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Hale v. Gee

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division

September 20, 2017

WILLIE FRANK HALE, Plaintiff,
v.
DAVID GEE, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          JAMES D. WHITTEMORE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         BEFORE THE COURT is Defendants', David Gee, Hillsborough County Sheriff and Naphcare, Inc.'s Motion for Final Summary Judgment (Dkt. 49). The time fox pro se Plaintiff to respond to the Motion for Summary Judgment has passed and the Motion is deemed unopposed.[1] The Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff asserts claims for damages and declaratory relief against Defendants David Gee, the Sheriff of Hillsborough County, Florida, and Naphcare, Inc., [2] under 42 U.S.C. §1983, based on alleged violations of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that on February 2, 2016, he was not treated for severe chest pain because Defendants have a custom or policy not to provide medical treatment to prisoners and detainees at the Hillsborough County Jail (HCJ). Defendants argue that they are entitled to summary judgment because: 1) Plaintiff failed to exhaust administrative remedies prior to filing this action; 2) there is no evidence that Defendants have a custom or policy that was the moving force behind the alleged failure to treat Plaintiffs chest pain; and 3) there is no evidence that medical personnel were deliberately indifferent to Plaintiffs medical needs.

         II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         On February 2, 2016, Plaintiff was arrested at approximately 11:45 a.m. (Dkt. 17, p. 5). He was taken to HCJ (Id.). While in booking, he was medically evaluated at 12:50 p.m. by Paramedic Dempsey (Dkt. 49-3, p. 31). His vital signs were essentially normal, except his blood pressure was slightly elevated (Id.). Plaintiff was cleared for placement in general housing (Id.). At 2:51 p.m., he was evaluated for a mental health screening (Id.). At 2:53 p.m., he underwent TB screening (Id., p. 32). At 3:05 p.m., he underwent a "Food Service Worker Clearance"evaluation during which his vital signs were normal, except that his blood pressure was slightly elevated (Id.).

         At approximately 4:35 p.m., Plaintiff informed medical staff that he "was having excruciating chest pain" (Dkt. 17, p. 5; Dkt. 49-1, p. 160). An EKG was performed, which was negative (Dkt. 17, p. 5; Dkt. 49-1, pp. 34, 146). Plaintiff was returned to a holding cell (Dkt. 49-1, p. 34).

         At approximately 7:28 p.m., an officer observed Plaintiff sleeping in the holding cell (Dkt. 49-1, p. 34). The officer entered the holding cell and saw that Plaintiff was shaking and foaming at the mouth (Id.). Plaintiff was transported on a stretcher to the medical clinic (Id.). While being transported, Plaintiff was able to answer. questions and turn his head to "avoid aspirating secretions----" (Id.). At the medical clinic he reported pain on the left side of his chest (Id.). Examination revealed no heart palpitations or murmur (Id.). He had a second EKG at approximately 8:25 p.m., which was negative (Dkt. 49-1, p. 147). He was admitted to the medical clinic for observation and blood work was ordered (Dkt. 49-1, p. 34).

         On February 3, 2016, at approximately 11:47 a.m., Plaintiffs vital signs were taken, and he expressed no complaints and showed no signs of distress (Id.). An x-ray was taken of his chest (Id., p. 149). At approximately 4:16 p.m., Plaintiffs vital signs were taken and were "stable and within normal limit." (Id., p. 33). Plaintiff stated that his chest pain was "resolved." (Id.).

         On February 4, 2016, at approximately 10:24 a.m., Plaintiffs vital signs were taken, and he voiced no complaints (Id.). At approximately 12:30 p.m., Plaintiffs vital signs were "stable, " he reported that he was "feeling better, " and he was released from the medical clinic (Id., pp. 32-33).

         On February 3, 2016, Plaintiff submitted a "Health Care Complaint" in which he: (1) complained about the treatment he received on February 2, 2016, after he reported his chest pain; and (2) asserted that he had fallen while attempting to get in his bed in the medical clinic (Id., p. 160). A medical staff member responded to the Complaint on February 4, 2016 (Id.). The Health Care Complaint form indicated, in pertinent part, that "If you are unsatisfied with the response, request a 'Health Care Services Grievance Form' from health services staff (Id.). Plaintiff did not file a grievance regarding the alleged inadequate treatment for his chest pain on February 2, 2016 (Dkt. 49-4, p. 5).

         III. APPLICABLE STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Summary judgment is proper if, following discovery, the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, affidavits and admissions on file show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). "An issue of fact is 'material' if, under the applicable substantive law, it might affect the outcome of the case." Hickson Corp. v. N. Crossarm Co., 357 F.3d 1256, 1259-60 (11th Cir. 2004). "An issue of fact is 'genuine' if the record taken as a whole could lead a rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party." Id. at 1260. All the evidence and factual inferences reasonably drawn from the evidence must be viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 157 (1970); Jackson v. BellSouth Telecomms., 372 F.3d 1250, 1280 (11th Cir. 2004).

         Once a party properly makes a summary judgment motion by demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact, the nonmoving party must go beyond the pleadings through the use of affidavits, depositions, answers to interrogatories and admissions on file, and designate specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323-24. The evidence must ...


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