United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Frankfort
OPINION & ORDER
GREGORY F. VAN TATENHOVE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
one of two recent cases involving pretrial detention at
Franklin County Regional Jail. Disturbingly, in this matter,
Austin Christian Griffith, nearly died while in custody. The
Defendants seek to resolve this case by way of summary
judgment. [R. 68, 69, 71.] This requires the Court to
consider for the first time the teachings of the Supreme
Court in Kingsley v. Hendrickson, a Fourth Amendment
case, in the context of the Eighth Amendment. 135 S.Ct. 2466
(2015). Ultimately, for the reasons set out below, the
motions will be GRANTED.
Griffith, an 18-year old man, involved himself in a botched
robbery. [R. 101.] During that attempted robbery he was hit
in the back with a baseball bat. Id. And so began
his vomiting, which lasted from that point until he was
life-flighted to UK Health. Id. But his troubles
were not just physical, and he was arrested that same day.
[R. 69-1 at 2.] Following his arrest Griffith was taken to
standard, a deputy jailer interviewed Griffith about his
medical condition. Id. at 3. Griffith also admitted
to having taken a Xanax and smoking marijuana a few times
daily. Id. At this time, Griffith was made to
understand that he could request a health care provider at
any time while he was in jail. Id.
this intake process, the deputy was given pause when Griffith
cried while speaking to his mother. Id. at 4. Due to
the serious charges, Griffith's emotional behavior, and
young age, the deputy surmised that Griffith might be at risk
for suicide. Id. So, she reached out to a clinician
with the Mental Health Crisis Network. Id. The
deputy described Griffith's emotional condition and
shared her fear that Griffith had the potential to withdraw
from alcohol or drugs. Id. In response, the
clinician told her that Griffith posed a moderate suicide
risk and he should be placed in general population with
individualized observation for 48-hours. Id. As to
the possibility of withdrawal, the deputy simply put a note
to “refer to medical for obs.” Id.
Griffith was then placed in a “detox” cell on
November 8th. Id. at 4. In this cell
Griffith was checked every 20 minutes. Id. During
that first night, the deputies logged Griffith vomiting seven
times, a fact that Griffith attributed to nerves.
basic observation by jail deputies, all of Griffith's
medical care was to be handled by SHP-a medical services
contractor. Id. at 2. SHP employed licensed
practical nurses Sabina Trivette and Heather Sherrow,
registered nurse Brittany Mundine, advanced practice
registered nurses Jane Bartram and Stacy Jensen, and facility
physician Ronald Waldridge, MD to provide care. Id.
Sherrow was the first of SHP's employees to see Griffith.
Id. at 5. She determined based on the
clinician's evaluation that Griffith was at moderate
suicide risk-a classification to be reevaluated after 48
hours. Id. As a result, SHP staff observed Griffith
twice daily. Id.
that same day Griffith put in a “sick call slip”
because he had been vomiting for the previous two days.
Id. Responding to Griffith's sick slip, Nurse
Trevette took Griffith to the medical room for observation.
Id. Once there, Griffith repeated his disclosure
about drug use and complained about vomiting and diarrhea.
Id. Despite Griffith's confession of drug use
Nurse Trevette determined that Griffith did not appear to be
withdrawing from drugs. Id. Instead, understanding
that vomiting and diarrhea can cause dehydration, she checked
his skin turgor. Id. Having determined that his
turgor was good, she counseled Griffith on dehydration and
prescribed him Imodium and Mylanta. Id.
symptoms did not improve. The next day Griffith completed
another sick call slip for stomach pain and puking.
Id. During the nearly 24-hour period between sick
calls he was observed vomiting six more times. Id.
at 6. Responding again, Nurse Trevette checked Griffith's
vital signs. Id. Despite vomiting on numerous
occasions, he had not lost weight. Id. But in place
of diarrhea, constipation had set in. Id. Given
Griffith's symptoms, Nurse Trevette again reviewed
hydration. Id. She told him to notify the staff if
his conditions changed. Id. Separately, Nurse
Trevette sought to place Griffith in a dry cell but was
unable to do so since no rooms were available. Id.
Griffith was returned to his detox cell. Id.
the next 24-hours Griffith was only observed vomiting two
times. Id. Early in the morning on November 11,
Griffith was re-evaluated by the Kentucky Jail Mental Health
Crisis Network. Id. at 7. A clinician noted that he
had not decompensated over the past 48-hours and had been
observed for detox. Id. The clinician reclassified
Griffith as a low suicide risk and he was moved to general
seen again by staff that day. Id. At that time, he
was given a urinalysis. Nurse Trevette referred him to the
APRN and recorded a physician's order for a seven-day
regimen of Cipro. Id. Medical staff also gave him a
Gatorade for dehydration. Id.
the next three days Griffith did not complete any sick call
slips and had access to water which he drank when he was
thirsty. Id. But Griffith says during this period he
was not evaluated by medical staff despite continuing to
vomit. [R. 101 at 12.]
Griffith suffered his first seizure. [R. 69-1 at 7.] Nurse
Mundine responded. Id. Griffith's cellmates
informed Nurse Mundine that Griffith had been vomiting for
several days- later confirmed by Griffith-and hit his head
after the seizure caused him to fall off the bunk bed.
Id. But Griffith showed no visible signs of a head
injury and denied being in pain. Id. at 8. Before
moving forward, Nurse Mundine discussed the incident with
Nurse Sherrow over the telephone. Nurse Sherrow advised Nurse
Mundine to treat Griffith's temperature, move him to the
bottom bunk, monitor him, and complete a urine drug screen.
Id. Once Griffith's gate steadied and his
orientation returned, he was given Gatorade mix and taken
back to his pod. Id.
thereafter, Griffith experienced a second seizure.
Id. This time Nurse Mundine had Griffith transported
to the local hospital. There he suffered a third seizure
which caused him to be life flighted to UK Healthcare
“with concern for severe lactic acidosis and acute
renal failure.” Id. at 9. Griffith was
ultimately diagnosed with acute renal failure, seizure
disorder, posterior reversible encephalopathy syndrome,
hypomanesemia, and anion gap metabolic acidosis. Id.
Griffith believes that all of this was avoidable if SHP had
provided constitutionally adequate care.
is wrong. SHP and the jail's deputies were not recklessly
indifferent to his medical need. Instead, Griffith's
complaints sound more in state tort law. But this Court
refuses to exercise pendant jurisdiction over those state law
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 as to the material fact. It must
present significant probative evidence in support of its
opposition to the motion for summary judgment.”
Hall Holding, 285 F.3d at 424 (internal citations
applying the summary judgment standard, the Court must review
the facts and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the
non-moving party. Logan v. Denny's, Inc., 259,
F.3d 558, 566 (6th Cir.2001) (citing Liberty Lobby,
477 U.S. at 255). However, the Court is under no duty to
“search the entire record to establish that it is
bereft of a genuine issue of material fact.” In re
Morris,260 F.3d 654, 655 (6th Cir.2001). Rather,
“the nonmoving party has an affirmative duty to direct