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Wilson v. Johnson

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

May 20, 2014

JACK A. WILSON, Plaintiff,
v.
JENNIFER JOHNSON, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER

GREGORY F. VAN TATENHOVE, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court upon the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendant Jennifer Johnson, the sole remaining Defendant in this case. For the reasons explained below, the motion for summary judgment is GRANTED.

I

A

This litigation is the result of an arrest and detention that occurred in Trimble County, Kentucky, on October 7, 2011. Plaintiff Jack Wilson apparently suffered a stroke at some point on that day. [R. 29; R. 37-5.] According to Wilson, he remembers picking up fallen tree limbs that morning in Campbellsburg, Kentucky, and loading them into his pickup truck. [R. 37-8 (Wilson Depo. I, at 95-96.] At about 4:00 p.m., Trooper Jennifer Johnson responded to a call that came into the Trimble County Sheriff's Office, reporting that a driver who was possibly intoxicated had gone off the road, crashed into a ditch, and hit a fence. [R. 29-1 (October 7, 2011 Uniform Citation).] According to Johnson, when she encountered this driver, who turned out to be Jack Wilson, he was driving erratically on the wrong side of the road with a "dry blank stare" and "never looked up or moved, " which caused Johnson to drive off the road into the grass to avoid a head-on collision. [ Id. ]

When Johnson stopped Wilson, she noted that he was "dazed, " confused as to what day and time it was, "could not focus or complete thoughts or actions, " was having "facial tremors" and appeared drowsy, had constricted pupils and droopy eyelids, and stated that he was hot and had a dry mouth. [ Id. ] Johnson administered the field sobriety tests, and noted that Wilson failed all of them. [ Id. ] Johnson also noted that Wilson admitted he was taking about ten medications but did not know what they were, and that he exhibited a "lack of cooperation." [ Id. ] Wilson claims that he told Johnson that he was experiencing loss of the use of the left side of his body, but Johnson's report contains no record of that communication. [R. 37-8 at 102, 111; R. 31, Ex. B, Wilson Depo. at 102, 111.[1] Johnson arrested Wilson on charges of reckless driving, driving on a license that had been suspended for a previous DUI violation, failure to maintain insurance, speeding, failure to register transfer of a motor vehicle, failure to wear a seat belt, leaving the scene of an accident, and failure to give an oncoming vehicle the right of way.[2] [R. 29-1 (Uniform Citation).]

Johnson then took Wilson to the Carroll County Memorial Hospital to obtain blood and urine samples, both of which eventually came back negative for illegal drugs or alcohol. [R. 29-1 (Uniform Citation) at 1; R. 37-2 (Rep. of Laboratory Exam).] Consequently, Wilson was not charged with driving under the influence of alcohol. Wilson states that his whole left side felt "dead, " but he did not mention this problem to hospital personnel, nor did he ask for any medical attention because he said it "didn't concern me at the time, " and because he "didn't really feel like [he] needed medical attention." [R. 37-8 (Wilson Depo.) at 121-22, 130.]

After the tests were completed, Johnson took Wilson to the Carroll County Detention Center where he was held until his release on October 13, 2011. Upon arriving at the Center, Johnson filled out the arresting officer questionnaire, in which she advised the booking officer that Wilson took heart medications that made him lethargic, that he could stand on his own, and that she was not aware of any acute medical condition or recently sustained injury that required immediate medical attention. [R. 29-3.] Wilson did not request medical attention during the booking process or when he met with the Detention Center's nurse, Tanya Abney, to complete the Inmate Medical Questions Form. [R. 29-4; R. 37-8 at 130.] Wilson was released on October 13, 2011, without having received medical treatment for his stroke while at the Detention Center. Three days after his release, Wilson was admitted to the Veterans Administration hospital for treatment of the weakness in his left side, and the doctors there informed him that he had recently had a stroke. [R. 37-5.] On July 17, 2012, while represented by counsel, Wilson agreed to stipulate probable cause to Johnson's arrest in exchange for the dismissal of all charges against him. [R. 23-2; R. 23-3.]

B

Wilson filed suit in this Court on October 9, 2012. [R. 1.] The defendants initially named in the Complaint were Carroll County, Carroll County Detention Center, Carroll County Jailer Michael Humphrey in his individual and official capacity, Tanya Abney, an unnamed Carroll County Detention Center Medical Director, the Kentucky State Police, and Trooper Jennifer Johnson. This Court granted summary judgment in favor of the other defendants on March 6, 2014, [R. 41] except for the Unnamed Medical Director who Wilson later agreed to dismiss from the case. [R. 55.] Also on March 6, 2014, this Court granted summary judgment in favor of Johnson concerning Wilson's state law claims, but denied summary judgment concerning Wilson's claim brought under U.S.C. ยง 1983 because Johnson had not met her initial burden on that claim. Shortly afterward, Johnson filed a motion for reconsideration, [R. 43] which the Court construed as a motion for summary judgment because in that motion Johnson's counsel addressed for the first time the substance of Wilson's Fourteenth Amendment claims against Johnson. The construed motion for summary judgment is now ripe for review.

II

A

Summary judgment is appropriate where "the pleadings, discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(2); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-25 (1986). "A genuine dispute exists on a material fact, and thus summary judgment is improper, if the evidence shows that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.'" Olinger v. Corporation of the President of the Church, 521 F.Supp.2d 577, 582 (E.D. Ky. 2007) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986)). Stated otherwise, "[t]he mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the plaintiff's position will be insufficient; there must be evidence on which the jury could reasonably find for the plaintiff." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252.

The moving party has the initial burden of demonstrating the basis for its motion and identifying those parts of the record that establish the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Chao v. Hall Holding Co., Inc., 285 F.3d 415, 424 (6th Cir. 2002). The movant may satisfy its burden by showing "that there is an absence of evidence to support the non-moving party's case." Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 325. Once the movant has satisfied this burden, the non-moving party must go beyond the pleadings and come forward with specific facts demonstrating the existence of a genuine issue for trial. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56; Hall Holding, 285 F.3d at 424 (citing Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324). Moreover, "the nonmoving party must do more than show there is some metaphysical doubt ...


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