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Abbott v. Town of Livingston

United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana

July 16, 2018




         Before the Court is the Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 74) filed by Defendants, Parish of Livingston; Cheryl Smith, in her official capacity as the Medical Administrator of the Livingston Parish Detention Center (LPDC); and Misha McNabb, in her official capacity as Nurse Administrator at LPDC (collectively "the Municipal Defendants"). Also before the Court is the Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 82) filed by Defendant, Deputy Brian Reeves of the Livingston Parish Sheriffs Office; and the Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 83) filed by Defendant, Sheriff Jason Ard, Sheriff of Livingston Parish, State of Louisiana.

         All Defendants seek the dismissal of the claims brought by Plaintiff, Justin Abbott pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Plaintiff filed an Opposition to each motion. (Docs. 77, 90, 91). Each Defendant then filed a Reply. (Docs. 79, 95, 96). The Court has jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Oral argument is not necessary. For the reasons explained herein, the Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 74) filed by the Municipal Defendants is DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. The Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 82) filed by Deputy Reeves is GRANTED. The Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 83) filed by Sheriff Ard is GRANTED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff, a pretrial detainee in the Livingston Parish Detention Center ("LPDC") asserts constitutional violations that began on September 30, 2015, when he was arrested and taken into LPDC custody, and ended on October 6, 2015, upon his release from LPDC custody.

         A. Plaintiff s Arrest

         On September 30, 2015, Deputy Reeves was dispatched to the scene of a reported domestic abuse battery incident. (Doc. 83-2 at ¶ 1). Upon arrival, Deputy Reeves met and spoke with the complainant, Stacie Abbott ("Mrs. Abbott"), who informed him that she and her husband, the Plaintiff, were involved in a physical altercation, which prompted her to contact law enforcement. (Id. at ¶ 2). During the altercation, "[Mrs.] Abbott ended up on the ground and grabbed the leg of [Plaintiff] and bit him on his left leg." (Doc. 91-1 at ¶ 4). However, according to Deputy Reeves, the injuries observed on both Plaintiff and Mrs. Abbott were consistent with Plaintiff as the aggressor in the domestic dispute; thus, Deputy Reeves arrested Plaintiff for domestic abuse battery. (Doc. 83-2 at ¶¶ 3-4). Mrs. Abbott was asked to complete a "voluntary statement" regarding the incident. (Doc. 83-4). In that statement, Mrs. Abbott reported that "[Plaintiff] jerked [her] out of bed by the hair . . . [and] punched [her] in the right oyo[. and] pushed [her] into [the] nightstand[, and] hurt [her] right knee." (Id.).

         After the incident, Plaintiff, who was wearing shorts, informed Deputy Reeves that he needed medical attention due to the bite mark on his leg, which was bleeding down his leg through his sock. (Doc. 91-1 at ¶¶ 7-9). Deputy Reeves, however, transported Plaintiff directly to LPDC. (Doc. 83-2 at ¶ 6). Upon arrival, the medical staff at LPDC did not instruct Deputy Reeves that Plaintiff needed to immediately be transported to a hospital or other healthcare facility. (Id.).

         On the same day, after Plaintiff was booked into LPDC, Deputy Reeves completed a probable cause affidavit. (Doc. 83-5). In that affidavit, Deputy Reeves set forth the facts supporting Plaintiffs arrest.[1] (Id.). After reviewing the same, a district court judge of the 21st Judicial District Court, Parish of Livingston, State of Louisiana, determined that probable cause existed to arrest and hold Plaintiff. (Id.). Subsequently, on November 2, 2015, Mrs. Abbott recanted her prior statements and no longer desired to pursue charges against Plaintiff. (Doc. 91-5). On January 12, 2016, all charges relating to the September 30, 2015 arrest were dismissed. (Doc. 91-1 at ¶ 14).

         B. Plaintiffs Detention at LPDC

         On September 30, 2015, upon entering LPDC, Plaintiff was triaged by Misha McNabb ("McNabb"), a Nurse Administrator within LPDC's medical department, at which time she noted the bite wound on Plaintiffs leg. (Doc. 77-1 at ¶ 5; Doc. 77-3 at p. 1). At the time, Plaintiff was also suffering from a sinus infection, depression, and anxiety, for which he had previously been prescribed medication. (Doc. 77-3 at p. 1).

         On October 1, 2015, Plaintiff informed the medical staff that he needed medical attention due to the open wound on his leg, that he needed his various prescription medications, and that he was experiencing diarrhea. (Id. at p. 3). Medical personnel then took a photograph of Plaintiffs leg, which was deleted because the photograph "came out blurry." (Id. at p. 5). A new photograph was noted to "be taken at doctor [call]," presumably on the following Tuesday, October 6th. (Id.). That same day, Plaintiffs brother called LPDC's medical department to inform medical personnel that Plaintiff needed medical attention, his daily medications, and a psychiatrist, immediately. (Doc. 77-9). According to Plaintiff, "no employee or staff member within [LPDC] rendered any aid to [his] open wound;" instead, he "was placed within a cell where fecal matter was present." (Doc. 77-1 at ¶¶ 9-10).

