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Poteet v. Polk County

January 4, 2007

BENNIE J. POTEET, II, INDIVIDUALLY AND BY AND THROUGH HIS NEXT FRIEND, EVELYN POTEET, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
POLK COUNTY, TENNESSEE; POLK COUNTY, TENNESSEE SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT; BILL DAVIS, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS SHERIFF OF POLK COUNTY, TENNESSEE; BOBBY COPELAND, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HIS CAPACITY AS A DEPUTY AND CHIEF CORRECTIONAL OFFICER OF THE POLK COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT; JOSHUA RAY JENKINS, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN HIS CAPACITY AS A DEPUTY AND CORRECTIONAL OFFICER OF THE POLK COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT; JOHN DOE NUMBERS 1THROUGH 3, INDIVIDUALLY AND IN THEIR CAPACITIES AS DEPUTIES OF THE POLK COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT; NATIONAL HEALTHCARE OF CLEVELAND, INC., D/B/A CLEVELAND COMMUNITY HOSPITAL;HUGH ROBISON CALDWELL, JR., M.D.; ADAM E. FALL, M.D.; AND JOHN DOE NUMBERS 4 THROUGH 12, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Chief Judge Curtis L. Collier

MEMORANDUM

Before the Court is a motion for summary judgment filed by one of the defendants in this case filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1988. Plaintiffs Bennie Poteet, II, and his next friend Evelyn Poteet ("Plaintiffs") allege an additional cause of action against Defendant Adam E. Fall, M.D. ("Defendant") for a state law tort pursuant to the Court's supplemental jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1367. Defendant filed his Motion for Summary Judgment (Court File No. 46) and a Memorandum in Support of his motion and supporting documents (Court File Nos. 47, 48). Plaintiff Bennie Poteet, II ("Plaintiff"), by and through his next friend Evelyn Poteet, filed a response and supporting documents (Court File Nos. 88, 89, 90). Defendant did not file a reply.

After carefully considering the arguments of the parties and the applicable law, the Court will DENY Defendant's motion for summary judgment.

I. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Summary judgment is proper where "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 a judgment as a matter of law." FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c). Initially, the burden is on the moving party to conclusively show no genuine issues of material fact exist, Leary v. Daeschner, 349 F.3d 888, 897 (6th Cir. 2003), and the Court must view the evidence and draw all reasonable inferences therefrom in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587-88, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 1356, 89 L.Ed. 2d 538 (1986). However, the nonmoving party is not entitled to a trial merely on the basis of allegations, but must come forward with some significant probative evidence to support its claim. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 2553, 91 L.Ed. 2d 265 (1986). If the nonmoving party fails to make a sufficient showing on an essential element of its case with respect to which it has the burden of proof, the moving party is entitled to summary judgment. Id. at 323, 106 S.Ct. at 2552.

The Court determines whether sufficient evidence has been presented to make the issue of fact a proper jury question, but does not weigh the evidence, judge the credibility of witnesses, or determine the truth of the matter. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2511, 91 L.Ed. 2d 202 (1986); Weaver v. Shadoan, 340 F.3d 398, 405 (6th Cir. 2003). The standard for summary judgment mirrors the standard for directed verdict. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 250, 106 S.Ct. at 2511. The Court must decide "whether the evidence presents a sufficient disagreement to require submission to a jury or whether it is so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of law." Id. at 251-52, 106 S.Ct. at 2512. There must be some probative evidence from which the jury could reasonably find for the nonmoving party. If the Court concludes a fair-minded jury could not return a verdict in favor of the nonmoving party based on the evidence presented, it may enter a summary judgment. Id.; Lansing Dairy, Inc. v. Espy, 39 F.3d 1339, 1347 (6th Cir. 1994).

II. RELEVANT FACTS

In deciding a motion for summary judgment the Court is required to view the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, in this case Plaintiffs. From the affidavits submitted (Court File No. 48, Attachment 2, Affidavit of Adam Emery Fall, M.D., and Court File No. 89, Affidavit of Gary A. Salzman, M.D.) the Court determines the following facts are pertinent to the consideration of this motion.

Defendant is a medical doctor who on November 11, 2004 was employed by the Cleveland Community Hospital in Cleveland, Tennessee as a physician/hospitalist (Court File No. 1, Complaint ¶ 10; Court File No. 93, Amended Complaint, ¶ 12; Court File No. 48, Attachment 2, Affidavit of Adam Emery Fall, M.D., ¶ 3). While Defendant was working at the hospital Plaintiff was brought to the emergency department because Plaintiff had collapsed at the Polk County Correctional Facility where he was incarcerated.

Defendant discussed Plaintiff's condition with other medical personnel at the hospital (Court File No. 48, Attachment 2, Affidavit of Adam Emery Fall, M.D., ¶ 5). Defendant was given a medical history of alcohol abuse by Dr. Hugh Caldwell. Defendant was also advised Dr. Caldwell had rendered a diagnosis of acute respiratory failure and ethanol withdrawal seizures. Defendant also reviewed a Computed Tomography ("CT") scan of Plaintiff previously ordered by Dr. Caldwell. Plaintiff was breathing with the assistance of a ventilator (id.).

Defendant thereafter undertook care of Plaintiff and decided on a course of treatment (Court File No. 48, Attachment 2, Affidavit of Adam Emery Fall, M.D., ¶ 6). Part of this care included consultation with other physicians.

On November 13, another CT scan was ordered because it was discovered Plaintiff's eyes were not responsive. This new CT scan revealed signs of an acute brain stem injury. Thereafter a Magnetic Resonance Imaging ("MRI") examination was conducted. This examination indicated Plaintiff had suffered a stroke resulting from basilar artery thrombosis (Court File No. 48, Attachment 2, Affidavit of Adam Emery Fall, M.D., ¶ 8).

Plaintiff is now confined to a nursing home and has lost "nearly all motor function" (Court File No. 1, Complaint, ¶ 36; Court File No. 93, Amended Complaint, ¶ 38).

Plaintiff alleges Defendant's care of Plaintiff amounted to medical malpractice under Tennessee law and as a result of Defendant's ...


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