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Estate of Lillis v. Board of County Commissioners of Arapahoe County

United States District Court, D. Colorado

July 2, 2019

THE ESTATE OF JEFFREY SCOTT LILLIS, by and through its co-personal representatives Meghan Lillis and Michele Driscoll, MEGHAN LILLIS, individually, C.A.L., individually, a minor, by and through Michele Driscoll as guardian, C.S.L., individually, a minor, by and through Michele Driscoll as guardian, A.L., individually, a minor, by and through Robin Booth as next friend and mother, JORDAN LILLIS, individually, and ASHLEY PERRY, individually, Plaintiffs,
v.
BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF ARAPAHOE COUNTY; TYLER S. BROWN, in his official capacity as Arapahoe County Sheriff, and RUTH KYAMBADDE, RN, individually; Defendants.

          ORDER

          KRISTEN L. MIX MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment [#173][1] (the “Motion”). Plaintiff filed a Response [#185] in opposition to the Motion, and Defendants filed a Reply [#192]. The Court has reviewed the Motion, Response, Reply, the entire case file, and the applicable law, and is sufficiently advised in the premises.[2] F or the reasons set forth below, the Motion [#173] is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.

         I. Background [3]

         During the relevant time underlying this lawsuit, Jeffrey Lillis (“Lillis”) was a pretrial detainee at the Arapahoe County Detention Facility (“ACDF”).[4] He was transferred to the infirmary there on the morning of Friday, December 12, 2014, after complaining to a pod nurse that he was not feeling well and was running a fever. Motion [#173] at 2; Response [#185] at 1. He died in his cell in the infirmary on the evening of December 14, 2014. Id. Defendant Ruth Kyambadde (“Kyambadde”) is a Registered Nurse who was working at ACDF's infirmary unit on December 14 at the time Mr. Lillis died. Decl. of Kyambadde [#173-2] ¶ 1. Based on the events occurring at ACDF in the afternoon and evening of December 14, the remaining claims in this case are (1) a claim under the Fourteenth Amendment for deliberate indifference to medical needs against Defendant Kyambadde in her individual capacity and (2) a Monell claim against the Board of County Commissioners of Arapahoe County and Arapahoe County Sheriff Tyler Brown (collectively, the “County”). The factual details provided by the parties are examined in-depth in the Analysis section below.

         II. Standard of Review

         The purpose of a motion for summary judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56 is to assess whether trial is necessary. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a), summary judgment should be entered if the pleadings, the discovery, any affidavits, and disclosures on file show “that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” An issue is genuine if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could resolve the issue in favor of the nonmoving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A fact is material if it might affect the outcome of the case under the governing substantive law. Id.

         The burden is on the movant to show the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Adler v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 144 F.3d 664, 670-71 (10th Cir. 1998) (citing Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323). When the movant does not bear the ultimate burden of persuasion at trial, the “movant may make its prima facie demonstration [of the absence of a genuine issue of material fact] simply by pointing out to the [C]ourt a lack of evidence for the nonmovant on an essential element of the nonmovant's claim.” Id. at 671. If the movant carries the initial burden of making a prima facie showing of a lack of evidence, the burden shifts to the nonmovant to put forth sufficient evidence for each essential element of his claim such that a reasonable jury could find in his favor. See Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. The nonmovant must go beyond the allegations and denials of his pleadings and provide admissible evidence, which the Court views in the light most favorable to him. Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 157 (1970); Panis v. Mission Hills Bank, N.A., 60 F.3d 1486, 1490 (10th Cir. 1995) (citing Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324). Conclusory statements based merely on conjecture, speculation, or subjective belief are not competent summary judgment evidence. Bones v. Honeywell Int'l, Inc., 366 F.3d 869, 875 (10th Cir. 2004). The nonmoving party's evidence must be more than “mere reargument of [his] case or a denial of an opponent's allegation” or it will be disregarded. See 10B Charles Alan Wright et al., Federal Practice and Procedure § 2738 (4th ed. 2017).

         Only documents that meet the evidentiary requirements of Fed.R.Civ.P. 56 may be considered for purposes of summary judgment. Rule 56(c) provides that:

(1) A party asserting that a fact cannot be or is genuinely disputed must support the assertion by:
(A) citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials[.] . . .
(3) Materials Not Cited. The court need consider only the cited materials, but it may consider other materials in the record.
(4) Affidavits or Declarations. An affidavit or declaration used to support or oppose a motion must be made on personal knowledge, set out facts that would be admissible in evidence, and show that the affiant or declarant is competent to testify on the matters stated.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1)-(4).

         III. Analysis

         A. ...


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