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Campbell v. Bastin

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division

February 10, 2014

PECOLA CAMPBELL AND STARSKY COOK Individually and as Administrators of THE ESTATE OF ROLAND CAMPBELL, Plaintiffs,
RONNIE J. BASTIN, Individually and as Police Chief for Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government; OFFICER DERRICK P. WALLACE; and OFFICER MATTHEW R. SMITH, Officers of Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government Division of Police, Defendants

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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For Pecola Campbell, as Administrator of the, Estate of Roland Campbell, Starsky Cook, as Administrator of the, Estate of Roland Campbell, Executor plaintiffs: Christina R.L. Norris, Louisville, KY; David Ferleger, Archways Professional Bldg, Jenkintown, PA.

For Pecola Campbell, Individually, Starsky Cook, Individually, Plaintiffs: Christina R.L. Norris, Louisville, KY; David Ferleger, Archways Professional Bldg, Jenkintown, PA.

For Ronnie J. Bastin, Individually, Officer Derrick P. Wallace, Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government Division of Police, Officer Matthew R. Smith, Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government Division of Police, Defendants: Carolyn C. Zerga, Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, Lexington, KY; Roger G. Wright, LFUCG Department of Law, Lexington, KY.

For Ronnie J. Bastin, as Police Chief Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government Division of Police, Official Defendant: Carolyn C. Zerga, Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, Lexington, KY; Roger G. Wright, LFUCG Department of Law, Lexington, KY.


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Gregory F. Van Tatenhove, United States District Judge.

When the care givers of Adult Daycare of Lexington were unable to sufficiently calm Roland Campbell, an autistic and cognitively disabled resident of the facility, they requested assistance from the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government Division of Police. Pecola Campbell and Starsky Cook, as administrators of Roland Campbell's Estate, allege that when Officers Derrick P. Wallace and Matthew R. Smith arrived, they engaged in

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activities that ultimately contributed to Campbell's death. Specifically, Campbell's Estate asserts claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against these officers and Ronnie Bastin, individually and as Police Chief of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, for the use of excessive force, failure to train, and state created danger. The Police Defendants have countered with a Motion for Summary Judgment, wherein they raise the shield of qualified immunity and argue that the Court may dispose these claims as a matter of law. Campbell's Estate has opposed that motion and filed a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment of its own, arguing that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law on most of its claims. Because the Court finds that qualified immunity protects the Police Defendants from suit under these circumstances, their Motion for Summary Judgment shall be GRANTED, and Campbell's Estate's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment shall be DENIED.


At the time of the incident, Roland Campbell was a twenty-one year old man, who was autistic and severely mentally retarded. Campbell had no expressive language, but was able to follow one-step directions. According to a psychological evaluation conducted before this incident, Campbell had demonstrated, " a history of inappropriate and aggressive psychological behaviors," was " at risk for harm," and needed twenty-four hour supervision. [R. 1-1 at 10]. In September 2009, Campbell became a resident of Adult Daycare of Lexington, where he lived for nine months prior to his death. According to the Complaint, soon after placement at Adult Daycare, Campbell was involved in several incidents wherein he demonstrated, " increased extreme agitation including property damage, self-injurious behavior and aggression toward others." [R. 1-1 at 18]. Specifically, the Complaint notes that, at certain times while at Adult Daycare, Campbell urinated in a bedroom, defecated in the closet during the night, refused to keep his clothes on, " ran around uncontrollably, knocking everything over, and refused to cooperate in any manner with the staff," climbed on top of furniture, destroyed decorations, engaged in " stripping and streaking," pulled down a dresser, flipped over a television, and caused " severe property damage." [R. 1-1 at 18-21].

From time to time, Adult Daycare crisis manager Eric Hatter was called to assist the on-duty staff in resolving difficult situations involving Campbell. [R. 128-1 at 3]. Hatter testified that he had been successful in calming Campbell during a number of previous occasions. [R. 128-2, at 3-7]. One such situation occurred on April 17, 2010, the day before the incident, when Campbell experienced a particularly severe incident of " uncontrollable behavior." [R. 1-1 at 22]. Upon his arrival to the Adult Daycare facility, Hatter found Campbell jumping up and down, and noticed that a television had been flipped over, items were broken on the kitchen floor, and Campbell's bedroom was " in shambles." [R. 128-2 at 10]. Hatter spoke to Campbell and administered his medication, after which Campbell calmed down. [R. 128-2 at 11].

