United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Northern Division
TIMOTHY L. NOLAN PLAINTIFF
JIM A. DALEY DEFENDANT
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
L. Bunning, United States District Judge.
James Daley, Jailer of the Campbell County Detention Center
(“CCDC”), has filed a motion to dismiss the
complaint filed by plaintiff Timothy Nolan. (Doc. # 9). Nolan
has filed his response to the motion (Doc. # 13), and this
matter is now ripe for decision.
was confined at CCDC as a pretrial detainee from May 2017
through May 2018. Nolan alleges that immediately upon his
arrival at the jail in May 2017, he advised Daley that he
suffered from several medical and psychological conditions
which required medication and treatment from a specialist.
While Dr. Kalfas, a general practitioner, provided medical
care to CCDC inmates, Nolan states that in July 2017 Daley
“refused necessary specialized treatments beyond the
scope and ability of the Jail Doctor.” (Doc. # 1 at
2-3). Nolan again requested specialized medical care in
September 2017, which Daley again denied. Id. 7-8.
Nolan alleges that in May 2018, Daley “said to me to
quit bothering him about getting more medical care . . .
[and] told me to ask for medical help when I got to
prison.” Id. at 10. Nolan states that he
collapsed shortly after his arrival at a state prison in June
2018. Id. After a medical examination, a brain
surgeon performed a carotid endarterectomy to remove a 95%
blockage. Id. In his complaint, Nolan contends that
Daley displayed deliberate indifference to his serious
medical needs in violation of his rights under the Eighth and
Fourteenth Amendments and seeks compensatory and punitive
damages. Id. at 10-11.
initial screening, the Court dismissed Nolan's claims
against Circuit Court Judge Lape as barred by the statute of
limitations, sovereign immunity, and absolute judicial
immunity. (Doc. # 6). The Court also dismissed any claim
against Daley arising out of conduct occurring before
November 21, 2017, as barred by the statute of limitations.
Id. However, it directed that Daley be served with
process to address Nolan's allegations regarding his
alleged statements in May 2018. Id.
pending motion to dismiss the complaint, Daley contends that
Nolan's claims are barred by the statute of
limitations. Specifically, Daley asserts that
Nolan's claims regarding the denial of medical care
accrued when Daley first allegedly refused to provide him
with specialized medical care in July 2017. As for
Nolan's allegations regarding their conversation in May
2018, Daley notes that Nolan does not allege either that
Nolan requested medical care at that time or that Daley
refused any request for medical care at that time. (Doc. # 9)
(citing Scott v. Ambani, 577 F.3d 642, 646-47 (6th
Cir. 2009)). In his response, Nolan states that Daley was
“well aware” in May 2018 that he wanted
additional medical care, and Daley's statement that Nolan
should “stop bothering him” about it demonstrates
that Nolan was still requesting medical care at that time.
(Doc. # 13 at 1). Nolan also suggests that the statute of
limitations should be extended under the continuing
violations doctrine. Id.
Nolan's complaint was docketed in this Court on December
4, 2018, he signed his complaint on November 21, 2018. (Doc.
# 1 at 11). Because Nolan was incarcerated when he sent his
complaint, it is subject to the prison mailbox rule, and is
deemed filed on the day it was signed. Brand v.
Motley, 526 F.3d 921, 925 (6th Cir. 2008). A one-year
statute of limitations applies to civil rights claims arising
out of conduct occurring in Kentucky. Ky. Rev. Stat. §
413.140(1)(a); Hornback v. Lexington-Fayette Urban Co.
