McChristian v. Ferguson

Filing 49

ORDER granting 38 Motion for Summary Judgment, adopting 46 Report and Recommendations and denying 48 Motion to Appoint Counsel. Plaintiff's claims are dismissed with prejudice. Signed by Honorable Jimm Larry Hendren on March 7, 2013. (adw)

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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT WESTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS FAYETTEVILLE DIVISION BILL McCHRISTIAN PLAINTIFF v. Civil No. 11-5125 SHERIFF KEITH FERGUSON; DR. HUSKINS; and DEPUTY CHAMBERS DEFENDANTS O R D E R Now on this 7th day of March, 2013, come on for consideration the following: * defendants' Motion For Summary Judgment (document #38); * Report And Recommendation Of The Magistrate Judge ("R&R") (document #46), * plaintiff's Objections (document #47); and * plaintiff's Motion For Appointment Of Counsel (document #48), and the Court, having carefully reviewed said documents, finds and orders as follows: 1. Plaintiff Bill McChristian initially brought suit against the Benton County Sheriff (in his individual capacity only), alleging that he did not receive proper treatment for an infection in his hand, and for his high blood pressure, while he was incarcerated at the Benton County Detention Center. McChristian later included two more defendants, Dr. Huskins and Deputy Chambers, and orally moved to amend his complaint to sue all defendants in their official capacity. 2. Magistrate Judge Erin L. Setser scheduled a pre-trial evidentiary hearing, and directed the defendants to move for summary judgment, procedures designed to focus the issues and determine if there is sufficient evidence to merit a trial. At the conclusion of the evidentiary hearing, Judge Setser entered the R&R now under consideration. McChristian filed certain Objections, which included a request for appointment of counsel. 3. Judge Setser reported that McChristian failed to show that the defendants demonstrated deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. She reported that McChristian was seen by Dr. Huskins frequently during incarceration, and that Dr. Huskins prescribed medications for McChristian's various ailments. While there were delays in receiving the medications on some occasions, Judge Setser found nothing that attributed these delays to Dr. Huskins. She noted that Dr. Huskins ordered medication, tried different medications, saw McChristian multiple times, ordered his blood pressure monitored, and sent him to the hospital. In fact, McChristian himself testified that Dr. Huskins was a good doctor. Judge Setser further found no evidence that Sheriff Ferguson made any decisions regarding McChristian's medical care, was aware of any need he had for medical care, or saw any of his grievances or medical requests. Moreover, she found no evidence of any policy, custom, or practice of Benton County upon which to base a -2- finding of municipal liability. As for defendant Chambers, Judge Setser reported that during the evidentiary hearing McChristian testified that Chambers had done nothing wrong. For the foregoing reasons, Judge Setser recommended dismissal of all McChristian's claims. 4. was taken McChristian's Objections state that his blood pressure "4 incarcerated." at the most 5 times within the year I was He contends that if he had had an attorney representing him, he could have proved this. He asks that an attorney be appointed for him, and states that he will hire an attorney himself "if need be." 5. McChristian's medical records during the time of his incarceration in Benton County dos not support his Objections. McChristian's medical charts (both at the jail and from several hospital visits) show blood pressure checks on the following dates: 04/04/11 04/08/11 04/19/11 04/24/11 " " " " " " 04/26/11 05/03/11 05/06/11 05/10/11 05/17/11 05/2?/11 05/30/11 122/77 140/90 128/90 157/92 144/84 205/123 160/115 146/90 156/90 (actual " " 160/100 170/120 140/88 (hospital) (jail) (jail) (hospital) (hospital) (hospital) (hospital) (jail) pressures not recorded) (date partially illegible) -3- 06/09/11 06/22/11 06/24/11 06/28/11 06/??/11 06/30/11 " " 07/20/11 07/21/11 07/25/11 12/02/02 186/98 150/98 120/70 126/80 140/92 (day omitted, but probably 06/30/11) 122/82 (at hospital) 115/60 (at hospital) 180/100 140/86 (pressure reading illegible) 160/95 Moreover, while blood pressure checks dropped off after July, 2011, McChristian's medical requests submitted to his jailers after that date had mainly to do with his back pain. He included the words "blood pressure" at the top of many (in a blank space where the "nature" of the request is to be indicated), but actually mentioned concerns with blood pressure in the body of very few. The Court has reviewed these medical requests, and they will not support a finding of deliberate indifference to a problem with high blood pressure. them is that The reasonable inference to be drawn from while McChristian continued to worry almost constantly about his blood pressure, he had very few physical symptoms that he attributed to it. 6. In light of the evidence countering McChristian's Objections, it does not appear that even if he now had the services of an attorney, McChristian could prove deliberate indifference to serious medical needs. The Court finds, therefore, that his Objections should be -4- overruled, his Motion For Appointment Of Counsel denied, the R&R adopted, summary judgment granted, and the case dismissed. IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED that the Report And Recommendation Of The Magistrate Judge (document #46) is adopted. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff's Objections (document #47) are overruled. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that plaintiff's Motion For Appointment Of Counsel (document #48) is denied. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that defendants' Motion For Summary Judgment (document #38) is granted, and plaintiff's claims are dismissed with prejudice. IT IS SO ORDERED. /s/ Jimm Larry Hendren JIMM LARRY HENDREN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE -5-

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