Maguire v. Patterson
MEMORANDUM DECISION and Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment-granting in part and denying in part 175 Motion for Summary Judgment. See Order for details. Signed by Judge Clark Waddoups on 12/14/15. (jmr)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF UTAH, CENTRAL DIVISION
BRIAN E. MAGUIRE,
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND
DENYING IN PART DEFENDANTS’
MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
THOMAS E. PATTERSON et al.,
Case No. 2:10-cv-00626-CW
Judge Clark Waddoups
Plaintiff Brian Maguire suffered a severe stroke while incarcerated at the Utah State
Prison. He filed this civil rights action alleging numerous prison officials violated his
constitutional rights by acting with deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. (Dkt. No.
31); (Dkt. No. 61). The defendants have now filed a renewed motion for summary judgment
(Dkt. No. 175),1 and the court heard oral argument on that motion. After carefully considering
the parties’ briefs and oral arguments, the court now GRANTS in part and DENIES in part the
defendants’ renewed motion for summary judgment.
Maguire’s medical treatment at the prison began on July 3, 2008 when Chris Abbott, a
physician’s assistant, performed an intake examination to determine Maguire’s general physical
Some of the defendants previously filed a motion for summary judgment. (Dkt. No. 108). The court
denied that motion, but allowed the defendants to file a renewed motion once all of the defendants had been served
and a Martinez report had been filed. (Dkt. No. 141).
The court recites the facts of this case—including those facts that are genuinely in dispute—in the light
most favorable to Maguire. See Macon v. United Parcel Service, Inc., 743 F.3d 708, 712 (10th Cir. 2014) (at the
summary judgment stage, the court must “view the evidence and draw reasonable inferences therefrom in the light
most favorable to the nonmoving party”).
condition. (Dkt. No. 185-1, p. 4).3 At that time, Maguire informed Abbott he was on a
methadone treatment program for his history of opiate addiction. (Id.). Because methadone is a
highly abused narcotic that can present safety concerns to inmates when prescribed to them,
Abbott told Maguire that methadone is only prescribed to pregnant women and others in very
limited circumstances. (See Dkt. No. 180-1, p. 51); (Dkt. No. 185-1, p. 4). Nevertheless, Maguire
requested he be placed on a methadone-tapering regimen. (Dkt. No. 185-1, p. 4). Abbott called
his supervisor, Dr. Richard Garden, who confirmed Maguire should not be given methadone.
(Id.). Maguire alleges that during this conversation, Garden told Abbott that even though the
methadone withdrawals may make Maguire wish he were dead, they would not actually kill him.
(Id.). Abbott then prescribed Maguire the drug clonidine to reduce the effects of the withdrawals.
(Dkt. No. 180-1, p. 51).
Maguire began experiencing psychotic episodes related to the methadone withdrawals.
(Id.). Consequently, he spent the next week in and out of the prison infirmary. (Id., pp. 51–52).
During this period, Maguire alleges prison officials found him on the floor of the observation cell
with extremely low blood pressure, apparently due to severe dehydration. (Dkt. No. 185-1, p. 7).
Prison nurse Steven Mecham and his supervisor administered an IV, which successfully revived
Maguire. (Id.). Rather than send him to a hospital, they released Maguire back into the infirmary
observation cell. (Id.). The next morning, July 14, 2008, a prison physician examined Maguire,
who reported that he felt “pretty much okay.” (Id., p. 38); (Dkt. No. 81-1, 711). Prison officials
released Maguire to his regular holding cell that same day. (Id., p. 7).4
There are numerous page numbers found on each of the docket files. The court uses the page numbers that
correspond to the docketed filing.
Maguire’s opposition to summary judgment contends he was released into general population
immediately after the IV incident. But this representation is contradicted by Maguire’s medical records and
deposition testimony, which reflect that he was in observation during this period and only released into general
population after he confirmed to the prison doctor that he was feeling “pretty much okay.” (Dkt. No. 81-1, p. 711;
On July 15, 2008, Maguire noticed he was having trouble controlling his left arm. (Id.).
He filled out an emergency healthcare request form, which read, “my left arm and hand are
losing their use and I [am] very worried and suffering mentally and physically.” (Dkt. No. 180-1,
p. 52). Abbott saw Maguire later that afternoon. (Id.). When Maguire arrived at the appointment,
the prison guard who accompanied him informed Abbott that Maguire appeared to be dragging
his left leg. (Dkt. 180-1, p. 62). Additionally, Maguire told Abbott that he was having difficulty
controlling the left side of his body, including his left arm and extremities. (Dkt. No. 185-1, p. 8).
Abbott began to treat Maguire by massaging his upper body. While doing so, Abbott noticed a
prominent spasm in Maguire’s left trapezius muscle and applied pressure on the associated
trigger point. (Id.). Maguire reported this provided him some immediate relief. (Dkt. No. 180-1,
p. 52). Abbott diagnosed Maguire with a muscle spasm and prescribed a muscle relaxant and
physical therapy. (Id., pp. 52–53).
That night, Maguire’s left arm began seizing and his left leg became completely numb.
(Dkt. No. 185-1, p. 8). He began convulsing and called for the other inmates to yell “man down”
so prison guards and medical personnel would respond to his cell. (Id., pp. 8–9 ). Prison Sergeant
Jerry Miller and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) Craig Jensen and Rodger MacFarlane
responded to the man down call and witnessed Maguire convulsing. (Dkt. No. 103-3, pp. 1–2).
