Vaughn v. Huskins et al
ORDER ADOPTING IN PART 52 REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS ; granting in part and denying in part 42 Motion for Summary Judgment. Signed by Honorable Jimm Larry Hendren on September 16, 2011. (src)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
CHESTER S. VAUGHN
Civil No. 09-5205
DR. JAMES HUSKINS, Benton
County Detention Center;
NURSE MARSHA SMITH, Benton
County Detention Center;
SGT. FRY, Benton County
Detention Center; CAPTAIN
ROBERT HOLLY, Benton County
Detention Center; and SHERIFF
O R D E R
consideration defendants' Motion For Summary Judgment (document
#42); the Report And Recommendation Of The Magistrate Judge
(document #53), and from these documents, the Court finds and
orders as follows:
Plaintiff Chester S. Vaughn ("Vaughn") brought suit
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that defendants were
deliberately indifferent to his medical needs arising out of a
chemical exposure when floor-mopping chemicals were splashed into
Defendants moved for summary Judgment, and the United States
Magistrate Judge promulgated a questionnaire to assist Vaughn in
responding to that motion.
Vaughn completed this questionnaire,
and when the motion was fully briefed, the Magistate Judge issued
the R&R now under consideration.
The R&R recommends that Vaughn's Complaint be construed
as asserting both official and individual capacity claims, based
on Vaughn's response to the questionnaire.
It further recommends
granting the Motion For Summary Judgment as to claims against
defendants Sheriff Keith Ferguson ("Ferguson") and Captain Robert
nothing in the record to suggest they knew about the chemical
exposure or that they made any decisions about Vaughn's medical
care, and denied in all other respects.
Vaughn objects to the recommendation that his claim
against Holly in his individual capacity be dismissed, pointing
out that the record contains several grievances in which Vaughn
asked for the Material Data Safety Sheet ("MSDS") for the chemical
that was splashed in his eye.
When Holly responded that Vaughn
would need to identify the chemical, Vaughn submitted another
grievance stating that the chemical was in an unmarked container
and asking that his jailers determine which chemical was in use.
Holly responded "I can't help you."
To a third request, Holly
A different officer responded to Vaughn's fourth request for
the MSDS, stating that it was "available to the medical staff in
However, Vaughn's jail medical file is also part of
the record, and there is no MSDS in it.
The Court finds Vaughn's objection on this point well taken.
Holly, as a jail officer, was clearly in a much better position to
determine which chemical was used to mop the floors than Vaughn,
Moreover, because the MSDS is a document setting out
the hazards inherent in a chemical substance, including health
procedures, 42 U.S.C. § 11049(6); 29 C.F.R. 1910.1200(g), Holly's
failure to investigate and learn the identity of the chemical, and
produce its MSDS, may be viewed by the trier of fact as evidence
of deliberate indifference on the part of Holly to serious medical
needs on Vaughn's part.
sustained, and summary judgment as to Holly in his individual
capacity will be denied.
Vaughn also objects that summary judgment should not be
granted in favor of Ferguson in his individual capacity, because
he is "the man in charge." This is basically an argument that
Ferguson should be held liable on a respondeat superior theory,
which is not available to a plaintiff in a § 1983 action.
Liability under section 1983 requires a causal link to,
and direct responsibility for, the deprivation of
To establish personal liability of the
supervisory defendants, [the plaintiff] must allege
specific facts of personal involvement in, or direct
responsibility for, a deprivation of his constitutional
rights. . . . [A] warden's general responsibility for
supervising the operations of a prison is insufficient
to establish personal involvement.
(internal citations and quotation marks omitted).
IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that plaintiff's Objections to the
R&R (document #53) are sustained in part and overruled in part.
The Objections are sustained insofar as they object to granting
capacity, and overruled insofar as they object to granting summary
judgment to Sheriff Keith Ferguson in his individual capacity.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that the Report And Recommendation Of
The Magistrate Judge (document #52) is adopted in part and not
recommendation that summary judgment be granted in favor of
Captain Robert Holly in his individual capacity, and adopted in
all other respects.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that defendants' Motion For Summary
Judgment (document #42) is granted in part and denied in part.
The motion is granted as to Sheriff Keith Ferguson in his
individual capacity, and Vaughn's claims against him in that
capacity are dismissed with prejudice.
The motion is denied in all other respects.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this matter is remanded to the
Magistrate Judge for further proceedings.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
/s/ Jimm Larry Hendren
JIMM LARRY HENDREN
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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