United States District Court, E.D. Oklahoma
OPINION & ORDER
H. Payne United States District Judge.
the Court are the (1) Motion for Summary Judgment filed by
Defendant Ed Drury (Dkt. 107) and (2) Motion for Summary
Judgment filed by Defendant Leflore County Detention Center
Public Trust Board (Dkt. 105). In the interest of efficiency,
the Court will address both Motions in this Opinion and
Order. After consideration of the briefs, and for the reasons
stated below, both Motions are GRANTED.
David Spradley (“Plaintiff”) is a paraplegic with
use of his upper body, including his hands, arms, shoulders,
neck, and head. (Dkt. 107, at 3 (Drury's Undisputed Fact
Nos. 1-2)). Plaintiff has no use of his legs or
control of his bladder or bowel. (Dkt. 107-4 (DOC Letter)).
Because of his paralysis, Plaintiff is prone to bedsores
(also known as decubitus ulcers or pressure sores), and he
requires special accommodations to lessen the probability of
bedsores, including a cushioned wheelchair and a gel-filled
mattress for his bed. (Id.). Plaintiff has
repeatedly suffered from bedsores necessitating treatment
since his spinal injury occurred in 2011, through the date of
his 2014 incarceration at the Leflore County Detention Center
(“LCDC”). (Dkts. 107-7 to 107-21 (Medical Records
for Plaintiff)). It is undisputed that paraplegics such as
Plaintiff can develop bedsores, and such bedsores can worsen,
even with good care and absent negligence. (Dkt. 107, at 12
(Drury's Undisputed Fact No. 44)).
September 2, 2014, Plaintiff was arrested and booked into
LCDC pursuant to an application to revoke his suspended
sentence. (Dkt. 107-28 (Application to Revoke Suspended
Sentence)). He was booked into LCDC and bonded out the next
day. (Dkt. 107-29, at 2 (LCDC Jail Time Statement)). On
September 4, 2014, Plaintiff was re-arrested and re-booked
into LCDC. (Id.). Plaintiff remained in LCDC custody
for eighteen days, until September 22, 2014. (Dkt. 107, at 6
(Drury's Undisputed Fact No. 12)).
was allowed to bring his own special gel mattress topper and
wheelchair to LCDC. (Dkt. 107, at 6 (Drury's Undisputed
Fact No. 13)). Plaintiff's father later provided a shower
chair, which Plaintiff was allowed to use to shower at LCDC.
(Dkt. 107-31 (Drury Deposition), 64:8-24). Following
Plaintiff's second booking on September 4, 2014,
Defendant Nurse Ed Drury (“Drury”) performed
Plaintiff's initial medical screening. (Dkt. 107-31
(Drury Deposition), 36:7-39:8). Drury noted a pressure sore
on Plaintiff's right foot and a sore that was healing on
Plaintiff's left foot. (Id. at 37:15-38:7).
Drury also observed a red mark on Plaintiff's left hip.
(Id. at 42:12-25).
then called Nurse Practitioner Tim Olive
(“Olive”) to come to the jail to examine
Plaintiff. (Id. at 39:9-40:2). Olive assessed
Plaintiff on the evening of September 4, 2014, noted the
pressure sore on Plaintiff's right foot and other medical
issues, and recommended that Plaintiff be seen at Eastern
Oklahoma Medical Center (“EOMC”). (Id.
at 40:3-42:3; Dkt. 107-32 (Olive Deposition), 20:9-23:16).
Olive further recommended use of wet-to-dry dressings on the
right foot sore, to be changed twice a day, and he
recommended Plaintiff wear compression hose to reduce
swelling. (Dkt. 107-31 (Drury Deposition), 41:4-18; 43:2-4;
Dkt. 107, at 7 (Drury's Undisputed Fact No. 20)).
Plaintiff declined Olive's recommendation to go to EOMC
that night, because Plaintiff planned to be released from
jail shortly thereafter. (Dkt. 107-31 (Drury Deposition),
40:23-41:3). Plaintiff also refused to wear the compression
hose. (Dkt. 120-2 (Olive Deposition), 24:8-12).
September 6, 2014, Plaintiff went to EOMC for the assessment
Olive had ordered on September 4th. (Dkt. 107-31 (Drury
Deposition), 48:4-24, 51:16-20; Dkt. 107-6 (Dr. Stone
Deposition), 129:10-19). At EOMC, Dr. Jeff Spears provided
wound care to Plaintiff and prescribed heel protectors before
discharging Plaintiff that same day. (Dkt. 107, at 8
(Drury's Undisputed Fact No. 24)). No bedsores were
present on Plaintiff's buttocks or hips on September 6,
Plaintiff's return to LCDC, Drury performed wound care
for Plaintiff, applying wet-to-dry dressings twice a day.
