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Conway v. Vannoy

United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana

March 22, 2019

CLAUDELL CONWAY, SR.
v.
DARREL VANNOY, ET AL.

          RULING AND ORDER

          JOHN W. deGRAVELLES JUDGE

         Pending before the Court is the Motion to Dismiss filed by Defendants Darrel Vannoy, James LeBlanc, the Department of Public Safety and Corrections, and the State of Louisiana (collectively, the “defendants”). (Doc. 16). Plaintiff Claudell Conway, Sr., opposes the motion. (Doc. 20). The defendants have filed a reply brief in support of their motion. (Doc. 22). Oral argument is not necessary. After careful consideration of the parties' arguments, the facts alleged, and the applicable law, and for the following reasons, the Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 16) is granted.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         On January 17, 2018, Plaintiff Claudell Conway, Sr., [1] filed suit in connection with the death of his son, Clydell Conway, Jr., at the Louisiana State Penitentiary (“LSP”) in Angola, Louisiana. (Doc. 5-1). Named as Defendants are the State of Louisiana (“State”); Darrel Vannoy, Warden of LSP; the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections (“DPSC”); and DPSC Secretary, James LeBlanc. (Id.). Plaintiff has also named “ABC Insurance Company” and “unknown staff” as Defendants. (Id.).

         On January 20, 2017, Clydell committed suicide in his cell at LSP. (Doc. 5-1 at 6). Clydell had been incarcerated at LSP since 2016 and “was a known suicide risk, ” having threatened or attempted to commit suicide on several occasions from July 2016 to January 2017. (Id. at 5-6). Specifically, on July 20, 2016, Clydell was found with self-inflicted wounds. (Id. at 5). He was later placed on what the complaint characterizes as “extreme watch” for self-inflicted wounds from September 16 to September 17, 2016. (Id. at 6). His medical records reflected that he was at risk for self-harm on September 18, 2016. (Id.). On October 16, Clydell required sutures for self-harm. (Id.). The next day he was placed on “four point extreme watch.” (Id.). On December 7 and December 9, Clydell was reported having injuries from harming himself. (Id.). Treatment notes from December 28 discussed anxiety. (Id.). On January 6, 2017, Clydell admitted to engaging in self-harm. (Doc. 5-1 at 6). The next day, he had “[m]ultiple lacerations.” (Id.). Injuries from self-harm were also reported on January 11 and 12. (Id.). On January 17, three days before his death, Clydell suffered a hand injury from punching a wall. (Id.).

         Plaintiff alleges that the defendants placed or allowed Clydell to be placed “in an area with suicide hazards” despite “his known propensity towards attempted suicide.” (Doc. 5-1 at 7). Plaintiff asserts that the defendants were “deliberately indifferent to a known suicide risk of this plaintiff/decedent and were the cause in fact of his death.” (Id.). Plaintiff alleges that the defendants are liable for:

a) failing to properly secure the facility;
b) failing to properly monitor and manage the residents and officers;
c) failing to maintain a safe area for all residents;
d) failing to provide proper supervision;
e) failing to train staff;
f) failing to keep an adequate watch on this known suicidal inmate;
g) failing to address known suicide hazards;
h) allowing Clydell, Jr. to retain such items that could be used for purposes of suicide;
i) failing to take suicide hazards and suicide risks of Clydell, Jr. seriously;
j) failing to provide adequate care for Clydell, Jr.;
k) failing to properly supervise Clydell, Jr.;
l) failing to properly train employees/staff to recognize ...

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