As admitted by Campbell's Estate, " the parties are in no real dispute as to the facts of what occurred on the day Roland Campbell died." [R. 143 at 1]. On April 18, 2010, at around 1:00 p.m., Campbell again became agitated and engaged in similar conduct to the night before. According to John Dickey, the only Adult Daycare employee at the facility at the time, Campbell:

refused to put on any clothing, broke items in the kitchen and tilted over the refrigerator; turned over the dresser in

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another resident's bedroom; turned over the living room television; ripped the toilet out of the floor; removed all of his clothing from the dresser in his bedroom and started to destroy his bed and dresser by picking them up and slamming them down. Further, Campbell, who was naked, climbed out of his bedroom window.

[R 128-1 at 3] (referencing Dickey's deposition at R. 128-3). Though Dickey was able to return Campbell to the facility, he was unable to sufficiently calm Campbell and called Hatter for assistance. According to Dickey, he was concerned not only for Campbell's safety, but the safety of the other two residents of the facility. [R. 128-3 at 3].

Hatter arrived at Adult Daycare at 2:30 p.m., and he found the facility in disarray. He reports that the refrigerator had been flipped, the television had been turned over, the toilet had been pulled from the floor, the shower head had been torn down, and a light fixture had broken down. [R. 128-2 at 14, 16]. Hatter found Campbell naked in his bedroom engaging in the further destruction of that room, including pulling down the blinds and throwing his clothes onto the floor. [R. 128-2 at 16]. According to Hatter, when Campbell saw him, he approached him and grabbed his shirt, such that Hatter had to pull away. [R. 128-2 at 17]. At that point Campbell began jumping up and down. In an attempt to calm him, Hatter offered Campbell his blue blanket, which Hatter identifies as an object that Campbell loved and that had comforted him in the past. [R. 128-2 at 18]. Hatter recalls that Campbell would lay on the floor with this blanket and cover his head with it, presumably when he became agitated. [ Id. ] However, on this occasion, Campbell did not accept and was not calmed by this object. Campbell again grabbed Hatter's shirt, this time tearing it in the process. [ Id. ]

Hatter continued interventions to attempt to calm Campbell. He placed Campbell in a standing cradle, in which he stood behind him and held his wrists to his waist. [R. 128-2 at 19]. When he attempted to maneuver Campbell into a seated kneeling cradle assist, Campbell went forward to his stomach, and Hatter let him go. [R. 128-2 at 19-20]. Next, Hatter administered the medication that had calmed Campbell the night before, but on this day he remained agitated. [R. 128-2 at 21]. Campbell began pulling at the socket on the wall of his bedroom, tearing down the blinds, jumping up and down, and hitting the light fixture. [R. 128-2 at 22-23]. Hatter asked the facility to cut the power to the house for Campbell's protection, which it did. Campbell proceeded to break the light fixture, the wall socket, and cut his hand. Hatter states that he watched Campbell to try to make sure he did not hurt himself further, but he realized that he was not going to be able to control Campbell on this occasion and asked a staff member to call Campbell's case manager and 911. [R. 128-2 at 24-25]. At that point, Hatter removed himself to the doorway to watch Campbell until the police arrived. During this time, Campbell continued to be agitated, to put his hands on the wall, and pull at the wall socket, which was now fully torn off with exposed wires.

Officer Derrick Wallace was dispatched to Adult Daycare shortly after 3:30 p.m., and he was the first to respond to the scene. [R. 128-4 at 3-4]. He had been alerted that this incident involved a person with mental disabilities who was out of control. [R. 128-6 at 4]. When he arrived, he found Hatter on the front porch waiving frantically and looking visibly upset. [ Id. ] He noticed that Hatter's shirt was torn with blood on it. [ Id. ] By the accounts of both men, Hatter apprised Officer Wallace that Campbell was out of control and recommended

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that he be transported to Eastern State Hospital, a mental health facility. [ Id. ] All parties acknowledge that Hatter did not elaborate, nor did Officer Wallace ever fully learn, the specifics of Campbell's disability or the duration of the incident before his arrival. [R. 128-1 at 5].