The three men helped Maguire to the cell floor. Jensen and MacFarlane checked his vital signs
and informed Maguire he was having a seizure. (Dkt. No. 185-1, p. 9); (Dkt. No. 180-1, p. 76);
(Dkt. No. 180, p. 36). Maguire responded that he did not believe he was having a seizure because
he had never had a seizure before and was lucid throughout the event. Maguire explained that he
had been around people having seizures and when they had seizures, they blacked out, which he
185-1, p. 7). Although the court must view the facts in the light most favorable to Maguire, the court cannot accept
allegations that are unsupported and contradicted by record evidence. See James v. Wadas, 724 F.3d 1312, 1315
(10th Cir. 2013).
did not. Nevertheless, Jensen and MacFarlane told him there was nothing else they could do
except place his mattress on the floor so that he would not fall off his bunk if it happened again.
They told Maguire that if he needed any additional help, he should inform the officers, including
Sergeant Miller, who would alert the EMTs. (Dkt. No. 180, p. 36); (Dkt. No. 185-1, p. 9).
Throughout that night until early the next morning, prison guards—including, according
to Maguire, defendant Miller—passed by Maguire’s cell to perform hourly inmate counts. (Dkt.
No. 185-1, pp. 9–10). During each of these counts, Maguire claims he pled with the guards to
summon the EMTs because he was experiencing continued twitching and cramping throughout
the left side of his body. (Id.). Maguire’s pleas went unanswered and eventually the guards
stopped passing by his cell entirely. (Id.). Finally, on the morning of July 16, 2008, prison
officials found Maguire sitting in his cell, unable to stand up. During the night, Maguire had
urinated in his jumpsuit because he was unable to get up off the floor. (Id., pp. 10; 43). Prison
officials transferred him to the University of Utah Medical Center, where doctors determined that
he had suffered a severe stroke. (Id., p. 11).
Maguire filed this civil rights action against Garden, Abbott, Mecham, Jensen,
MacFarlane, and Miller (collectively, Defendants), asserting claims for violations of the Eighth
Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and the Unnecessary Rigor Clause of the Utah Constitution.
Defendants collectively seek summary judgment, claiming they are entitled to qualified
immunity on Maguire’s § 1983 claims. They also ask the court to grant summary judgment on
Maguire’s claims under the Utah Constitution because Maguire has an adequate remedy under
federal law. (Dkt. No. 175). The court begins by considering whether Defendants are entitled to
qualified immunity on Maguire’s § 1983 claims before turning to Maguire’s state law claims.5
Maguire passed away while the case was proceeding in this court and is now represented by the executor
of his estate. For clarity’s sake, the court refers to Maguire in the present tense.
A. Qualified Immunity
“Public officials are immune from suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 unless they have violated
a statutory or constitutional right that was clearly established at the time of the challenged
conduct.” City & Cty. of S.F. v. Sheehan, ___U.S. ___, 135 S. Ct. 1765, 1774 (2015) (internal
quotation marks omitted). “When a defendant asserts qualified immunity at the summary
judgment stage, the burden shifts to the plaintiff, who must clear two hurdles to defeat the
defendant’s motion.” Lundstrom v. Romero, 616 F.3d 1108, 1118 (10th Cir. 2010). “The plaintiff
must demonstrate, on the facts alleged, that (1) the defendant violated a constitutional right, and
(2) the right was clearly established at the time of the alleged unlawful activity.” Id. The court
addresses each of these prongs in turn, applying Maguire’s version of the facts. See Quinn v.
Young, 780 F.3d 998, 1007 (10th Cir. 2015) (recognizing the court has the freedom to decide
which of the two prongs to examine first).
1. Constitutional Violation
The constitutional right implicated here is Maguire’s right to adequate medical treatment
in prison. To state a § 1983 claim for inadequate medical care, Maguire must demonstrate prison
officials were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs. See Martinez v. Garden, 430
F.3d 1302, 1304 (10th Cir. 2005) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976)).
“Deliberate indifference involves both an objective and a subjective component.” Sealock v.
Colorado, 218 F.3d 1205, 1209 (10th Cir. 2000). The objective inquiry asks whether “the
deprivation alleged [is], objectively, sufficiently serious.” Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834
(1994) (internal quotation marks omitted). “A medical need is sufficiently [objectively] serious if
it 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.” Sealock,
218 F.3d at 1209 (internal quotation marks omitted).
The subjective inquiry asks whether the defendant acted with the requisite state of mind,
defined as one of “deliberate indifference” to “an excessive risk to inmate health or safety.” Id.
“The deliberate indifference standard lies ‘somewhere between the poles of negligence at one
end and purpose or knowledge at the other.’” Mata v. Saiz, 427 F.3d 745, 752 (10th Cir. 2005)
(quoting Farmer, 511 U.S. at 836). “The Supreme Court in Farmer analogized this standard to
criminal recklessness, which makes a person liable when [he] consciously disregards a
substantial risk of serious harm.” Id. Under this standard, “the official must both be aware of
facts from which the inference could be drawn that a substantial risk of serious harm exists, and
[he] must also draw the inference.” Id. Whether a defendant was aware of, and consciously
disregarded, a substantial risk is a “question of fact subject to demonstration in the usual ways,
including inference from circumstantial evidence.” Gonzalez v. Martinez, 403 F.3d 1179, 1183
(10th Cir. 2005) (emphasis omitted). For instance, “the factfinder may conclude that a prison
official knew of a substantial risk from the very fact that the risk was obvious.” Estate of Booker
v. Gomez, 745 F.3d 405, 430 (10th Cir. 2014) (emphasis added). Because Defendants concede
Maguire has satisfied the objective seriousness prong, the court considers whether any defendant
was subjectively deliberately indifferent to Maguire’s serious medical needs.
a. Richard Garden
Maguire’s claim against Garden stems from Garden’s decision not to taper Maguire off
methadone. According to Maguire, this decision evidences deliberate indifference to a
substantial risk of serious harm because Garden knew the withdrawals would be so painful, they
may make Maguire wish he were dead. See, e.g., Mata, 427 F.3d at 755 (recognizing extreme
pain and suffering can establish a sufficiently serious harm to be cognizable under the Eighth
Amendment). The court is not persuaded.
