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Stevens v. Gooch

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

September 30, 2014

MARTY R. STEVENS, PLAINTIFF
v.
DAVID GOOCH, ET AL., DEFENDANTS

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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For Marty R Stevens, Plaintiff: J. Richard Clay, Clay & Clay, Danville, KY.

For Lincoln County, Kentucky, David Gooch, Individually, Defendants: Jonathan C. Shaw, LEAD ATTORNEY, Porter, Schmitt, Banks & Baldwin, Paintsville, KY.

For Jailer David Gooch, Jailer of Lincoln County, Kentucky, Official Defendant: Jonathan C. Shaw, LEAD ATTORNEY, Porter, Schmitt, Banks & Baldwin, Paintsville, KY.

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MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Candace J. Smith, United States Magistrate Judge.

This matter is before the Court on the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendants, David Gooch and Lincoln County, Kentucky (R. 63). The parties have consented to jurisdiction by a magistrate judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) and the matter is ripe for consideration. For the reasons explained below, Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment will be granted.

I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

A. Factual Background

On October 20, 2010, Plaintiff was arrested and taken to the Lincoln County

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Jail where he was delivered at approximately 10:40 p.m. to the custody of the jailer, Defendant David Gooch.[1] (R. 40, at ¶ 6, R. 56, at 18). Plaintiff alleges that he was placed in a holding tank, where he slipped and fell on liquid that had accumulated on the floor. (R. 40, at ¶ 6, R. 50-1, at 14-16). As a result of his slip and fall, Plaintiff claims he suffered injuries to his right ankle. ( Id.). Plaintiff reported the incident to guards at the jail and requested medical attention. ( Id.).

After his fall, he was seen by the jail nurse, Pat Brown. ( Id.). She examined Plaintiff's ankle and determined the injury was a sprain. ( Id.). At that time, Nurse Brown observed that Plaintiff had an abscess on his arm and decided to have Plaintiff transported to Bluegrass Clinic to have the abscess examined. ( Id.). He was seen at Bluegrass Clinic on October 21, 2010. (R. 62, at 5). The physician's assistant at Bluegrass Clinic, Heather Hoewing, examined the abscess on Plaintiff's arm. ( Id.). She also examined Plaintiff's ankle and recommended Plaintiff undergo an x-ray of his ankle that same day.[2] ( Id. at 5-6). Physician's Assistant Hoewing testified that the jail employee who accompanied Plaintiff to the appointment relayed to her that the recommendation for an x-ray was refused because he had not been sent to the clinic for treatment of his ankle. ( Id. at 5-7). She documented the refusal, prescribed ibuprofen for pain, and suggested he return on October 24, 2010. ( Id. at 49). Defendant Gooch testified that he would never make a decision refusing recommended medical treatment and would never authorize such a decision. (R. 51, at 27). Nurse Brown also testified that she would not have refused a doctor's requested treatment. (R. 57, at 50). It is unclear who was responsible for refusing Physician's Assistant Hoewing's recommendation to obtain an x-ray, but it is undisputed that an x-ray was not performed on October 21, 2010.

On October 25, 2010, Plaintiff returned to Bluegrass Clinic in follow-up for the abscess on his arm, but his chief complaint was cardiac symptoms for which he was hospitalized overnight for observation. (R. 62, at 7-8). Physician's Assistant Hoewing did not recall looking at Plaintiff's ankle at this appointment, and there is no notation on the medical record referencing the ankle. However, she explained that the main concern at that appointment was Plaintiff's chest pain. ( Id.). Plaintiff again returned to the clinic on November 2, 2010, for follow-up of the abscess on his arm and he was also complaining of anxiety. ( Id. at 9). Physician's Assistant Hoewing did not recall whether she examined Plaintiff's ankle during this visit and no reference is made to the ankle in the medical note of that date. ( Id. at 9, 41-43). She recommended he return for follow-up treatment in two weeks.

On November 15, 2010, Plaintiff returned to the clinic in follow-up of the abscess, and he was complaining of ankle pain. (R. 62, at 10, 37-39). Physician's Assistant Hoewing examined Plaintiff's ankle

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and noted it was still swollen and weak, as well as tender along both the lateral aspect of the malleolus and medially. ( Id.). She noted Plaintiff was, however, able to partially bear weight on it. She ordered an x-ray on Plaintiff's right ankle, which revealed: " a moderately displaced fracture of the medial malleolus with associated soft tissue swelling." ( Id. at 40). Physician's Assistant Hoewing refilled Plaintiff's prescription for ibuprofen and referred him to an orthopedic specialist--Cumberland Foot and Ankle. ( Id. at 32; R. 50, at 14; R. 57-1, at 32). Plaintiff testified that his ankle was placed in an air cast at that appointment, and stated, in answer to an interrogatory, that Guard Dennis Ray gave him crutches. (R. 50, at 14; R. 50-1, at 15).

