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Holt v. Campbell County

United States District Court, Sixth Circuit

September 25, 2013

ANTHONY HOLT, et al., Plaintiffs,
CAMPBELL COUNTY, KENTUCKY, et al., Defendants.



This is an action by former detainees at the Campbell County Detention Center (CCDC) against the County and Southern Health Partners (SHP) alleging cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the 8th and 14th Amendments and plaintiffs' civil rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiffs also allege state law claims.

This matter is currently before the Court on the motions of the Campbell County defendants for partial summary judgment as to plaintiffs Alma Jarman and Robin Dunaway (Doc. 166), who are the co-administrators of the Estate of Ernest Dunaway, and plaintiff Christina Dunaway (Doc. 182), a daughter of Ernest Dunaway; and the motion of Southern Health Partners for summary judgment as to the claims of these three plaintiffs. (Doc. 170).

Having reviewed the parties' briefs, the Court concludes that oral argument is unnecessary to the resolution of these motions. The Court therefore issues the following Memorandum Opinion and Order.

Factual and Procedural Background

A. Facts Common to All Claims

Since February 1, 2007, the CCDC has had a contract with SHP pursuant to which SHP provides "all professional medical, mental health, dental and related health care and administrative services" for CCDC inmates, including sick call, nursing care, regular and emergency physician care. (Doc. 132-1). SHP, in turn, contracts with a physician and employs nurses to staff the CCDC. These arrangements were in place at all times relevant to this action.

Plaintiffs filed this case on June 17, 2009, as a proposed class action. (Doc. 1). On June 1, 2010, plaintiffs filed a Second Amended Class Action Complaint, which is the operative complaint herein. (Doc. 38). Plaintiffs Alma Jarman and Robin Dunaway - respectively, the mother and a daughter of Ernest Dunaway - joined this lawsuit via the Second Amended Complaint.

Plaintiffs allege that they or their decedents were denied medical attention for their serious medical needs in violation of their 8th and 14th Amendment rights. (Doc. 38 ¶¶ 331-32). Plaintiffs also allege negligent or intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, loss of consortium, and wrongful death.

On July 9, 2010, this Court denied plaintiffs' motion for class certification. (Doc. 48).

Plaintiff Christina Dunaway, also a daughter of Ernest Dunaway, filed a separate lawsuit on March 24, 2011, Cov. Civ. Action No. 11-58, which this Court consolidated with the Holt action. However, Christina is not an administrator of her father's Estate. She alleges a claim under § 1983 and a claim for loss of consortium. After extended discovery, the pending motions for summary judgment were filed and briefed.

B. Decedent Ernest Dunaway

Ernest Dunaway was incarcerated at the Carroll County Jail in late 2008 on drug trafficking charges. Before completing his sentence, however, he was granted a medical furlough and was admitted to St. Luke Hospital in Ft. Thomas, Kentucky for treatment for hepatitis C and cirrhosis of the liver. (Doc. 166 Exh. 4). Dunaway was released from the hospital on January 15, 2009, with instructions to follow up with his physician, and he returned to the Carroll County Jail.

On February 5, 2009, Carroll County transferred Dunaway to the CCDC. At booking, Dunaway told the deputy that he had "multiple stomach problems" and took "several medications, " but he did not state that he had hepatitis C or cirrhosis. (Doc. 166 Exh. 8).

The next day, however, the Carroll County Jail transferred Dunaway's medical records to the CCDC, where they were reviewed by SHP Nurse Autenrieb, who started Dunaway on his medications: Tramadol, a multivitamin, Neomycin, Sprironolactone, Omeprazole, Thiamine, Furosemide, and lactulose. (Doc. 166 Exh. 10 at 1).

On February 16, 2009, Dunaway was taken to medical for a general history and physical examination, but he refused to be examined. (Doc. 166 Exh. 10 at 1; Doc. 170 Exh. 3). The nurse's notes reflect that Dunaway was screaming and hallucinating during this encounter. (Doc. 166 Exh. 10 at 1). Dunaway was therefore moved to a medical cell for observation. When he was later observed to be non-verbal with moderate tremors, the SHP doctor ordered that he be taken by EMT to the emergency room at St. Luke Hospital. (Doc. 166 Exh. 10 at 2).

St. Luke discharged Dunaway two days later, on February 18, 2009, with diagnoses of delirium from liver disease and hepatitis; drug abuse history; subclinical sinus infection; and lactulose pneumonia, stable. (Doc. 166 Exh. 14) The hospital also ordered two new medications, Norvasc and Keflex, which Dunaway began receiving once back at the CCDC. (Doc. 166 Exh. 10 at 2). Per the doctor's order, Dunaway was also placed on a low sodium, low protein diet. ( Id. ).

On February 19, 2009, Dunaway submitted a sick call slip stating that he needed to see medical as soon as possible, but the slip did not state what his medical problem was. (Doc. 170 Exh. 5).

On February 25, 2009, Dunaway submitted a grievance to CCDC Captain James Young stating that he was not getting the correct medications at the correct times. (Doc. 166 Exh. 15). Young consulted with medical staff the same day, who reported that Dunaway's medications had been adjusted because he was on several different diuretics and blood pressure medication, and also that his Tylenol had been discontinued because he had been prescribed Tramadol for pain. (Doc. 166 Exh. 16 at 2). Young then responded to Dunaway's grievance, explaining that medical had "re-evaluated your situation and your medications are correct." ( Id. at 1).

From late February through late March, Dunaway submitted sick call slips regarding kidney and liver pain; urinary tract infections; a request for new glasses and ear cleaning; nausea caused by the jail food; a chemical burn from sitting on a toilet when it still had cleaning product on it; and vomiting. (Doc. 170 Exhs. 6-15). Medical staff examined Dunaway multiple times; obtained urine and blood pressure tests; prescribed a burn cream for the chemical burn; and prescribed Phenargan for nausea and Ibuprofen for a low-grade fever. ( Id. ).

On March 22, 2009, Dunaway filled out a sick call slip complaining of high fever, chills, nausea, and infection/swelling in his right leg. (Doc. 166 Exh. 18). That same day, medical staff administered an antibiotic and monitored Dunaway. Doc. 166 Exh. 10 at 3). When the swelling and redness had not improved by the next day, the SHP doctor ordered that Dunaway be taken back to the hospital. ( Id. at 4; Exh. 18).

Dunaway was admitted to St. Luke, where he was diagnosed with cellulitis of the lower right leg and administered intravenous antibiotics. (Doc. 166 Exh. 19). He remained in the hospital from March 23 until April 1, 2009, when he was discharged back to the CCDC. His discharge notes state: "His other medical problems of cirrhosis, edema, anxiety, depression were otherwise stable." ( Id. ). Upon his return to the CCDC, Dunaway was given his prescribed outpatient antibiotics. (Doc. 166 Exh. 10 at 4).

On April 3, 2009, SHP nurses examined Dunaway and noted that he had no complaints of pain. ( Id. ).

Two days later, on April 5, Dunaway completed a sick call slip complaining of pain in his legs, problems sleeping, heat in his feet, and migraines. (Doc. 166 Exh. 20) A nurse saw him on April 8 and referred him to the jail doctor. (Doc. 166 Exh. 21). Dr. Waldridge saw him the next day, noted that his cellulitis was resolved, ...

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