Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Sherrod v. Harkleroad

United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Asheville Division

July 20, 2017

MARION LAMONT SHERROD, Plaintiff,
v.
SID HARKLEROAD, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          Robert J. Conrad, Jr. United States District Judge

         THIS MATTER is before the Court on a periodic status review in light of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals' order vacating and remanding this action following this Court's grant of summary judgment to Defendants, (Doc. Nos. 147, 151), as well as Plaintiff's pending Motion for Reconsideration, (Doc. No. 149), and Motions to Appoint Counsel, (Doc. Nos. 150, 152).

         I. BACKGROUND

         Pro se Plaintiff Marion Lamont Sherrod filed the Complaint on February 20, 2012, alleging that various Defendants violated his rights. In it, he raised five claims for relief related to deliberate indifference to his medical needs, intentional racial discrimination, and violation of his alleged right to send and receive mail. (Doc. No. 1). Following initial review by the Court, the United States Marshals Service (USMS) was ordered to serve Defendants Larry Bass, FNU Edwards, Sid Harkleroad, Margaret Johnson, Patricia McEntire, John Morgan, and Stephen Shook. (Doc. No. 6).

         Defendant Morgan filed a motion to dismiss on June 21, 2012, arguing that the Court lacks jurisdiction due to insufficient service of process;[1] that Plaintiff failed to state a claim for deliberate indifference to a serious medical need, violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA, ”), or retaliation; and other grounds including res judicata and qualified immunity. (Doc. No. 24). Plaintiff filed a response opposing dismissal. (Doc. No. 30). With regards to the service of process issue, Plaintiff argued that he had no control over service of process because he is incarcerated, he paid for service by mail, the Government breached its contract by failing to serve Defendant Morgan, and Defendant Morgan tampered with United States certified mail. The Court granted Defendant Morgan's motion to dismiss on February 20, 2013, for failure to state a claim, and did not reach the other arguments in favor of dismissal. (Doc. No. 58). It specifically found that Plaintiff failed to state an Eighth Amendment claim against him for deliberate indifference to a serious medical need. The allegations tended to show that Defendant Morgan knew of Plaintiff's seizure disorder and provided medical treatment. However, disagreement with that treatment did not state a § 1983 claim and no exceptional circumstances were present. Further, Plaintiff admitted he was receiving treatment for the seizure disorder. The Complaint merely stated a claim of medical negligence or malpractice not a§ 1983 deliberate indifference claim.

         On August 13, 2014, Defendant Larry Bass filed a motion to dismiss or, alternatively, for judgment on the pleadings. (Doc. No. 98). He argued that the Eighth Amendment claim should be dismissed because the Court found in its February 20, 2013, Order that Plaintiff's medical care was not deliberately indifferent, and that he is entitled to qualified immunity on the allegation that Bass retaliated against him by making a false statement that led to his placement in a higher security classification. On March 30, 2015, the Court granted Defendant Bass' motion to dismiss, finding that the allegations were too lacking in factual support to state a claim for inadequate medical treatment Defendant Bass may have provided or any false statement he may have made, and further, custodial classification is not actionable under § 1983. (Doc. No. 107).

         On October 14, 2015, the remaining Defendants - Harkleroad, Edwards, Shook, McEntire, and Johnson - filed a motion for summary judgment arguing that: (1) Plaintiff failed to exhaust administrative remedies; (2) Plaintiff failed to state a claim with regards to disciplinary infractions and classification amounting to a due process violation; (3) Plaintiff failed to state a claim with regards to retaliation; (4) Plaintiff failed to state a claim with regards to his legal mail; (5) Plaintiff failed to state a claim regarding any risk of harm amounting to deliberate indifference; (6) Sovereign and Eleventh Amendment immunity bars Plaintiff from seeking damages from Defendants in their official capacities; (7) qualified immunity shields Defendants from Plaintiff's claims for monetary damages; and (8) claims that were previously litigated in the North Carolina Industrial Commission are barred by res judicata. (Doc. Nos. 121, 122).

         Plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment, (Doc. No. 123), as well as motions for leave to file an amended complaint, (Doc. No. 124), and for judgment as a matter of law, (Doc. No. 130).

         In an Order entered March 30, 2016, the Court granted Defendants' motion for summary judgment and denied Plaintiff's motions for summary judgment, leave to amend, and judgment as a matter of law. (Doc. No. 132). With regards to Defendants' motion for summary judgment, the Court found that Plaintiff's allegations were speculative and failed to state a claim for deliberate indifference under the Eighth Amendment. It reasoned that because Plaintiff “simply assumes in his complaint - without sufficient factual support - that all of the defendants had intimate knowledge about his seizure disorder, and after being armed with this knowledge the defendants (1) deliberately tried to cause his injury by placing him in a top tier cell, (2) deliberately endangered him as he was conducted down the steps after the fall, and they deliberately failed to provide proper medical treatment.” (Doc. No. 132 at 8). The Court concluded that Plaintiff alleged, at most, that he was dissatisfied with the scope and course of treatment he received, which is not actionable under § 1983 as a claim for deliberate indifference to a serious medical need. The Court further found that Plaintiff failed to present sufficient allegations to sustain an action regarding his reclassification because prison officials are given broad discretion when classifying conditions of confinement. The court also found that his allegations with regards to his legal mail are too vague and conclusory to state a claim.

         Plaintiff appealed the Court's judgment in favor of Defendants and the Fourth Circuit reversed. Sherrod v. Harkleroad, 674 Fed.Appx. 265 (4th Cir. 2017). It identified as Plaintiff's “primary claim” the allegation that, “despite notice to Defendants that he suffered from seizures, he was housed in an upstairs cell in a top bunk and, as a result, he fell, seriously injuring himself; he alleged this was evidence of an Eighth Amendment violation and deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs.” (Id. at 266). It disagreed with the Court's conclusion that the complaint failed because Plaintiff “simply assumed in his complaint, without sufficient factual support, that all of the Defendants had intimate knowledge about his seizure disorder.” (Id.). The Fourth Circuit explained:

In his properly executed declaration, Sherrod alleged that medical provider John Morgan and manager Patricia McEntire, both named Defendants, had knowledge of his seizure disorder but failed to accommodate his disability, leading to his serious injuries due to a fall. We make no finding as to whether Sherrod ultimately may prove an Eighth Amendment violation against the Defendants, see Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 105-106 (1976); Iko v. Shreve, 535 F.3d 225, 238-39 (4th Cir. 2008), but find that he alleged enough to survive the Defendants' motion for judgment on the pleadings .

(Id. at 266-67).

         The Fourth Circuit accordingly vacated the judgment in Defendants' favor and remanded for proceedings consistent with its opinion. (Id.).

         II. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.