Hughes v. Hollingsworth
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Honorable Barry A. Bryant on March 4, 2015. (lw)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
HOT SPRINGS DIVISION
DOUGLAS L. HUGHES
Civil No. 6:13-CV-6084
SHERIFF ED HOLLINGSWORTH
and SERGEANT AMY MARTIN
This is a civil rights action filed by Plaintiff, Douglas L. Hughes, pursuant to the provisions
of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff proceeds pro se and in forma pauperis.
Currently before the Court is Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 28);
Memorandum in Support of Their Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 29); and Statement
of Facts (ECF No. 30). Plaintiff filed a Response to Motion For Summary Judgment utilizing a
questionnaire from the Court. ECF No. 34.
The Parties have consented to the jurisdiction of a magistrate judge to conduct any and all
proceedings in this case, including conducting the trial, ordering the entry of a final judgment, and
conducting all post-judgment proceedings. ECF No. 13. Pursuant to this authority, the Court finds
this Motion is ready for decision and issues this memorandum opinion. ECF No. 23-1, 2.
The events that are the subject of this lawsuit occurred while Plaintiff was incarcerated in the
Hot Spring County Detention Center (“HSCDC”) in Malvern, Arkansas. Plaintiff filed this
Complaint on July 25, 2013. ECF Nos. 1, 34. Plaintiff alleges his constitutional rights were violated
when Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his medical conditions. ECF 34, p. 2. Plaintiff
initially brought this action against Defendants in their official capacities only. ECF. No. 1 p. 4.
He then filed an Amended Complaint on November 7, 2013 bringing the action against Defendants
in both their official and personal capacities. ECF No. 14, p. 6.
The Court “shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that 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] genuine issue of material fact exists if: (1) there is a dispute of fact; (2) the
disputed fact is material to the outcome of the case; and (3) the dispute is genuine, that is, a
reasonable jury could return a verdict for either party.” RSBI Aerospace, Inc. v. Affiliated FM Ins.
Co., 49 F.3d 399, 401 (8th Cir. 1995). The moving party has the burden of showing the absence
of a genuine issue of material fact and that they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law, but
the nonmoving party may not rest upon mere denials or allegations in the pleadings and must set
forth specific facts to raise a genuine issue for trial. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S.
242, 256 (1986); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986). The Court must view all
evidence and inferences in a light most favorable to the nonmoving party. See McCleary v. ReliaStar
Life Ins. Co., 682 F.3d 1116, 1119 (8th Cir. 2012). However, “[w]hen opposing parties tell two
different stories, one of which is blatantly contradicted by the record, so that no reasonable jury could
believe it, a court should not adopt that version of the facts for purposes of ruling on a motion for
summary judgment.” Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380 (2007).
Because Plaintiff’s allegations center on the same facts for both official and individual
capacity claims, they will be summarized first before addressing each in turn.
Plaintiff was booked into HSCDC on July 24, 2013. ECF. No. 34, p. 5. Plaintiff states he
told HSCDC he was on prescribed medication, had diabetes and a heart condition, and was not in
possession of all his medications. ECF No. 34, pp. 6-7. Plaintiff’s intake form did not indicate any
other medical conditions for HSCDC to be aware of, such as his liver transplant and his need for an
immunosuppressive drug. ECF No. 29-2, p.1. Plaintiff states he was not given the medications in
his possession until they had been checked in and approved by the doctor. ECF No. 34, p. 7. In his
Response, he does not state when he started receiving the prescription in his possession at the time
of his arrest, but disagrees with the statement that he started receiving them on July 25, 2013. ECF
No. 34, p. 7.
As to the prescriptions he did not have in his possession, HSCDC received
confirmation on them from UAMS on August 2, 2013. ECF No. 34, p. 8. With the exception of
his liver medication Prograf (generic name Tacrolimus), he began to receive these other medications
when approved by UAMS. However, he states that they were never given properly and at times they
tried to give him medication for other inmates. ECF No. 34, p. 9. Plaintiff’s Inmate Medication
Ledger shows regular administration of medication, with a few times where he was apparently out
of medication and needed a refill at the beginning of his incarceration. ECF No. 29-3.
Prograf is an immunosuppressive medication which Plaintiff takes to prevent rejection of
his liver transplant. ECF No. 34, pp. 1, 8. UAMS confirmed this prescription on August 2, along
with Plaintiff’s other drugs. Plaintiff did not start receiving this drug until August 5, 2013. ECF
Nos. 34, p. 9; 29-2, p. 2. According to Defendants, the pharmacy needed to special-order the
Prograf, which caused the delay. ECF No. 29-2, p. 2.
Plaintiff states that Defendant Martin gave orders for his blood sugar to be checked twice
daily, but this order was not followed, and his blood sugar was not checked regularly. ECF No. 34,
p. 10. The Inmate Medication Ledger shows a number of gaps where his blood pressure and blood
sugar were not checked. It shows three occasions where he refused to have his blood sugar taken.
