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Gilton v. Scott

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

May 14, 2019

PATRICK GILTON #2006030775



          Carol B. Whitehurst United States Magistrate Judge

         Pro se plaintiff Patrick Gilton, proceeding in forma pauperis, filed the instant civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on April 5, 2019, in the Southern District of Iowa. [Rec. Doc. 1] An Order transferring the matter to this Court was signed on that same date. [Rec. Doc. 3] Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint in this Court on April 22, 2019. [Rec. Doc. 6] He is incarcerated at the St. Mary Parish Jail (SMPJ) in Centerville, Louisiana, and complains of the conditions of confinement at that facility, as well as denied or delayed medical care. Plaintiff has named SMPJ Warden Paul Scott and SMPJ Assistant Warden Bruce Cliffton as defendants. This matter has been referred to the undersigned for review, report, and recommendation in accordance with the provisions of 28 U.S.C. §636 and the standing orders of the Court.


         Plaintiff first complains that prisoners are exposed to communicable diseases, including staph infections, AIDS, boils, pink eye and crabs from incoming inmates who are coming in “directly from the streets, ” and not being checked by the medical staff to be “cleared.”

         He complains that there are spiders and spiderwebs in the dorms and black mold in the showers and sinks. He also complains that there are no exit signs on the doors or blueprints of the prison posted in case a fire breaks out and that inmates are burning toilet paper rolls and he is inhaling black smoke.

         Finally, he seeks to be compensated for inadequate dental care regarding a toothache, and inadequate medical care after a fall on an uncovered drain in the bathroom.

         Amend Order

         1. Supervisory Officials

         Plaintiff has sued Paul Scott and Bruce Cliffton in their supervisory capacities as Warden and Assistant Warden of SMPJ. Plaintiff is hereby advised: “Supervisory officials may be held liable only if: (i) they affirmatively participate in acts that cause constitutional deprivations; or (ii) implement unconstitutional policies that causally result in plaintiff's injuries.” Mouille v. City of Live Oak, Tex., 977 F.2d 924, 929 (5th Cir.1992), cert. denied, 1');">508 U.S. 951, 113 S.Ct. 2443');">113 S.Ct. 2443, 124 L.Ed.2d 660 (1993). “Vicarious liability does not apply to § 1983 claims.” Pierce v. Texas Dept. of Crim. Justice, Inst. Div., 1146');">37 F.3d 1146, 1150 (5th Cir.1994), cert. denied, 14 U.S. 1107');">514 U.S. 1107, 115 S.Ct. 1957');">115 S.Ct. 1957, 131 L.Ed.2d 849 (1995). “Personal involvement is an essential element of a civil rights cause of action.” Thompson v. Steele, 1');">709 F.2d 381, 382 (5th Cir.), cert. denied, 464 U.S. 897, 104 S.Ct. 248');">104 S.Ct. 248, 78 L.Ed.2d 236 (1983). In other words, to the extent that plaintiff seeks to name supervisory officials as defendants, he must allege facts sufficient to demonstrate either personal involvement or the implementation of unconstitutional policies by that defendant.

         2. Medical Care

         Plaintiff alleges that he received inadequate medical care with respect to an ankle/foot injury he received when he stepped on an uncovered drain, as well as a toothache.

         It appears that plaintiff is a pre-trial detainee. As a pretrial detainee, Plaintiff's constitutional rights flow from the Fourteenth Amendment Due Process Clause rather than the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. Because they have not yet been convicted of the crime with which they are charged, pretrial detainees have a due process right not to be punished for that crime. Bell v. Wolfish, 1 U.S. 520');">441 U.S. 520, 535 (1979). The standard to apply in analyzing a denial of medical care claim asserted by a pretrial detainee depends upon whether the claim is directed to a “condition of confinement” or to an “episodic act or omission.” Scott v. Moore, 114 F.3d 51');">114 F.3d 51, 53 (5th Cir. 1997), quoting Hare v. City of Corinth, 74 F.3d 633, 644 (5th Cir. 1996). Plaintiff's complaint is directed to episodic acts or omissions. Under the “episodic act” standard, “a state official's episodic act or omission violates a pretrial detainee's due process right to medical care if the official acts with subjective deliberate indifference to the detainee's rights.” Thus, the plaintiff must show both that he suffered a sufficiently serious deprivation and that this deprivation was brought about by the deliberate indifference of prison officials. Hare, 74 F.3d at 643 and 650.

         This is the same standard applicable to convicted prisoners whose claims are analyzed under the Eighth Amendment. In order to prevail on such claims, convicts must establish that the delay in providing medical care was “sufficiently harmful to evidence deliberate indifference to serious medical needs.” Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97 (1976). A showing of deliberate indifference with regard to medical treatment requires the inmate to submit evidence that prison officials “‘refused to treat him, ignored his complaints, intentionally treated him incorrectly, or engaged in any similar conduct that would clearly ...

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