United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Florence Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
E. Rogers, III, United States Magistrate Judge
who is proceeding pro se, brings this action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983, alleging Defendants violated his
constitutional rights by being deliberately indifferent to
his serious medical needs and subjecting him to cruel and
unusual punishment. Presently before the court are Defendants
Sweat's and Glisson's Motion for Summary Judgment
(ECF No. 56) and Defendant Abraham's Motion for Summary
Judgment (ECF No. 57). Because he is proceeding pro se, Plaintiff
was advised pursuant to Roseboro v. Garrison, 528
F.3d 309 (4th Cir. 1975), that a failure to respond to the
moving Defendants' motions could result in dismissal of
his case. Plaintiff timely filed a Response (ECF No. 65). 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.
times relevant to this allegations in this complaint,
Plaintiff was a pretrial detainee at the Sumter Lee Regional
Detention Center (SLRDC). In his verified complaint,
Plaintiff alleges that on May 4, 2017, at 6:30pm while on suicide
watch he managed to get two small razor blades. He sliced his
right wrist. Defendants Sweat and “Gleason” came
in and then Plaintiff swallowed the blades. Plaintiff
informed Sweat and “Gleason” that had swallowed
the blades. Nurse Abraham was called, and she asked him about
the cut on his wrist and where the razor blades were. She
informed him that she would give him some laxatives to pass
the blades. Then, Defendants strapped him in a chair, and one
of the restraints was right over the cut in his wrist. Blood
built up in his throat and he started choking and passed out.
He was awakened later being taken out of the chair straps for
five minutes and then strapped back in the chair. The lights
stayed on all night. He was then taken out of the chair the
next morning and told to shower. Around 9am he was taken to a
hospital and admitted. He said Defendant Abraham was very
angry. The two blades were in his intestines per the x-ray. A
doctor stated that he was to remain until a bed could come
open at Bryan's Mental Health. He passed the blades and a
few days later was told the ER needed his room and was told
by a doctor he would have to wait at the detention center.
Later, he found out the detention center removed his name
from the list for placement at the mental health facility.
Compl. pp. 7-9.
reports he was kept in solitary confinement for over ninety
days “without cause” and is having problems with
his medications as well. Under relief, he states he wants to
“get to mental health... and placed in an open
pod.” He wants access to a law library. He requests
monetary damages. Compl. p. 10.
Sweat is a Lieutenant, who is responsible for supervising all
staff on his shift and maintaining the safety and security of
the institution, the staff and the inmates. Defendant Glisson
is a correctional officer, who is responsible for monitoring
whatever pod he is assigned. Defendant Abraham is a Licensed
Practical Nurse (LPN), who works in the medical department at
SLRDC. The record reveals that Plaintiff made numerous
threats about committing suicide. Sweat Aff. ¶ 5 (ECF
No. 56-4); McGhaney Aff. ¶ 6 (ECF No. 56-7); Shirah Aff.
¶ 4 (ECF No. 56-6).
initially threatened suicide during booking on April 9, 2017.
Richardson Aff. ¶¶ 3-4 (ECF No. 56-5). Any time an
inmate threatens suicide, or attempts to harm himself,
medical is contacted and determines if the inmate is going to
be placed on a suicide watch and how long the watch will
last. Sweat Aff. ¶ 6. According to her affidavit,
Officer Richardson consulted with medical staff and her
supervisor, and Plaintiff was placed on suicide watch in one
of the holding cells in the booking area to protect him from
self-harm, until he could be moved to a regular cell.
Richardson Aff. ¶¶ 4-5.
days later on April 13, 2017, Plaintiff was observed eating
his feces, and EMS was called to take him to the hospital.
Windham Aff. ¶¶ 4-6 (ECF No. 56-2). He was examined
at the hospital and was then released and returned to SLRDC.
Windham Aff. ¶¶ 4-6. Upon his return to SLRDC, he
was moved to B pod, which is the Special Management Unit
(SMU), due to his continued need to be on suicide watch.
Shirah Aff. ¶ 10. On April 15, 2017, he was found
chewing on his hand and causing it to bleed. Shirah Aff.
¶ 11. Medical was contacted, and it was also decided to
place him in the restraint chair, for his own safety. Shirah
Aff. ¶ 11. He was checked regularly while in the
restraint chair, and as soon as he was calm, he was removed
from the restraint chair. Shirah Aff. ¶ 12.
4, 2017, the incident at issue in this complaint occurred. A
nurse was called to the Bravo Pod where Plaintiff was in the
sally port crying. His vitals were taken and, as a safety
precaution, he was placed on suicide watch, which required
all of his belongings to be taken from his cell. Sweat Aff.
¶ 9; Glisson Aff. ¶¶ 5-6; Harden Aff. ¶
II(b)(i) (ECF 57-1). As a result, Defendants Sweat and Glisson
removed everything from his cell and placed him in the
suicide smock. A short time later, during a routine check on
this inmate, Glisson observed Plaintiff biting on his wrist.
Glisson Aff. ¶ 7. Plaintiff asserts, however, that he
obtained razor blades while on suicide watch and cut his
wrist. Glisson called for his supervisor, Sweat, and Nurse
Abraham to respond. Glisson Aff. ¶ 7. Defendants assert
that Plaintiff's wound was cleaned by Nurse Abraham, and
he was placed in the restraint chair at the direction of
Defendant Sweat to keep him from harming himself further.
