Littleton v. Miller et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge R David Proctor on 12/6/2017. (KAM, )
2017 Dec-06 AM 10:00
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
Case No.: 5:15-cv-01076-RDP
This case is before the court on Defendant’s Special Report (Doc. # 27), which the court
has converted to a motion for summary judgment (Doc. # 29), and Defendant’s Motion for Leave
to Engage in Limited Discovery (Doc. # 30). The motion for summary judgment has been fully
briefed and is under submission. (Docs. # 31, 34).
Factual and Procedural Background
The facts set out in this opinion are gleaned from the parties’ submissions of facts
claimed to be disputed or undisputed and the court’s own examination of the evidentiary record,
including the sworn averments in Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint. All reasonable doubts about
the facts have been resolved in favor of the nonmoving party. See Info Sys. & Networks Corp. v.
City of Atlanta, 281 F.3d 1220, 1224 (11th Cir. 2002). These are the “facts” for summary
judgment purposes only. They may not be the actual facts that could be established through live
testimony at trial. See Cox v. Adm’r U.S. Steel & Carnegie Pension Fund, 17 F.3d 1386, 1400
(11th Cir. 1994).
Notably, the Rule 56 record contains video footage from two dash cameras in the patrol
cars used by Defendant, then a patrol officer with the City of Russellville Police Department, and
Brian Shackelford, a lieutenant with the Russellville Police Department. Where video evidence
is available and obviously contradicts Plaintiff’s version of the facts, the court must accept the
video’s depiction instead of Plaintiff’s subjective account. Pourmoghani-Esfahani v. Gee, 625
F.3d 1313, 1315 (11th Cir. 2010). To be sure, the dash camera videos in the Rule 56 record do
not offer an uninterrupted view of Plaintiff’s arrest and detainment. Indeed, the videos do not
show when officers tasered Plaintiff or other interactions between the officers and Plaintiff for
which recorded audio is available. And, the video clips submitted by Defendant are not a
continuous record of Defendant’s dash camera footage from October 26, 2013.1 Nevertheless, as
discussed below, the video evidence in the Rule 56 record definitively contradicts vital
allegations in the Amended Complaint.
Around midnight on October 26, 2013, Defendant observed a vehicle driving the wrong
way on Highway 43. (Doc. # 27-1 at 2-3). The vehicle then made an illegal U-turn. (Id. at 3).
Defendant turned on his siren and chased the vehicle onto South Washington Avenue in
Russellville. (Id.). Then, the vehicle lost control and crashed, rolling several times. (Id.). When
Defendant arrived at the scene of the accident, downed power lines blocked the road. (Doc. #
28, Miller Dash Cam Video, at 01:03:35). The vehicle lay upside down off the road. (Id. at
Plaintiff argues that the video footage should be disregarded because of a discrepancy in the time stamps
displayed in Defendant’s dash camera footage and Shackelford’s dash camera footage. (Doc. # 31 at 4). The court
finds that the discrepancy between the time stamps is not a material fact in this case, given the undisputed footage
that shows Defendant’s response to Plaintiff’s medical needs. Cf. Reese v. Herbert, 527 F.3d 1253, 1257 n. 1 (11th
Cir. 2008) (disregarding a discrepancy between the time stamps in submitted video footage from two patrol cars
where the actual time an event occurred had little significance). Here, the actual time of the events, and the fact that
the video footage was taken by dash cameras displaying different time stamps, is not material.
01:04:06). As he observed the accident, Defendant asked a dispatcher to send an ambulance to
the scene. (Id. at 01:03:54).
As Defendant parked his patrol car by the vehicle, a man -- identified as Plaintiff by
Defendant -- fled from the vehicle on foot. (Id. at 01:04:06-01:04:08; Doc. # 27-1 at 4).
Defendant pursued Plaintiff across a field. (Doc. # 27-1 at 4). Shackelford observed Plaintiff
cross Gaines Street as he tried to cut off Plaintiff’s escape route with his patrol vehicle. (Doc. #
27-2 at 2-3; Doc. # 28, Shackelford Dash Cam Video, at 00:11:29-00:11:30). Defendant and
Shackelford both continued to chase Plaintiff. (Doc. # 27-2 at 3). When the chase ended,
Shackelford used a taser to help subdue Plaintiff.2 (Id.). Defendant observed that Plaintiff
showed signs of intoxication. (Doc. # 27-1 at 16). “Littleton had a very strong odor of alcoholic
beverage coming from his person. He had a lot of trouble keeping his balance and fell to his
knees at one point. Littleton was slurring his speech so heavily that I could barely understand
what he was saying.” (Id.).
