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Holley v. Frey

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

July 16, 2018

Tanyin Holley, Plaintiff,
v.
Sergeant Frey, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Liam, O'Grady, United States District Judge

         Tanyin Holley, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se, has filed a civil rights action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of his Eighth Amendment rights at the Hampton Roads Regional Jail ("HRRJ"). Defendants Sergeant Nichole Frey, Sergeant William Epperson, Officer Antonio Moore, Officer Michael Kithcart, and Officer Mark Ancar (the "Correctional Defendants") filed a Motion for Summary Judgment, as well as a memorandum of law and supporting exhibits.[1] Dkt. Nos. 30-35. Plaintiff was given the Notice required by Local Rule 7(K) and the opportunity to file responsive materials pursuant to Roseboro v. Garrison. 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975). Dkt. No. 31. Plaintiff filed an unverified response and the Correctional Defendants filed a reply. Dkt. Nos. 53-54. The motion is now ripe for adjudication. For the reasons that follow, the Correctional Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment will be granted.

         I. Background

         The following facts are undisputed.[2] During the time in question, plaintiff was a pretrial detainee. Defs. MS J at Ex. 1 ¶ 32. On December 4, 2016, plaintiff grabbed another inmate by the neck and assaulted him. Id. at Ex. 7 ¶ 4. Plaintiff was charged with assault and failure to obey an order, and was transferred to the Special Housing Unit ("SHU"). Id. at Ex. 1 ¶ 35. Based on HRRJ standard policy, plaintiffs cell in the SHU was cleaned prior to his transfer and was cleaned every day while plaintiff was at recreation or in the showers. Id., at Ex. 1 ¶¶ 15-16, 37. Plaintiff did not request cleaning supplies to clean his cell between December 4, and December 14, 2016. Id. at Ex. 1 ¶38, Ex. 15 ¶ 9. Officer Kithcart has no recollection of interacting with plaintiff in December 2016, let alone being made aware of the conditions of plaintiffs cell in the SHU; however, had he escorted plaintiff to the SHU, he would not have left plaintiff in a cell that was dirty or smelled of feces. Id. at Ex.9 ¶¶ 4-5. In addition, Officer Kithcart would have checked the sink and toilet in the cell, per HRRJ policy. Id. at Ex. 9 ¶¶ 7-9.

         Nurse Carson examined plaintiff on December 4, 2016, and noted a possible right hand and left finger fracture. Id. at Ex. 10. Dr. Ines ordered an x-ray and prescribed Ibuprofen. Id. Plaintiff received his medications each day from December 5, to December 14, 2016, except when he refused it, and was observed by a nurse at least once during each shift. Id. at Ex. 11.

         Pursuant to x-rays performed December 5, 2016, Dr. Nash found that plaintiff had a healed or healing fracture of the fourth metacarpal bone and an old facture of the fifth metacarpal bone in his left hand. Id. at Ex. 10. Dr. Nash also found that plaintiff had a fracture of the fifth metacarpal bone and swelling in his right hand. Id. Also on December 5, 2016, provider Ghaibeh referred plaintiff to an orthopedist. Id. Plaintiff was in court most of December 6, 2016, however, he refused medication during the night pill pass. Id. That same day, plaintiff was scheduled to see an orthopedist on December 15, 2016. Id.

         An emergency medical code was placed for plaintiff at 5:50 pm on December 7, 2016, and Nurses Thorton, Sadler, and Dolan, as well as Officer Gordon and Sergeant Frey responded. Id. at Ex. 1 ¶ 39. Plaintiff was examined by Nurses Thorton and Sadler, but when he complained that his back hurt, he refused to roll on his side to allow them to examine his back because he said he could not move. Id. at Ex. 1 ¶ 39-40. However, plaintiff was moving his arms and feet. Id. at Ex. 1 ¶ 40, Ex. 10. Nurses Thorton and Sadler informed plaintiff that he could not receive medical assistance if he refused to be examined, and plaintiff stated that he wanted to stay on his back. Id. at Ex. 1 ¶ 40. The medical staff told Sergeant Frey that they did not believe plaintiff was so severely injured that he could not be examined, because he was moving his arms and legs, and that there was nothing else they could do without plaintiffs cooperation. Id. at Ex. 1 ¶ 42. The medical staff informed plaintiff that a nurse would check on him during pill pass and everyone left plaintiff s cell. Id. Nurse Sadler noted that plaintiff was already on pain medication and was scheduled to see a doctor. Id. at Ex. 10.

