United States District Court, D. South Carolina
Kelly E. Bruton, Plaintiff,
Deputy Wofford; K. White, Medical Director; Medical Staff of SCDF, Defendants.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
J. GOSSETT UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Kelly E. Bruton, formerly a pretrial detainee at the
Spartanburg County Detention Center,  filed this civil rights
action against the named defendants pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. This matter is before the court pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 636(b) and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2)
(D.S.C.) for a Report and Recommendation on the
defendants' motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 71.)
Pursuant to Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309 (4th
Cir. 1975), the court advised Bruton of the summary judgment
and dismissal procedures and the possible consequences if he
failed to respond adequately to the defendants' motion.
(ECF No. 72.) Bruton responded in opposition to the
defendants' motion. (ECF No. 75.) Having reviewed the
parties' submissions and the applicable law, the court
concludes that the defendants' motion should be granted.
following facts are either undisputed or are taken in the
light most favorable to Bruton, to the extent they find
support in the record. Bruton alleges that, on or about July
6, 2017,  while housed at the Spartanburg County
Detention Center, Defendant Deputy Wofford and unnamed
members of the medical staff “forced” Bruton to
take medication prescribed to another inmate and told him he
would be placed on lockdown if he did not
comply. (Compl., ECF No. 1 at 5.) Bruton alleges
that after taking the medication he became very ill, but that
his medical condition was never properly evaluated, he was
not allowed to speak with a supervisor, and his grievances
went unanswered. (Id.)
previously construed by the court, Bruton alleges that the
defendants were deliberately indifferent to his medical needs
in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States
Constitution. (Order, ECF No. 12 at 1.) Bruton seeks the
following relief: that the medical staff provide quality
health care services, that the defendants be reprimanded,
that the grievance system be reformed, and that he received
any future healthcare from quality providers in an efficient
and timely manner. (Compl., ECF No. 1 at 6.)
Summary Judgment Standard
judgment is appropriate only if the moving party “shows
that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and
the [moving party] is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A party may support or refute
that a material fact is not disputed by “citing to
particular parts of materials in the record” or by
“showing that the materials cited do not establish the
absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse
party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the
fact.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1). Rule 56 mandates entry of
summary judgment “against a party who fails to make a
showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element
essential to that party's case.” Celotex Corp.
v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986).
deciding whether there is a genuine issue of material fact,
the evidence of the non-moving party is to be believed and
all justifiable inferences must be drawn in favor of the
non-moving party. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). However, “[o]nly
disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit
under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of
summary judgment. Factual disputes that are irrelevant or
unnecessary will not be counted.” Id. at 248.
moving party has the burden of proving that summary judgment
is appropriate. Once the moving party makes this showing,
however, the opposing party may not rest upon mere
allegations or denials, but rather must, by affidavits or
other means permitted by the Rule, set forth specific facts
showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. See
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c), (e); Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at
322. Further, while the federal court is charged with
liberally construing a complaint filed by a pro se
litigant to allow the development of a potentially
meritorious case, see, e.g., Cruz v.
Beto, 405 U.S. 319 (1972), the requirement of liberal
construction does not mean that the court can ignore a clear
failure in the pleadings to allege facts which set forth a
federal claim, nor can the court assume the existence of a
genuine issue of material fact where none exists. Weller
v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387 (4th Cir.
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment
of pretrial detainees against detention center officials
regarding health, safety, and conditions of confinement, are
evaluated under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth
Amendment rather than under the Eighth Amendment's
proscription against cruel and unusual punishment. See
Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 535 & n.16 (1979);
Martin v. Gentile, 849 F.2d 863, 870 (4th Cir.
1988). “The due process rights of a pretrial detainee
are at least as great as the eighth amendment protections
available to the convicted prisoner; while the convicted
prisoner is entitled to protection only against punishment
that is ‘cruel and unusual,' the pretrial detainee,
who has yet to be adjudicated guilty of any crime, may not be
subjected to any form of ‘punishment.'
” Martin, 849 F.2d at 870; see also Hill
v. Nicodemus, 979 F.2d 987, 991 (4th Cir. 1992).
However, “the fact that [the] detention interferes with
the detainee's understandable desire to live as
comfortably as possible and with as little restraint as
possible during confinement does not convert the conditions
or restrictions of detention into ‘punishment.'
” Bell, 441 U.S. at 537.
United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has
held that the standard for determining whether detention
center officials have violated a pretrial detainee's
right to due process is deliberate indifference. See
Hill, 979 F.2d at 991. Although these claims are
analyzed under the Fourteenth Amendment, case law
interpreting the standard of “deliberate
indifference” under the Eighth Amendment is
instructive. See, e.g., Brown v.
Harris, 240 F.3d 383, 388 (4th Cir. 2001) (stating that
whether the plaintiff is a pretrial detainee or a convicted
prisoner, the “standard in either case is the same-that
is, whether a government official has been
‘deliberately indifferent to any [of his] serious
medical needs' ”) (quoting Belcher v.
Oliver, 898 F.2d 32, 34 (4th Cir. 1990)).
to establish a claim based on alleged deliberate
indifference, an inmate must establish two requirements: (1)
objectively, the deprivation suffered or injury inflicted was
“sufficiently serious, ” and (2) subjectively,
the prison officials acted with a “sufficiently
culpable state of mind.” Farmer v. Brennan,
511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994); Williams v. Benjamin, 77
F.3d 756, 761 (4th Cir. 1996). “What must be
established with regard to each component ‘varies
according to the nature of the alleged constitutional
violation.' ” Williams, 77 F.3d at 761
(quoting Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 5 (1992)).
Objectively, the court must assess “whether society
considers the risk that the prisoner complains of to be so
grave that it violates contemporary standards of decency to