The officers handcuffed Plaintiff and moved him to Shackelford’s patrol vehicle. 3 (Id. at
6). They placed Plaintiff in Shackelford’s patrol vehicle until an ambulance arrived at the scene.
(Id.). (See also Doc. # 28, Shackelford Dash Cam Video, at 00:20:45) (showing Plaintiff lying
down in Shackelford’s patrol vehicle). During an interview, Plaintiff admitted to having used
cocaine before the accident. (Doc. # 27-1 at 6). Plaintiff also told Defendant that he was
suffering from back and neck pain. (Doc. # 12-1 at 4). When medical personnel arrived at the
In his Amended Complaint, which Plaintiff swore to under penalty of perjury, he asserts that Defendant
tasered him at the scene of the accident and pulled him from the vehicle. (Doc. # 12-1 at 4, 11). The court grants no
credence to Plaintiff’s statement that Defendant tasered him at the scene of the accident because the dash cam video
clearly shows that Plaintiff fled the scene of the accident on foot before Defendant exited his patrol vehicle. (Doc. #
28, Miller Dash Cam Video, at 01:04:08). See also Pourmoghani-Esfahani, 625 F.3d at 1315.
Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint contains no account of what occurred between the use of a taser against
him and Defendant’s transport of him away from the accident. (See Doc. # 12-1 at 4). As explained above, the
court cannot credit his averment that Defendant pulled him away from the wrecked vehicle because video evidence
reveals that Plaintiff fled the accident scene on foot.
scene, Defendant retrieved his patrol vehicle and drove over to Shackelford’s patrol vehicle.
(Doc. # 27-1 at 6). (See also Doc. # 28, Miller Dash Cam Video, at 01:15:20-01:16-05) (video
of Defendant driving away from the scene of the accident). The medical personnel removed the
taser’s prongs from Plaintiff’s skin. (Doc. # 27-1 at 6).
Defendant placed Plaintiff inside of his patrol vehicle. (Doc. # 28, Miller Dash Cam
Video, at 01:21:05-01:21:10). As Defendant departed the scene, he told a dispatcher that he was
“en route to the ER.” (Id. at 01:22:18-01:22:19). He drove from Gaines Street to Russellville
Hospital and a video recording of that entire drive is in the Rule 56 record. (Id. at 01:22:1801:27:00). The video shows that Defendant travelled to Russellville Hospital without stopping at
any police station. (See id.). Defendant helped Plaintiff exit the vehicle (id. at 01:28:0001:28:10) and walked him into Russellville Hospital. (Id. at 01:29:00). Defendant informed
hospital personnel that Plaintiff needed to be checked out, that he was suspected of driving while
impaired, that he had totaled his vehicle, and that Defendant wanted blood tests to be performed.
(Id. at 01:29:14-01:29:25).
According to a Russellville Police Department arrest report, Plaintiff was arrested by
Defendant at 12:22 a.m. on October 26, 2013. (Doc. # 27-1 at 20-21). Russellville’s dispatch
records indicate that Defendant began travelling to the police department at 2:53 a.m. (Id. at 27).
Defendant did not book Plaintiff until 3:34 a.m. that day. (Id. at 21).
After an initial review of Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint, the court identified two
plausibly pled claims:
Plaintiff alleges that Defendant acted with deliberate indifference by denying him
access to medical attention for the serious medical conditions he suffered after his
automobile accident on October 26, 2013. Specifically, Defendant failed to
transport Plaintiff to a hospital despite his complaints of back and neck pain.
Plaintiff was taken to a jail and held there for two to three hours until he lost
consciousness. At that point, Plaintiff was taken to a hospital.
Plaintiff also alleges that Defendant used excessive force against him at the scene
of the accident. Specifically, Plaintiff claims that Defendant used a taser against
him when he was clearly incoherent after the accident. The taser caused
unnecessary and needless pain.
(Doc. # 26 at 1). The court instructed Defendant to review Plaintiff’s claims and file “a written
report to the court presenting the sworn statement of all persons having knowledge of the facts
relevant to the claims or any subsequent investigation undertaken with respect to the claims.”
(Id. at 2). It further directed Defendant to provide certain evidence to the court, including “[a]
clear and legible copy of all documents relevant to the claims or defenses asserted in the action,
including all incident reports, disciplinary reports, classification or custody records, and medical
records, as may bear directly on the claims or defenses asserted.” (Id. at 2-3).