Accompanied by Hatter, Officer Wallace entered the house to find one of the other residents siting in the living room area. [R. 128-6 at 4]. When Officer Wallace entered Campbell's room, he described his first impression as follows:

The first things I noticed was he was completely nude. He was covered in sweat. He appeared to be bleeding from his hands. And looking around the room, the room was in complete disarray. I remember the walls to have blood on them. It appeared to be, like, finger marks down the walls...and while I was observing Mr. Campbell, he was - and the - there was an electrical socket on the back wall. The cover was off. He was digging in the electrical socket.

[R. 128-6 at 5]. The Police Defendants have attached photographs of the scene that confirm Officer Wallace's description. In the photographs, Campbell's bed is overturned and broken in pieces. [R. 128-19 at 2; R. 128-20 at 1-2]. His clothes are scattered over the floor, and his dresser and night stand are turned over. [R. 128-20 at 1-2; R. 128-21 at 1]. Most notably, the walls are streaked with bloody hand prints and the carpet stained with blood. [R. 128-19 at 1]. Officer Wallace attempted to " start a dialogue" with Campbell, but Campbell neither responded nor acknowledged his presence. [R. 128-6 at 5-6]. Instead, Campbell continued to fidget with the wall socket. [R. 128-6 at 6].

Officer Wallace states that when he found him, Campbell " wasn't in any danger to himself nor anybody else at the time," however, he was not calm and still " appeared irritated." [R. 128-6 at 6, 8-10]. Officer Wallace also noted that he " didn't want to go and approach him not knowing what would happen until another officer arrived." [R. 128-6 at 6]. From his observation of the destruction of the room as well as Hatter's clothing and demeanor, Officer Wallace believed that Campbell had been and could become a danger to himself or others. [R. 126-8 at 10]. So Officer Wallace radioed another unit to come and assist him, and he requested that it hurry. [R. 128-6 at 16-17]. Officer Matthew Smith responded, and when he arrived, Officer Wallace briefed him on the situation, telling him that Campbell should be detained and taken to Eastern State Hospital for mental health treatment. [R. 128-6 at 18].

At that point, Officers Wallace and Smith approached Campbell. [R. 128-6 at 18]. Hatter asked whether they wanted him to accompany them, and the Officers indicated that his presence could be helpful. [R. 134-9 at 7; R. 134-7 at 5]. As the men approached Campbell, Officer Wallace talked to him calmly to reassure him. [R. 128-6 at 18]. Hatter and the officers asked Campbell to stand up and put his hands behind his back, which Campbell did without incident. [R. 134-9 at 7; R. 134-7 at 5]. With some limited assistance from Hatter, Officer Wallace took Campbell by the left wrist and Officer Smith took his right wrist and handcuffed Campbell, making sure the handcuffs were loose enough to be comfortable. [R. 128-6 at 19; R. 134-7 at 5; 134-9 at 7]. Because Officer Wallace did not want to get blood on the police car, he called a transport unit there to assist him. [R. 128-6 at 19]. While they were waiting, Officer Wallace requested something to cover Campbell with since they would be leading him into a residential neighborhood and he was still naked. [ Id. ] Hatter provided the officers with Campbell's blue blanket, which was

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draped over Campbell's shoulders " like a Superman cape." [ Id. ]

Campbell started to " dance around a little bit," so the officers decided to sit him down on the floor. [R. 128-6 at 20].[1] Officer Smith states that during this time he intended to interview Hatter more about Campbell's condition, but this conversation never occurred. [R. 128-5 at 23]. Campbell, handcuffed and seated between two officers near the door of his bedroom, became more irritated and tried to get up. [R. 128-6 at 20-21]. On two to three occasions Officer Wallace applied pressure on his shoulder to keep him seated, but ultimately Campbell rolled over on his right side with his legs extended and began to struggle. [R. 126-6 at 21]. From there, Officer Wallace recalls that, " it escalated quickly." [R. 128-6 at 22]. Campbell began to thrash and kick, grunting and trying to get his hands free from the hand cuffs. [R. 128-6 at 23]. Ultimately, he rolled over onto his chest into the prone position and began scooting toward the doorway of his bedroom that led into the hallway. [R. 128-6 at 24; R. 134-9 at 8].