(Dkt. 107-31 (Drury Deposition), 43:1-24; (Dkt. 107-1
(Plaintiff Deposition), 346:16-20, 359:8-16, 362:13-18,
368:15-18, 375:20-22). Plaintiff refused to wear the prescribed
heel protectors. (Dkt. 107-31 (Drury Deposition), 51:3-15).
Drury assisted Plaintiff with his bowel program and catheter
when Drury was at the jail. (Dkt. 107-31 (Drury Deposition),
104:9-25; Dkt. 107-1 (Plaintiff Deposition), 375:12-19).
Drury also administered medications to Plaintiff, although
Plaintiff disputes that it was administered in the prescribed
doses. (Dkt. 107-1 (Plaintiff Deposition), 335:2-336:3,
476:8-11). Plaintiff also received assistance from Drury or
other LCDC guards in changing position at least twice per
day. (Dkt. 120-4 (Plaintiff Deposition), 537:22-538:19). Jail
Administrator Donnie Edwards walked by Plaintiff's jail
cell every day he was on duty to check on him, and Plaintiff
never complained he was being mistreated by Drury or other
LCDC staff. (Dkt. 107, at 9 (Drury's Undisputed Fact No.
31)). Dr. Jeffrey Stone, Plaintiff's wound care expert,
has no criticism of the treatment Drury provided for
Plaintiff's wounds between September 7 and September 16,
2014. (Dkt. 107-6 (Dr. Stone Deposition),
received at least three or four showers at the jail during
his stay. (Dkt. 112-1 (Plaintiff Deposition), 543:12-14). To
shower, Plaintiff undressed in his cell and was wheeled
through the booking area to reach the shower area. Drury
testified that Plaintiff was always covered with a blanket
when he was wheeled to the shower room. Dkt. 105-3 (Drury
Deposition), 109:4-20). However, Plaintiff testified that the
first time he showered at LCDC, he was wheeled naked through
the booking area, in view of other inmates and several
laughing jail employees. (Dkt. 112-1 (Plaintiff Deposition),
September 16, 2014, Drury noted a closed reddened area on
Plaintiff's left hip, including an area of necrotic
tissue, for which Drury ordered wet-to-dry dressing changes.
(Dkt. 120-6 (Drury's notes, dated Sept. 16,
2014)). Dr. Stone testified that this kind of
wound would not have required a physician's examination,
and the standard of care was appropriate on September 16th.
(Dkt. 107-6 (Dr. Stone Deposition), 137:10-22). On September
17, 2014, the closed reddened area on the hip was unchanged,
measuring two centimeters by two centimeters. (Dkt. 120-8, at
7 (Nurse's Notes, dated Sept. 17, 2014); Dkt. 107-6 (Dr.
Stone Deposition), 138:9-17). On September 18, 2014, Drury
noted the reddened area on the hip was the same size but was
leaking a small amount of serosanguinous drainage. (Dkt.
120-8, at 7 (Nurse's Notes, dated Sept. 18, 2014)). Dr.
Stone testified this wound, while not requiring a
physician's examination, would have caused him concern
that Plaintiff was “heading down the path of breaking
down, ” given Plaintiff's medical history. (Dkt.
107-6 (Dr. Stone Deposition), 141:12-23; 143:4-6).
September 19, 2014, Drury noted a reddened area on
Plaintiff's buttocks, and he noted no new deterioration
of the hip area. (Dkt. 120-8, at 7 (Nurse's Notes, dated
Sept. 19, 2014)). Dr. Stone testified that these wounds,
while not requiring a physician's examination or hospital
care, would have warranted checking on Plaintiff's wounds
“significantly more often.” (Dkt. 107-6 (Dr.
Stone Deposition), 144:16-22). Dr. Stone further testified
that on the 18th and 19th, Drury would have had to make a
judgment call about how to treat the reddened areas.
(Id. at 145:20-23). In addition, Dr. Stone testified
that there is room for a reasonable difference of opinion
concerning Drury's actions in regard to his treatment of
Plaintiff's sores. (Id. at 43:1-7).
was not on duty on Saturday, September 20, 2014, or Sunday,
September 21, 2014, and he did not go to the jail that
weekend. (Dkt. 107, at 11 (Drury's Undisputed Fact No.