In July 2017, Defendant filed a special report that contained his sworn statement,
Shackelford’s sworn statement, an incident report, an arrest report, two “Response to
Aggression/Resistance” forms, and a dispatch log entry. (Docs. # 27-1 & 27-2). Defendant also
filed video clips from the dash cameras of his patrol vehicle and Shackelford’s patrol vehicle.
(Doc. # 28). Plaintiff argues that Defendant has failed to comply with the court’s special report
order because he has not filed the medical records produced by the medical personnel at the
scene or the medical records from Russellville Hospital. (Doc. # 31 at 6). That argument is off
the mark. Nothing before the court indicates that Defendant possesses or controls those medical
records, so he cannot be held responsible for failing to produce them. See White v. Parrish, 2013
WL 3357853, at *6 (M.D. Ala. July 3, 2013) (concluding that a plaintiff “cannot be heard to
complaint about the defendants’ failure to produce videos which are not in their possession,
custody, or control”).
Standard of Review
Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, summary judgment is proper “if the pleadings,
depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if
any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986).
The party asking for summary judgment always bears the initial responsibility of informing the
court of the basis for its motion and identifying those portions of the pleadings or filings which it
believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Id. at 323. Once the
moving party has met its burden, Rule 56 requires the non-moving party to go beyond the
pleadings and -- by pointing to affidavits, or depositions, answers to interrogatories, and/or
admissions on file -- designate specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. Id. at
The substantive law will identify which facts are material and which are irrelevant. See
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986) (“Anderson”). All reasonable doubts
about the facts and all justifiable inferences are resolved in favor of the non-movant. See Allen v.
Bd. of Pub. Educ. for Bibb Cty., 495 F.3d 1306, 1314 (11th Cir. 2007); Fitzpatrick v. City of
Atlanta, 2 F.3d 1112, 1115 (11th Cir. 1993). A dispute is genuine “if the evidence is such that a
reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. If
the evidence is merely colorable, or is not significantly probative, summary judgment may be
granted. See id. at 249.
When faced with a “properly supported motion for summary judgment, [the non-moving
party] must come forward with specific factual evidence, presenting more than mere
allegations.” Gargiulo v. G.M. Sales, Inc., 131 F.3d 995, 999 (11th Cir. 1997). As Anderson
teaches, under Rule 56(c) a plaintiff may not simply rest on her allegations made in the
complaint; instead, as the party bearing the burden of proof at trial, she must come forward with
at least some evidence to support each element essential to her case at trial. See Anderson, 477
U.S. at 252. “[A] party opposing a properly supported motion for summary judgment ‘may not
rest upon the mere allegations or denials of his pleading, but . . . must set forth specific facts
showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.’” Id. at 248 (citations omitted).
Summary judgment is mandated “against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient
to establish the existence of an element essential to that party’s case, and on which that party will
bear the burden of proof at trial.” Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 322. “Summary judgment may be
granted if the non-moving party’s evidence is merely colorable or is not significantly probative.”
Sawyer v. Sw. Airlines Co., 243 F. Supp. 2d 1257, 1262 (D. Kan. 2003) (citing Anderson, 477
U.S. at 250-51).
“[A]t the summary judgment stage the judge’s function is not himself to weigh the
evidence and determine the truth of the matter but to determine whether there is a genuine issue
for trial.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249. “Essentially, the inquiry is ‘whether the evidence presents
a sufficient disagreement to require submission to the jury or whether it is so one-sided that one
party must prevail as a matter of law.” Sawyer, 243 F. Supp. 2d at 1262 (quoting Anderson, 477
U.S. at 251-52); see also LaRoche v. Denny’s, Inc., 62 F. Supp. 2d 1366, 1371 (S.D. Fla. 1999)
(“The law is clear . . . that suspicion, perception, opinion, and belief cannot be used to defeat a
motion for summary judgment.”).
After careful review, and for the reasons explained below, the court concludes that
Defendant is entitled to summary judgment on both claims discussed in Defendant’s special
Plaintiff Has Expressly Abandoned Any Excessive Force Claim
Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint alleges that Defendant used excessive force against him
by tasering him. (Doc. # 12-1 at 9). In his response to the special report, however, Plaintiff
states that he “has not alleged an excessive force claim as asserted by the defendant in his special
report.” (Doc. # 31 at 9). The court construes this as an express abandonment of any excessive
force claim against Defendant. Resolution Trust Corp. v. Dunmar Corp., 43 F.3d 587, 599 (11th
Cir. 1995) (“[G]rounds alleged in the complaint but not relied upon in summary judgment are
deemed abandoned.”). Therefore, Defendant is entitled to summary judgment on the excessive
force claim raised against him.