An inmate is not entitled to any particular course of treatment while incarcerated. See
Callahan v. Poppell, 471 F.3d 1155, 1160 (10th Cir. 2006); Perkins v. Kan. Dep’t of Corrs., 165
F.3d 803, 811 (10th Cir. 1999) (stating that “a prisoner who merely disagrees with a diagnosis or
a prescribed course of treatment does not state a constitutional violation”). Rather, a prison
doctor is “free to exercise his or her independent professional judgment” in assessing the medical
treatment necessary. Callahan, 471 F.3d at 1160. Accordingly, the Tenth Circuit has held that
the decision by jail officials to discontinue an inmate’s prescribed methadone does not constitute
deliberate indifference where the inmate is given clonidine as a replacement to treat the
withdrawal symptoms. Boyett v. Cty. of Wash., 282 F. App’x 667, 674 (10th Cir. 2008).6
As in Boyett, here Garden exercised his medical judgment to determine Maguire should
not be placed on a methadone-tapering program. Although methadone may have been Maguire’s
preferred method of treatment, Garden was entitled to weigh the potential severity of the
withdrawals against the risks of prescribing methadone, including the risk of physical abuse from
other inmates. Moreover, Maguire was given clonidine to assist with the withdrawal symptoms.
Thus, even assuming Maguire’s withdrawal pains were sufficiently serious to give rise to a
constitutional claim, a reasonable jury could not find that prison officials were deliberately
indifferent to that pain. Garden is therefore entitled to summary judgment.
b. Chris Abbott
Maguire’s claim against Abbott stems from Maguire’s emergency medical visit to
Though not binding, the court finds unpublished decisions of the Tenth Circuit persuasive. See 10th Cir.
R. 32.1(A) (“Unpublished decisions are not precedential, but may be cited for their persuasive value.”).
Abbott’s office on July 15, 2008.7 Maguire alleges that Abbott was deliberately indifferent to his
serious medical needs when he failed to diagnose Maguire’s symptoms as the onset of a stroke
and instead treated him for a muscle spasm. In response, Abbott claims his failure to diagnose
accurately Maguire’s symptoms constitutes a mere medical misdiagnosis, which is insufficient to
establish subjective deliberate indifference. See Self v. Crum, 439 F.3d 1227, 1233 (10th Cir.
2006) (holding that “a misdiagnosis, even if rising to the level of medical malpractice” is
insufficient to establish the subjective component of a deliberate indifference claim). The court
rejects Abbott’s arguments.
Although Abbott is correct that a mere misdiagnosis is generally insufficient to establish
deliberate indifference to a serious medical need, this principle is not absolute. The Tenth Circuit
has explained that a medical provider does not act with deliberate indifference where he or she
fails to diagnose a serious medical condition by relying on symptoms that are consistent with a
less severe ailment. See id. at 1234 (“Where a doctor faces symptoms that could suggest either
indigestion or stomach cancer, and the doctor mistakenly treats indigestion, the doctor’s culpable
state of mind is not established even if the doctor’s medical judgment may have been objectively
unreasonable.”); accord Burnett v. Miller, No. 14-7069, 2015 WL 7352007, at *7 (10th Cir. Nov.
20, 2015) (recognizing that where “an inmate’s symptoms could suggest multiple different
diagnoses, the fact a medical provider mistakenly treated the wrong condition” does not establish
deliberate indifference). But the Tenth Circuit has also recognized that a jury may infer
conscious disregard where a provider misdiagnoses an obvious risk and then responds to that risk
with treatment that is patently unreasonable. See, e.g., Blackmon v. Sutton, 734 F.3d 1237, 1245
(10th Cir. 2013) (citing Westlake v. Lucas, 537 F.2d 857 (6th Cir. 1976)) (evidence was
Maguire also brings a claim against Abbott for Abbott’s involvement the decision to discontinue
Maguire’s methadone prescription. Abbott is entitled to summary judgment on this claim for the same reasons
Garden is entitled to summary judgment.
sufficient to show conscious disregard to a substantial risk of serious harm where prison staff
provided an inmate with mild antacids in response to a badly bleeding ulcer); Oxendine v.
Kaplan, 241 F.3d 1272, 1278–79 (10th Cir. 2001) (holding that a prison doctor could be liable
for deliberate indifference when, in response to a gangrenous finger, insisted the finger was
heeling and prescribed Tylenol to treat the pain). Considering the facts in the light most
favorable to Maguire, genuine disputes exist regarding whether Abbott’s misdiagnosis in this
case was so obviously unreasonable that it could evidence deliberate indifference.
For example, Abbott knew Maguire had lost control of his left arm and hand. Given these
symptoms, diagnosing a muscle spasm in Maguire’s shoulder might not be unreasonable (even if
ultimately incorrect) because such a diagnosis may be consistent with those symptoms. But there
is also evidence in the record that Abbott knew Maguire had lost control of the left side of his
body. Indeed, Maguire testified he told Abbott he was “having a difficult time controlling the left
side of my body, my left hand, my left extremities.” (Dkt. No. 185-1, p. 8). Maguire further
claims the guard observed Maguire dragging his left leg and reported this observation to Abbott.
