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Dykes v. Inmate Services Corp.

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Beaufort Division

February 7, 2017

Michael Dykes and Wendy Dykes, Plaintiffs,
Inmate Services Corporation, Defendant.


          Richard Mark Gergel United States District Court Judge

         This matter is before the Court on the Report and Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge, recommending denial of Defendant Inmate Services Corporation's ("ISC") motion for summary judgment. For the reasons set forth below, the Court adopts the report and recommendation and denies ISC's motion for summary judgment.

         I. Background

         The Magistrate Judge thoroughly recounted the facts and allegations of this case in the Report and Recommendation, which are briefly summarized here. (See Dkt. No. 105 at 2-10.) Plaintiff Michael Dykes suffers from severe diabetes. He was arrested on June 18, 2012 for a bad check charge. He has testified that his foot was then so sore that he could not walk properly and that the arresting officers "put their arms under [his] arms so [he] could walk, because [he] couldn't put any pressure on [his] foot." (Dkt. No. 91-2 at 35-37.) He has also stated that when he went into custody at the Hampton County Detention Center, he told them about his health condition and that he had an appointment the next day to see a surgeon about his foot, but that he was not given insulin until a week after his arrest and was not seen by a physician until two weeks after his arrest. Mr. Dykes alleges that when he was seen by a physician, he was told his foot was gangrenous but the only treatment offered was a tube of antibiotic cream.

         On July 5, 2012, Mr. Dykes left the Hampton County Detention Center in the custody of ISC, for a three-day van ride to Missouri. Mr. Dykes alleges ISC stored his insulin on the dashboard of the van, rendering it useless because insulin requires refrigeration. He alleges that he was then held in the back of the van in chains for three days. On the third day, he passed out. ISC did not summon medical assistance or transport Mr. Dykes to a hospital. Instead, ISC allegedly asked another inmate present in the van to provide emergency medical assistance. The van stopped at a truck stop to buy orange juice, which the other inmate force-fed into the unconscious Mr. Dykes. The van then continued to its destination.

         When Mr. Dykes eventually received proper medical attention, a series of amputations were required. Ultimately, Mr. Dykes's legs were both amputated. Plaintiffs allege those amputations are "a direct and proximate result of the Defendant corporation's failure to provide medical care, treatment and proper medication." (Dkt. No. 1 -1 ¶ 13.) Plaintiffs allege three causes of action against ISC: (a) "negligence/gross negligence, " (b) violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and (c) loss of consortium, and they seek, inter alia, actual and punitive damages. (Id. ¶ 14.) Plaintiffs' § 1983 claim is a deliberate indifference to medical needs claim under the Fourteenth Amendment.

         On May 23, 2016, ISC moved for summary judgment. On January 23, 2017, the Magistrate Judge recommended denial of ISC's motion. ISC did not object to the Magistrate Judge's recommendation.

         II. Legal Standard

         A. Report and Recommendation of the Magistrate Judge

         The Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court. The recommendation has no presumptive weight, and the responsibility for making a final determination remains with this Court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270-71 (1976). This Court is charged with making a de novo determination of those portions of the Report and Recommendation to which specific objection is made. Additionally, the Court may "accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). This Court may also "receive further evidence or recommit the matter to the magistrate judge with instructions." Id. Where the plaintiff fails to file any specific objections, "a district court need not conduct a de novo review, but instead must only satisfy itself that there is no clear error on the face of the record in order to accept the recommendation, " see Diamond v. Colonial Life & Accident Ins, Co., 416 F.3d 310, 315 (4th Cir. 2005) (internal quotation omitted), and this Court is not required to give any explanation for adopting the recommendation of the Magistrate Judge, Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d 198 (4th Cir. 1983).

         B. Summary Judgment

         Summary judgment is appropriate if a party "shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact" and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). In other words, summary judgment should be granted "only when it is clear that there is no dispute concerning either the facts of the controversy or the inferences to be drawn from those facts." Pulliam Inv. Co. v. Cameo Props., 810 F.2d 1282, 1286 (4th Cir. 1987). "In determining whether a genuine issue has been raised, the court must construe all inferences and ambiguities in favor of the nonmoving party." HealthSouth Rehab, Hasp. v. Am. Natl Red Cross, 101 F.3d 1005, 1008 (4th Cir. 1996). The party seeking summary judgment shoulders the initial burden of demonstrating to the court that there is no genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986).

         Once the moving party has made this threshold demonstration, the non-moving party, to survive the motion for summary judgment, may not rest on the allegations averred in his pleadings. Id. at 324. Rather, the non-moving party must demonstrate that specific, material facts exist that give rise to a genuine issue. Id. Under this standard, "[c]onclusory or speculative allegations do not suffice, nor does a 'mere scintilla of evidence'" in support of the non-moving party's case. Thompson v. Potomac Elec. Power Co.,312 F.3d 645, 649 (4th Cir. 2002) (quoting Phillips v. CSX Transp, Inc., 190 F.3d 285, 287 (4th Cir, 1999)). III. Discussion ISC seeks summary judgment on each of Plaintiffs ...

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