42)). Drury instructed Detention Officer James Lowe
(“Lowe”) on how to change Plaintiff's wound
dressings while Drury was not on duty, and Lowe helped change
the dressings when Drury was not on duty. (Dkt. 107-33 (Lowe
Deposition), 18:9-24, 21:17-19; Dkt. 107-31 (Drury
Deposition), 79:15-24; Dkt. 105, at 4 (Board's Undisputed
Fact No. 13)). Plaintiff did not complain to Lowe about
his bedsores or the medical treatment he was receiving at the
jail. (Dkt. 107, at 10 (Drury's Undisputed Fact No. 33)).
However, Plaintiff testified that on September 20th, he
defecated on himself and remained in his soiled clothing
until Drury returned on September 22nd, because the jailers
refused to assist him with his bowel program or provide him
with clean clothes. (Dkt. 112-1 (Plaintiff Deposition),
Drury returned to work on September 22, 2014, he observed
that the wounds on Plaintiff's hips and buttocks had
worsened and opened. (Dkt. 120-8, at 8 (Nurse's Notes,
dated Sept. 22, 2014); Dkt. 107-31 (Drury Deposition),
82:2-11). Plaintiff was transported to EOMC that day for
treatment. Dkt. 107-31 (Drury Deposition), at 84:18-21).
Later that day, Plaintiff was transferred from EOMC to
Hillcrest Hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he received
anesthesia and surgical debridement of the necrotic tissue.
(Dkt. 120-4 (Plaintiff Deposition), 561:19-562:25).
the initiation of this lawsuit, Drury was terminated from his
employment with LCDC for falsifying medical records as they
pertained to Plaintiff. (Dkt. 120-7 (Donnie Edwards
Deposition), 44:20-46:21). Specifically, Drury's notes
pertaining to Plaintiff described treatment on dates after
Plaintiff had already been transported to EOMC. (See
Dkt. 120-8 (Nurse's Notes), at 8-9) (noting treatment of
Plaintiff on Sept. 23-25, 2014).
filed a Complaint in this case on September 8, 2015. (Dkt.
3). In the Complaint, Plaintiff asserts claims for (1) relief
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Drury and the Leflore
County Detention Center Public Trust Board (“Board) for
failure to provide medical treatment in violation of his
rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the
United States Constitution; (2) relief under 42 U.S.C. §
1983 against the Board for negligent training and supervision
related to Plaintiff's serious medical needs, in
violation of his rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth
Amendments to the United States Constitution; (3) relief
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the Board for having a
policy or engaging in a pattern and practice of conduct that
led to the violation of Plaintiff's rights under the
Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States
Constitution; (4) relief pursuant to the Americans with
Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12131
against the Board for denial of the disabled Plaintiff's
ability to shower consistently, receive proper toilet
facilities, and obtain proper medical treatment; and (5)
relief under the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. § 794,
for discrimination Plaintiff suffered based on his
disability. (Dkt. 3, ¶¶ 27-49).
has now filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on
Plaintiff's claim against him. (Dkt. 107). Plaintiff
filed a Response in opposition (Dkt. 120), and Drury filed a
Reply (Dkt. 130). The Board has also filed a Motion for
Summary Judgment on Plaintiff's claims against it. (Dkt.
105). Plaintiff filed a Response in opposition (Dkt. 112),
and The Board filed a Reply (Dkt. 119). The Motions are fully
briefed and ripe for review.
judgment is appropriate when “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). A
dispute is genuine if the evidence is such that “a
reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving
party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A fact is material if it “might
affect the outcome of the suit under the governing
law.” Id. In making this determination,
“[t]he evidence of the non-movant is to be believed,
and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his
favor.” Id. at 255.
a party opposing a motion for summary judgment may not simply
allege there are disputed issues of fact; rather, the party
must support its assertions by citing to the record or by
showing the moving party cannot produce admissible evidence
to support the fact. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). See Cone v.
Longmont United Hosp. Ass'n, 14 F.3d 526, 530 (10th
Cir. 1994) (“Even though all doubts must be resolved in
[the nonmovant's] favor, allegations alone will not
defeat summary judgment.”) (citing Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986)). Moreover,
“[i]n a response to a motion for summary judgment, a
party cannot rely on ignorance of facts, on speculation, or
on suspicion and may not escape summary judgment in the mere
hope that something will turn up at trial.” Conaway
v. Smith, 853 F.2d 789, 794 (10th Cir. 1988) (citations
omitted). Thus, the inquiry for this Court is “whether
the evidence presents a sufficient disagreement to require
submission to a jury or whether it is so one-sided that one
party must prevail as a matter of law.”
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 251-52.
Motion of Drury
Motion for Summary Judgment, Drury argues Plaintiff fails to
establish a constitutional violation against him for denial
of medical care. Drury further argues he is entitled to
qualified immunity and Plaintiff may not recover punitive
damages from him. In his Response, Plaintiff argues he
suffered a constitutional deprivation because medical
treatment was delayed. As a result of this delayed treatment,
Drury is not entitled to qualified immunity and Plaintiff is
entitled to punitive damages.
