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Golson v. Yeldell

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

January 25, 2019



          Thomas E. Rogers, III, United States Magistrate Judge.


         Plaintiff brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs. Presently before the court is Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 25). 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 Defendant's motion could result in dismissal of his case. After two motions for extension of time, Plaintiff filed a Response (ECF No. 37). 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.

         II. FACTS

         Plaintiff alleges that Defendants Yeldell and New were transport officers at McCormick Prison on February 24, 2015, when Plaintiff sustained an injury to his head after falling backward as he was entering a van. Compl. p. 5 of 14. He alleges that he was taken to McCormick Infirmary and “they” ordered a brain scan but failed to inform Plaintiff of their findings. Compl. p. 5 of 14.

         He alleges that the “medical doctor” knew of the spot on his brain but provided only “cursory” medical treatment, which amounted to no treatment at all. Compl. pp. 5-6 of 14.[1] As a result of this spot on his brain, Plaintiff alleges that he suffered blindness in his right eye for three days, and numbness in his left arm and fingers, which still exists today. Compl. p. 7 of 14. He asserts that he has not received any treatment for these symptoms. Compl. p. 7 of 14. He seeks $500, 000 in compensatory damages, $500, 000 in punitive damages, and “an Order from the court for a brain scan to determine the progress of the spot on my brain.” Compl. p. 7 of 14.

         Defendants Yeldell and New aver that on the morning of February 24, 2015, they were scheduled to transport the Plaintiff to a medical appointment. Yeldell Aff. ¶ 3 (Ex. to Def. Motion); New Aff. ¶ 3 (Ex. to Def. Motion). Any time an inmate is transported from SCDC, policy requires that he have both belly chains and leg irons secured prior to taking him to the van. Yeldell Aff. ¶ 6; New Aff. ¶ 4. Officer New secured the leg irons and belly chains on Plaintiff before escorting him outside. New Aff. ¶ 4.

         Officer New was assisting Plaintiff towards the van and also holding an umbrella, since it was raining that morning. Yeldell Aff. ¶ 8; New Aff. ¶ 7. As Officer New grabbed the step stool from the van, he told Plaintiff to wait for him to assist him into the van. Yeldell Aff. ¶ 8; New Aff. ¶ 8. Plaintiff tried to get into the van without assistance. Yeldell Aff. ¶ 9; New Aff. ¶ 9. Plaintiff slipped as he was trying to get into the van. Yeldell Aff. ¶ 9; New Aff. ¶ 9. Plaintiff avers that New knew that it was raining outside and that Plaintiff was feeble, yet he allowed Plaintiff to try to get in the van on his own. Pl. Aff. ¶ 7 (Ex. to Pl. Resp.). Plaintiff also avers that he fell once before in 2014 while in the care of Lt. Yeldell and, thus, she should have told Officer New of him falling previously and stayed to help him get in the van. Pl. Aff. ¶¶ 4, 6.

         Yeldell came outside after the fall and asked if Plaintiff needed medical care. Yeldell Aff. ¶ 10-11; New Aff. ¶¶ 11-12. Plaintiff refused medical care, but Yeldell told Officer New to take him by medical anyway to be cleared, and also to get him dry clothes since his clothes had gotten wet sitting in the mud. Yeldell Aff. ¶ 11; New Aff. ¶ 13.

         Plaintiff asserts that he was taken to the McCormick medical infirmary by a wheelchair[2] and was given something for swelling on his wrist and his blood pressure and heart rate were checked. Pl. Resp. p. 2. Plaintiff told them he had a blackout for a moment, and they told him it was probably related to his diabetes. Pl. Resp. p. 2. Medical cleared him to go on the transport. Yeldell Aff. ¶ 13; New Aff. ¶ 14. He was also given dry clothes. Yeldell Aff. ¶ 13; New Aff. ¶ 14. They then began the transport to the appointment.

         Since they were running late, Defendants contacted the place they were going, and were told they were too late for the appointment and it would have to be rescheduled. Yeldell Aff. ¶ 14; New Aff. ¶ 15. As a result, they turned around to go back to McCormick. Both officers also testified that they spoke to the Plaintiff during the transport, and at no point did he state that he was hurt or needed medical attention. Yeldell Aff. ¶ 15; New Aff. ¶ 16. When they returned, Officer New escorted Plaintiff back to his dorm, and at no time did Plaintiff request medical attention or indicate that he was injured in any way. Yeldell Aff. ¶ 16; New Aff. ¶ 17. He also did not appear to have any difficulty walking into the prison yard when they returned. Yeldell Aff. ¶ 16; New Aff. ¶ 17.

         With respect to the medical treatment he received, Dr. McRee avers that even though the incident occurred on February 24, 2015, and Plaintiff was given insulin daily in the diabetic clinic, which means he had daily access to the medical staff, he did not mention any problems from this incident to medical until March 30, 2015, over a month after this incident. McRee Aff. ¶¶ 9-12 (Ex. to Def. Motion). In fact, Plaintiff received a full assessment in medical on March 13, 2015, and was specifically asked about any ongoing problems, yet he did not mention this fall or any alleged injuries from the fall. McRee Aff. ¶ 11. However, Plaintiff asserts that this assessment was in the diabetic clinic, and the medical staff is strict about requiring inmates to sign up for sick call to address problems unrelated to diabetes. Pl. Resp. p. 5. Nevertheless, it is undisputed that Plaintiff did not sign up for sick call until March 30, 2015. When he complained to medical on March 30, 2015, about alleged problems from this incident, he was assessed and found to have no objective symptoms to match his complaints. McRee Aff. ¶ 12.

         Dr. McRee avers that a brain scan was ordered on June 4, 2015, due to symptoms that were possibly stroke related, and not related to this incident. McRee Aff. ¶¶ 15-17. The results, which McRee avers were explained to Plaintiff, indicated an old blood clot, which required no further treatment. McRee Aff. ¶¶ 15-17. Plaintiff returned to sick call on June 18, 2015, complaining of continued tingling in his hands and face, and was told that the results of his brain scan were normal. Pl. Resp. p. 7. Plaintiff was ultimately diagnosed with Bells Palsy. McRee Aff. ¶¶ 18-19, 22. Plaintiff admits that he was told of the Bells Palsy on June 23, 2015, but claims he was given that diagnosis because it was cheaper to treat than “trying to explore more about the blot clot on my brain.” Pl. Resp. pp. 6, 9. Dr. McRee avers that none of these findings were related in any way to Plaintiff's fall. McRee Aff. ¶¶ 18-19, 22.

         III. ...

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