The Rule 56 Record Demonstrates that Defendant Did Not Disregard
Plaintiff’s Medical Condition Following the Accident
Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint also contains a deliberate indifference claim premised on
Defendant’s alleged failure to transport Plaintiff to a hospital until after he took Plaintiff to the
Russellville Police Department. (Doc. # 12-1 at 3-4) (Count I of the Amended Complaint).
Defendant requests qualified immunity from this deliberate indifference claim because (1) he
requested medical assistance for Plaintiff when he observed the accident scene, (2) Plaintiff
displayed no obvious medical distress when he fled the vehicle, and (3) Defendant transported
Plaintiff to the emergency room immediately after the arrest. (Doc. # 27 at 15-18).
functions . . . from liability for civil damages insofar as their conduct does not violate clearly
established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known.”
Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 818 (1982). Whether a defendant is entitled to qualified
immunity is determined by engaging in a three-step analysis. See Skop v. City of Atlanta, Ga.,
485 F.3d 1130, 1136-37 (11th Cir. 2007). The initial burden is on an official claiming qualified
immunity to establish that he or she was acting within his or her discretionary authority. Id.
Here, Plaintiff has not disputed Defendant’s claim that he acted within the scope of his
discretionary authority. (See Doc. # 31 at 10).
Once the discretionary-authority showing is made, the burden shifts to a plaintiff to show
that the “defendant’s conduct violated a statutory or constitutional right.” Skop, 485 F.3d at
1137. Finally, “the plaintiff must show that the violation was ‘clearly established.’” Id.; Snider
v. Jefferson State Cmty. Coll., 344 F.3d 1325, 1328 (11th Cir. 2003) (“When case law is needed
to ‘clearly establish’ the law applicable to the pertinent circumstances, we look to decisions of
the U.S. Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, and the
highest court of the pertinent state.”) (citing Marsh v. Butler Cty., Ala., 268 F.3d 1014, 1032-33
n. 10 (11th Cir. 2001) (en banc)). “There are three ways in which [a plaintiff] may show that the
right violated was clearly established: ‘(1) case law with indistinguishable facts clearly
establishing the constitutional right; (2) a broad statement of principle within the Constitution,
statute, or case law that clearly establishes a constitutional right; or (3) conduct so egregious that
a constitutional right was clearly violated, even in the total absence of case law.’” Perez v.
Suszcynski, 809 F.3d 1213, 1222 (11th Cir. 2016) (quoting Lewis v. City of W. Palm Beach, 561
F.3d 1288, 1291-92 (11th Cir. 2009)). If a defendant can establish that he is entitled to qualified
immunity, then the federal, individual capacity claims will be dismissed.4 See Randall v. Scott,
610 F.3d 701, 714 (11th Cir. 2010).
The Eighth Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishment, which includes
deliberate indifference to a prisoner’s serious medical needs. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97,
104 (1976). Claims of deliberate indifference to serious medical needs arise under the Eighth
Amendment when the claimant is a convicted prisoner. However, when a § 1983 plaintiff is a
pre-trial detainee, the claim must be asserted under the Fourteenth Amendment. Gilmore v.
Hodges, 738 F.3d 266, 271 (11th Cir. 2013). In any event, the minimum standard required by
the Fourteenth Amendment for providing medical care to a pretrial detainee is identical to the
minimum standard required by the Eighth Amendment in the case of a convicted prisoner, so
courts analyze these claims in the same manner. Id. See also Dang v. Sheriff, Seminole Cty.
Fla., 871 F.3d 1272, 1279 (11th Cir. 2017).
“Our cases have consistently held that knowledge of the need for medical care and an
intentional refusal to provide that care constitutes deliberate indifference.” Adams v. Poag, 61
F.3d 1537, 1543-44 (11th Cir. 1995) (citing Carswell v. Bay Cty., 854 F.2d 454, 457 (11th Cir.
1988); Ancata v. Prison Health Servs., Inc., 769 F.2d 700, 704 (11th Cir. 1985)), abrogated in
part on other grounds by Richardson v. Knight, 521 U.S. 399 (1997). However, not every claim
of inadequate medical treatment states a cognizable claim under the Constitution. Id. at 1543.