         Later that night, Officer Moore observed plaintiff unresponsive, and at 10:30 pm, he entered plaintiffs cell with Sergeant Frey, Officer Ancar, and Nurse Guess. Id. at Ex. 13 ¶¶ 4-5. They found plaintiff on the floor, covered with a blanket that had previously been out of his reach, screaming that his back hurt. Id. at Ex. 1 ¶ 49, Ex. 13 ¶ 5. Plaintiff was moving his arms and legs, refused assistance, and threw a cup at one of the officers. Id. at Ex. 1 ¶ 45, Ex. 13 ¶ 6. Sergeant Frey assured plaintiff that the plumbing worked in his cell, as demonstrated by flushing the toilet and filling a glass with water. Id. at Ex. 1 ¶ 46. Nurse Guess determined that there was nothing else they could do to assist plaintiff, therefore they left his cell. Id. at Ex. 1 ¶ 47, Ex. 13 ¶ 7. During the rest of the night, Officer Moore observed plaintiff on the floor, but he was responsive and did not complain about an injury. Id. at Ex. 13 ¶ 8.

         On December 8, 2016, plaintiff was standing outside his cell and told Sergeant Epperson that he injured his hand and back in a fall, but that he received treatment. Id. at Ex. 15 ¶¶ 6-7. Plaintiff then stated that there was feces under his bed, which Sergeant Epperson found, and plaintiff was transferred to a new cell later that day. Id. at Ex. 15 ¶ 5. Plaintiff did not complain to Sergeant Epperson about his injuries and he did not appear injured to Sergeant Epperson. Id. at Ex. 15 ¶¶ 5, 8.

         On December 11, 2016, Nurse Jentons noted that plaintiffs hand was swollen and that he was scheduled to see an orthopedist on December 15, 2016. Id. at Ex. 10. On December 13, 2016, Nurse Weber noted that plaintiffs hand was swelling and ordered an x-ray. Id. On December 15, 2016, Dr. Blasdell noted that plaintiff had a healing metacarpal fracture in his right hand and diagnosed plaintiff with a contusion of the right hand. Id. Blasdell buddy taped plaintiffs fourth and fifth fingers and provided plaintiff with range of motion exercises. Id.

         Every time the Correctional Defendants entered plaintiffs cell, it was in normal condition, without filth, urine or feces, and plaintiff never complaint to Sergeant Frey about the conditions of his cell. Id. at Ex. 1 ¶ 50, Ex. 13 ¶ 9. None of the Correctional Defendants have medical training beyond CPR. Id. at Ex. 1 ¶ 6, Ex. 7 ¶ 3, Ex. 9 ¶ 3, Ex. 13 ¶ 3, Ex. 15 ¶ 4.

         II. Standard of Review

         Pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Court must grant summary judgment "if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The moving party bears the burden of proving that judgment on the pleadings is appropriate. See Celotex Corp. v. Citrate, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986) (moving party bears the burden of persuasion on all relevant issues). To meet that burden, the moving party must demonstrate that no genuine issues of material fact are present for resolution. Id. at 322. Once a moving party has met its burden to show that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law, the burden then shifts to the non-moving party to point out the specific facts which create disputed factual issues. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby. Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). In evaluating a motion for summary judgment, a district court should consider the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and draw all reasonable inferences from those facts in favor of that party. United States v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655 (1962). Those facts which the moving party bears the burden of proving are facts which are material. "[T]he substantive law will identify which facts are material. Only disputes over facts which might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. An issue of material fact is genuine when, "the evidence ... create[s] [a] fair doubt; wholly speculative assertions will not suffice." Ross v. Communications Satellite Corp., 759 F.2d 355, 364 (4th Cir. 1985). Thus, summary judgment is appropriate only where no material facts are genuinely disputed and the evidence as a whole could not lead a rational fact finder to rule for the non-moving party. Matsushita Electrical Industrial Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986).

         III. ...


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