United States District Court, D. Colorado
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
WILLIAM J. MARTÍNEZ, District Judge.
Plaintiff Robert Kirkland ("Plaintiff") has brought this civil action against Defendant Deputies James O'Brien, Brian D. Jones, Rafael Avina, and Henry E. Trujillo (collectively "Defendant Deputies"), and Defendant Carolann Mahoney, R.N. ("Nurse Mahoney") (collectively "Defendants"), alleging constitutional violations under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (ECF No. 1.) Before the Court is Defendants' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment ("Motion"). (ECF No. 56.) For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' Motion is granted as to Nurse Mahoney, but denied as to the remaining Defendants.
The relevant facts, taken in the light most favorable to Plaintiff, are as follows, and are undisputed unless otherwise noted.
On December 3, 2011, Plaintiff was arrested for harassment and disorderly conduct, and Defendant Deputies Jones and O'Brien transported Plaintiff to the Boulder County Jail. (Movant's Statement of Material Facts ("MSMF") (ECF No. 56) ¶¶ 1-2.) The Defendant Deputies arrived at the jail with Plaintiff at approximately 12:04 p.m., and Deputies Trujillo, Avina, and Jones proceeded to move Plaintiff into a disciplinary cell in the jail. (MSMF ¶ 3.) As Plaintiff was brought from the patrol car into the jail, he became verbally abusive to the Defendant Deputies. (Statement of Additional Disputed Material Facts ("SADMF") (ECF No. 59) ¶ 20.)
The parties dispute what happened when Deputies Trujillo, Avina, and Jones took Plaintiff into the disciplinary cell. Plaintiff avers that he was thrown face down onto the bunk and stripped of his clothing, and then some or all of the Defendant Deputies slammed his left leg against the bunk, causing an audible bone fracture. (ECF No. 1 ¶¶ 16-18.) Deputy O'Brien entered the cell at some point after the other three. (MSMF ¶ 4.) According to Plaintiff, he screamed, "You broke my leg, " and one of the Defendant Deputies replied, "Now we're going to break his other leg." (SADMF ¶ 21.) After the Defendant Deputies left Plaintiff alone in his cell, he complained to another unidentified deputy that he needed medical attention because his leg was broken. (SADMF ¶ 22.) The Defendant Deputies dispute the entire incident, as well as the alleged statements by both parties. (ECF No. 56 at 2.) However, they agree that the Defendant Deputies left Plaintiff in the disciplinary cell at approximately 2:00 p.m. (SADMF ¶ 22.)
Some ten hours later, at approximately 12:15 a.m. on December 4, 2011, Nurse Mahoney conducted a Boulder County Sheriff's Office Confidential Medical Screening Intake of Plaintiff. (MSMF ¶ 7; SADMF ¶ 23.) The parties dispute what Plaintiff said to Nurse Mahoney regarding his knee: Plaintiff states that he told Nurse Mahoney that his leg was broken and he needed to go to the hospital, while Nurse Mahoney states that Plaintiff said he had a sore knee. (MSMF ¶ 8; ECF No. 59 ¶ 8.) The parties agree that Nurse Mahoney performed a visual examination by comparing Plaintiff's knees, noted that the left knee was not discolored or disfigured, and implemented a strain/sprain protocol involving ice packs and pain medication. (MSMF ¶¶ 9-10.) Nurse Mahoney did not ask Plaintiff to walk or otherwise assess his gait. (SADMF ¶ 24.) Nurse Mahoney did not send Plaintiff to the hospital, but arranged for Plaintiff to see the jail doctor when he was next available. (MSMF ¶ 12.) Nurse Mahoney provided Plaintiff with a wheelchair and entered an electronic note stating that Plaintiff could not walk, and that she believed Plaintiff had a torn knee ligament. (SADMF ¶ 30.)
On December 6, 2011, Plaintiff received x-rays by order of the Boulder County Jail staff doctor, which revealed an acute fracture of his lateral tibial plateau. (MSMF ¶ 14.) Based on this diagnosis, Plaintiff was given a knee brace. (MSMF ¶ 15.) Plaintiff was released from jail on December 12, 2011. (MSMF ¶ 16.) The fracture in Plaintiff's left knee was subsequently evaluated by an orthopedic surgeon as "likely to leave significant knee arthritis". (SADMF ¶ 44.)
On August 7, 2012, Plaintiff filed a Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging the use of excessive force, the deprivation of liberty without due process, failure to provide adequate medical care, and First Amendment retaliation. (Compl. (ECF No. 1).) The only one of these claims relevant to the instant Motion is Plaintiff's Third Claim, which alleges that Defendants failed to provide adequate medical care and treatment and were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs in violation of the United States Constitution. (Compl. p. 8.) On July 12, 2013, Defendants moved for summary judgment on Plaintiff's Third Claim. (ECF No. 56.) Plaintiff filed a Response to Defendants' Motion on August 16, 2013. (ECF No. 59.) Defendants filed their Reply on September 17, 2013. (ECF No. 68.)
II. LEGAL STANDARD
Summary judgment is appropriate only if there is no genuine issue of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Henderson v. Inter-Chem Coal Co., Inc., 41 F.3d 567, 569 (10th Cir. 1994). Whether there is a genuine dispute as to a material fact depends upon whether the evidence presents a sufficient disagreement to require submission to a jury or conversely, is so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, 477 U.S. 242, 248-49 (1986); Stone v. Autoliv ASP, Inc., 210 F.3d 1132 (10th Cir. 2000); Carey v. U.S. Postal Serv., 812 F.2d 621, 623 (10th Cir. 1987).
A fact is "material" if it pertains to an element of a claim or defense; a factual dispute is "genuine" if the evidence is so contradictory that if the matter went to trial, a reasonable party could return a verdict for either party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. The Court must resolve factual ambiguities against the moving party, thus favoring the right to a trial. Houston v. Nat'l Gen. Ins. Co., 817 F.2d 83, 85 (10th Cir. 1987).
Defendants argue that summary judgment is appropriate on Plaintiff's Third Claim because the undisputed facts demonstrate that Defendants were not deliberately indifferent ...