What the officers and Hatter did at this point is critical to this case, and so the Court shall describe their positions and actions in detail. Officer Wallace kneeled to Campbell's left side. [R. 128-6 at 25; R. 128-5 at 24]. He took hold of Campbell's left elbow with his left hand and held Campbell's right arm with his right hand through the blanket. [R. 128-6 at 25]. While in this position, Officer Wallace put his face close to Campbell's and attempted to reassure him by saying, " Buddy, just calm down. It's going to be all right." [R. 128-6 at 27; R. 128-5 at 24]. Officer Smith positioned himself near Campbell's legs in an attempt to prevent Campbell from kicking. [R. 128-6 at 25; R. 128-5 at 23-24]. At some point Officer Smith employed the blanket that had previously been draped around Campbell's shoulders as a webbing to help him accomplish this purpose. [R. 128-5 at 27, 34]. Officers Smith and Wallace maintain that the blanket was at no time swaddling Campbell. [R. 128-5 at 36-38]. Hatter's position is not entirely clear from the testimony. Hatter says that he was initially on his knees holding Campbell around the waist, but he eventually let go, putting his arms on either side of the doorway to protect Campbell from striking it. [R. 128-2 at 39; R. 134-9 at 9-10]. He indicates that he was not putting any weight on Campbell. [R. 134-9 at 10]. Officer Smith recalls that Hatter kneeled near Campbell's buttocks region, wrapped his arms around Campbell's waist, and talked to him in an attempt to calm him. [R. 128-5 at 24]. Officer Wallace claims he did not have a good view, but thought that, while Hatter was not completely on top of Campbell, he was on Campbell's buttocks or legs. [R. 128-6 at 27]. Either way, none of the individuals involved indicate that anyone was ever on top of or putting any weight on Campbell's back to hold him down, an observation confirmed by John Dickey, an Adult Daycare employee who was not involved in the restraint but had at least a partial view of the encounter.[2] [ See R. 128-3 at 29-30; R. 128-5 at 24-27; R. 128-6 at 26-27, 32-33; R. 134-7 at 7; R. 134-9 at 9-10]. In their various positions, the men surrounding Campbell report different views as to what their goals were. Hatter testified that they were trying to

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get Campbell off the ground, while Officer Wallace indicated that he was trying to keep Campbell from escaping. [R. 128-6 at 26]. However, the general consensus of the officers and Hatter was that they were endeavoring to keep Campbell from further hurting himself.[3] [R. 128-5 at 29; R. 128-2 at 37-39; R. 134-9 at 9; R. 128-2 at 40].

Eventually, Campbell was able to free himself from one handcuff, pull all three men out in the hallway, and then, in what Officer Wallace describes as a feat a superhuman strength, lift himself and all three men three to four inches into the air. [R. 128-6 at 28]. Campbell then collapsed, closed his eyes, and became nonresponsive. [R. 128-6 at 28-29]. After checking for a pulse and finding no signs of life, the Officers moved Campbell into the living room where they, assisted by Hatter and another officer who had just arrived, administered CPR. [R. 128-6 at 31]. EMS arrived around 4:00 p.m., and found Campbell in the living room with dilated pupils and without a pulse. [R. 134-3 at 6]. The EC unit transported Campbell to a hospital where he was pronounced dead about 4:30 p.m. [ Id. ]. The autopsy lists the cause of death as acute cardiorespiratory failure, acute hypoxia, dehydration, physical exhaustion, acute symphathomimetic intoxication; and autism-induced excited delirium during prone restraint. [R. 1-1 at 27].

Pecola Campbell and Starsky Cook, the administrators of Campbell's Estate, initiated the present action against Adult Daycare and the Police Defendants. [R. 1-1]. Though Campbell's Estate has reached a settlement with Adult Daycare, its claims against the Police Defendants for use of excessive force, state created danger, and failure to train, remain. The Police Defendants have filed a motion for summary judgment on the grounds that they are shielded from suit by qualified immunity, and even if not, there is no genuine dispute of material fact that they did not violate any of Roland Campbell's constitutional rights. ...

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