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Thomas v. Huston

March 16, 2010

JOSHUA THOMAS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
SHERIFF HUSTON, ET. AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Harold A. Baker United States District Judge

SUMMARY JUDGMENT ORDER

This cause is before the court for consideration of the defendants motions for summary judgment [d/e 90, 92].

The plaintiff has the following claims against defendants at the Tazewell County Jail:

1) Defendants Steve Van Dusen, Kurt Ulrich and Robert Huston violated the plaintiff's due process rights by punishing him without a hearing;

2) Defendants Van Dusen, Ulrich, and Huston violated the plaintiff's constitutional rights based on his living conditions;

3) Defendant Van Dusen and Ulrich retaliated against the plaintiff based on previous lawsuits and grievances;

4) Defendant Van Dusen used excessive force against the plaintiff on May 16, 2008;

5) Defendant Correctional Officer Piro used excessive force against the plaintiff on May 31, 2006;

6) Defendant Jozef Szadkowski excessive force in the fall of 2006; and,

7) Nurse Jessica Baker was deliberately indifferent to the plaintiff's serious medical condition on May 26, 2006. See July 10, 2008 Case Management Order; see also August 22, 2008 Text Order

The plaintiff was a pretrial detainee at the relevant time periods in his allegations.

I. FACTS

The plaintiff did not directly respond to each of the undisputed facts presented by the defendants. Therefore, the following facts are taken from the motions for summary judgment and the exhibits.

In his deposition, the plaintiff admits he has been in the Tazewell County Jail on more than one occasion. On May 26, 2006, the plaintiff says he was arrested after he got into a fight with his stepfather. (Def. Memo, Plain. Depo, p. 12) The plaintiff says during the argument, he went through a plate-glass door. The plaintiff says he does not remember much about the incident, but says he was not pushed through the door, but went through the door on his own. (Def. Memo, Plain. Depo, p. 19, 25) The plaintiff admits he had been drinking at different bars prior to the incident.

(Def. Memo, Plain. Depo, p. 15)

Dawn Hostetler says she is a Correctional Officer at the Tazewell County Jail. (Def. Mot, Host. Aff, p. 1). On May 27, 2006, the officer says she was working at the Booking Desk with Officer Brad Catton. Their shift began at 6:00 a.m. When the officers arrived at work, they were told that some individuals still needed to be booked including the plaintiff. (Def. Mot, Host. Aff, p. 1-2) (Def. Mot, Cat.. Aff, p. 1-2) Hostetler says it was noted that the plaintiff had refused medical care at the scene of his arrest and when he first arrived at the Tazewell County Jail. (Def. Mot, Host. Aff, p. 2)

Both officers say the plaintiff was "yelling, screaming, beating on his cell door and generally acting in a disruptive and abusive manner." (Def. Mot, Host. Aff, p. 2); (Def. Mot, Cat.. Aff, p. 2). The plaintiff refused to calm down and continued in this manner until he broke the window in his cell at approximately 8:00 a.m. (Def. Mot, Host. Aff, p.2) The plaintiff disputes this claim and says he was calm until after a nurse left his cell later in the morning.

At approximately 10:00 on the morning of May 27, 2006, Nurse Jessica Baker was called to see the plaintiff. Nurse Baker says when she arrived, she saw that the plaintiff had broken the window out of his cell and had spread blood on the window and wall of his cell. Nurse Baker did not provide medical care at this time, but the parties dispute why this occurred. The plaintiff admits he was agitated after the nurse left and says this is when broke his cell window.

The medical records show the plaintiff had calmed down enough to receive treatment by two in the afternoon on May 27, 2006. The treating nurse noted that the plaintiff had multiple cuts to his upper and lower let arm. The nurse noted that three of the wounds were deep and she "steri-stripped" them together. (Def. Mot, Baker Aff, p. 3) The rest were treated with Neosporin and gauze. The plaintiff did not require hospitalization. (Def. Mot, Baker Aff, p. 3).

Early the next morning, the plaintiff was again checked by a registered nurse. All the plaintiff's wounds were healing well. The nurse removed the old dressing and added new bandages. (Def. Mot, Baker Aff, p. 3).

The plaintiff was again evaluated on May 29, 2006, by a doctor. The plaintiff's wounds were healing well. (Def. Mot, Baker Aff, p. 4). The plaintiff was again evaluated on May 30, 2006, and he continued to improve. (Def. Mot, Baker Aff, p. 4). The plaintiff in his deposition admits the cuts have all healed. (Def. Memo, Plain. Depo, p. 39)

On June 8, 2006, the plaintiff refused an intake physical and signed a refusal of treatment form. (Def. Mot, Baker Aff, p. 4). On June 9, 2006, the plaintiff was seen by a mental health professional. He showed no signs or symptoms of a serious mental health issue. However, the plaintiff said he did not remember coming to the jail and admitted that alcohol made have lead to the incident. (Def. Mot, Baker Aff, p. 4-5).

The plaintiff was again seen by medical staff on June 13, 2006; June 17, 2006 and July 10, 2006 to discuss his desire to be in the general population. No problems are noted.

On July 11, 2006, the plaintiff saw Dr. Falcon. The medical note indicates a long history of substance abuse. The plaintiff shows poor impulse control and appears paranoid and delusional. The doctor believes the plaintiff's mood is unpredictable and could be triggered in the general population. The doctor's assessment is that certain mental health conditions need to be considered and ruled out. (Def. Mot, Baker Aff, p. 6).

Also in 2006, the plaintiff says Defendant Correctional Officer Szadkowski punched him in the face four or five times, but the plaintiff is unable to provide a specific time period besides the fall of 2006. The defendant says he wrote a report documenting on incident in which he used force ...


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