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Smith v. Holder

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

January 2, 2020

CHRISTOPHER GERALD SMITH, Plaintiffs,
v.
BOB HOLDER, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          STEPHEN R. CLARK UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter comes before the Court on Defendants Ashley Grisham and Dr. Charles Pewitt's Motion for Summary Judgment [126] and Defendants Bob Holder, Nicole Green, Jimmie Smith, and Dunklin County's Motion for Summary Judgment [129]. The Court grants the motions. The Court dismisses all claims, with prejudice.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On July 24, 2017, Plaintiff Christopher Gerald Smith filed a complaint in this Court under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging Defendants Bob Holder, Nicole Green, Ashley Grisham, Dr. Pewitt, and the Dunklin County Justice Center violated his constitutional rights under the 1st, 8th, and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution and his rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and Rehabilitation Act (“RA”). The Court appointed pro bono counsel for Smith on December 4, 2017. Smith also filed two other complaints in this district against the same defendants, along with Jimmie Smith, with similar legal and factual issues. See Smith v. Green, No. 1:17CV00144 JMB; Smith v. Green, 1:17CV00154 CAS. The Court consolidated the three cases.

         The Court liberally construes Smith's complaints to include the following claims:

(1) Holder, Dr. Pewitt, Grisham and Green denied Smith a specific type of insulin to treat his diabetes;
(2) Holder, Grisham, and Green retaliated against Smith for filing a grievance by placing him on medical watch and telling jail staff not to answer the emergency call button if Smith pressed it;
(3) Holder and Dunklin County failed to place emergency call buttons in individual cells;
(4) Holder and Dunklin County failed to create sick-call procedures;
(5) Grisham and Green placed a wooden board over the window of his cell to prevent him communicating with jail staff and other inmates;
(6) Grisham, Green, and Holder tampered, or allowed other inmates to tamper, with Smith's food;
(7) Holder, Dr. Pewitt, Grisham, and Green denied Smith medical treatment for his infected finger;
(8) Grisham, Green, and Holder refused to provide Smith with a proper diabetic diet;
(9) Holder and Dunklin County instructed jail staff to refuse to respond to call buttons;
(10) medical malpractice, medical negligence, and breach of duty against Green;
(11) intentional infliction of emotional distress against Green;
(12) Holder, Green, Jailer Smith, and Dunklin County retaliated against Smith by turning off water to handicapped showers;
(13) Holder, Green, and Jailer Smith placed him in administrative segregation without due process of law;
(14) Holder, Green, Smith, and Dunklin County violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act by refusing to turn the water on in handicapped showers;
(15) Holder, Grisham, Green, Dr. Pewitt, and Jailer Smith retaliated against Smith for filing grievances by refusing to move Smith back to general population.

Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (“A document filed pro se is to be liberally construed, . . . and a pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.”). Smith brings each of these claims against each defendant in his/her individual and official capacities.

         A. Undisputed Material Facts

         1. Medical Care

         The Dunklin County Adult Detention Center (“the Jail”) booked Smith in on June 27, 2017. The Jail housed Smith for the U.S. Marshals Service (“USMS”). Smith was released from the Jail and transferred into the custody of the USMS on August 13, 2018. The USMS sets requirements and procedures that the Jail must follow with regards to inmates that the Jail is housing for the USMS. Unless there is a medical emergency, the USMS requires the Jail to obtain approval from it before the Jail can transport an inmate to an outside medical provider for medical treatment. Sheriff Holder is responsible for the general operation of the Jail and Jail Administrator Green is responsible for managing the day-to-day operations and administration of the Jail and its records. Jailer Smith was the lead supervisor at the time Smith was in the Jail.

         In 2007, Dunklin County entered into a contract with Advanced Correctional Healthcare, Inc. (“Advanced”) for it to provide health care services to inmates at the Jail. Advanced has provided health care services to the inmates at the Jail since the contract was entered in 2007. Pursuant to the contract, Advance provides an on-site nurse to be at the Jail for 30 hours each week and provides a physician at the Jail once a week. Nurse Grisham has been the primary on-site nurse assigned to the Jail since 2013. Dr. Pewitt has been the primary physician assigned to the Jail since 2012. Dr. Pewitt goes to the Jail every Tuesday night. Dunklin County does not pay Dr. Pewitt or Nurse Grisham directly for their services.

         Smith has had diabetes mellitus (Type I) since he was approximately 20 years old. Smith has taken a variety of insulin types since the time of his diagnosis. At the time he was booked into the Jail, Smith received 70/30 insulin twice a day.[1] Nurse Grisham saw Smith on the day he was booked into the Jail. She noted his blood sugar reading was “high” and notified Dr. Pewitt, who saw Smith that same evening. Dr. Pewitt prescribed Smith 10 units of 70/30 insulin twice a day. Smith began receiving the prescribed insulin on June 28, 2017. His insulin was adjusted on the same date and he began receiving the adjusted dose of insulin that day. On June 29, Smith's insulin dose was again adjusted and he began receiving the adjusted dose in the morning on June 30. On this same date, Smith's insulin dose was again adjusted and he began receiving the adjusted dose in the evening of that date. Dr. Pewitt ordered Smith's blood sugar be checked every two hours and to remain near the nurse until further notice. He also ordered Smith to have no snacks and receive a diabetic meal tray. The medical records contain a glucose log and medication administration record which indicate that Smith's glucose level was checked multiple times per day and he was administered medication.

