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Morris v. Christian County Sheriff's Department

United States District Court, Sixth Circuit

November 5, 2013

KENNETH MARTIN MORRIS, Plaintiff,
v.
CHRISTIAN COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT, et al. Defendants,

MEMORANDUM OPINION

THOMAS B. RUSSELL, Senior District Judge.

This matter is before the Court upon the following Motions: (1) Defendants Deputy Tim Cooksey, Deputy Brandon Hawkins, Deputy Phillip Meacham, Jailer Brad Boyd, Deputy Caleb Hargrove, Captain Chris Burd, Deputy Steve Howard, Deputy Brian Rives, Nurse Carol Mann, and Nurse Missy Lancaster's (collectively, the "Christian County Defendants") Motion for Summary Judgment, (Docket No. 36); (2) Defendant Jennie Stuart Medical Center, Inc.'s (JSMC) Motion for Summary Judgment, (Docket No. 39); and (3) Defendant Andrew Pacos, M.D.'s Motion for Summary Judgment, (Docket No. 41). Plaintiff has not responded to any of these motions, and the time to do so now has long since passed. For the reasons that follow, the Court will DISMISS Plaintiff's Complaint and DENY each of these Motions as moot.

BACKGROUND

On October 25, 2011, Christian County Sheriffs Deputies Brandon Hawkins and Phillip Meacham responded to a call from 1000 Raintree Lane in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. According to their affidavits, the officers believed they were responding to a domestic dispute involving a firearm. ( See Docket Nos. 36-5; -6.) When the officers arrived at the residence, they spoke with Karon Hale, who told them she was Plaintiff Kenneth Martin Morris's girlfriend. The officers also spoke with Hale's son, Kevin Couch. Hale and Couch told the officers that Morris had held a gun to Hale's head and that Couch had engaged Morris in an attempt to wrest the gun away from him. Hale and Couch informed the officers that Morris had fled the residence upon the officers' arrival and that Morris was still armed with a gun. (Docket Nos. 36-5; -6.)

The officers located Morris hiding behind a trailer in the side yard of the residence. The officers state that they told Morris to show his hands no less than five times but that Morris refused. After Morris's refusals, Deputy Meacham deployed his taser. Thereafter, the officers continued to instruct Morris to put his hands in the air some eleven times before he eventually complied. Deputy Hawkins then arrested Morris and secured him in Deputy Meacham's cruiser. Deputy Tim Cooksey subsequently arrived on the scene, and all three officers observed that Morris appeared to be highly intoxicated and was bleeding from a wound to his head.

Deputy Meacham transported Morris to JSMC in Hopkinsville. Deputies Hawkins and Cooksey also went to JSMC. Dr. Andrew Pacos was the treating emergency room physician. Once at the hospital Morris refused to cooperate and cursed and yelled at the officers. When a nurse attempted to draw Morris's blood per Dr. Pacos's orders, Morris became increasingly combative. The officers instructed Morris to cooperate with the blood draw, and, after he continued to behave aggressively, Deputy Cooksey deployed his taser on Morris. The nurse was then able to draw Morris's blood. Deputies Meacham and Cooksey subsequently left the hospital to respond to another call, but Deputy Hawkins remained with Morris until he was discharged. According to Dr. Pacos's records, Morris did not indicate any leg pain or injury while at the hospital.

Morris was discharged from the JSMC the following morning and transported by Deputy Hawkins to the Christian County Jail (CCJ) were he was booked. Nurse Missy Lancaster examined Morris that morning, noting that Morris's right eye was swollen shut and that he had sutured lacerations above the right eye and between his eyes. Morris denied injury to other parts of his body, and Nurse Lancaster noted that Morris moved all his extremities without difficulty. Nurse Lancaster placed Morris on medical watch and noted that an appointment would be made with an ear, nose, and throat doctor. Nurse Lancaster also noted that Morris had been prescribed Amoxicillin and that he would be provided ice packs and ibuprofen for pain.

Prison medical records indicate that Morris was seen by "Dr. Calvert" two days later on October 28 and that Dr. Calvert had ordered eye drops. Morris was again seen by Nurse Lancaster the next day, October 29, who noted that his facial swelling was "much improved" and that his sutures remained intact with no signs of infection. (Docket No. 37-3, at 2.)

The Christian County Defendants have submitted video recordings of four of Morris's appearances in Christian Circuit and District Courts, and the Court has reviewed this footage. The first recording shows Morris's appearance in Christian Circuit Court on November 2, 2011. At that time, Morris is seen to walk to the bench and stand unassisted for the duration of the plea colloquy, which lasted just under five minutes. At that time, Morris told the presiding judge, "I got some sense knocked into me." The second recording shows Morris's appearance in Christian District Court on November 4, 2011. Again, Morris is seen to walk to the podium with ease and stand unassisted.

However, Morris's jail medical record reflect that on that same day, November 4, he submitted a medical request form complaining of lower leg pain. (Docket No. 37-3, at 3.) Nurse Lancaster noted Morris's complaint and instructed him to notify CCJ staff if the pain worsened or did not improve. Nurse Lancaster also noted that Morris was to continue to receive ibuprofen for pain.

Morris submitted another medical request form on November 9, 2011, complaining that his leg pain persisted. (Docket No. 37-3, at 5.) An x-ray was performed the following day, which revealed a possible fracture of the fibula. Nurse Lancaster instructed CCJ staff to provide Morris crutches for ambulation and to place in isolation if needed. Nurse Lancaster's notes further reflect that a consultation with an orthopedic specialist would be arranged if the fracture was confirmed. A follow up to that note shows that the fracture was indeed confirmed and that an appointment was scheduled with an orthopedic specialist. (Docket No. 37-3, at 6.) Nurse Lancaster followed up with Morris the next day, November 11, informing him of the x-ray results and that an appointment has been scheduled with an orthopedic doctor for further evaluation.

On November 14, 2011, Morris was examined by Dr. David Bealle. Dr. Bealle's notes state: "I have recommended nonoperative treatment and [Morris] understands this. All of the patient's questions were answered in detail today. He will return to see us back in ten days and x-rays will be obtained at that time. I have outlined to him that he needs to limit his weight bearing." (Docket No. 37-7, at 1.)

Morris again appeared in Christian District Court on November 21, 2011. The video recording reflects that Morris was walking with the assistance of crutches at that time.

Morris next saw Dr. Bealle on November 29, 2011, and again had x-rays taken of his leg. At that time, Dr. Bealle's notes state: "We are going to continue to watch the fracture and treat him conservatively. If this does not heal we recommend open reduction internal fixation with a plate and he understands. We will see him back in ...


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