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Bekhtyar v. Grayson County Detention Center

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Owensboro Division

December 20, 2018



          Joseph H. McKinley Jr., District Judge United States District Court

         Before the Court are the motion for reconsideration (DN 17) filed by Defendant United States of America and the motion to dismiss (DN 14) filed by Defendant Michael Wilson. Each will be considered below.

         Motion for reconsideration (DN 17)

         In his complaint, Plaintiff, Jamal Bekhtyar, who is proceeding pro se, alleged that Defendant Wilson, a U.S. Probation Officer in the Middle District of Tennessee, was deliberately indifferent to Plaintiff's serious medical need because Defendant Wilson failed to inform the U.S. Marshal's Office and the U.S. Attorney's Office that Plaintiff required antibiotics, rest, and follow-up medical attention for a spider bite when Plaintiff was arrested by the U.S. Marshal's Office. On initial review, the Court allowed Plaintiff an opportunity to amend his complaint to name Defendant Wilson in his individual capacity. Plaintiff did so (DN 11), and the Court allowed the Eighth/Fourteenth Amendment claim under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Fed. Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), against Defendant Wilson to proceed.

         In its motion for reconsideration, Defendant United States moves the Court for reconsideration of its determination that Plaintiff had alleged a constitutional claim against Defendant Wilson. Defendant United States argues that since recovery against Defendant Wilson would be from his personal assets, the Court must reconsider its decision to prevent a manifest injustice. Defendant United States further argues that within the second amended complaint, Plaintiff fails to link Defendant Wilson to a constitutional violation.

         Plaintiff's motions (DNs 20 and 22) for the Court to deny the Defendants' motion to dismiss are effectively a response to the motion for reconsideration. Plaintiff states that his Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments were violated by all Defendants; that the Court has liberally and correctly construed his complaint; and that Defendants are not immune to Plaintiff's claims of deliberate indifference to a serious medical issue in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments.

         “Traditionally, courts will find justification for reconsidering interlocutory orders when there is (1) an intervening change of controlling law; (2) new evidence available; or (3) a need to correct a clear error or prevent manifest injustice.” Rodriguez v. Tenn. Laborers Health & Welfare Fund, 89 Fed.Appx. 949, 959 (6th Cir. 2004). The Court will reconsider whether Plaintiff has stated a constitutional claim against Defendant Wilson.

         The Sixth Circuit historically has analyzed Fourteenth Amendment pretrial detainee claims and Eighth Amendment prisoner claims “under the same rubric.” Villegas v. Metro. Gov't of Nashville, 709 F.3d 563, 568 (6th Cir. 2013). “[A] prisoner's Eighth Amendment right is violated when prison . . . officials are deliberately indifferent to the prisoner's serious medical needs.” Comstock v. McCrary, 273 F.3d 693, 702 (6th Cir. 2001) (citing Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976)). “A deliberate indifference claim has both objective and subjective components.” Alspaugh v. McConnell, 643 F.3d 162, 169 (6th Cir. 2011).

         “The objective component mandates a sufficiently serious medical need.” Barnett v. Luttrell, 414 Fed.Appx. 784, 787 (6th Cir. 2011). This Court will assume, and Defendant does not argue otherwise, that Plaintiff's spider bite was a sufficiently serious medical need so as to satisfy the objective component.

         The subjective component regards a prison official's state of mind; the prison official must “be aware of facts from which the inference could be drawn that a substantial risk of serious harm exists, and he must also draw the inference.” Blackmore v. Kalamazoo Cty., 390 F.3d 890, 896 (6th Cir. 2004) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).[1] Defendant United States argues that Plaintiff has not met the subjective prong because nothing suggests that Defendant Wilson was aware of the lack of medical care during Plaintiff's detention at Grayson County Detention Center (GCDC) or that Defendant Wilson did not himself believe that Plaintiff would receive adequate care. Defendant United States argues that, even under a liberal reading of the complaint, Plaintiff only sets forth a negligence claim as to Defendant Wilson.

         The Court takes note of Defendant's argument that Defendant Wilson could have reasonably believed that Plaintiff would in fact receive medical attention at GCDC. Defendant United States points to the fact that Defendant Wilson assured Plaintiff that he would receive medical attention and to the fact that when Defendant Wilson saw Plaintiff in court three days later and realized that he had not received and needed medical treatment Defendant Wilson “immediately” had Plaintiff released to go to the hospital.

         The instant case is similar to a recent decision by this Court. In Quintana v. Woosley, No. 4:18-CV-P95-JHM, 2018 WL 3487470, at *3 (W.D. Ky. July 19, 2018), the plaintiff's main complaint was that medical officials did not provide treatment for his spider bite until one week after he let them know about the bite through “word of mouth.” This Court found the following:

“[A] short delay by itself in administering medical treatment-even an unexplained delay-is not enough to demonstrate deliberate indifference to . . . medical needs, but instead evinces negligence.” See Barner v. Mackie, No. 17-1608, 2017 WL 5633399, at *3 (6th Cir. 2017) (citing Santiago v. Ringle, 734 F.3d 585, 592-93 (6th Cir. 2013)); see also Hood v. Johns, No. 5:11-CT-3072-FL, 2012 WL 3839987, at *4 (E.D. N.C. Sept. 5, 2012) (granting summary judgment against a plaintiff who asserted that defendant prison guards had promised him treatment for a brown recluse spider bite because in the absence of any evidence suggesting that the guards “purposely ...

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