United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division
W. FLANAGAN United States District Judge
matter is before the court on defendants' motion for
summary judgment (DE 56) and plaintiff's letter motion
(DE 79). The issues raised have been fully briefed and are
ripe for adjudication. For the following reasons, this court
grants defendants' motion and plaintiff's motion.
OF THE CASE
March 4, 2015, plaintiff, a state inmate, filed this civil
rights action, pro se, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983. In his verified complaint, plaintiff named the
following as defendants: Donnie Harrison
(“Harrison”), Officer K. Meyer
(“Meyer”), Dr. Umesi (“Dr. Umesi”),
Major P. Williams (“Williams”), Assistant
Director Higdon (“Higdon”), D. Bowen
(“Bowen”), State of North Carolina, Wake County
Sheriff Department, and Wake County Detention Center.
October 23, 2015, this court conducted a frivolity review
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. At that time, this court
dismissed the Wake County Detention Center and the State of
North Carolina for failure to state a claim against them.
Plaintiff was allowed to proceed against the remaining
November 30, 2015, plaintiff filed a motion to appoint
counsel, which was denied. On December 10, 2015, plaintiff
filed a motion for discovery. Plaintiff's motion for
discovery was denied as premature. On February 3, 2016,
plaintiff filed another motion to appoint counsel, and the
motion was denied. On March 1, 2016, this court entered a
case management order.
April 20, 2016, plaintiff filed a motion for an investigator
and a motion to change or amend prayer for relief. On May 20,
2016, plaintiff's motion seeking an investigator was
denied. On that same day, plaintiff's motion to change or
amend his prayer for relief was granted.
8, 2016, plaintiff filed a motion for investigator, motion
for warrants, and a motion to appoint counsel. The motions
were denied. On August 29, 2016, plaintiff filed a motion to
request all information discovery. This court construed the
filing as a motion to compel discovery and granted the
September 20, 2016, defendants filed the instant motion for
summary judgment, memorandum in support (DE 57), and
statement of material facts (DE 58). In support of their
motion to summary judgment, defendants filed the following:
defendant Higdon's affidavit (DE 56-2); defendant
Meyer's affidavit (DE 56-3); Heidi Steinbeck's
(“Steinbeck) affidavit (DE 56-4); defendant Dr.
Umesi's affidavit (DE 56-5); April 17, 2012, incident
report (DE 56-6); July 27, 2012, incident report (DE 56-7);
November 3, 2012, incident report (DE 56-8); defendant
Higdon's notes and letter (DE 56-9); jail inspector
documents (DE 56-10); N.C. Gen. Stat. § 20-135.2A (DE
56-11); J. Evans's witness statement (DE 56-12); Inmate
Richard Hinton's (“Inmate Hinton”)
disciplinary report (DE 56-13); plaintiff's safekeeping
request (DE 56-14); and plaintiff's safekeeping order (DE
56-15). On May 26, 2017, defendants were directed to re-file
the memorandum in support of their motion for summary
judgment, defendant Dr. Umesi's affidavit, and
plaintiff's applicable medical records. On June 16, 2017,
defendants re-filed a revised memorandum in support (DE 77),
plaintiff's medical records (DE 77-1) and defendant Dr.
Umesi's revised affidavit (DE 77-2).
meantime, on October 12, 2016, plaintiff filed a motion for
additional discovery. On October 20, 2016, plaintiff filed a
motion for copies. Both motions were denied.
November 17, 2016, plaintiff filed a response to
defendant's motion for summary judgment, which is
supported by the following: plaintiff's verified
complaint (DE 1), a response to defendants' memorandum of
law (DE 73-1), a response to defendants' statement of
material facts (DE 73-2), a response to defendants'
appendix (DE 73-3), a response to Steinbeck's affidavit
(DE 73-4), a response to defendant Dr. Umesi's affidavit
(DE 73-5), a cover letter (DE 73-6), and exhibits (DE 73-7).
On June 16, 2017, plaintiff filed a supplemental response to
defendants' motion for summary judgment. That same day,
plaintiff filed his letter motion seeking the return of
OF THE FACTS
as otherwise noted below, the facts viewed in the light most
favorable to plaintiff may be summarized as follows:
April 17, 2012, between 4:45 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., plaintiff
and three other inmates were being transported from court back
to the Wake County Detention Center. (See Compl. (DE
1) at 4;Mot. Summ. J. (DE 56) Ex. 3 ¶ 5, Ex.
