all or part of this Recommendation. If you do so, those objections must: (1) specifically explain the factual and/or legal basis for your objection; and (2) be received by the Clerk of this Court within fourteen (14) days of this Recommendation. If you do not file objections, Judge Moody can adopt this Recommendation without independently reviewing all of the evidence in the record. By not objecting, you may waive the right to appeal questions of fact.

         I. Introduction

         Plaintiff Richard Foster (“Foster”) filed this § 1983 action alleging that, while he was incarcerated at the Faulkner County Detention Center (“FCDC”) between August 2017 and January 2018, Defendants Lieutenant Gary Andrews (“Andrews”), Sergeant Rusty Page (“Page”), Captain/Jail Administrator Christopher Riedmueller (“Riedmueller”), and Sheriff Tim Ryals (“Ryals”) subjected him to unconstitutional conditions of confinement by: (1) forcing him to sleep on a floor containing fecal matter, trash and food; and (2) failing to remove “black mold” from the ceiling and walls.[1] Foster named Defendants in their individual and official capacities, and he seeks monetary and injunctive relief. Doc. 15.

         Defendants have filed a Motion for Summary Judgment, a Brief in Support, and a Statement of Indisputable Material Facts. Docs. 29, 30 & 31. Although notified of his right to file a Response, Foster has not done so. See Doc. 32. Thus, the issues are joined and ready for disposition.

         II. Facts

         Before addressing the merits of Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment, [2]the Court will summarize the relevant facts, all of which are undisputed.[3]

         1. On August 26, 2017, Foster was booked into the FCDC. Doc. 31, Ex. A-1 at 2 (Arrest/Booking).

         2. On October 16, 2017, at approximately 6:50 p.m., the sprinklers began going off in Cell 307, where Foster and other detainees were housed. Officers were unable to turn off the sprinklers. After about eight minutes, non-party officers removed the detainees from the cell and placed them in the recreation yard. Officers turned off the water to the sprinklers, then swept the standing water into the drains and out into the recreation yard. After most of the water was gone, Foster and the other detainees were brought back to the cell. They were given cleaning supplies to clean up any remaining water and mess. Doc. 31, Ex. A-5 at 2 (Incident Reports) & Ex. B ¶¶ 2 & 4 (Page Aff.).

         3. On November 26, 2017, Foster filed a grievance stating that, as a result of “black mold, ” he was having “serious stomach problems” and “chest pains.” Doc. 4 at 6. On November 28, 2017, Defendant Page responded to the grievance, telling Foster to submit a medical grievance. Page also stated: “There is no black mold in this facility. We have had it tested.” Id.

         4. On December 19, 2017, Foster completed a Health Services Request Form, stating that he was experiencing “serious breathing problems” due to “sleeping on the floor next to the vents with black mold.” He said his chest hurt when he tried to take deep breaths, and he was vomiting and feeling sick to his stomach. Doc. 31, Ex. A-4 at 2 (Medical Requests). It is noted on the form: “Approved to see Jail MD this week for f/u on hand xrays.”[4] Id. The form bears a “received” stamp of December 20, 2017 by “Medical/Dental Services Admin.” Id.

         5. On December 22, 2017, Foster filed a grievance, which read:

There is black mold in the vents along with the showers and toilets also there is an infestation of bugs and roaches in Cell 306 and we do not get cleaning supplies daily like we should. This is a filthy very unsanitary living condition I am forced to live in along with other inmates. It is overcrowded. I'm still forced to sleep on the floor by the vents and showers where the mold is worst. I have been to the doctor for the vomiting along with breathing problem this is causing and nothing has been done nor has any treatment been rendered. Also the fact of the matter is I've grieved and complained about the situation to several officers as well as the Sgt. and Lt. and the matter has gotten worse now we barely get cleaning supplies once a week. So let it be duly noted I have exhausted my efforts in this matter.

Doc. 31, Ex. A-2 at 2 (Requests/Grievances). Defendant Page responded the same day, stating: “Thank you for the information sir” Id.

         6. On January 16, 2018, Foster was released from the FCDC to the Arkansas Department of Correction (“ADC”). Doc. 31, Ex. A-1 at 2. Thus, he was incarcerated at the FCDC for 143 days.

         7. During the relevant time period, all inmates were provided: (a) sleeping mats, whether sleeping on the floor or on a bunk; and (b) daily access to cleaning supplies, such as mops, brooms, soap and liquid cleaning agents, which could be used to clean their cells, the shower, and the common areas. Doc. 31, Ex. A ¶¶ 5-7 & 9 (Riedmueller Aff).

         8. The FCDC showers are: (a) cleaned “regularly” by FCDC staff; (b) cleaned “daily” by inmate “trustees”; and (c) power-washed weekly. Id. ¶¶ 7 & ...

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