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Carmody v. Ensminger

United States District Court, D. Colorado

September 19, 2017

CATHLEEN CARMODY, Plaintiffs,
v.
SHERIFF MIKE ENSMINGER, in his individual and official capacities, UNDERSHERIFF STANLEY BISHOP, in his individual capacity, CORPORAL FRANK SCOFIELD, in his individual capacity, DEPUTY ERIC VOIGT, in his individual capacity, CORRECTIONAL HEALTHCARE MANAGEMENT, INC., CORRECTIONAL HEALTHCARE COMPANIES, INC., CORRECT CARE SOLUTIONS, LLC, and NURSE SUSAN CAMPBELL in her individual capacity, Defendants.

          ORDER

          Philip A. Brimmer, United States District Judge

         This matter is before the Court on County Defendants' Motion for Partial Dismissal [Docket No. 26] filed by Defendants Sheriff Mike Ensminger, Undersheriff Stanley Bishop, Corporal Frank Scofield, and Deputy Eric Voigt (collectively, “County Defendants”); Correctional Healthcare Management, Inc.; Correctional Healthcare Companies, Inc.; and Correct Care Solutions, LLC's Motion to Dismiss in Lieu of Answer [Docket No. 28]; and Nurse Sue's Motion to Dismiss in Lieu of Answer [Docket No. 29] filed by defendant Nurse Susan Campbell.[1] The Court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331.

         I. BACKGROUND[2]

         This suit arises from plaintiff Cathleen Carmody's fall while in custody at Teller County Detention Center. In September 2014, when plaintiff was sixty-three years old, she had hip replacement surgery. Docket No. 38 at 6, ¶ 24. Because of the surgery, plaintiff was told by her doctor to use a walker to aid her balance until she no longer needed it. Id., ¶ 25.

         On October 23, 2014, plaintiff was arrested for an alleged probation violation. Docket No. 38 at 6, ¶ 26. After appearing in court, plaintiff was taken to Teller County Detention Center. Id. The detention center is run by defendants Sheriff Mike Ensminger and Undersheriff Stanley Bishop, who set policy for the facility and determined the training of prison officials. Id. at 15, ¶ 79 and at 16, ¶¶ 82-83. Teller County had a contract with defendants Correctional Healthcare Management, Inc., Correctional Healthcare Companies, Inc., and Correct Care Solutions, LLC (collectively “CCS Defendants”) to provide medical staff and services at the detention center, including training of prison staff regarding medical care. Id. at 4-5, ¶¶ 17-21 and at 16, ¶ 81. At facilities that contract with CCS Defendants, including Teller County Detention Center, numerous inmates have suffered injuries as a result of inadequate medical care. Id. at 11-14, ¶¶ 58-69.

         When plaintiff arrived at the detention center for processing, defendant Corporal Frank Scofield approached plaintiff and, ignoring plaintiff's protests and inability to walk on her own, took away plaintiff's walker and told her that she was going to have to do without it. Id. at 6-7, ¶¶ 28-32. During her incarceration, plaintiff was only allowed to use her walker when her attorney visited and for court appearances. Id., ¶ 33. Because of her limited ability to walk, plaintiff stayed in her room most of the time and other inmates brought her food in her room. Id., ¶ 34.

         On October 27, 2014, plaintiff went to the dayroom to watch television and, while attempting to sit down, she lost her balance and fell on her back. Docket No. 38 at 8, ¶¶ 36-37. Defendants Nurse Susan Campbell and Deputy Eric Voigt responded to the scene. Id., ¶ 39. When plaintiff said she needed an ambulance, Nurse Campbell responded, “[w]e don't do that here.” Id., ¶¶ 39-40. Nurse Campbell and Deputy Voigt pulled plaintiff off the floor and took her back to her room. Id., ¶ 41. Nurse Campbell did not perform an examination of plaintiff, but she did give plaintiff more Tylenol. Id., ¶ 42.

         Plaintiff suffered constant, severe pain for the remainder of her incarceration. Docket No. 38 at 9, ¶ 43. On November 5, 2014, plaintiff was ordered released and, the next day, she was discharged from custody. Id., ¶¶ 45-47. Plaintiff continues to suffer chronic back pain that is only partially relieved with morphine. Id. at 10, ¶ 54.

         On October 19, 2016, plaintiff filed her complaint. She brings three claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for deliberate indifference to her serious medical needs in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment and one claim under Title II of the Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”) denying plaintiff a reasonable accommodation by allowing her to use her walker. Docket No. 1. On December 23, 2016, County Defendants filed a motion to dismiss all claims against them except for the claims against Corporal Scofield. Docket No. 26. On January 9, 2017, CCS Defendants filed their motion to dismiss the claims against them for failing to state a claim. Docket No. 28. Nurse Campbell filed a motion to dismiss on the basis of qualified immunity. Docket No. 29.

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         To survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint must allege enough factual matter that, taken as true, makes the plaintiff's “claim to relief . . . plausible on its face.” Bryson v. Gonzales, 534 F.3d 1282, 1286 (10th Cir. 2008) (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). “[W]here the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged - but it has not shown - that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009) (internal quotation marks and alteration marks omitted). Thus, even though modern rules of pleading are somewhat forgiving, “a complaint still must contain either direct or inferential allegations respecting all the material elements necessary to sustain a recovery under some viable legal theory.” Bryson, 534 F.3d at 1286 (alteration marks omitted).

         III. ANALYSIS

         A. Deliberate Indifference Claims

         “Under the Fourteenth Amendment's Due Process Clause, pretrial detainees are entitled to the same degree of protection against denial of medical care as that afforded to convicted inmates under the Eighth Amendment.” Estate of Hocker by Hocker v. Walsh, 22 F.3d 995, 998 (10th Cir. 1994). To bring a claim for deliberate medical indifference against an institution, plaintiff must allege “such gross deficiencies in staffing, facilities, equipment, or procedures that the inmate is effectively denied access to adequate medical care.” See Garcia v. Salt Lake Cty., 768 F.2d 303, 308 (10th Cir. 1985) (citing Ramos v. Lamm, 639 F.2d 559, 575 (10th Cir. 1980)). To bring a claim for deliberate indifference to medical needs against an individual, a plaintiff must allege: “(i) that he suffered from a serious medical need - that is, one that has been diagnosed by a medical provider as requiring treatment or one which even a lay person would easily recognize as requiring medical attention; and (ii) the Defendant was subjectively aware of that need and that failing to treat it would pose an excessive risk to the inmate's health or safety, but nevertheless elected to delay or deny treatment for it.” Ajaj v. Fed. Bureau of Prisons, No. 08-cv-02006-MSK-MJW, 2011 WL 902440, at *16 (D. Colo. Mar. 10, 2011) (citing Sealock ...


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