         On July 3, Smith's insulin dose was again adjusted and he began receiving the adjusted dose on July 4. On July 6, Smith completed a Sick Call Request form about his right hand. Nurse Grisham saw Smith on that date and the medical record indicates Smith hit a door with his fist. Smith's hand was almost three times its normal size and infected. Nurse Grisham believed Smith should be sent to the emergency room for further evaluation of his hand. A Prisoner Medical Request form was submitted to the USMS to request approval to transport Smith to an outside medical provider for medical treatment for his hand. The USMS approved this request. On July 10, Smith was transported to Twin Rivers Regional Medical Center for medical treatment of his hand. Twin Rivers diagnosed Smith with cellulitis in his right finger. Twin Rivers prescribed 500 mg. of Amoxicillin twice a day for ten days.

         Smith began receiving Amoxicillin at the Jail on July 11. The Jail dispensed Smith Amoxicillin until July 17. On that date, a medical staff member at the Jail examined Smith's right hand again. The medical staff discontinued the Amoxicillin and instead, prescribed Bactrim. Smith began receiving Bactrim on July 17. On July 19, a medical staff member at the Jail examined Smith's right hand again. The medical staff also adjusted his insulin. The medical record for Smith's medical examination on this date states “ok to move to gen. pop.” Smith began receiving the adjusted dose of insulin on July 20.

         On July 26, Smith's medical records, under “Practitioner's orders, ” states, “Just take away all Sweets None at all.” On July 27, the medical staff again adjusted Smith's insulin. He began receiving this dose on July 28. On August 8, medical staff examined Smith at the Jail. Medical records state Smith's diabetes is controlled while under observation and to “move back to holding cell to keep under close monitoring of meds & diet.” On August 15, medical staff at the Jail examined Smith and discontinued his prior insulin. They prescribed Smith 30 units of Lantus insulin instead. The Jail dispensed Smith Lantus insulin starting August 16. On August 22, medical staff at the Jail examined Smith and adjusted his dose of Lantus insulin. He began receiving this adjusted dose on August 23. The staff also ordered an “Orthopedic Consult.” The Jail submitted a Prisoner Medical Request form to the USMS to request approval to transport Smith for an orthopedic consult, which the USMS approved. An orthopedic doctor saw Smith.

         On August 29, medical staff at the Jail adjusted Smith's Lantus insulin and he began receiving the adjusted dose on August 30. Smith began receiving another adjusted dose on September 6. On September 12, medical staff at the Jail examined Smith. His medical records state his blood sugar was poorly controlled and he did much better when taking the 70/30 insulin. The medical staff discontinued the Lantus insulin and placed Smith back on the 70/30 insulin. Smith began receiving the 70/30 insulin on September 12.

         On September 15, Nurse Grisham ordered Smith be placed back in medical observation. On September 26, medical staff at the Jail examined Smith and adjusted his insulin. He began receiving this dose on September 27. This occurred again on October 3, and he began receiving the adjusted dose on October 4. His medical records for this examination state “ok to return to gen. pop.” On October 10, medical staff at the Jail examined Smith and adjusted his dose of insulin which he began receiving on October 11. His medical records for this examination state “he was in isolation & diet was monitored & he was doing fine - When he is returned to gen population, he often eats whatever he wants & BS go high.” On October 17, medical staff adjusted the dose of Smith's insulin which he began receiving on October 18. Smith refused his insulin on October 18 and 19. On October 24, medical staff ordered an “Endocrinologist Consult” for Smith. The Jail submitted a Prisoner Medical Request form to the USMS to request approval to transport Smith to an endocrinologist; the USMS approved the request. On November 14, Smith saw Dr. Shaun Ross, an endocrinologist. Dr. Ross changed Smith's insulin to Novolog 15 units before meals and Lantus 50 units before bedtime. On November 15, the Jail began dispensing Novolog insulin to Smith and on November 16, it began dispensing Lantus insulin to Smith.

         On November 15, Smith's blood sugar was high and he was taken to the emergency room at Twin Rivers Regional Medical Center. Twin Rivers discharged him the same day. Nurse Grisham ordered Smith moved back to the medical observation cell. On November 22, Nurse Grisham received clarification from Dr. Ross's office regarding Smith's insulin and Smith began receiving adjusted doses of Lantus and Novolog insulin on the same date. On December 5, medical staff examined Smith and his medical records on this date state “ok to return to gen pop.” Since December 5, Smith has not returned to the medical observation cell. Smith believes he has received adequate insulin and diabetic medical treatment at the Jail since Dr. Ross saw him. The Jail has sick call ...


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