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Cash v. Armstrong

United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Greeneville

March 6, 2017

SAGE ANDREW CASH, Plaintiff,
v.
AUTUMN ARMSTRONG, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          J. RONNIE GREER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This civil matter is before the Court on a motion for summary judgment by defendant Butch Gallion (“Lt. Gallion”) [Doc. 27]. Plaintiff has not filed a response in opposition to the request and the time for doing so has now passed. E.D. Tenn. L.R. 7.1, 7.2. For the reasons that follow, the Court will grant Lt. Gallion's motion for summary judgment.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Procedural

         Plaintiff filed this instant action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Autumn Armstrong, Donna Carter, Lt. Gallion, and Brittany Saunders on October 21, 2014 [Doc. 1]. In the complaint, Plaintiff claimed that Lt. Gallion was deliberately indifferent to his serious medical need[1] [Doc. 1 at 5]. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that he has not been properly treated for vision problems [Doc. 1 at 5]. Plaintiff states that he was told by Lt. Gallion on July 14, 2014, that he would not be taken for an eye examination unless the jail physician deemed it an emergency [Id.]. Plaintiff claims that it took him over six months to see the jail physician, Dr. Matthews, and when he did, Dr. Matthews told Plaintiff he “would be provided an emergency medical eye exam as soon as Nurse Brittany Saunders approved it through the sheriff” [Id.]. However, Plaintiff asserts that on October 8, 2014, Lt. Gallion told him that Plaintiff would not receive an eye exam unless he provided the funds [Id.].

         Defendants Autumn Armstrong, Donna Carter, and Butch Gallion were properly served and filed a timely joint answer on February 27, 2015 [Doc. 11]. On May 12, 2016, defendants Autumn Armstrong and Donna Carter filed a joint motion for summary judgment which this Court granted, and they were dismissed from this action [Doc. 31]. On May 12, 2016, Lt. Gallion filed this instant motion for summary judgment claiming that he is entitled to qualified immunity on the claim of deliberate indifference to a serious medical need [Doc. 27]. In support of his request, Lt. Gallion filed a memorandum and statement of material facts [Docs. 28, 29]. Notably, Plaintiff has not responded in opposition to summary judgment or submitted any evidence in support of his claims.

         B. Factual[2]

         Plaintiff, who has been housed at the Hawkins County Jail since November 17, 2013, began requesting medical attention for vision problems in June of 2014 [Doc. 27-1 p. 6]. After submitting several requests over a period of months [id.], Plaintiff filed the instant action against Lt. Gallion on October 21, 2014 [Doc. 1].

         The Hawkins County Jail has a kiosk system where an inmate can communicate online with correctional staff and medical staff [Doc. 27-1 at ¶ 27]. Although several requests and grievances related to his vision were submitted, Lt. Gallion responded to two (2) requests and two (2) grievances regarding this matter; the other requests and grievances were handled by other jail house employees [Id. at ¶ 28].

         On July 14, 2014, Plaintiff filed a grievance through the jail kiosk system complaining that he had not been given an eye exam as he had previously requested [Id. at 27]. Lt. Gallion responded by saying:

Mr. Cash, have you been seen by the doctor? If the doctor deems that it is an emergency or medically necessary, he will advise and have an appointment made for you to see an eye doctor. If he does not feel that it is medically necessary, then you will not be sent.

[Id.].

         On August 4, 2014, Plaintiff filed a request through the jail's online kiosk system stating that he was having “serious eye problems” and was told “this facility doesn't fund eye care” [Id. at 19]. Plaintiff requested to be transferred to a facility that funds eye care [Id.]. Lt. Gallion responded to Plaintiff by saying:

Mr. Cash, have you been examined by the doctor? If the doctor determines that your need is an emergency or medically necessary he will order it. If it is a vision problem that does not constitute an emergency, he will not order it.

[Id.]. On August 12, 2014, Plaintiff filed a request through the jail's online kiosk system complaining that he had “been trying to see the doctor so [he] can get some glasses” and requested to be transferred to a facility that funds eye ...


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