Eighth Amendment Violation - Denial of Medical Care
Standard of Review
U.S.C. § 1983 provides a claim for relief against state
actors for violation of a plaintiff's constitutional
rights. Becker v. Kroll, 494 F.3d 904, 914 (10th
Cir. 2007). Under the Eighth Amendment, prisoners have a
constitutional right to medical care, which is violated when
doctors or prison officials are deliberately indifferent to a
prisoner's serious medical needs. Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 103-04 (1976). The Tenth Circuit
recognizes two types of conduct amounting to deliberate
indifference in the context of prisoner medical care.
“First, a medical professional may fail to treat a
serious medical condition properly.” Sealock v.
Colorado, 218 F.3d 1205, 1211 (10th Cir. 2000). When
this type of conduct is alleged, “the medical
professional has available the defense that he was merely
negligent in diagnosing or treating the medical condition,
rather than deliberately indifferent.” Id.
(citing Estelle, 429 U.S. at 105-06). Second, prison
officials may “prevent an inmate from receiving
treatment or deny him access to medical personnel capable of
evaluating the need for treatment.” Id.
(citing Ramos v. Lamm, 639 F.2d 559, 575 (10th Cir.
1980)). A prison medical professional who serves solely
“as a gatekeeper for other medical personnel capable of
treating the condition” may be liable under this
standard if he or she “delays or refuses to fulfill
that gatekeeper role due to deliberate indifference.”
indifference “involves both an objective and a
subjective component.” Olsen v. Layton Hills
Mall, 312 F.3d 1304, 1315 (10th Cir. 2002) (citing
Sealock, 218 F.3d at 1209). To satisfy the objective
component, “the alleged deprivation must be
‘sufficiently serious' to constitute a deprivation
of constitutional dimension.” Self v. Crum,
439 F.3d 1227, 1230 (10th Cir. 2006) (quoting Farmer v.
Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994)). “A medical
need is sufficiently serious ‘if it is one that has
been diagnosed by a physician as mandating treatment or one
that is so obvious that even a lay person would easily
recognize the necessity for a doctor's
attention.'” Sealock, 218 F.3d at 1209
(quoting Hunt v. Uphoff, 199 F.3d 1220, 1224 (10th
Cir. 1999)). The question raised by the objective prong
“is whether the alleged harm . . . is sufficiently
serious . . ., rather than whether the symptoms displayed to
the prison employee are sufficiently serious.” Mata
v. Saiz, 427 F.3d 745, 753 (10th Cir. 2005).
satisfy the subjective component, there must be evidence that
“the official ‘knows of and disregards an
excessive risk to inmate health or safety; the official must
both be aware of facts from which the inference could be
drawn that a substantial risk of serious harm exists, and
[s]he must also draw the inference.'”
Mata, 427 F.3d at 751 (quoting Farmer, 511
U.S. at 837). The subjective component may be satisfied if
the jury can “infer that a prison official had actual
knowledge of the constitutionally infirm condition based
solely on circumstantial evidence, such as the obviousness of
the condition.” Tafoya v. Salazar, 516 F.3d
912, 916 (10th Cir. 2008) (citing Farmer, 511 U.S.
the subjective component may be satisfied if the
defendant's “delay in providing medical treatment
caused either unnecessary pain or a worsening of [his]
condition. Even a brief delay may be unconstitutional.”
Mata, 427 F.3d at 755. However, the
“‘negligent failure to provide adequate medical
care, even one constituting medical malpractice, does not
give rise to a constitutional violation.'”
Self, 439 F.3d at 1233 (quoting Perkins v. Kan.
Dep't of Corr., 165 F.3d 803, 811 (10th Cir. 1999)).
Objective Inquiry - Serious Medical Condition
Plaintiff cannot satisfy the objective component required to
prove Drury committed an Eighth Amendment violation.
Plaintiff's allegations that a constitutional violation
occurred focus on the bedsores that developed on his hips and
buttocks while at LCDC. Prior to September 16, 2014,
Plaintiff had no noticeable bedsores on his hips or buttocks
that required treatment. (See Dkt. 107-6 (Dr. Stone
Deposition), 135:7-10, 136:20-137:2). When the closed,
reddened sore appeared on Plaintiff's hip on September
16, 2014, the condition did not warrant sending Plaintiff to
the hospital or even calling a doctor, according to
Plaintiff's own expert, Dr. Stone. (See Id. at
137:3-19). Nor did the hip wound or the ...