6). Defendant Meyer was driving the detention transport van
“as in Nascar.” (See Compl. (DE 1) at
5). In particular, Defendant Meyer was driving careless and
reckless and exceeding the posted speed limit by 20 miles per
hour. (See id .) The inmates attempted to stop
defendant Meyer, but they were unsuccessful. (See
Meyer was hitting the gas real hard and then hitting the
brake equally hard. See id. The inmates were not in
seat belts. (See id.) Many of the seat belts
in the van were non-operational, and the inmates could not
access the operational seat belts. (See id.) All of
a sudden, the van hit “something” with a great
deal of force. (See id.)
Meyer recalls one inmate saying he “may” be hurt.
(See Mot. Summ. J. (DE 56) Ex. 3 ¶ 16).
Defendant Meyer went the short distance to the Wake County
Detention Center, which could provide any necessary medical
assistance. (See id.) Plaintiff recalls defendant
Meyer laughing and telling jokes all the way to the Wake
County Detention Center. (See Compl. (DE 1) at 5).
Moreover, defendant Meyer did not show guilt or remorse for
what he had done. (See id.)
Meyer did not want to “write up” the accident in
an incident report, but the sergeant made him do so. (See
id.) Defendant Meyer filled out a Wake County Jail
Incident Report for each inmate in the van. (See
Mot. Summ. J. (DE 56) Ex. 3 ¶ 20).
sustained injuries. (See Compl. (DE 1) at 5). Some
of the injuries went away, but most did not. See id.
Plaintiff asked to be moved downstairs or to a medical pod
over the next few months, but all of his requests were
denied. (See id.)
heard from both officers and inmates that defendant Meyer was
saying that those inmates involved in the van accident were
“faking.” (See Compl. (DE 1) at 6).
Prison officials got rid of the old van and moved defendant
Meyer to “armed transport” with a car, so that he
would “stop messing up or injuring people.”
suffered minor injuries to his head, and on April 17, 2012,
he was evaluated by Nurse Kivuit. (See Rev. Mem.
Supp. (DE 77) Ex. 2 ¶ 4; Mot. Summ. J. (DE 56) Ex. 6).
Nurse Kivuit discovered a scratch on plaintiff's left
hand, and she ordered Motrin 800mg TID for 7 days.
(See Mot. Summ. J. (DE 56) Ex. 6; Rev. Mem. Supp.
(DE 77) Ex. 2 ¶ 4).
next day, April 18, 2012, plaintiff returned to the jail
medical clinic complaining of headaches and soreness to his
right shoulder. (See Rev. Mem. Supp. (DE 77) Ex. 2
¶ 5). Plaintiff was seen by PA Bethea and given Flexeril
10mg BID for two weeks, and plaintiff was directed to
continue with the Motrin as needed. (See id.) On
April 25, 2012, plaintiff filed a medical sick call
complaining of migraines and eye issues and made a request
for stronger medication due to “[c]ar accident a week
ago.” (See id. ¶ 6).
April 27, 2012, plaintiff refused a medical sick call and
treatment. (See i d .) During May and June 2012,
plaintiff was seen by jail medical staff for complaints on
multiple occasions, and his medications were adjusted as
necessary. (See id. ¶¶ 7-10).
July 3, 2012 and July 5, 2012, plaintiff refused to respond
to and attend two sick call requests he submitted. (See
id. ¶ 11). On July 18, 2012, plaintiff reported
migraines, blood in his stool, back pain, left-sided
numbness, and a decrease in weight. (See id. ¶
27, 2012, between 10:00 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., plaintiff
experienced a muscle spasm, which was an issue he had been
having since the April 17, 2012, van accident. (See
Compl. (DE 1) ¶ IV at 6). Plaintiff also felt dizzy.
See id. Plaintiff tried holding onto the handrail
but could not keep holding on. (S e e i d.)
Plaintiff fell and landed on his neck. (See id.)
Plaintiff could have been paralyzed or even killed. (See
Jordan and Harris responded immediately. (See Rev.
Mem. Supp. (DE 77) Ex. 2 ¶ 13; Mot. Summ. J. (DE 56) Ex.
7). Captain Alford and Officer Wingfield also promptly
responded. (See Mot. Summ. J. (DE 56) Ex. 7).
Emergency Medical Services (“EMS”) transported
plaintiff to Wake Med Hospital Emergency Center for
treatment. (See Compl. (DE 1) ¶ IV at 6; Rev.
Mem. Supp. (DE 77) Ex. 2 ¶ 13). Wake Orthopedics
determined that plaintiff had fractured his left ankle and
had five to six broken bones. (See Compl. (DE 1)
¶ IV at 6).
28, 2012, plaintiff was seen by PA Bethea in the jail medical
clinic. (See Mem. Supp. (DE 77) Ex. 2 ¶ 14). A
splint was in place on plaintiff's fractured left ankle,
and no new complaints were noted. (Id.) In August of
2012, plaintiff continued to be seen both at the ...