Hamilton v. Singleton et al
ORDER denying 82 Plaintiff's Motion for Hearing; denying 85 Defendant's Motion for Reconsideration; denying 86 Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration; denying 87 Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration. Signed by Honorable Barry A. Bryant on April 14, 2015. (mll)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
Civil No. 4:13-cv-04038-BAB
Before the Court are Plaintiff’s Second Motion for Hearing (ECF No. 82), Motion for
Reconsideration (ECF No. 86) and Motion for Reconsideration of Denial of Appointment of Counsel
(ECF No. 87). Also before the Court is Defendant’s Motion for Reconsideration. ECF No. 85. The
parties have consented to the jurisdiction of a Magistrate Judge in this case. ECF No. 36. The
Motions are ripe for consideration.
On March 5, 2015, this Court granted in part and denied in part Defendant’s motion for
Summary Judgment. ECF No. 83. Specifically, the Court held Defendant had no duty to provide
for medical care for Plaintiff, after he was released from custody. However, the Court determined
there were factual issues remaining to be determined regarding Plaintiff’s claim relating to Defendant
Singleton’s action in releasing him rather than paying for his surgery. I held this claim will proceed
to trial before a jury. Both parties now ask for reconsideration of that Order.
a. Plaintiff’s Second Motion for Hearing (ECF No. 82): Subsequent to the filing of this
motion, the Court ruled on the pending motions for summary judgement, no hearing is required.
Plaintiff’s Second Motion for Hearing (ECF No. 82) is therefore DENIED.
b. Motions for Reconsideration (ECF No. 85 and 86): Both Plaintiff and Defendant seek
reconsideration of the Court’s order granting in part and denying in part Defendants Motion for
Defendant Singleton asserts “it is not clear how the Defendant can
simultaneously have no duty to provide medical care for the Plaintiff after his release from custody
yet still potentially be found to have been deliberately indifferent to the Plaintiff’s medical needs by
releasing the Plaintiff from custody prior to his surgery.” ECF No. 85, ¶ 3. Plaintiff argues he
should have been granted judgment against Defendants in this matter. ECF No. 86.
As set out in the Court’s March 5, 2015 Order, Plaintiff has two distinct claims remaining
against Defendant Singleton. First, Plaintiff claims Defendant Singleton violated Plaintiff’s
constitutional rights by releasing him in an effort to avoid paying for Plaintiff’s hand surgery.
Second, Plaintiff claims Defendant Singleton violated Plaintiff’s constitutional rights by refusing to
pay for Plaintiff’s hand surgery once he was released. It is clear there is no duty on the part of a state
actor to pay for medical care for a person not in state custody. Accordingly, Plaintiff’s second claim
was properly dismissed.
However, Plaintiff’s first claim is much less clear on both the facts and the law. Defendant
Singleton does not dispute he released Plaintiff, at least in part, in order to avoid Plaintiff’s
impending medical costs. From the summary judgment evidence presented it is unclear whether the
hand surgery was necessary or merely a recommended or elective course of action as evidenced by
the fact Plaintiff still has not received the hand surgery. Further, it is unclear whether Defendant
Singleton denying the surgery and instead releasing Plaintiff ignored a substantial risk of harm
towards Plaintiff. Therefore, based on the summary judgment record, I found issues of fact remain
as to whether Defendant Singleton violated Plaintiff’s rights by releasing him in an effort to avoid
the costs of his hand surgery. Further as I noted in the March 5, 2015 Order, the law regarding this
type claim is not settled in this Circuit. A jury trial will fully develop the factual record to allow full
appellate review of the issue presented, namely, whether a state actor violates an inmate’s
constitutional rights by releasing the inmate from incarceration solely for the purpose of avoiding
impending medical expenses. Both Plaintiff’s Motion for Reconsideration (ECF No.86) and
Defendant’s Motion for Reconsideration (ECF No.85) are DENIED.
c. Plaintiff’s Motion for Reconsideration of Motion to Appoint Counsel (ECF No. 87): For
the reasons originally given (ECF No. 48 and Text Order dated January 28, 2015) the Plaintiff’s
Motion for Reconsideration of Motion to Appoint Counsel (ECF No. 87) is DENIED. The Court
will review this issue at the time it sets a date for the Jury Trial in this matter.
IT IS SO ORDERED this 14th day of April 2015.
/s/ Barry A. Bryant
HON. BARRY A. BRYANT
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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