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Brantley v. Staten

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

June 26, 2018





         Plaintiff, who is proceeding pro se, brings this action alleging that Defendants violated his constitutional rights under the Eighth Amendment by being deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs. Presently before the court are Captain Gallam[1] and Lt. Hettich's Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 57), James Staten's Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 58), and Captain Gallum and Lt. Hettich's Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Prosecution (ECF No. 64). Because Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, he was advised by an Order (ECF No. 59) pursuant to Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.3d 309 (4th Cir. 1975), that a failure to respond to Defendants' motions for summary judgment could result in dismissal of his Complaint. Plaintiff did not file a response to those motions. Thereafter, Defendants Gallum and Hettich filed their motion to dismiss for lack of prosecution and another Roseboro Order (ECF No. 65) was entered. Plaintiff then filed his response (ECF No. 68). All pretrial proceedings in this case were referred to the undersigned pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A) and (B) and Local Rule 73.02(B)(2)(d), DSC. This report and recommendation is entered for review by the district judge.


         On August 13, 2016, Plaintiff was a pretrial detainee at the Aiken County Detention Center (ACDC). He alleges that on that date he fell from his top bunk which had no ladder, suffered a separated collarbone. He was taken to the emergency room and the doctor informed him that he would need surgery, but he was refused surgery while at ACDC because he did not have insurance. Compl. (ECF No. 1 at 13-15).

         Plaintiff alleges Defendant Staten of Southern Health Partners stated on March 2, 2017, that Plaintiff's x-ray was sent to the Medical Review Board. On March 14, 2017, Defendant Hettich responded that Lt. Carlin answered Plaintiff's question and Plaintiff left a lot of information out of new request. On March 11, 2017, Plaintiff indicates that Sgt. Riddell responded telling Plaintiff to consult medical to get help and to get a bottom bunk pass. On March 10, 2017, Defendant Staten stated he would schedule an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon as soon as ACDC sent a letter stating they would pay bill. Compl. (ECF No. 1 at 13-15).

         Plaintiff asks that his collarbone be fixed, that he receive physical therapy, and that the bunk beds be fixed. He also seeks monetary damages in the sum of one million dollars for prolonged pain and suffering. Compl. (ECF No. 1 at 6). Defendants assert that Plaintiff has been detained at ACDC during two relevant periods of time. The first was after Plaintiff was arrested on May 31, 2016 on charges of drug possession, open container in a motor vehicle, and failure to pay child support. Gallam Aff. ¶ 4. Subsequently, on or about October 14, 2016, Plaintiff was transferred from ACDC to the South Carolina Department of Corrections. Gallam Aff. ¶ 5. Plaintiff was then detained a second time on January 10, 2017 on charges of breach of trust with fraudulent intent and failure to pay child support, and was again booked into ACDC. Gallam Aff. ¶ 13. It was during that second period of detention at ACDC that Plaintiff filed the above-captioned lawsuit, although the fall occurred during his first period of detention. As of August 31, 2017, Plaintiff has been released from ACDC, and has not returned. Gallam Aff. ¶ 22.

         The records produced by Defendants reveal that on August 13, 2016, Plaintiff complained that he hurt his shoulder, was examined by medical personnel, and was taken to the emergency room. Gallam Aff., ¶¶ 6, 8 and Ex. B (pp. 11, 14-16). Defendant Staten, a third-party medical provider at ACDC, was not working at the detention center during Plaintiff's first detention. Staten Aff. ¶ 2. According to the medical records, Plaintiff was diagnosed with an AC separation by doctors at Aiken Regional Medical Center and was returned to ACDC with a treatment plan which stated Plaintiff was to wear a sling and follow up with medical. Gallam Aff. ¶ 8. Upon discharge from Aiken Regional Medical Center, Plaintiff was provided with literature titled “Sprain, A-C Joint, ” which states:

The A-C JOINT holds the collar bone (clavicle) to the shoulder. A sprain of this joint is a tearing of the ligaments that hold the bones together. The tear may be partial or complete. An A-C sprain will take about 3-6 weeks to heal, depending on how severe it is.
A "complete A-C ligament tear" (also called "A-C separation") will allow the collar bone to rise up, causing a noticeable bump on the shoulder top. Since the ligament heals in this position, the bump is permanent. It is possible to have surgery to correct the appearance, although normal shoulder function will return even without surgery.
This injury is usually treated with a sling or "shoulder immobilizer". Once healed, you can expect full recovery of shoulder function.

Gallam Aff. Ex B (p. 23).

         Following his trip to the emergency room, Plaintiff was seen several times by medical personnel at ACDC concerning his shoulder before he was released to SCDC in October of 2016.

         On September 2, 2016, medical personnel at ACDC prescribed continued use of a sling and a warm compress. Gallam Aff. ¶ 10. Plaintiff was seen again on October 13, 2006, and medical personnel at ACDC prescribed him ibuprofen. Gallam Aff. ¶ 11. Plaintiff's medical records from his trip to the hospital, and subsequent examinations by medical personnel during his first detention at ACDC, ...

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