ECF. No. 29-3, p. 7. The Ledger shows Defendant Martin ordered his blood sugar to be checked
at six o’clock in the morning and evening. ECF No. 29-3, p. 1. Defendant Martin testified that the
jail records do not show that the blood sugar readings were taken as ordered, however “records
confirm that his blood sugar was checked regularly and, on multiple occasions Mr. Hughes refused
to have his blood sugar taken.” ECF No. 29-2, p. 2. Defendant Martin does not indicate what other
records she is referring to in this statement. Plaintiff admits that he refused blood sugar readings at
times, but did so because it was “in the middle of the night when I was sleeping. . .” ECF No. 34,
Plaintiff alleges he did not receive diabetic shots, blood sugar checks, and diabetic snacks for
the first thirty days he was incarcerated. ECF No. 34, pp. 4, 13. He states he was denied routine
blood work from December 2012 through August 2013. ECF No. 34, p. 3. As he was booked into
HSCDC on July 24, 2013, the dates prior to his booking cannot apply to this claim. Plaintiff was
taken for his monthly blood work on August 28, 2013. ECF. No. 34, p. 11.
Plaintiff agrees that HSCDC has UV lights in the ventilation system which are designed to
prevent the spread of tuberculosis. ECF No. 34, p. 12. He did not contract tuberculosis while
incarcerated, but “was locked up with some that had it.” ECF No. 34, p. 13. He does not indicate
how he knew these individuals had tuberculosis.
Plaintiff was released on an ankle monitor on September 19, 2013 to await transfer with the
Arkansas Department of Correction. ECF No. 34, p. 12.
Official Capacity Claims
Plaintiff’s only possible official capacity argument is that the jail did not purchase his
Prograf because “their insurance wouldn’t cover it” and “they didn’t want to pay for the meds.”
ECF No. 34, pp. 9, 14. He disagrees with Defendant’s statement that the Prograf needed to be
special ordered, stating “I told them Young’s always had my meds.” ECF No. 34, p. 9.
Defendants argue Plaintiff has made no allegations that could give rise to a claim of official
capacity liability. ECF No. 33, pp. 3-4.
Under Section 1983, a defendant may be sued in either his individual capacity, or in his
official capacity, or in both. In Gorman v. Bartch, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals (“Eighth
Circuit”) discussed the distinction between individual and official capacity suits. As explained by
the Gorman case:
Claims against government actors in their individual capacities differ from those in their
official capacities as to the type of conduct that is actionable and as to the type of defense
that is available. See Hafer v. Melo, 502 U.S. 21, 112 S.Ct. 358, 116 L.Ed.2d 301 (1991).
Claims against individuals in their official capacities are equivalent to claims against the
entity for which they work; they require proof that a policy or custom of the entity violated
the plaintiff's rights, and the only type of immunity available is one belonging to the entity
itself. Id. 502 U.S. at 24–27, 112 S.Ct. at 361–62 (1991). Personal capacity claims, on
the other hand, are those which allege personal liability for individual actions by officials
in the course of their duties; these claims do not require proof of any policy and qualified
immunity may be raised as a defense. Id. 502 U.S. at 25–27, 112 S.Ct. at 362.
Gorman, 152 F.3d 907, 914 (8th Cir.1998). “[R]igorous standards of culpability and causation
must be applied to ensure that the [county] is not held liable solely for the actions of its employee”
in cases where a plaintiff claims a county has caused an employee to violate the plaintiff’s
constitutional rights. Board of County Commissioners, Oklahoma v. Brown, 520 U.S. 397, 405
Plaintiff has not identified any policy, custom, or practice that violated his constitutional
rights. He has not provided proof of any policy, custom, or practice which violated his constitutional
rights. Taken in the light most favorable to Plaintiff, at most, he alleged a ten day delay between
when he was incarcerated and when all of his medications were confirmed by UAMS, and a thirteen
day delay until he received his Prograf. There is no evidence that HSCDC did anything to delay the
medication confirmation or purchase process. There is evidence, however, that Plaintiff contributed
to the delay by failing to inform HSCDC of his liver transplant and immunosuppressive drugs at the
time of his intake. After the initial delay, the Inmate Medication Ledger indicates that he received
his Prograf regularly. ECF No. 29-3.
Accordingly, Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 28.) is GRANTED as
to Plaintiff’s official capacity claims against all Defendants.
Individual Capacity Claims: Deliberate Indifference to Medical Needs
Plaintiff argues that both Defendants are individually liable for denying him medication and
for not having properly licensed and experienced personnel administering medication. He further
argues that the delay in receiving his Prograf could have caused his body to reject his liver transplant,
and he suffered mental anguish due to worrying about his lack of diabetic care. ECF No. 34, pp.
