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Longmire v. McCoole

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Norfolk Division

November 29, 2017


          OPINION & ORDER

          Henry Coke Morgan, Jr. Senior United Slates District Judge

         This matter came before the Court pursuant to Defendants Chance McCoole's ("McCoole's") and Lakeia Smallwood's ("Smallwood's") (collectively, "Defendants'") Motion for Summary Judgment ("Motion"). Doc. 118. At a hearing on November 28, 2017, the Court DENIED the Motion, and it now issues this Opinion & Order further explaining the reasoning for its decision.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Procedural History

         Plaintiff Tonya Longmire, Administrator of the Estate of Dai'yaan Qamar Longmire ("D. Longmire"), Deceased ("Plaintiff' or "Longmire") filed her Complaint in this Court on November 7, 2016. See Doc. 1. ("Compl.") Defendants filed an answer, Doc. 27, and a Motion to Dismiss, Doc. 28, on December 29, 2016. Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint on January 23, 2017, Doc. 35, and Defendants responded with a Motion to Strike on February 13, 2017, Doc. 44. The Court GRANTED the Motion to Dismiss WITH LEAVE TO AMEND and GRANTED the Motion to Strike. Doc. 51.

         Plaintiff filed her Second Amended Complaint on April 17, 2017. Doc. 52 ("Second Am. Compl."). Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss on May 5, 2017. Doc. 55. The Parties stipulated to the dismissal of many Defendants. Docs. 88, 89. The Court DISMISSED the Third Claim for Relief and DISMISSED all Defendants except Smallwood, McCoole, and the Virginia Department of Corrections ("VDOC") but took the remainder of the Motion to Dismiss UNDER ADVISEMENT. Doc. 98. The Court also ORDERED Plaintiff to file reports cited in the Complaint. Id. After receiving the reports cited in the Complaint, Defendants filed a supplemental memorandum in support of their Motion to Dismiss seeking dismissal of VDOC. Doc. 114. The Court GRANTED the Motion to Dismiss, DISMISSING the First and Fourth Claims for Relief, which were against Defendant VDOC. Doc. 116.

         The remaining claim against Defendants McCoole and Smallwood alleges a violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 consisting of "Deliberate Indifference to Serious Medical Needs in Violation of the Eighth Amendment." Second Am. Compl. Iffl 123-129. Defendants filed the instant Motion for Summary Judgment on November 1, 2017. Doc. 118. Plaintiff responded in opposition on November 15, 2017. Doc. 132. Defendants replied on November 20, 2017. Doc. 140.

          B. Undisputed Facts

         Below are Defendants' facts that are uncontested in Plaintiffs brief:

1. On June 1, 2013, Longmire was charged with presenting a false identity to law enforcement, resisting arrest, and assault on law enforcement. On October 6, 2013, Longmire was charged with assault on law enforcement, grand larceny, conspiring to commit larceny, and burglary. (Ex.1, Criminal Record)
2. Longmire, age 19, was detained at the Virginia Beach Correctional Center ("VBCC') from October 7, 2013 to May 23, 2014. On May 5, 2014, Longmire was sentenced to four years in prison. He was classified as a "Youthful Offender" and on May 23, 2014 was transferred from VBCC to Indian Creek Correctional Center ("ICCC"). (Ex. 2, Sentencing Order 5/23/14)
3. ICCC is a "therapeutic community" described in the Inmate Orientation Manual as "an intensive residential treatment program ... designed and structured to promote change through social learning. Substance abuse and addiction are addressed, but the behaviors, attitudes, values and emotions of every member are also constantly monitored. The TC is designed to challenge and replace negative behaviors with new, pro-social attitudes, values and behaviors." (Ex. 3, Orientation Information)

Doc. 119 at 1-2.

         5. Employing VDOC OP 730.2, Mental Health Services: Screening, Assessment, and Classification, which "establishes a standard protocol for the screening, assessment, and determination of the mental health status and mental health services needs of offenders incarcerated in Department of Corrections facilities, " Dr. [James] Brockington[, ICCC's Qualified Mental Health Professional ("QMHP")] classified Longmire as MH-0. The classification "MH-0 No Mental Health Services Needs" is described as follows:

The offender has no documented history of mental health treatment within the past two years (this does not include treatment for alcohol or substance abuse alone, nor for evaluation purposes alone). There is no documented or reported behavior that currently indicates any mental health services needs. No monitoring or treatment by a QMHP is currently required.

Dr. Brockington did not place any mental health restrictions on Longmire's housing or job assignment. (Ex. 6, VDOC OP 730.2; Ex. 7, Mental Health Classification)

6. Because of HIPAA, correctional officers at ICCC are not privy to inmates' medical or mental health records. They can only access inmates' mental health classifications. (Ex. 8, Rick White Aff; Ex. 9, Smallwood Dep. pp. 147-48)
7. For approximately four and one-half months, from his incarceration in May until October 4, 2014, Longmire was housed in the general population at ICCC. (Ex. 10, ICCC Discharge Summary)
8. On July 22, 2014, Longmire was charged with being in an unauthorized area. He was initially found guilty and penalized 10 days' loss of visitation. Longmire appealed the determination. Warden Keeling overturned the conviction and the charge was expunged from Longmire's record. (Ex. 11, Disciplinary Appeal letter 8/4/14)
9. During his time in the general population Longmire was approved for various work assignments, including in the kitchen. (Ex. 12, Coris Work Assignments)
10. On September 25, 2014, Longmire was denied parole. (Ex. 13, Parole Board Letter)
11. On October 5, 2014, Longmire was charged with aiding and abetting the theft of an inmate's canteen. Pursuant to VDOC OP 861.1, Offender Discipline, Institutions, he was placed on pre-hearing detention status and transferred to Housing Unit 7B, administrative segregation, to await his hearing. (Ex. 14, VDOC OP 861.1; Ex. 15, Electronic Detention Notice 10/5/14)
12. At the October 9, 2014 disciplinary hearing, Longmire was found guilty by the hearing officer and fined $12.00. Longmire appealed the decision to Warden Keeling who on October 27, 2014 decided that the charge should be reheard and the results of the initial hearing be ...

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