United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
PATRICIA HANNAH, as Plenary Legal Guardian of Darryl Vaughn Hanna, Jr., Plaintiff,
ARMOR CORRECTIONAL HEALTH SERVICES, INC., MANATEE COUNTY, FLORIDA, RICK WELLS, in his official capacity as Sheriff of the Manatee County Sheriff's Office, LEILA POLANCO, CARMA OGLINE, BERNARD MONTAYRE, PAULA SANDERS, ELVIRA PEREZ, RONALD LAUGHLIN, Defendants.
S. MOODY, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
CAUSE comes before the Court upon four separate motions to
Rick Wells' Motion to Dismiss (Dkt. 43), Defendant Ronald
Laughlin's Motion to Dismiss (Dkt. 44), Armor
Defendants' Joint Motion to Dismiss (Dkt. 45), and
Defendant Manatee County's Motion to Dismiss (Dkt. 48).
The Court has carefully reviewed these motions and
Plaintiff's responses in opposition (Dkts. 46, 47, 53,
and 54). The Court has also reviewed in great detail the
lengthy amended complaint (Dkt. 40). As explained further
below, the Court concludes that Defendant Rick Wells'
Motion to Dismiss (Dkt. 43) is granted in part and denied in
part, Defendant Ronald Laughlin's Motion to Dismiss (Dkt.
44) is denied, Armor Defendants' Joint Motion to Dismiss
granted in part and denied in part, and Defendant Manatee
County's Motion to Dismiss (Dkt. 48) is denied.
Specifically, all legal claims will remain except for the
following: Counts VI, IX, XVIII, XIX, and XX.
allegations of the amended complaint (Dkt. 40) are undeniably
tragic. Plaintiff Patricia Hanna is the plenary guardian for
Darryl Vaughn Hanna, Jr. (“Hanna”), who is in a
persistent vegetative state after suffering four syncopal
episodes while he was detained at the Manatee County Jail.
The amended complaint alleges the following facts that led to
Hanna's condition. The Court must assume the truth of
Manatee County Jail is a correctional facility intended to
detain people who are accused of violating Florida's
criminal laws within Manatee County, Florida. On or about
August 9, 2017, Hanna was arrested by the Manatee County
Sheriff's Office (“MCSO”) and detained as a
pretrial detainee in the Manatee County Jail (hereinafter
referred to as the “Jail”).
Armor Correctional Health Services, Inc. contracted with
Manatee County and MCSO to provide medical and mental health
care to those detained and/or incarcerated at the Jail.
Armor's services included performing intake, medical
screening, assessing detainees for medical issues, and
providing medical treatment, medical intervention, and
referral services to those detained at the Jail.
intake, on or about August 10, 2017, Hanna answered
“No” to the question, “Do you have any
mental, physical, or developmental disabilities or
limitations that we need to know about during your
incarceration?” (Dkt. 40 at ¶84). On his Intake
Health Screening, his appearance was noted as unremarkable;
he did not have any visible signs of injuries and his
behavior was alert and oriented. Hanna indicated that he was
not currently ill or injured, he had not experienced a head
injury in the last seventy-two hours, and he had not been to
a hospital within the past three months. Hanna indicated that
he had active asthma and used his inhaler in 2016. From the
time of his booking, through August 22, 2017, Hanna presented
and appeared to be a well-nourished, healthy, 29-year-old
about August 23, 2017, at approximately 11:58 a.m., Deputy
Thomas McGuire, who was assigned to the Jail, received a
phone call informing him that Hanna had passed out on the
exercise yard. McGuire went to the exercise yard and asked
Hanna what happened. Hanna said he was playing basketball,
blacked out, and his head hurt. Hanna appeared disoriented at
that time. Medical staff were called and Defendant Leila
Polanco, a nurse and Armor employee, responded. When Polanco
arrived, Hanna was seated in a chair. She was told by other
residents of the Jail that Hanna had a seizure, it was too
hot outside, and another resident may have hit Hanna on the
head. She took Hanna's vital signs: his pulse was 90 and
his blood pressure was 98/80.
was conscious and able to verbally communicate. He told
Polanco that he had a right-sided headache and his pain was 7
on a scale of 1-10. Polanco concluded that the warm
temperature outside caused Hanna to faint and that he may
have hit his head during the fall and sustained a concussion.
On the Urgent Care Assessment form she did not select the box
associated with “Acute Medical Condition (e.g. loss of
consciousness, seizure, etc.).” Instead, she selected
the category “Unintentional (e.g. sports, fall,
requested to view any available video surveillance of
Hanna's incident in the exercise yard. Deputy McGuire
notified Defendant Sergeant Ronald Laughlin and informed him
of Hanna's incident, Polanco's observations and
evaluations, and her desire to view any available video. Sgt.
Laughlin permitted Polanco to view a color video recording of
the incident on a computer. There was no audio. Sgt. Laughlin
watched it too. The video showed Hanna and other residents
playing basketball outside in the exercise yard when, all of
a sudden, Hanna collapsed and hit his head on the ground.