In light of this fact, a reasonable jury could conclude Maguire’s loss of control on the entire left
side of his body was so obviously inconsistent with a simple muscle spasm in his shoulder—and
so obviously consistent with the symptoms of a stroke—that Abbott’s contrary diagnosis and
treatment was patently unreasonable. Cf. Sealock, 218 F.3d at 1208 (nurse was not deliberately
indifferent when she diagnosed inmate with the flu rather than as having a heart attack because
inmate was having chest pain, could not breathe, had throat pain, and had nausea and vomiting);
Burnett, 2015 WL 7352007, at *6 (concluding registered nurse was not deliberately indifferent
where she failed to diagnose chest pain as indicative of a heart attack because it was unclear
whether the pain was cardiac, musculoskeletal or pleuritic, and when the nurse administered the
ECG, the test was normal). For this reason, the court finds a genuine dispute of fact exists as to
whether Abbott was deliberately indifferent to Maguire’s serious medical needs in violation of
the Eighth Amendment.
c. Steven Mecham
Maguire’s claim against Mecham is based on Mecham’s failure to provide adequate
follow-up treatment after Maguire was found unconscious in the prison infirmary. Additionally,
Maguire claims that Mecham violated his rights by failing to record the IV incident. These
On this record, there is insufficient evidence from which a jury could find that Mecham
was deliberately indifferent to the potentially serious medical condition presented by Maguire’s
unconsciousness. Rather, when Maguire was found unconscious, Mecham and his supervisor
determined that the proper course of treatment was to attempt to revive him with an IV rather
than immediately transport him to a hospital. (Dkt. No. 185-1, p. 7). Maguire concedes the IV
successfully revived him, after which they returned him to the infirmary observation cell until he
could be seen by a physician. It was only after Maguire saw the physician and told him he felt
“pretty much okay” that he was returned to his regular cell.8 (Dkt. No. 81-1, p. 711; 185-1, p. 7).
Mecham was “free to exercise his . . . independent professional judgment” in assessing the
medical treatment necessary for Maguire’s unconsciousness, see Callahan, 471 F.3d at 1160, and
nothing in the record indicates the course of treatment was inconsistent with Maguire’s
symptoms or otherwise unreasonable, see Self, 439 F.3d at 1232–33 (stating that “where a doctor
orders treatment consistent with the symptoms presented and continues to monitor the patient’s
As explained, the court does not consider Maguire’s unsupported contention that Mecham released him
into the general population rather than keep him in observation. But even assuming this fact were genuinely in
dispute, Maguire’s claim of deliberate indifference would still fail because he does not identify any harm that
resulted from the decision to place him in general population rather than in the prison infirmary.
condition, an inference of deliberate indifference is unwarranted”). Thus, Maguire’s claim that
Mecham was deliberately indifferent to his serious medical condition cannot survive summary
Maguire’s claim that Mecham violated his constitutional rights by failing to record the IV
incident is also unavailing. Maguire has presented no evidence to show how the failure to record
in this instance resulted in the denial of adequate medical care. See, e.g., Davis v. Caruso, No.
07-CV-11740, 2009 WL 878193, at *2 (E.D. Mich. Mar. 30, 2009) (recognizing that Eighth
Amendment violations stemming from inadequate, incomplete, inaccurate, or mislaid medical
documents are typically reserved for claims alleging “systematic inadequacies in a jail’s or
prison’s systems of medical record keeping”); Ferguson v. Corr. Med. Servs., Inc., No.
5:05CV00078 GHBD, 2007 WL 707027, at *3–4 (E.D. Ark. Mar. 1, 2007) (granting summary
judgment to defendant where inmate failed to demonstrate that prison doctor’s failure to place a
note of a procedure in a chart gave rise to a grave risk of unnecessary pain and suffering).
Likewise, Maguire presents no evidence to show Mecham acted with deliberate indifference in
failing to record the incident. Thus, Mecham is entitled to summary judgment on Maguire’s
d. Craig Jensen and Rodger MacFarlane
Maguire claims EMTs Jensen and MacFarlane were deliberately indifferent when they
responded to Maguire’s cell, diagnosed him as having a seizure, and failed to provide any
follow-up treatment. Jensen and MacFarlane have moved for summary judgment on two
grounds. First, they argue Maguire’s claim is procedurally barred because he initially
erroneously named them as John Does believed to be “Med. Tech. Craig” and “Rogers,” and
consequently failed to serve them within the applicable statute of limitations. Next, they argue
Maguire failed to show they were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs.
Accordingly, the court addresses the statute of limitations before turning to the merits of
Statute of Limitations
For a § 1983 claim that arises in Utah, the statute of limitations is four years. Fratus v.
DeLand, 49 F.3d 673, 675 (10th Cir. 1995). Although Maguire filed his complaint in 2010, two
years after the incident, it is undisputed that Maguire did not serve Jensen and MacFarlane until
2014, six years after the incident. Nevertheless, Maguire asks the court to find that the statute of
limitations should be equitably tolled.