13-15. He also alleges he was locked up with inmates who had tuberculosis, but does not allege any
specific harm due to this action. ECF No. 34, p. 13.
Defendants argue Plaintiff has presented no evidence they were deliberately indifferent or
that he was harmed in way by any delays. ECF No. 29, p. 7.
The Eighth Amendment prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment prohibits deliberate
indifference to prisoners’ serious medical needs. Luckert v. Dodge County, 684 F.3d 808, 817 (8th
Cir. 2012). To prevail on his Eighth Amendment claim, Plaintiff must prove that Defendants acted
with deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106
Deliberate indifference may be manifested by “prison guards in intentionally denying or
delaying access to medical care or intentionally interfering with the treatment once prescribed.” Id.
at 104–05. However, the “Constitution does not require jailers to handle every medical complaint
as quickly as each inmate might wish.” Jenkins v. County of Hennepin, Minn., 557 F.3d 628, 633
(8th Cir. 2009). The objective seriousness of delay in treatment must be measured by reference to
the effect of delay, which must be shown by verifying medical evidence in the record. Laughlin v.
Schriro, 430 F.3d 927, 929 (8th Cir. 2005). Unless, however, the need for medical attention is
obvious to a layperson in which case the plaintiff need not submit verifying medical evidence to
show the detrimental effects of delay. See Schaub v. VonWald, 638 F.3d 905, 919 (8th Cir.
2011)(citing Roberson v. Bradshaw, 198 F.3d 645, 648 (8th Cir. 1999); Aswegan v. Henry, 49 F.3d
461, 464 (8th Cir. 1995); see also Boyd v. Knox, 47 F.3d 966, 969 (8th Cir. 1995) (“noting that a
delay in treatment, coupled with knowledge that an inmate is suffering, can support a finding of an
Eighth Amendment violation”). In evaluating a treatment delay for summary judgment purposes, the
court “must accept facts as recited in prisoner affidavits as true...” Wise v. Lappin, 674 F.3d 939,
941 (8th Cir. 2012) (citing Tlamka v. Serrell, 244 F.3d 628, 634 (8th Cir. 2001.)(taking Plaintiff’s
statements as true, the record revealed trialworthy issues as to a treatment delay of two months for
a broken jaw when prison medical providers had a diagnosis and recommendation for a specialist
referral, Plaintiff repeatedly complained of pain and difficulty due to his injury, and the jaw
deformity was physically obvious.)
It is well-established in the Eighth Circuit that corrections officers may deliver medication
to inmates, provided they are properly trained to record if inmates have accepted or refused the
medication. See e.g. Cody v. Hillard, 599 F. Supp. 1025, 1056 (D.S.D. 1984), decision aff'd, 799
F.2d 447 (8th Cir. 1986), on reh'g, 830 F.2d 912 (8th Cir. 1987). Therefore, Plaintiff’s claims on
this matter do not present a valid constitutional claim.
Plaintiff has not provided verifying medical evidence to show the delay in administering his
Prograf from July 25, 2013 to August 5, 2013 caused any injury or detrimental effect. I do find a
delay of thirteen days to administer immunosuppressive drugs to be alarming. However, this
situation was created in part by Plaintiff, who failed to inform the HSCDC of his liver condition
during the intake process, and by his failure to have this medication with him despite having several
other medications. Fortunately, Plaintiff’s bloodwork in August showed good liver lab results. ECF
No. 29-6. Plaintiff was also released on September 19, 2013 and would have been free to contact
his normal physician to have any additional tests he felt were necessary to sow detrimental effect.
I see no evidence of any additional testing in the record.
Regarding Plaintiff’s allegations concerning his diabetes, I do note that his inmate medication
ledge shows a number of significant gaps where his blood pressure and blood sugar were not
checked. And I do not see any additional records submitted by Defendants to show that those gaps
were incorrect. However, Plaintiff has not provided any evidence that he suffered any detrimental
effect from the alleged lack of diabetic care. Indeed, some of this lack stemmed from his own refusal
to have his blood sugar tested three times. ECF No. 29-7, p. 15. Based on his own grievance about
the snacks, it is also not clear that he was actually denied diabetic snacks. Rather, he disagreed with
the content of the diabetic snacks. On August 24, 2013, Plaintiff grieved the diabetic snack provided
because it was only “eight little vanilla cookies,”and did not include peanut butter or juice.
According to the response, the standard diabetic snack is orange juice and vanilla cookies. ECF No.
29-7, p. 15.
Accordingly, Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 28.) is GRANTED as
to Plaintiff’s deliberate indifference to medical needs claims against all Defendants in their
For the reasons stated, the Defendants’ motion for summary judgment (ECF No. 28) is
IT IS SO ORDERED this 4th day of March 2015.
/s/ Barry A. Bryant
HON. BARRY A. BRYANT
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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