A November 16, 2010, medical note from Bluegrass Clinic states:

PT is scheduled for referral appt. with Cumberland Foot and Ankle (at Ft. Logan Hospital in Stanford) on Dec. 7, 2010 at 8:30 a.m. Called Pat at the Lincoln County Jail and told her that even though she had not wanted to do the referral, Dr. James instructed me to make the appt. for PT and let her decide whether they would keep it. Pat was notified and said she would handle it from there.

( R. 57-1, at 32, R. 61, at 21). It appears the December 7, 2010, appointment was rescheduled to January 4, 2011. (R. 57, at 20-21, R. 57-1, at 20). The circumstances behind the alleged rescheduling are unclear as Nurse Brown could not recall whether the December 7, 2010, appointment was kept, and had no memory of rescheduling it. (R. 57, at 18-20).

While awaiting his January 4, 2011, appointment with the specialist at Cumberland Foot and Ankle, Plaintiff continued to report ankle pain. On November 21, 2010, he completed a " health care services request form," complaining of pain and noting that he thought his ankle was infected. The following morning Nurse Brown examined Plaintiff, and made an appointment with Bluegrass Clinic for November 23, 2010. (R. 57-1, at 27). On November 23, 2010, Plaintiff was seen by Physician's Assistant Lucas Kennedy, who noted Plaintiff was complaining of ankle pain, which was causing him to feel nauseous. (R. 57-1, at 29-31). Because Plaintiff reported having an appointment scheduled with an orthopedic specialist, P.A. Kennedy suggested Plaintiff return for follow-up in one month. ( Id.).

On November 28 and December 10, 2010, Plaintiff completed a " health care services request form" noting his ankle pain and stating the pain was causing other symptoms, including high blood pressure. (R. 57-1, at 25-26, 37-38). Nurse Brown received both requests, noted his next appointments, but only examined him on December 10, 2010, without notation of any objective findings or subjective complaints. ( Id.). On December 12, 2010, Plaintiff again completed a " health care services request form" stating he needed to see a doctor because he thought his ankle was infected and the pain was making him sick. ( Id. at 24). On December 13, 2010, Nurse Brown examined Plaintiff and noted no infection was present. ( Id.). Nurse Brown also noted Plaintiff's appointment with Cumberland Foot and Ankle on January 4, 2011, and she gave him ibuprofen for the pain. ( Id.). Bluegrass Clinic records indicate that on December 13, 2010, Plaintiffs's follow-up appointment scheduled for December 15, 2010, was cancelled by jail personnel. (R. 61, at 23).

On December 24, 2010, at 6:00 (not clear if a.m. or p.m.), Plaintiff completed a " health care services request form" stating he was in pain from his broken ankle, it was causing him to feel sick, and he was

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having trouble eating and sleeping. (R. 57-1, at 21). At approximately 8:30 p.m. officers responded to Plaintiff's cell where they found Plaintiff on the floor with blood on his face. (R. 54, at 28). Plaintiff informed the officers that his ankle gave out on him and he fell. ( Id.). As a result of the fall, Plaintiff was transported to Fort Logan Hospital. ( Id.). According to the incident report created by Deputy Keith Hale, an x-ray was conducted on Plaintiff's ankle and the doctor stated the ankle was broken and Plaintiff would need surgery. ( Id.). Nurse Brown followed up with Plaintiff on December 27, 2011, and gave him ibuprofen for his pain.

On January 3, 2011, Plaintiff completed another " health care services request form," stating his blood pressure was high and his ankle was the cause. (R. 57-1, at 17). On January 4, 2011, Nurse Brown examined Plaintiff at 11:30 a.m., and noted he had an appointment with Bluegrass Clinic at 3:10 the same day. ( Id.). Bluegrass Clinic records indicate Plaintiff was seen by Physician's Assistant Lucas Kennedy with chief complaint of pain. P.A. Kennedy noted Plaintiff's tenderness over medial malleolus, and also noted he was scheduled for surgery on January 7, 2011, at Fort Logan Hospital. (R. 61, at 26).

Plaintiff was also seen by Dr. Jensen at Cumberland Foot and Ankle on or about January 4, 2011. (R. 57-1, at 13-14, 18-19). Dr. Jensen noted joint instability, foot pain, and ankle fracture. ( Id.). She ordered an MRI, and noted Plaintiff was to return for surgical correction. ( Id.). On January 6, 2011, Nurse Brown contacted Dr. Jensen about Plaintiff's diagnosis and prognosis. (R. 57, at 29, 57-1, at 12). Nurse Brown made a note that the Doctor reported Plaintiff had a dislocated fracture and an unstable ankle joint, and he should not ambulate on that ankle. ( Id.). Plaintiff underwent an MRI on January 6, 2011, which confirmed medial malleolar fracture. (R. 53, at 16, R. 57-1, at 18, R. 62, at 34; R. 62, at 34-35). There is no indication why the surgery did ...


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