The court must look to Utah law to determine whether Maguire is entitled to equitable
tolling. See Harrison v. United States, 438 F. App’x 665, 668 (10th Cir. 2011) (holding that
“[s]tate law ordinarily governs the application of equitable tolling in a federal civil-rights
action”). In Utah, the doctrine of equitable tolling does not permit courts to simply “rescue
litigants who have inexcusably and unreasonably slept on their rights.” Garza v. Burnett, 321
P.3d 1104, 1107 (Utah 2013) (internal quotation marks omitted). Rather, it “prevent[s] the
expiration of claims to litigants who, through no fault of their own, have been unable to assert
their rights within the limitations period.” Id. (internal quotation marks omitted). For this reason,
Utah courts have limited the doctrine to instances in which it would be manifestly unjust to apply
the statute of limitations. See, e.g., id. at 1108 (holding that the statute of limitations should be
equitably tolled where a claim that would have been timely filed became untimely because of a
subsequent Supreme Court ruling that shortened the statutory time period); Berneau v. Martino,
223 P.3d 1128 (Utah 2009) (recognizing that the equitable discovery rule may toll a statute of
limitations where the plaintiff did not know and could not reasonably have discovered the facts
underlying the cause of action in time to commence an action within the limitations period, and
either 1) the plaintiff was not aware of the cause of action because of the defendant’s
concealment or misleading conduct or 2) the case presents exceptional circumstances).
Viewing the present case in light of Utah’s equitable tolling jurisprudence, the court finds
the undisputed record supports equitable tolling to allow Maguire to pursue his claims against
Jensen and MacFarlane. To begin, Maguire’s failure to name these defendants accurately was
based on his review of prison records that confusingly identified Jensen and MacFarlane only by
their first names: Craig and Rodger. (Dkt. No. 103-2). Further, once the prison informed Maguire
that Med. Techs “Craig” and “Rogers” did not exist, Maguire attempted numerous times to
identify the correct defendants. These efforts include, but are not limited to, attempting to serve
the parties in a pre-litigation internal review and filing a Government Records Access and
Management Act request, which officials denied. (Dkt. No. 180, p. 32). When these efforts
proved unavailing, Maguire enlisted this court’s assistance. The court then ordered the U.S.
Marshals to serve the appropriate parties and directed the prison to provide the information
necessary to effect service. (Id., pp. 32–33). It was only in 2013, after the limitations period
would have expired, that the State first indicated Med Techs “Craig” and “Rogers” may be
Jensen and MacFarlane. In short, therefore, the court cannot conceive of anything more Maguire
could have done to identify and serve Jensen and MacFarlane within the required time.9 Thus,
Maguire’s failure to serve Jensen and MacFarlane was through no fault of his own; it was the
result of the apparent unwillingness of prison officials—who were in sole control of the
The court is unpersuaded by Defendants’ argument that Maguire had the information necessary to identify
Jensen and MacFarlane because they were identified in his medical records. These records contain nearly 800 pages
of Maguire’s medical history and list countless individuals who attended to Maguire at some time during his
incarceration. Additionally, and most importantly, the medical history does not contain any record of Maguire’s
“man down” incident. Therefore, although Jensen’s name does appear throughout the records, it does not appear in
any relation to the relevant incident. Furthermore, MacFarlane’s name never appears in Maguire’s medical records.
Thus, Maguire cannot have been expected to identify Jensen and MacFarlane from his medical records.
necessary information—to identify the correct defendants.
Likewise, Jensen and MacFarlane have failed to establish they suffered any prejudice as a
result of the belated service. They identify no specific evidence, arguments, or problems with
proof occasioned by the delay. To the contrary, evidence in the record shows the State was
investigating this case and actively making arguments on behalf of Jensen and MacFarlane
before they were even served. Indeed, the State argued that Jensen and MacFarlane were entitled
to summary judgment on statute of limitations grounds in December 2012, shortly after the
limitations period would have expired. Where the defendants have identified no prejudice from
the belated service and Maguire’s failure to serve them sooner was due to the prison’s own
deficiencies, the court finds it would be manifestly unjust to preclude a merits-based review of
Maguire’s claims. Compare Myers v. McDonald, 635 P.2d 84, 86–87 (Utah 1981) (equitably
tolling the statute of limitations where, despite plaintiffs’ efforts to discover their ward’s
whereabouts, they had no knowledge of his death or that a cause of action existed and the
defendants were not prejudiced by the delay in filing suit), with Ottens v. McNeil, 239 P.3d 308,
328 (Utah Ct. App. 2010) (holding that equitable tolling was not appropriate where plaintiff
waited until less than twenty days before the four-year limitations period expired before filing
her complaint, which hampered her ability to identify and name the correct party and resulted in
the loss of evidence). Equitable tolling is therefore appropriate in this case.
Having found the statute of limitations has been tolled, the court considers the merits.
Maguire appears to invoke two forms of deliberate indifference against Jensen and MacFarlane:
their failure to treat properly his serious medical condition, and their failure as gatekeepers to
provide him access to further medical care. See Self, 439 F.3d at 1232 (recognizing deliberate
indifference claims where the health official provides inadequate medical care or, if a prison
health official serves as a gatekeeper for other medical personnel capable of treating the
condition, delays or refuses to provide access to adequate medical care). In response, Jensen and
MacFarlane argue they were not deliberately indifferent because they merely misdiagnosed
Maguire as having a seizure and treated him accordingly. (Dkt. No. 175, p. 24). Additionally,
they posit they did not deny Maguire access to necessary care because Jensen reported the
incident to a charge nurse and Maguire received care the next morning. (Dkt. No. 180-1, pp. 77,
82). Jensen’s and MacFarlane’s arguments are not persuasive.
