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McDonald v. Hickman County Jail

United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Columbia Division

May 10, 2018

BURNACE R. McDONALD, JR., Plaintiff,
HICKMAN COUNTY JAIL, et al., Defendants.

          Crenshaw Judge



         I. Introduction and Background

         This matter is before the Court upon Defendants' “Motion to Dismiss or, in the Alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment.” Docket No. 10. Along with their Motion, Defendants have contemporaneously filed a “Brief in Support” of their Motion (Docket No. 11), a “Concise Statement of Undisputed Facts” (Docket No. 10-1), and the Declarations of Captain Barry McNabb (Docket No. 10-2) and Lorie Fuller Davis (Docket No. 10-3). Because the undersigned will consider Defendants' submitted materials, the undersigned will construe Defendants' Motion as a Motion for Summary Judgment.

         Plaintiff has not responded to either the instant Motion or to the Concise Statement of Undisputed Material Facts, nor has Plaintiff filed his own Statement of Undisputed Material Facts. Plaintiff filed this pro se, in forma pauperis action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging, inter alia, that Defendants violated his Eighth Amendment rights by refusing to give him his mental health medications and by charging him for a blood test. Docket No. 1. Specifically, Plaintiff avers that Defendant Fuller ordered a blood test for him, the results of which she reported showed that Plaintiff did not need mental health medication, so she refused to give it to him. Id. Plaintiff argues that he is a veteran who is on full disability due to depression, anxiety, and PTSD, and that doctors have ordered that he receive mental health medication. Id. Plaintiff sues Defendant Fuller solely in her official capacity as Nurse of the Hickman County Jail. Id. Plaintiff argues that Defendant Fuller “was incompetent [and] has since been fired by the Jail.” Id. Plaintiff seeks “proper medical care, ” reimbursement for the costs of the blood test that he was required to pay, and at least $150, 000 for pain and suffering (with the actual “amount to be determined” to “exceed 150K”). Id.

         Plaintiff originally sued Southern Health Partners, Nurse Fuller, and the Hickman County Jail. See Docket No. 1. Judge Crenshaw, when conducting his initial frivolity review dismissed Plaintiff's claims against the Hickman County Jail, and the Jail was terminated as a Defendant in this action. Docket Nos. 7, 8. Accordingly, the only remaining Defendants in this action are Southern Health Partners and Nurse Fuller. In his Memorandum and Order, Judge Crenshaw further held that Plaintiff could not pursue any claims against Southern Health Partners or Nurse Fuller that occurred on or before July 6, 2016, as those claims would fall outside the applicable statute of limitations period. Id. Thus, the Court will consider only Plaintiff's claims that allegedly occurred after July 6, 2016. Finally, Judge Crenshaw additionally denied Plaintiff's request for injunctive relief as moot, since he is no longer incarcerated. Id. Therefore, the only relief requested that is presently before the Court is reimbursement to Plaintiff of the cost of his blood test and monetary relief for pain and suffering.

         Defendants filed the instant Motion and supporting materials arguing: (1) Plaintiff's claim against Defendant Fuller is time-barred by the applicable statute of limitations; (2) Plaintiff has failed to identify an official Southern Health Partners policy or custom that caused him constitutional injury, and therefore cannot maintain his claim against it as there is no respondeat superior liability under §1983; and (3) Plaintiff has failed to exhaust his administrative remedies as required under the Prison Litigation Reform Act. Docket Nos. 10, 11.

         For the reasons set forth below, the undersigned recommends that Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (Docket No. 10) be GRANTED, and that this action be DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.

         II. Undisputed Facts[1]

         A. Declaration of Captain Barry McNabb

         Captain Barry McNabb is the Jail Administrator of the Hickman County Jail. Docket No. 10-2 (“McNabb Dec.”), ¶ 1. As the Jail Administrator, Captain McNabb carries out the policies and procedures for the Hickman County Jail that have been established by Sheriff Randal Ward. Id., ¶ 2. Sheriff Ward has delegated the day-to-day duties of operations of the Hickman County Jail to Captain McNabb. Id.

         Plaintiff was booked into the Hickman County Jail most recently on September 14, 2015, and was released on June 30, 2017. Id., ¶ 4.

         The Hickman County Jail has a grievance policy for inmates to express complaints with the conditions of their confinement. Id., ¶ 5. Inmates with a grievance may submit a grievance electronically on a kiosk machine, which is located in each housing pod. Id. The grievance must be submitted within seven (7) days of the occurrence. Id. The grievances are reviewed by a grievance officer/board and a response is sent to the inmate no later than fifteen (15) days of receipt of the grievance. Id. If an inmate is dissatisfied with the response, they may appeal to the Jail Administrator within seven (7) days of the decision. Id. The Jail Administrator has fifteen (15) days to respond to the appeal. Id. Once the Jail Administrator makes a determination as to a resolution of the Plaintiff's appeal, he/she notifies the inmate of his/her decision. Id.

         Plaintiff submitted no grievances and no appeals of grievances through the Jail kiosk system between the dates of July 6, 2016 and June 30, 2017. Id., ¶ 7.

         B. Declaration of Lorie Fuller Davis

         Lorie Fuller Davis was employed by Southern Health Partners as a nurse at the Hickman County Jail until December 9, 2015. Docket No. 10-3 (“Fuller Davis Dec.”), ¶ 1. Lorie Fuller Davis has not worked at the Hickman County Jail or provided medical care to Plaintiff at any time since December 5, 2015. Id., ¶ 3.

         III. Law and Analysis

         A. Local Rules 7.01(b) and 56.01(c) and (g)

         Local Rule 7.01(b) states, in pertinent part:

b. Response. Each party opposing a motion shall serve and file a response, memorandum, affidavits and other responsive material not later than fourteen (14) days after service of the motion, except, that in cases of a motion for summary judgment, that time shall be twenty-one (21) days after the service of the motion, unless otherwise ordered by the Court. Failure to file a timely response shall indicate that there is no opposition to the motion.

         Defendants filed the instant Motion on November 3, 2017. Docket No. 10. Plaintiff has failed to respond to Defendants' Motion.

         Additionally, with respect to Motions for Summary Judgment specifically, Local Rules 56.01(c) and (g) state, in pertinent part:

c. Response to Statement of Facts. Any party opposing the motion for summary judgment must respond to each fact set forth by the movant by either (i) agreeing that the fact is undisputed; (ii) agreeing that the fact is undisputed for the purpose of ruling on the motion for summary judgment only; or (iii) demonstrating that the fact is disputed. ...

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