         On October 2, 2015, Plaintiff completed a written "Request for Medical Attention" form and indicated: "Need medication[, ] sinus infection - drainage and cough - was taking Omnicef [and] Zertec-D [sic] before coming to LPDT [sic]. Severe diareah [sic] Detoxing - do not have my Zanax Rx [sic] - having anxiety." (Doc. 77-3 at p. 7).

         Throughout Plaintiffs detention at LPDC, Mrs. Abbott also called LPDC's medical department to inform medical personnel that Plaintiff needed immediate medical attention due to his leg wound, his sinus infection, and his need for prescription medication. (Doc. 77-10). Throughout his detention, Plaintiff also allegedly experienced hallucinations, which necessitated the immediate need for his anxiety medication; and he "made several requests for medical attention [, but] all of his requests were denied." (Doc. 77-1 at ¶¶ 15-16).

         On October 6, 2015, Plaintiff was scheduled to be released from LPDC on bond. (Doc. 77-1 at ¶¶ 20-21). As such, rather than visiting the LPDC physician for his appointment scheduled on that day, he elected to call his primary care physician, who prescribed him a "Z-pack" after being informed of Plaintiff s recurring sinus infection. (Id.; Doc. 74-4 at p. 17). Shortly thereafter, Plaintiff, who is certified in First Aid, administered first aid on his open wound. (Doc. 77-1 at ¶ 22; Doc. 77-7). He reportedly "went home and washed the wound with hibiclens." (Doc. 74-4 at p. 18).

         On or about October 12, 2015, while Plaintiff was at work in the State of Florida, his leg started "to swell and ooze" and he could barely walk. (Doc. 74-4 at pp. 18-19). This prompted his supervisor to make arrangements for Plaintiff to be taken to the hospital. (Id. at p. 19).

         On October 15, 2015, Plaintiff visited the emergency room for the first time. (Doc. 74-4 at p. 19). The treating physician diagnosed his wound as containing a growth of methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus ("MRSA"). (Doc. 77-12 at p. 41). Plaintiff now has an "atrophic scar" where the wound occurred. (Doc. 77-18).

         On March 21, 2016, Plaintiff filed suit against the Municipal Defendants, Sheriff Ard, and Deputy Reeves asserting claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Louisiana state law. (Docs. 1, 63), Specifically, Plaintiff alleges § 1983 and state law claims against Deputy Reeves, in is individual capacity, for false arrest/false imprisonment, failure to provide medical attention, and negligent infliction of emotional distress. (Id.). The Court previously dismissed all claims brought against Sheriff Ard, with the exception of those claims for Sheriff Ard's vicarious liability arising under Louisiana state law for the actions of Deputy Reeves. (Doc. 81). Lastly, Plaintiff alleges § 1983 claims against the Municipal Defendants in their official capacities for failure to provide medical treatment under the Eighth[2] and Fourteenth Amendments, as well as claims for failing to preserve evidence. (Doc. 77-2).


         Summary judgment is appropriate "if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). "[W]hen a properly supported motion for summary judgment is made, the adverse party must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 411 U.S. 242, 250 (1986) (quotation marks and footnote omitted).

         In determining whether the movant is entitled to summary judgment, the Court "view[s] facts in the light most favorable to the non-movant and draw[s] all reasonable inferences in her favor." Coleman v. Houston Indep. Sch. Dist., 113 F.3d 528, 533 (5th Cir. 1997) (citing Brothers v. Kleuenhagen, 28 F.3d 452, 455 (5th Cir. 1994)). At this stage, the Court does not evaluate the credibility of witnesses, weigh the evidence, or resolve factual disputes. Int'l Shortstop, Inc. v. Rally's, Inc., 939 F, 2d 1257, 1263 (5th Cir. 1991), cert, denied, 502 U.S. 1059 (1992). However, if the evidence in the record is such that a reasonable jury, drawing all inferences in favor of the non-moving party, could arrive at a verdict in that party's favor, the motion for summary judgment must be denied. Int'l Shortstop, Inc., 939 F.2d at 1263.

         In sum, summary judgment is appropriate if, "after adequate time for discovery and upon motion, [the non-movant] fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). Summary judgment will lie only "if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with affidavits if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact, and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Sherman v. Hallbauer, 455 F.2d 1236, 1241 (5th Cir. 1972).


         A. Plaintiffs ยง 1983 Individual Capacity Claims ...

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