First, a jury could reasonably conclude Jensen and MacFarlane were deliberately
indifferent in assuming Maguire was having a seizure that required no further treatment. Maguire
told them he did not think he was having a seizure because he had no history of seizures and he
did not black out, which he knew is common for seizures. He also told them he was lucid
throughout the entire event, another symptom inconsistent with a seizure. This is confirmed by
Miller’s declaration, which states that Maguire remained conscious and communicative
throughout the episode. (Dkt. No. 103-3, p. 2). Given these facts, a reasonable jury could
conclude that Jensen’s and MacFarlane’s determination that Maguire was having a seizure was
so patently unreasonable that it evidences deliberate indifference.
Second, even assuming Jensen and MacFarlane acted reasonably in misdiagnosing
Maguire’s medical condition as a seizure rather than a stroke, a reasonable jury could conclude
Jensen’s and MacFarlane’s treatment in response to what they perceived to be a seizure
evidences a conscious disregard to a serious medical condition. Indeed, a seizure is objectively
serious because a layperson would realize the need for a doctor’s attention. See Sealock, 218
F.3d at 1209; see, e.g., King v. Kramer, 680 F.3d 1013, 1018 (7th Cir. 2012) (recognizing that
“medical conditions much less serious than seizures have satisfied” the objective seriousness
standard). But in response to the apparent seizure, Jensen and MacFarlane did not attempt to
assess the seizure’s cause, take any action to prevent further seizures, or continue to monitor
Maguire’s condition. Rather, Jensen and MacFarlane simply placed Maguire’s mattress on the
cell floor and informed him to call for the guards if he needed additional medical attention. Thus,
contrary to Defendants’ arguments, Jensen and MacFarlane did not merely misdiagnose and treat
what they perceived to be a seizure; they essentially provided no treatment at all. In these
circumstances, a reasonable jury could conclude this conduct was deliberately indifferent to a
serious medical need. See, e.g., Blackmon, 734 F.3d at 1244 (holding that prison mental health
professionals were not entitled to summary judgment on qualified immunity grounds where they
failed to provide a pretrial detainee with “any meaningful mental health care, despite his obvious
need for it”); Self, 439 F.3d at 1232 (recognizing that a jury can infer conscious disregard where
“a medical professional completely denies care although presented with recognizable symptoms
which potentially create a medical emergency”).
Similarly, Maguire has presented sufficient evidence to show genuine questions of fact
exist regarding whether Jensen and MacFarlane failed as gatekeepers to provide Maguire access
to the necessary treatment for what they believed to be a seizure. As explained, a reasonable jury
could find that, when confronted with a seizure, the need for additional treatment or referral to a
medical specialist is obvious. See Self, 439 F.3d at 1232 (holding that a claim for gatekeeper
liability is actionable “where the need for additional treatment or referral to a medical specialist
is obvious”); cf. Richards v. Daniels, 557 F. App’x 725, 728 (10th Cir. 2014) (holding officials
were not deliberately indifferent where they responded to an inmate’s seizure by providing him
with prompt medical attention and medicine to treat seizures); Boyett, 282 F. App’x at 675
(holding officials were not deliberately indifferent where they transferred an inmate to a medical
observation cell for continued monitoring after a fall they believed was caused by a seizure or
other serious medical condition). Jensen and MacFarlane were aware that Maguire had never had
a seizure previously, did not black out during the event, and did not believe he was having a
seizure. Certainly these facts are sufficient to require further inquiry from a more knowledgeable
medical professional to ascertain the seizure’s potential cause and the appropriate treatment. But
it is genuinely disputed whether Jensen or MacFarlane notified or sought assistance from any
prison medical professional regarding Maguire’s condition.
Jensen claims that, pursuant to prison policy, he notified the charge nurse of Maguire’s
seizure. (Dkt. No. 180-1, p. 77). But there is no corresponding medical record to show any such
notice. Likewise, Jensen’s declaration does not provide supporting details such as the name of
the charge nurse and there is no declaration from the charge nurse attesting that he or she was
ever notified. Nor does MacFarlane’s declaration—despite being similar to Jensen’s declaration
in every other material respect—contain any similar representation. Moreover, there is no
evidence the charge nurse responded, gave assistance, or even gave Jensen guidance about how
to respond to the situation, all of which a jury could reasonably conclude would have been
expected if Jensen had in fact notified the charge nurse. At the summary judgment stage, the
court is under no obligation to accept as true Jensen’s self-serving statements, particularly when
unsupported by record evidence. See e.g. Parkhurst v. Lampert, 339 F. App’x 855, 862 (10th Cir.
2009) (rejecting “a contention made in [a] summary judgment response brief, which was . . . a
conclusory, self-serving statement unsupported by any evidence”); Bennett v. Aetna Life Ins. Co.,
2013 WL 4679482, at *11 (D. Utah Aug. 30, 2013) (rejecting defendants’ argument that the
plaintiff was seen by someone with appropriate medical credentials when there was no evidence
to support this claim other than the defendants’ self-serving declaration). Accordingly, the court
finds that genuine disputes preclude summary judgment on Maguire’s claims against Jensen and
MacFarlane for their actions in failing to appropriately diagnose, treat, or ensure Maguire had
access to adequate medical care for his apparent seizure.
e. Jerry Miller
Finally, Maguire claims Miller was deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs
when he failed to alert the EMTs of Maguire’s repeated pleas for help throughout the evening of
July 15, 2008. In response, Miller contends Maguire has not presented sufficient evidence to
show that Miller personally participated in any constitutional violation because there is no
evidence to show Miller had knowledge of Maguire’s requests for help. See Trujillo v. Williams,
465 F.3d 1210, 1227 (10th Cir. 2010) (holding that “[i]n order for liability to arise under § 1983,
a defendant’s direct personal responsibility for the claimed deprivation of a constitutional right
must be established”). The court disagrees.