Sweat Aff. ¶ 10; Glisson Aff. ¶ 8. Plaintiff,
however, states that Nurse Abraham never attended to his
wound. He was regularly monitored while in the restraint
chair and was removed from the restraint chair when he
appeared calm and no longer saying he was going to harm
himself. Sweat Aff. ¶ 11; Glisson Aff. ¶ 9. Two
more times that night Plaintiff started biting himself and
was placed back in the restraint chair to protect him from
self-harm until he was able to calm down. Sweat Aff.
¶¶ 12-14; Glisson Aff. ¶¶ 10-12.
Plaintiff alleges he passed out while in the restraint chair,
but neither Defendant Sweat or Glisson recall him ever
passing out while in the restraint chair. Sweat Aff. ¶
15; Glisson Aff. ¶ 13. Additionally, Plaintiff alleges
the lights were left on all night, but these Defendants
testified that SLRDC does not leave the lights on in cells
during the night. Sweat Aff. ¶ 16; Glisson Aff. ¶
following day, May 5, 2017, two nurses attended to Plaintiff
and examined and cleaned wounds on his arm and hand. Harden
Dep. ¶ II(b)(ii). Contrary to Plaintiff's
allegations in his complaint that he sliced his wrist with a
razor blade and then swallowed it on May 4, 2017, the records
reflect Plaintiff had an area on his right forearm where he
had taken the metal clip from a pen and dug into his arm
along with using his teeth in an attempt to puncture his
wrist, as described above. Harden Aff. ¶ II(b)(ii).
Plaintiff told the two nurses that he swallowed the metal
clip from a pen, the same piece he had used in his attempt to
cut himself. Harden Aff. ¶ II(b)(ii). As a result, a
nurse ordered an x-ray via a mobile x-ray unit. Harden Aff.
¶ II(b)(iii). However, the mobile unit was not available
so the nurse sent Plaintiff to the hospital emergency room
for evaluation. Harden Aff. ¶ II(b)(iii). Neither
Defendant Sweat or Glisson was involved in this incident.
Sweat Aff. ¶ 17; Glisson Aff. ¶ 15. In his
complaint, Plaintiff alleges that he swallowed a razor blade
at SLRDC, and he was sent to the hospital the next day.
However, the records from the hospital on the date he was
admitted, May 5, 2017, state “Patient complains of
swallowed a part of a pen.” Harden Aff. ¶
II(b)(vi). During the hospitalization, a radiology report
revealed a metallic object in Plaintiff's lower abdominal
area. Harden Aff. ¶ II(b)(vii). By May 9, 2017, while
Plaintiff was still hospitalized, Plaintiff had passed the
metallic object. Harden Aff. ¶ II(b)(vii). While at the
hospital, Plaintiff informed an attending nurse that,
although he had been placed on Risperdal and Citalopram at
SLRDC, he had refused to take the medications. Harden Aff.
told an officer while he was in the hospital that he had a
“sharp object” hidden in his cell. Sweat Aff.
¶ 17; Glisson Aff. ¶ 18. As a result, his cell was
searched, and a needle or paper clip was found in his cell.
Sweat Aff. ¶ 17; Glisson Aff. ¶ 18. Plaintiff was
released from the hospital back to SLRDC on May 16, 2017, and
returned to his prior cell, and Defendants Sweat and Glisson
had very limited contact with him after his return from the
hospital. Sweat Aff. ¶ 20; Glisson Aff. ¶ 19.
was again placed in the restraint chair on May 27, 2017, by
Officer Shirah, when he was threatening to harm himself.
Shirah Aff. ¶ 13. When he appeared to be calm and not
thinking about hurting himself, he was removed from the
chair. Shirah Aff. ¶ 14.
30, 2017, Nurse Abraham was called to the Bravo Pod for a
report that Plaintiff stated he wanted to hurt himself.
Harden Aff. ¶ II(b)(xiv). Plaintiff indicated that he
was upset that the doctor did not clear him for an open pod.
Harden Aff. ¶ ii(b)(xiv). Plaintiff informed Abraham
that he has swallowed “ink pen pieces, ” and,
thus, she ordered an abdominal x-ray. Harden Aff. ¶
II(b)(xiv). Plaintiff then requested that he be placed in the
restraint chair due to his thoughts of self-harm and, thus,
Abraham notified officers of his need to be placed in the
restraint chair. Harden Aff. ¶ II(b)(xiv); Windham Aff.
¶¶ 7-8. He was then monitored and when he was
finally calm, he was removed from the restraint chair.
Windham Aff. ¶ 9. On May 31, 2017, the radiology report
revealed there were no foreign objects detected. Harden Aff.
¶ II(b)(xvii). Plaintiff also alleges he was placed in
solitary confinement for no reason while at SLRDC. The record
shows he was placed in SMU due to his threats to harm
himself, and while there, his file was reviewed at least
every thirty days to determine his status and when he could
be moved to an open pod. Sweat Aff. ¶¶ 21-24;
McGhaney Aff. ¶¶ 6-9. Medical was involved in ...