Gov't., 543 Fed.Appx. 499, 501 (6th Cir. 2013). The
complaint is therefore timely only with respect to claims
accruing on or after November 21, 2017.
parties agree that the only event occurring after that date
about which the plaintiff complains is his conversation with
Daley in May 2018. Where they disagree is whether that
conversation involved any independently-actionable conduct
upon which the plaintiff may base a claim regarding his
medical care. The Court agrees with Daley that it did not,
and hence Nolan's claims are time-barred.
threshold matter, the Court concludes that the continuing
violations doctrine, a theory derived in the context of
employment discrimination cases to extend the limitations
period under certain circumstances, does not apply to
Nolan's claims regarding his medical care under Section
1983. The Sixth Circuit long ago held that “[t]his
Circuit employs the continuing violations doctrine most
commonly in Title VII cases, and rarely extends it to §
1983 actions.” Sharpe v. Cureton, 319 F.3d
259, 267 (6th Cir. 2003). The Sixth Circuit has consistently
refused to apply the doctrine to claims regarding the
adequacy or denial of medical care in prison. Cf. Bruce
v. Corr. Med. Servs., Inc., 389 Fed.Appx. 462, 466 (6th
Cir. 2010). Finally, the doctrine does not apply here because
“[p]assive inaction does not support a continuing
violation theory.” Eidson v. State of
Tenn. Dep't of Children's Servs., 510 F.3d
631, 635 (6th Cir. 2007). Nolan's allegation that Daley
merely continued to adhere to his prior refusal to provide
medical care by a specialist does not constitute new
affirmative action that could support application of the
continuing violations doctrine.
Court further concludes that Nolan's claims regarding
Daley's refusal to provide medical care through a
specialist accrued in July 2017, and certainly no later than
September 2017. “In determining when the cause of
action accrues in § 1983 cases, we look to the event
that should have alerted the typical lay person to protect
his or her rights.” Ruiz-Bueno v. Maxim Healthcare
Servs., Inc., 659 Fed.Appx. 830, 834 (6th Cir. 2016)
(quoting Trzebuckowski v. City of Cleveland, 319
F.3d 853, 856 (6th Cir. 2003)). Here, in July 2017 Daley told
Nolan that he would not provide:
the medicines the Plaintiff needed and had been taking for
some time, including medicines for pain and anxiety. The
Jailor himself also refused necessary specialized treatments
beyond the scope and ability of the Jail Doctor who was a
General practicing Doctor. After discussing it with the
Plaintiff, the Plaintiff's lawyer and the Doctor, the
Jailor continued to refuse necessary treatment.
(Doc. # 1 at 3). When Nolan repeated his desire “to get
medical treatment for his falling and many medical
conditions” in September 2017, Daley flatly told him
that the treatment he wanted “was out of the question
and too expensive for the County but he hoped the Plaintiff
got the medical treatment needed when he got to
prison.” (Doc. # 1 at 8). These alleged statements by
Daley put Nolan on notice that the jail would not provide the
treatment he desired. Nolan thus had a complete and present
cause of action at that time, and the limitations period
began to run.
brief conversation between Nolan and Daley in May 2018 does
not alter the Court's conclusion. Even assuming that
Daley's statement to Nolan “to quit bothering him
about getting more medical care” suggests both a
request by Nolan for outside medical care and a refusal by
Daley to provide it, this does not alter the accrual date.
Instead, this statement indicated only Daley's continued
adherence to his initial decision in July 2017 to provide
medical care only from the general practitioner at the jail.
As the Court explained in a similar case:
The Defendants determined to treat [Cuco's] anemia with
oral iron immediately upon her arrival at FMC and . . .
continued to adhere to this treatment regimen throughout
December 2003 and January 2004, notwithstanding Cuco's
repeated complaints of the discomfort it was causing her.
This establishes that the conduct complained of,
Defendants' decision to treat her anemia with oral iron,
had definitively “occurred” not later than late
December to early January. By February 11, 2004 . . . Cuco
was no longer suffering from “continuing
violations” of her Eighth Amendment rights, but rather
was merely experiencing the “continuing effects”
of the Defendants' initial treatment decision.
Cuco v. Fed. Med. Ctr.-Lexington, No. 05-CV-232-KSF,
2006 WL 1635668, at *29-30 (E.D. Ky. June 9, 2006)
aff'd and remanded sub nom., 257 Fed.Appx. 897
(6th Cir. 2007). Because Nolan was made aware in July 2017
that Daley would not provide the specialized medical care he
sought, his claims accrued at that time. Nolan did not file
suit until ...