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Taylor v. Friedman

United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division

March 18, 2015

DEONTRE MARKEE TAYLOR, Plaintiff,
v.
CRAIG FRIEDMAN, OFFICER AMBROSE, OFFICER DANA ELLIS, and OFFICER PILLMON, all in their official and personal capacities, Defendants.

ORDER

MALCOLM J. HOWARD, Senior District Judge.

This matter is before the court on the following motions:

1. defendants' motion for summary judgment [D.E. #34];

2. plaintiff's motion to amend his complaint [D.E. #19];

3. plaintiff's motion for leave to file his amended complaint [D.E. #20];

4. plaintiff's motion for leave to file in forma pauperis [D.E. #21];

5. plaintiff's motion to appoint counsel [D.E. #22]; and

6. plaintiff's request for subpoena evidence [D.E. #23].

The plaintiff has filed a response to defendants' motion for summary judgment, and these matters are ripe for adjudication.

STATEMENT OF THE CASE

Plaintiff, appearing pro se, filed his complaint on March 3, 2014, alleging harms committed by defendants, Bertie-Martin Regional Jail, Craig Friedman, Officer Ambrose, Officer Dana Ellis, and Officer Pillmon, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. [D.E. #1].

On April 10, 2014, this court entered an order directing the clerk to continue management of this case after conducting a frivolity review but dismissed Bertie-Martin Regional Jail as an improperly named defendant. [D.E. #6]. Defendants filed an answer on May 27, 2014 denying the claims contained in plaintiff's complaint and asserting several affirmative defenses. [D.E. #12]. Plaintiff then filed the various motions detailed above on June 23, 2014. Due to plaintiff's failure to sign some of these motions, this court issued an order directing plaintiff to correct the deficiency [D.E. #25], and plaintiff timely complied. [D.E. ##29-32].

Defendants filed an answer to plaintiff's amended complaint on July 2, 2014 [D.E. #33] and served timely responses to plaintiff's "Request for Subpoena Evidence." Defendants then filed their motion for summary judgment on July 29, 2014 [D.E. #34], which is now before the court. Plaintiff filed his response to defendants' motion for summary judgment on August 25, 2014. [D.E. #39].

STATEMENT OF FACTS

Plaintiff is a young adult male who is over six feet tall and weighs approximately 190 pounds. [Pltf.'s dep. at pp. 8, 53]. He has a long criminal history beginning in 2007 when he was fifteen years old, and has been involved in multiple violent altercations inside and outside of confinement. [Pltf.'s dep. at pp. 19-24, 43]. According to plaintiff, he was diagnosed at age 12 or 13 with ADHD, bi-polar disorder, and schizophrenia. [Pltf.'s dep. at pp. 10, 12]. However, he states that he has not received any treatment or medication for these purported conditions since 2011 or 2012, following the retirement of his therapist. [Pltf.'s dep. at pp. 14-15].

As a consequence of his purported mental health diagnoses, plaintiff has a history of exhibiting irregular endangering conduct. For example, while being housed at the Western Youth Institute in 2010, plaintiff states he tied a bed sheet around his neck. [Pltf.'s dep. at p. 30]. In another example, while plaintiff was detained at Bertie-Martin Regional Jail in 2010, he states he intentionally stopped up the drain in the shower of his cell and then turned on the shower with the purported intent to cause the water to overflow deep enough for him to drown himself. Detention officers, however, responded to the situation before he could incur harm. [Pltf.'s dep. at pp. 34-38]. Plaintiff states that Bertie-Martin Regional Jail officials placed him on suicide watch for about two weeks following this incident. [Pltf.'s dep. at p. 37].

Three years after the 2010 shower incident at Bertie-Martin Regional Jail, plaintiff did not demonstrate any mental confusion or behavior that would indicate he was a suicide risk when he was being in-processed at Bertie-Martin Regional Jail on May 4, 2013. [Pltf.'s dep. at Ex. 2]. Plaintiff likewise did not demonstrate any behavior to indicate he was a suicide risk when he was in-processed later the same year on consecutive days, December 21 and 22, 2013, immediately before the alleged harm occurred in the instant case. [Pltf.'s dep. at Exs. 2, 3]. Plaintiff admits he did not harbor any thoughts of harming himself until the morning of December 24, 2013. [Pltf.'s dep. at p. 53].

On the morning of December 24, 2013, Officer Pillmon was proceeding door to door down the hallway of plaintiff's cell block, passing out disposable razors to each prisoner for them to use to shave.[1] [Pltf.'s dep. at p. 57; Pillmon Aff., at ¶3]. Officer Pillmon asked plaintiff if he wanted a razor, and plaintiff answered, "yes." Consequently, Officer Pillman left a disposable razor on the trap for plaintiff's use and continued down the hallway. [Pltf.'s dep. at pp. 57, 60; Pillman Aff., at ¶ 3].

As of December 24, 2013, plaintiff was not on a suicide watch and had not expressed any thoughts or given any indication of any intent to harm himself. [Pltf.'s dep. at pp. 53, 120]. Before December 24, 2013, plaintiff had never tried to cut himself with a razor blade. [Pltf.'s dep. at pp. 56-57, 59]. Officer Pillman did not know or have any reason to ...


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