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Frederick v. St. Mary Parish Law Enforcement Center

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lafayette Division

December 13, 2017


         SECTION P



         Before the court is the civil rights complaint (42 U.S.C. § 1983) of pro se plaintiff, William Charles Frederick, filed in forma pauperis on May 4, 2017. Frederick is incarcerated at the St. Mary Parish Jail in Centerville, Louisiana. Plaintiff names St. Mary Parish Law Enforcement Center, Correct Health, Shela, Warden Robyn Landry, Nurse Kera, Sharlen Joseph, Sheriff Mark Hebert and Staff Tulane University Medical as defendants and seeks declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as compensatory damages.


         Plaintiff begins his complaint with allegations that on or about November 11, 2016, while a resident of Tiger A Dorm at the St. Mary Parish Jail, he had to sleep on the floor due to overcrowding and his inability to climb to a top bunk, and he was denied a cot or a second mat.

         On or about the same date, after eating a Honey Bun, plaintiff began suffering from severe stomach pain and vomiting. A nurse came within ten minutes of the call from fellow detainees of, “Man Down!” After taking his blood pressure and temperature, she determined that he had gas. For the next two days, he tried a soft diet until he could not hold down solids and then started a liquid diet. On November 16, 2016, medical started giving him Malox.

         On November 17, 2016, during a period of time that his sickness began to “slack off somewhat, ” he remembered an earlier visit from his attorney, Tracy Schwab, at which time Mr. Schwab informed him that he had sent him mail related to his case two days prior. He called his sister that evening and asked her to let his attorney know that he never received any mail. Early the next morning, Ms. Sharlen, the “mail lady, ” delivered mail from his lawyer which he determined had been opened. He believes that the call with his sister was being monitored because mail is usually delivered in the afternoon, never early in the morning. When questioned by another inmate about the letter being open, Ms. Sharlen told him that “the letter came from the courthouse like [he] had received it, and that [his] attorney, Tracy Schwab, should send it to the jail, and not to the courthouse.” Minutes later, Lt. Prioux entered the dorm and when asked why the legal mail was opened, Prioux answered, “We open up all mail.” On or about November 29, 2016, plaintiff again began suffering with severe stomach pains and bouts of vomiting. The nurse was called, came to the dorm and “checked” him. Two nights later she ordered a blood test, the results of which plaintiff has never been told.

         In the third or fourth week of sickness, plaintiff was moved from general population in Tiger A Dorm (misdemeanor dorm) to Bear D, the most violent felony dorm in the facility. He believes that he was placed in harm's way because of his medical problems and because of the crimes he was alleged to have committed. He asserts that he was supposed to be in medical and protective custody and felt he was placed in Bear D in his weakened state in order to be attacked by DOC inmates.

         On February 10, 2017, plaintiff began vomiting agin. He filled out a sick form. On February 12, 2017, he vomited again. He was “overtaken by extreme stomach pains and explosive vomiting.” It had been over five days since he had eaten and had not had a bowel movement in a week.

         Lieutenants Comeaux and Sogniet responded to the call for medical attention and helped him walk to medical, as he was in pain. He asked to be taken to the hospital, but the nurse on duty told him that she did not have the authority to do so and he was sent back to the dorm. Later that night he began vomiting again and, by midnight, he was so weak that he could not get off the floor.

         On February 13, 2017, he submitted a grievance, complaining that he was not taken to the hospital.

         On February 15, 2017, he was served chicken for lunch between 2:30-3:00 p.m. He tried to eat, as he had not done so in a week, but got very sick. Once again, he called for medical and Lieutenants Comeaux and Sogniet took him via wheelchair to medical at which time the nurse sent him to the hospital. Lieutenant Sogniet took him by patrol car to Franklin Foundation Hospital. He had to walk from the parking lot to the hospital, approximately 50 yards, because Sogniet could not leave him alone to go and get a wheelchair.

         At the hospital, the doctor ordered a cat scan and, upon seeing the results, rushed him to University Medical Center. On February 16, 2017, he was seen by a team of doctors and nurses who diagnosed him with “pancreatitis, yellow menginus, dehydration, stopped up gallbladder, and an acute blood infection.” Plaintiff's urine was black because his bowels were backed up into his bladder and he was allegedly told that without treatment, he would have died in two more days. A stint was placed into his pancreas and gallbladder to decrease the swelling and drain the bowels.

         On February 21, 2017, plaintiff alleges that he was given morphine and insulin against his will. He claims that he only wanted morphine if he needed it for pain, but felt at that time that the pain pills were controlling his pain. Moreover, he did not want to become dependent on insulin shots to control his sugar. He alleges that the nurse told him that she was flushing his port with saline, yet she actually flushed the port with saline, administered morphine through the IV, then flushed with saline again. When he told her that he did not want morphine or insulin, she laughed.

         On February 23, 2017, he was prescribed larger bags of antibiotics and taken back to St. Mary Parish Law Enforcement Center. He was placed on a single mat directly on the floor of a cell in booking. Over the next 8 days, he was administered 16 bags of antibiotics, one bag twice a day.

         On March 27, 2017, he was informed by Lt. Clark that he was having surgery on that day to remove the stints. However, during surgery at University Medical Center, his gallbladder was removed. Less than an hour after surgery, he was transferred back to jail. On the trip back to the hospital, he alleges that he passed out twice due to pain. He does not feel that he should have left the hospital so soon after surgery.

         Upon arriving back at the jail, he was brought to medical and offered ibuprofen for the pain instead of the pain medication suggested by the doctors at the hospital. Nurses Kera and Shela told him that they could not give him the prescription pain medication. On that same day, he was placed in segregation. He was provided one 2" thick mat and, despite his request due to his recent surgery and a previous broken hip, he was denied a request for a second mat. Three days later he was given a second mat.

         On March 29, 2017, plaintiff told Nurse Lawrance that the food was hurting his stomach so badly that he could not eat. She told him to stop eating if it caused him pain; he did.

         On April 4, 2017, plaintiff sneezed and popped an incision on his stomach. He was taken to medical and spoke with a doctor via television screen who told him to come back to medical if it happened again and to remain on a soft diet. Plaintiff alleges that until that point, he had not been given a soft diet prescribed by medical. On April 5, 2017, he sneezed again and was taken to medical. Plaintiff complains that Nurse Shela was confrontational towards him and that after telling her why he was there, she answered, “If it's not busted and bleeding all over, I'm not worried about it.” She said she would have a talk with Lt. Comeaux, who brought him to medical, about bringing people to medical just because they want to go. He asserts that she did not treat him and sent him back to segregation.

         On or about April 1 or April 2, Nurse Shela told plaintiff that he needed to get some exercise to prevent blood clots. He did as instructed. On April 5, he was in pain due to the walking and stretching. He told Shela that he had overdone it and could not get up off of the floor to get his medication and she told the guard, “I'm not messing with him, ” and left without giving him medication for the pain. It took him 30 minutes to get to the intercom to call for help. Lt. ...

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