Contrary to Miller’s representation, there is sufficient evidence in the record for a
reasonable jury to conclude Miller personally performed at least one of the nightly counts and
therefore had actual knowledge that Maguire had requested medical assistance.10 In Maguire’s
sworn affidavit, he stated that “Officer 5,” responded to the “man down” call and helped the
EMTs place Maguire’s mattress on the floor. (Dkt. No. 180-1, p. 63). The record shows, and
Miller concedes, that he was one of the officers who responded to Maguire’s cell during the
Maguire does not direct the court to this evidence in his briefing. Rather, he takes the litigation position
that Miller can be liable even if he did not personally perform the counts because he had an affirmative duty to
provide access to medical care arising out of his initial involvement with the man down call. At the summary
judgment stage, the court is not bound by Maguire’s legal arguments, but must instead consider the record evidence.
Ledbetter v. City of Topeka, Kan., 318 F.3d 1183, 1187 (10th Cir. 2003) (summary judgment “is warranted 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”) (internal quotation marks omitted); see also Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(3) (“The court need consider only the cited
materials, but may consider other materials in the record.”) (emphasis added).
“man down” call. (See Dkt. No. 103-3, p. 1–2). Maguire’s affidavit further states that the EMTs
instructed him to alert “Officer 5” if he had any other problems throughout the night. (Dkt. No.
180-1, p. 63). Maguire later clarified that Miller was the officer whom the EMTs indicated he
should alert if he had any further problems during the night. (Dkt. No. 185-1, p. 9). Therefore, a
reasonable jury could infer that “Officer 5” in Maguire’s affidavit refers to Miller. And
importantly, Maguire stated in his affidavit that during “[e]very hourly count, at some of which
Maguire recognized Officer 5[,] Maguire asked the counting officer to please call medical.”
(Dkt. No. 180-1, p. 64) (emphasis added). From these facts, a reasonable jury could infer that
Miller was present during some of the hourly counts and heard Maguire’s pleas for help.11
Assuming Miller was personally aware Maguire had requested medical assistance, the
court has little difficulty concluding Miller’s failure to notify medical personnel of Maguire’s
requests for assistance is sufficient to show a constitutional violation. Here, the evidence
establishes Miller had knowledge that Maguire had suffered (at the very least) a seizure, and that
Jensen and MacFarlane had instructed Maguire to notify the guards if he needed further medical
attention. Additionally, Miller knew Maguire’s mattress had been placed on the floor,
presumably to prevent him from falling from his bunk if he experienced a subsequent seizure.
From these facts, a jury could infer Miller was aware that Maguire had suffered, and was likely
to continue to suffer, seizures. A reasonable jury could therefore conclude that, given this
awareness, Miller’s subsequent failure to notify medical professionals that Maguire had
requested additional medical assistance throughout the night was deliberately indifferent to the
serious health risk presented by Maguire’s repeated apparent seizures. See, e.g., Estelle, 429 U.S.
The court notes that Maguire’s testimony that Miller was one of the counting officers is not contradicted
by other record evidence. Miller’s declaration is silent regarding his actions during the hourly counts. Additionally,
it is undisputed that Miller was on duty that night and acted in a supervisory role, from which a jury could
reasonably infer he would have been involved in the counts.
at 104–05 (holding prison guards may be liable for deliberate indifference by “intentionally
denying or delaying access to medical care or intentionally interfering with the treatment once
prescribed”); Sealock, 218 F.3d at 1210 (holding shift commander not entitled to summary
judgment when he was told the plaintiff might be having a heart attack but refused to transport
him to a doctor). Thus, genuine disputes of fact preclude summary judgment in Miller’s favor on
2. Clearly Established Law
Having concluded Maguire has presented sufficient evidence to survive summary
judgment on his constitutional claims against defendants Abbott, Jensen, MacFarlane, and
Miller, the court now examines whether it was clearly established that these defendants’ actions
in these circumstances would constitute deliberate indifference to Maguire’s serious medical
needs. “Ordinarily, in order for the law to be clearly established, there must be a Supreme Court
or Tenth Circuit decision on point, or the clearly established weight of authority from other
courts must have found the law to be as the plaintiff maintains.” Fogarty v. Gallegos, 523 F.3d
1147, 1161 (10th Cir. 2008) (internal quotation marks omitted). Although there need not be a
case precisely on point, “the contours of a right [must be] sufficiently clear that every reasonable
official would have understood that what he is doing violates that right.” Gomez, 745 F.3d at 411
(internal quotation marks omitted). Accordingly, in assessing whether the right is clearly
established, the court cannot define the right “at a high level of generality.” Cox v. Glanz, 800
F.3d 1231, 1245 n.6, 1247 n.8 (10th Cir. 2015). Rather, the court must examine the specific facts
of this case to determine whether the controlling cases establish each defendant took the alleged
actions “with the requisite state of mind.” Id. at 1249 (internal quotation marks omitted).
Engaging in that inquiry, the court concludes the law was clearly established to put defendants
Abbott, Jensen, MacFarlane, and Miller on notice that their actions in this case could be
deliberately indifferent to Maguire’s serious medical needs.
For instance, it was clearly established that when Abbott was confronted with symptoms
obviously indicative of a stroke and inconsistent with a mere shoulder muscle spasm, the
decision to merely treat the muscle spasm would evidence deliberate indifference to a serious
medical condition. See e.g. Blackmon, 734 F.3d at 1245–46 (recognizing it was clearly
established as early as 1976 that providing mild antacids in response to badly bleeding ulcers and
failing to provide access to obviously necessary medical care would be sufficient to support a
claim for deliberate indifference). Likewise, it was clearly established that when Jensen and
MacFarlane were confronted with what they believed to be a seizure, they had an obligation to
provide Maguire meaningful treatment or at least access to an appropriate health care provider.