“Medical treatment [is deliberately indifferent] only when it is so grossly incompetent,
inadequate, or excessive as to shock the conscience or to be intolerable to fundamental fairness.”
The Eleventh Circuit has explained that clearly established law can be more difficult to discern in
deliberate indifference claims due to the variety of possible factual scenarios that may be presented in different
cases. “Questions of deliberate indifference to medical needs based on claims of delay are complicated questions
because the answer is tied to the combination of many facts; a change in even one fact from a precedent may be
significant enough to make it debatable among objectively reasonable officers whether the precedent might not
control in the circumstances later facing an officer.” Pourmoghani-Esfahani, 625 F.3d at 1318.
Harris v. Thigpen, 941 F.2d 1495, 1505 (11th Cir. 1991) (internal quotation marks and citation
omitted) (Eighth Amendment case). To establish that an official was deliberately indifferent to
his serious medical need, a pretrial detainee must meet both an objective and a subjective
standard of proof.5 Burnette v. Taylor, 533 F.3d 1325, 1330 (11th Cir. 2008).
To establish the objective component, a detainee is required to show both an objectively
serious medical need that, if left unattended, poses a substantial risk of serious harm, and that the
response by the official to that need was poor enough to constitute an unnecessary and wanton
infliction of pain. Taylor v. Adams, 221 F.3d 1254, 1258 (11th Cir. 2000). An objectively
serious medical need 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.” Farrow v. West, 320 F.3d 1235, 1243 (11th Cir. 2003) (internal quotation marks
omitted). Nevertheless, “[t]he Constitution does not require an arresting police officer or jail
official to seek medical attention for every arrestee or inmate who appears to be affected by
drugs or alcohol.” Burnette, 533 F.3d at 1333.
To establish the subjective component of a deliberate indifference claim, a detainee must
establish three factors: (1) subjective knowledge of a risk of serious harm; (2) disregard of that
risk; and (3) that the conduct complained of is more than merely negligent. McElligott v. Foley,
182 F.3d 1248, 1255 (11th Cir. 1999). “An official disregards a serious risk by more than mere
negligence when he or she knows that an inmate is in serious need of medical care, but he or she
fails or refuses to obtain medical treatment for the inmate.” Dang, 871 F.3d at 1280 (internal
The Eleventh Circuit has established that the same standard applied to Eighth Amendment deliberate
indifference claims applies to Fourteenth Amendment deliberate indifference claims made by pretrial detainees.
Burnette v. Taylor, 533 F.3d 1325, 1330 n. 4 (11th Cir. 2008). Moreover, our Circuit has consistently required that
subjective and objective standards must be met in order to establish a deliberate indifference claim, and this has not
changed following the Supreme Court’s decision in Kingsley v. Hendrickson, 135 S. Ct. 2466 (2015). See Dang,
871 F.3d at 1279 & n. 2; Howell v. Unnamed Defendant, 672 F. App'x 953, 955 (11th Cir. 2016); Lindley v.
Birmingham, City of Ala., 652 F. App’x 801, 805-06 (11th Cir. 2016). The court is bound to apply the law as stated
by the Supreme Court and the Eleventh Circuit. Cargill v. Turpin, 120 F.3d 1366, 1386 (11th Cir. 1997).
quotation marks and citation omitted).
The required subjective elements of a deliberate
indifference claim ensure that “mere[ ] accidental inadequacy, negligence in diagnosis or
treatment, [and] even medical malpractice” are not actionable under § 1983. Taylor, 221 F.3d at
1258 (internal quotation marks omitted). In “delay in treatment” cases, even when treatment is
ultimately provided, deliberate indifference may be “inferred from an unexplained delay in
treating a known or obvious serious medical condition.” Harris v. Coweta Cty., 21 F.3d 388,
394 (11th Cir. 1994).
The Eleventh Circuit considered a similar claim of deliberate indifference premised on
delayed access to health care in Pourmoghani-Esfahani.
There, an officer had a physical
alternation with a detainee where she flipped the detainee to the ground and slammed the
detainee’s head to the floor seven or eight times. Pourmoghani-Esfahani, 625 F.3d at 1316. A
jail nurse examined the detainee approximately two minutes after she had been placed in a cell.
Id. The officer observed the detainee five minutes later. Id. The detainee’s cellmate got another
officer’s attention after approximately four minutes, and the nurse returned to check on the
detainee two minutes thereafter. Id. The detainee received ongoing medical care for symptoms
of an overdose and a seizure and was transported to a hospital. Id.
