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Wade v. Carter

United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Big Stone Gap Division

July 2, 2014

GREGORY WADE and DEBORAH WADE, Administrators for Estate of ANDREA WADE, deceased, Plaintiffs,
v.
KELLY ELLIS CARTER[1], et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

GLEN E. CONRAD, Chief District Judge.

Andrea Wade ("Andrea") was booked into the Southwest Virginia Regional Jail in Duffield, Virginia on May 18, 2011. She died seven days later after hanging herself from a bunk bed in her cell. Gregory and Deborah Wade, Andrea's parents and the administrators of her estate, subsequently filed this civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, claiming that certain jail officials acted with deliberate indifference to Andrea's serious medical needs. The case is presently before the court on the motion for summary judgment filed by the remaining defendants. For the reasons that follow, the court will grant the motion.

Factual Background

The following facts are presented in the light most favorable to the plaintiffs. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986) (noting that all evidence must be construed in the light most favorable to the party opposing summary judgment).

Andrea was taken into custody at the jail on Thursday, May 18, 2011, after being arrested on multiple counts of obtaining prescription drugs by forgery. She was placed in Pod 7B.

The following day, Nurse Jamie Fleming completed a medical admission data form and a medical screening report. On the data form, Nurse Fleming noted that Andrea suffered from "bipolar/ADHD/panic/anxiety, " that she had last received mental health counseling or treatment on May 12, 2011, and that she had been prescribed mental health medications but did not have them with her. Defs.' Ex. 6, Docket No. 25. Nurse Fleming also noted that Andrea was not exhibiting any signs of alcohol or drug withdrawal, that she had never attempted suicide, and that she had not recently considered committing suicide.

According to the medical screening report, Andrea advised Nurse Fleming that she was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs, that she had not used any street drugs in the last three days, that she had never experienced alcohol or drug withdrawal, that she had never thought about hurting or killing herself, and that she was not thinking about doing so at that time. Defs.' Ex. 7, Docket No. 25.

The next morning (Friday, May 20, 2011), Officer Vandella Duncan saw Andrea in the recreation yard and noticed that she appeared to be sick. Officer Duncan inquired as to whether Andrea was possibly going through withdrawal, and Andrea responded in the affirmative. Officer Duncan recommended that Andrea make a sick call request, and she advised the medical department that Andrea was possibly going through withdrawal. Defs.' Ex. 8, Docket No. 25; Duncan Aff. ¶ 2, Docket No. 39-3.

Later that morning, at 9:53 a.m., Andrea filed a grievance using the pod's computer kiosk. She indicated that she was "withdraw[ing] from IV drugs and alc[ohol], " and requested "something to keep [her] from being sick." Defs.' Ex. 9, Docket No. 25. The following morning (Saturday, May 21, 2011), Andrea was given Pepto-Bismol by a nurse. Id.

On the afternoon of Saturday, May 21, 2011, Andrea submitted another grievance, requesting to see a doctor or nurse. Andrea indicated that she was experiencing diarrhea and vomiting, and that all of the guards had seen her in this state of sickness. Defs.' Ex. 10, Docket No. 25. The second grievance was rejected as an "incomplete request, " because Andrea failed to enter her housing location, as required by the computer system. Id.; see also Duncan Aff. ¶¶ 2-3, Docket No. 39-4. She did not attempt to reenter the grievance with the required information. Id.

On the afternoon of Tuesday, May 24, 2011, other inmates, including Jackie Warf, advised Officer Jessica Caldwell that Andrea was "really sick" and "needed help." Warf. Decl. ¶ 4, Docket No. 31-18. The inmates emphasized that Andrea "would just stand there and stare off into space, " that she "was constantly throwing up and having diarrhea, that she had not eaten in days[, ] and that she was talking out of her head." Id.

Officer Caldwell subsequently called Nurse Elizabeth Jenkins and requested that she come to Andrea's cell. Jenkins wrote the following progress note at 5:10 p.m.:

Called to housing per Officer Caldwell. Concerned inmate having "spacing out" episodes. Spoke to inmate. Stated she has [history] of bipolar [and] seizure but has not had meds in [approximately] 1 week. Patient oriented to person [and] place. Was confused about date however once told did retain information. Asked inmate if she needed or desired to speak to mental health. Stated she was fine. Stated she thought inmates were talking about her. This nurse assured inmate that no one was talking about her. She requested to Officer Caldwell could she stay in her cell instead of being in population. Officer told her that she had to come down for meals. I ...

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