Sgt. Laughlin's notes from viewing the video indicated
that at 11:55:19 Hanna collapsed and he remained on the
ground until 11:56:00-a duration of 41 seconds.
point on August 23, 2017, did Nurse Polanco or Sgt. Laughlin
request, contact, initiate, or recommend emergency medical
services or fire rescue to respond to the Jail to evaluate
Hanna. They also did not request that Hanna be evaluated by a
licensed physician or medical doctor employed by Armor within
the Jail. They never requested or recommended that Hanna be
transported to an outside medical facility, like a hospital
or emergency room.
was not seen by any physician, physician's assistant, or
medical doctor on August 23, 2017. He was ordered to return
to housing, where he resided in a cell alone.
about September 8, 2017, Deputy Randy Geis of MCSO observed
Hanna on the floor of his cell. Deputy Geis asked if he was
okay and Hanna stood up and told Deputy Geis that he felt
light headed. Then, Hanna fainted. When Hanna fell, he hit
his head on a wall within the cell. Deputy Geis called a
“med stat” over the radio and Defendant Nurse
Carma Ogline and Defendant Nurse Bernard Montayre, both Armor
employees, responded, along with a number of MCSO Deputies
and Sergeants. Nurse Montayre attempted to take Hanna's
blood pressure, but could not get a reading. Nurse Ogline
took it using a manual cuff and stethoscope. No. other vital
signs were obtained or attempted to be obtained by them.
Ogline questioned Hanna to determine what happened. Hanna
complained of left finger pain and told her he “passed
out, I think.” Id. at ¶113. Hanna was
transported to the infirmary unit within the Jail where he
was ordered to be monitored for two hours and then returned
to his cell if he became stable. During those two hours in
the infirmary unit, Hanna was never seen or evaluated by a
doctor, physician, or physician's assistant.
point on September 8, 2017, did Nurse Montayre or Nurse
Ogline request, contact, initiate, or recommend emergency
medical services or request fire rescue to respond to the
Jail to evaluate Hanna. They also did not recommend or
request that Hanna be transported to an outside medical
facility. Further, they did not request that an Armor
physician or doctor see Hanna.
time on September 8, 2017, did any Armor employee perform any
diagnostic, radiological, or other study of Hanna's
heart, pulmonary, or neurological systems. Later that same
day, Hanna was permitted to return to his cell without any
required follow-up or observation of his medical condition.
next day, Deputy Michael Braune of MCSO was assigned to the
area of the Jail where Hanna was housed. At approximately
5:28 a.m., Deputy Braune passed Hanna's cell and observed
Hanna lying face up on the floor underneath the toilet. He
entered the cell to check on Hanna, who was breathing, but
unresponsive to verbal or tactile stimulation. Deputy Braune
called a “med stat” and Nurse Ogline and Nurse
Grether responded. Nurse Ogline recorded a blood pressure of
80/62 and an unreadable oxygen level. She observed that Hanna
moaned at times, his hands were cold, his respirations were
deep and course (almost snore-like), and his pupils were
Carr of MCSO had master control activate emergency medical
services, which arrived at approximately 5:58 a.m., and North
River Fire Rescue arrived at approximately 6:10 a.m. In the
meantime, Deputies from the MCSO attempted to perform CPR on
Hanna. Hanna, EMS, and North River Fire Rescue exited the
Jail at approximately 6:28 a.m. and Hanna was transported to
a nearby hospital. Hanna has not regained consciousness and
remains in a persistent vegetative state.
amended complaint avers that at some time after September 9,
2017, Hanna returned to the Jail, where he was cared for at
the Jail's infirmary, despite his persistent vegetative
state. The allegations state that Hanna should have been
transferred to an outside facility, such as a nursing
facility, for total care and housing, but never was because
the County, MCSO, and Armor wanted to save money.
134-page amended complaint delineates in great detail
Armor's policies. It also avers in great detail prior
Armor “incidents” involving poor medical care due
to Armor focusing on cost savings, rather than the
administration of proper medical care. For example,
paragraphs 192-209 outline a parade of terribles-example
after example of prior incidents-most of which resulted in
the death of the prisoner/detainee because the medical care
they received was grossly inadequate. The amended complaint
includes that the County and MCSO knew or should have known
of the described incidents, especially in light of their
contractual relationship with Armor, which began in 2012. The
amended complaint describes in painstaking detail
(see paragraphs 16-29) factual allegations related
to the Jail's overpopulation, failure to employ adequate
staffing, and deficiencies related to adequate medical care.
Related to these allegations, there are facts imputing the
County, MCSO, and Armor with knowledge of these problems.
crux of the amended complaint is that Defendants were
medically negligent and deliberately indifferent to
Hanna's medical needs. Related to this, there are a
number of negligent hiring and supervision claims against
certain Defendants, and negligence claims related to the
overcrowding of the Jail.
the amended complaint names nine Defendants-Rick Wells, in
his official capacity as the Sheriff of Manatee County, Sgt.
Laughlin, Armor, several Armor nurses and one Armor
physician, and Manatee County-includes twenty-three legal
claims (Counts I-XXIII), and contains 792 paragraphs. Rather
than list each count, the Court will discuss the legal claim
during its analysis of Defendants' motions to dismiss.
it is clear on the face of the amended complaint that most of
the claims are properly pled and provide Defendants with
ample notice of the facts supporting each claim, the Court
will begin with an analysis of the federal claims and then
will briefly discuss why the majority of the state law claims
survive at this juncture.