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Covington v. Stuckey-Parchmon

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

December 31, 2019




         Plaintiff Kevin Covington claims in this action filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs in connection with his hypertension while he was a pretrial detainee at the St. Louis County Justice Center (“County jail”). This matter is now before the Court on Defendant Carlina Stuckey-Parchmon's motion (ECF No. 43) for summary judgment, alleging that Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies under the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). For the reasons set forth below, the Court will deny the motion.


         Viewing the evidence and all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to Plaintiff, for purpose of the motion before the Court, the record establishes the following. Plaintiff was held as a pretrial detainee at the County jail from March 14, 2017 to June 12, 2019, when he was transferred to the custody of the Missouri Department of Corrections. Throughout this time, he has suffered from hypertension and has therefore been prescribed the medication Verapamil to be administered daily.[1] On five occasions between May and September, 2018, Stuckey-Parchmon, a nurse at the County jail, refused to give Plaintiff his prescribed medication.


         The first incident took place in early May of 2018. Stuckey-Parchmon refused to give Plaintiff his medications, without reason, and instead merely stated that Plaintiff would have to get his medications “from someone else.” ECF No. 46-1 ¶ 4. According to Plaintiff, both he and a housing unit officer, Officer Robeinson, [2] asked Stuckey-Parchmon the reason for her refusal, but Stuckey-Parchmon did not respond. Robeinson therefore contacted a supervisor, and seven hours later, another nurse brought Plaintiff his medications.

         Plaintiff alleged in his amended complaint that he believed the date of this first incident was May 10, 2018. But in her Statement of Uncontroverted Facts, Stuckey-Parchmon asserts that she did not work at the jail on May 10, 2018, and she attaches her nurse manager's affidavit attesting to that fact.[3] ECF No. 43-1 ¶ 35. In response to this assertion, Plaintiff attests by affidavit that “[i]t's possible, having been incarcerated for over a year at that time that I was mistaken about the exact date [of the first incident].”[4]ECF Nos. 46-1 ¶ 6.

         On June 6, 2018, Stuckey-Parchmon again refused to give Plaintiff medications even though Stuckey-Parchmon was regularly dispensing medications to all other inmates in the unit. Stuckey-Parchmon told Plaintiff and a housing unit manager at the time, Officer Hayden, that she “did not have to give [Plaintiff] shit, ” and did not “have to give a reason why.” ECF No. 33 ¶ 18. Hayden then informed a supervisor, Lieutenant Beard, who asked Stuckey-Parchmon the reason for her refusal. Stuckey-Parchmon informed Beard that she had no reason but that she just would not serve Plaintiff. The County jail's Medical Administration Record for Plaintiff for the month of June 2018 indicates that Plaintiff did not receive any of his medications, including Verapamil, from June 4 through June 6, 2018.

         Thereafter, on September 14, 15, and 16, 2018, Stuckey-Parchmon again refused to give Plaintiff his medications. On September 14th, Plaintiff was not wearing his identification wristband, and Stuckey-Parchmon asked a unit officer to retrieve Plaintiff's booking card to identify Plaintiff. After the officer retrieved Plaintiff's booking card and showed it to Stuckey-Parchmon, Stuckey-Parchmon threw Plaintiff's medications into the trash and left the unit.

         The following day, when Plaintiff was in line for his medications, Stuckey-Parchmon told Plaintiff to step out of line and called the next inmate in line for medications. A housing unit officer at the time, Officer Coticchio, instructed Plaintiff to file a grievance and told Plaintiff that he (Coticchio) would “call medical to send someone [else] up to give [Plaintiff] his meds.” ECF No. 33 ¶ 26.

         The next day, Stuckey-Parchmon again refused to give Plaintiff his medications, telling Plaintiff to step out of line. Coticchio then told Plaintiff: “You know what you have to do. You file your grievance and I'll file my report.” Id. ¶ 29. Plaintiff attests that he ultimately received his September 15, 2018, medication later in the day by a different member of the medical staff. ECF No. 46-1 ¶ 30. Plaintiff's affidavit and other filings do not indicate whether he ultimately received his medication on September 14 or 16, 2018, but the jail's Medication Administration Record for Plaintiff for the month of September 2018 indicates that he received all medications on September 14, 15, and 16, 2018.[5]

         Plaintiff alleges that as a result of not timely receiving his regular medications, he suffered headaches, anxiety, loss of sleep, dangerously high blood pressure, and unhealthy blood sugar levels; and that he had to increase his dosage of one or more medications due to the irregular administration.


         The County jail provides a copy of the “Inmate Handbook” to all inmates upon intake, and it provided one to Plaintiff. The Inmate Handbook describes the grievance procedure at the County Jail as follows:

The formal grievance procedure is a standard written procedure used to settle legitimate complaints concerning an incident, policy, or condition within the jail. You are encouraged to attempt to resolve your problem or concern by talking to your Housing Unit Officer and/or the staff member responsible in the particular area of concern in an attempt to solve the issue[s] presented. After you have exhausted all efforts through the informal process and are unable to resolve the problem, you may then choose to file a formal grievance in the following manner:
1. Request an Inmate Grievance form from your Housing Unit Office and/or Unit Case Manager.
2. Complete the grievance form, outlining the reason for the grievance and include the rule, regulation, policy, or circumstance.
3. A grievance must be filed within five (5) days from the date of the incident or event that is the basis for the grievance, unless circumstances make it unreasonable to file within that time.
4. Relate specific details in the grievance such as the date, time, and location of the incident, any witnesses and any and all related information.
5. Include all actions you took to solve the problem and what staff members you contacted or talked to regarding your problem, concern, or complaint.
6. The grievance must include the date it is being filed along with your name and signature, your inmate number, and housing unit.
7. Submit the grievance to your Unit Case Manager or Housing Unit Supervisor.
8. A written response to your grievance will be received within five (5) working days of the time it was received, unless review of your grievance requires additional time. You will be advised if the response will take more than 5 days 9. Grievances must be filed by each individual; group grievances are unacceptable.
10. Grievances that are determined to be of a frivolous nature shall receive a response in writing to that effect.
11. Disciplinary sanctions administered to you by an officer are not grievable issues as long as they are within ...

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