While the Eleventh Circuit affirmed a denial of qualified immunity to the officer on an
excessive force claim, id. at 1317, it held that the officer was entitled to qualified immunity on a
deliberate indifference claim. Id. at 1317-19. It explained that the delay of a few minutes in
providing care was insufficient to support a deliberate indifference claim where the officer had
been informed by a nurse that the detainee had a possible nose injury, rather than a medical
emergency. Id. at 1318. The court rejected the detainee’s argument that the officer should have
sent her to a hospital immediately after slamming her face against the pavement because the
officer was not aware of a medical need that required a more drastic intervention than an
examination. Id. Moreover, when officers in the jail became aware of the detainee’s medical
needs, a nurse began providing medical care in minutes, a “delay” that the court practically
disregarded. See id. (citing deliberate indifference claims premised on a delay in treatment
where the inmates went without care for a few hours). Alternatively, the Pourmoghani-Esfahani
opinion held that the officer was entitled to qualified immunity based on the lack of clearly
established law to support the proposition that a two to five minute delay in medical care
constituted a constitutional violation. Id. at 1318-19.
Here, Defendant is entitled to summary judgment on Plaintiff’s deliberate indifference
claim because Defendant did not disregard Plaintiff’s medical conditions as alleged in the
Amended Complaint.6 Indeed, the submitted video evidence shows that Defendant asked for
medical personnel to travel to the scene when he witnessed the severity of the accident. (Doc. #
28, Miller Dash Cam Video, at 01:03:54). Medical personnel came to the scene and examined
Plaintiff after his arrest. (Doc. # 27-1 at 6). And, Defendant transported Plaintiff from the arrest
site to Russellville Hospital without stopping at the police station. (Doc. # 28, Miller Dash Cam
Video, at 01:22:18-01:27:00). Simply put, the video evidence in the Rule 56 record contradicts
Plaintiff’s allegation that Defendant failed or refused to obtain medical care for him. Cf. Dang,
871 F.3d at 1280. To the extent Defendant’s conduct “delayed” Plaintiff’s receipt of medical
care, he only delayed the provision of medical care for minutes, and such a delay does not give
rise to a constitutional claim. See Pourmoghani-Esfahani, 625 F.3d at 1318. Alternatively, even
The court need not decide -- and does not decide -- whether Defendant subjectively realized that Plaintiff
was suffering from a serious medical condition requiring immediate medical assistance after the accident. Although
the Eleventh Circuit has held that an arrestee’s symptoms of intoxication do not always present a serious medical
condition, Burnette, 533 F.3d at 1333, and Plaintiff’s generalized complaints of back and neck pain do not indicate
that he reported severe pain to Defendant following the arrest (Doc. # 12-1 at 4), Defendant certainly recognized that
the accident could have caused serious injuries. Indeed, he immediately called for an ambulance when he observed
the accident (Doc. # 28, Miller Dash Cam Video, at 01:03:54) and transported Plaintiff straight from the arrest scene
to a hospital after medical personnel examined Plaintiff at the scene.
if a minutes-long delay in provision of medical care gave rise to a constitutional deliberate
indifference claim (and it does not), Defendant is entitled to qualified immunity from such a
claim because no clearly established law would have put him on notice of any § 1983 liability
where he observed a serious accident, immediately requested medical assistance, witnessed a
suspect flee from the accident site, and transported the suspect to a hospital after allowing
medical personnel to examine the suspect.7 See id. at 1318-19.
Plaintiff argues that summary judgment should be denied because Defendant gave a
different account of the arrest during a revocation hearing in April 2014. (Doc. # 31 at 8). This
argument creates no dispute of fact, though, because Plaintiff has proffered no transcript of the
revocation hearing or any sworn testimony about the hearing. Therefore, Defendant is due to be
granted summary judgment on Plaintiff’s deliberate indifference claim.
For the reasons explained above, Defendant’s motion for summary judgment (Doc. # 27)
is due to be granted. Accordingly, Defendant’s motion for leave to engage in limited discovery
(Doc. # 30) is due to be denied as moot. An order consistent with this Memorandum Opinion
will be entered.
DONE and ORDERED this December 6, 2017.
R. DAVID PROCTOR
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
The Eleventh Circuit declined to announce such a rule in Pourmoghani-Esfahani, and no other precedent
suggests such a right existed at the time of the incidents at issue in this case.
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