See, e.g., Al-Turki v. Robinson, 762 F.3d 1188,1194 (10th Cir. 2014) (“It has been clearly
established in this circuit since at least 2006 that a deliberate indifference claim will arise when a
medical professional completely denies care although presented with recognizable symptoms
which potentially create a medical emergency.”) (internal quotation marks omitted); Mata, 427
F.3d at 755–59 (holding that the evidence was sufficient to support a deliberate indifference
claim when an inmate presented symptoms of severe chest pain to a prison nurse, and the nurse,
knowing that such symptoms were a sign of a potentially serious health risk, failed to refer the
inmate to a physician). Finally, it was clearly established that when Miller—with the
understanding that Maguire had suffered a seizure—was confronted with Maguire’s requests for
further medical assistance, he had the obligation to provide Maguire access to necessary medical
personnel. Miller was therefore on fair notice that failing to provide such access would be
sufficient to show a constitutional violation. See, e.g., Estelle, 429 U.S. at 104–05 (deliberate
indifference may be found when prison guards intentionally deny or delay an inmate access to
medical care); Sealock, 218 F.3d at 1210 (holding prison guard could be liable for deliberate
indifference when he was told that plaintiff might be having a heart attack and refused to
transport him to a doctor).
For all these reasons, the court finds defendants Garden and Mecham are entitled to
summary judgment on qualified immunity grounds, but that questions of fact exist as to whether
defendants Abbott, Jensen, MacFarlane, and Miller violated Maguire’s clearly established right
to adequate medical treatment.
B. State Constitutional Claims
Having concluded Maguire survives summary judgment on his § 1983 claims against
defendants Abbott, Jensen, MacFarlane, and Miller, the court now considers Maguire’s claims
against these defendants for violations of the Unnecessary Rigor Clause of the Utah Constitution.
See Utah Const. art. I, § 9 (“Excessive bail shall not be required; excessive fines shall not be
imposed; nor shall cruel and unusual punishments be inflicted. Persons arrested or imprisoned
shall not be treated with unnecessary rigor.”).12
Under Utah law, “there is no express statutory right to damages for one who suffers a
constitutional tort.” Nielson v. City of S. Salt Lake, 2009 WL 3562081 at *9 (D. Utah Oct. 22,
2009) (quoting Spackman ex rel. Spackman v. Bd. Of Educ. of Box Elder Cty. Sch. Dist., 16 P.3d
533, 537 (Utah 2000)). Therefore, “a Utah court’s ability to award damages for a violation of a
For the same reasons explained in the court’s discussion of Maguire’s federal § 1983 claims, the court
finds that Maguire has failed to put forward sufficient evidence to show defendants Garden or Mecham violated any
state constitutional provision. See Dexter v. Bosco, 184 P.3d 592, 597 (Utah 2008) (holding that a violation of the
Unnecessary Rigor Clause requires a showing that the plaintiff was “subject to unreasonably harsh, strict, or severe
treatment” that was “clearly excessive or deficient and unjustified”); Bott v. DeLand, 922 P.2d 732, 741 (Utah 1996)
abrogated on other grounds by Spackman ex rel. Spackman v. Bd. of Educ. of Box Elder Cty. Sch. Dist., 16 P.3d
533, 537 (Utah 2000) (same).Garden and Mecham are therefore entitled to summary judgment on these claims.
self-executing constitution provision rests on the common law.”13 Id. (quoting Spackman, 16
P.3d at 538). In order to sustain a common law remedy for a constitutional violation, a plaintiff
must establish that existing remedies do not redress his or her injuries. Id. Thus, the question in
the present case is whether Maguire can avail himself of state common law remedies when, as
explained, he has federal remedies available under § 1983.
Although the Utah Supreme Court has not yet decided whether the existence of federal
relief can preclude state common law claims, Spackman, 16 P.3d at 538 n.10, courts in the Tenth
Circuit agree that a plaintiff’s viable § 1983 claim provides sufficient remedy to redress
violations of Utah’s Constitution. See Nielson 2009 WL 3562081 at *9 (the existing remedy
element requires a plaintiff “to show that existing remedies under § 1983 do not redress her
injuries”); Cavanaugh v. Woods Cross City, 2009 WL 4981591, at *6 (D. Utah Dec. 14, 2009)
(“Plaintiffs cannot state a claim for damages under the Utah Constitution because their injuries
can be fully redressed through their 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim.”). Because the court has ruled that
Maguire has viable claims under § 1983 against defendants Abbott, Jensen, MacFarlane, and
Miller, Maguire cannot recover for any alleged violations of the Unnecessary Rigor Clause of the
Utah Constitution. Accordingly, these defendants are entitled to summary judgment.
For the reasons stated herein, the Court GRANTS in part and DENIES in part
Defendants’ Renewed Motion for Summary Judgment (Dkt. No. 175). It GRANTS summary
judgment to all Defendants on Maguire’s claims under the Utah Constitution. It further
GRANTS summary judgment as to defendants Garden and Mecham on Maguire’s § 1983
claims. The court DENIES summary judgment as to defendants Abbott, Jensen, MacFarlane,
and Miller on Maguire’s § 1983 claims.
The parties concede the Unnecessary Rigor Clause is a self-executing provision.
SO ORDERED this 14th day of December, 2015.
BY THE COURT:
United States District Court Judge
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