United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Asheville Division
D. Whitney Chief United States District Judge.
MATTER comes before the Court on a Motion for
Summary Judgment by Defendants Kevin Crane, Kim Holloway, and
Kenneth Hyde. (Doc. No. 25).
Plaintiff Billy Edwards filed this action on September 21,
2016, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging claims of
deliberate indifference to serious medical needs as to
various Defendants based on an alleged delay in treatment
after Plaintiff allegedly suffered a heart attack while a
pre-trial detainee at the Graham County Detention Center
(“the jail”) in Robbinsville, North Carolina.
(Doc. No. 1). On December 22, 2016, following its initial
review of Plaintiff's Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e) and § 1915A, the Court entered an Order,
holding that Plaintiff's claims of deliberate
indifference against Hyde, Crane, and Holloway were
sufficient to survive the Court's initial review, but
dismissing the remaining Defendants. (Doc. No. 7). On March
14, 2017, Hyde, Crane, and Holloway filed their Answer,
denying liability and asserting several affirmative defenses.
(Doc. No. 14). On March 23, 2017, the Court entered a
Pretrial Order and Case Management Plan, setting a discovery
deadline of July 21, 2017, and a deadline for dispositive
motions of August 21, 2017. (Doc. No. 15). The parties
exchanged written discovery. On July 5, 2017, the Court
entered an Order granting leave to Defendants to take
Plaintiff's deposition, (Doc. No. 22), which was
conducted on July 14, 2017.
moving Defendants filed their pending summary judgment motion
on August 21, 2017. Defendants' summary judgment
materials include Exhibit 1, titled “Plaintiff's
Release of Documents, ” and Plaintiff's deposition.
See (Doc. Nos. 24-1; 26-1). On August 24, 2017, this
Court entered an order in accordance with Roseboro v.
Garrison, 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975), advising
Plaintiff of the requirements for filing a response to the
motion for summary judgment and of the manner in which
evidence could be submitted to the Court. (Doc. No. 28).
Plaintiff has responded to the summary judgment motion by
submitting his own sworn statement and an affidavit of prior
Graham County jail inmate Terry Buchanan. See (Doc.
Nos. 29, 29-1). This matter is therefore ripe for
evidence on summary judgment shows the following:
is a North Carolina inmate currently incarcerated at
Avery-Mitchell Correctional Institution in Spruce Pine, North
Carolina. (Doc. No. 24-1 at p. 15: Pl.'s Dep.). At the
time of the events forming the basis of this action,
Plaintiff was a pretrial detainee at the Graham County jail,
and Defendants were each employed by the Graham County
Sheriff's Office at the jail- Hyde was employed as a
Corporal and Day Shift Supervisor; Crane was employed as a
transport officer; and Holloway was employed as a detention
September 19, 2015,  Plaintiff requested medical attention due
to complaints of chest pain, dizziness, and shortness of
breath. (Doc. No. 24-1, Ex. 4). Graham County's jail does
not have any medical staff, so inmates needing medical
attention are transported to outside healthcare providers.
(Doc. No. 24-1 at pp. 25, 48-49, 85). Jail employee Charlene
West transported Plaintiff to an urgent care clinic and then
to Murphy Medical Center. (Id. at pp. 78-79, 88).
Upon evaluating Plaintiff, Murphy Medical Center transported
him to Mission Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina, where
he was medically evaluated and received treatment involving
the placement of stents. (Id. at pp. 51-52, 107).
Following treatment at Mission Hospital, Plaintiff was
released from Graham County's custody on bond, but was
subsequently arrested again for violations of that bond.
(Id. at pp. 58-60, 62; Ex. 5). Plaintiff remained
incarcerated until his trial in January 2016, when he was
convicted and taken into the custody of the North Carolina
Department of Public Safety. (Doc. No. 24-1 at p. 15).
alleges and testified that on the date in question, there was
a period of delay from the time he first requested medical
attention until he was ultimately transported by jail
personnel for medical evaluation and treatment. (Doc. No. 1;
Doc. No. 24-1 at pp. 54-55). Based on Plaintiff's own
allegations and testimony, Plaintiff's contentions as to
the precise length of this alleged delay are unclear,
Defendants have not stipulated to Plaintiff's assertions
as to the same. Defendants contend, in any event, that when
the questions and inconsistencies within Plaintiff's
allegations and testimony are resolved and viewed in the
light most favorable to him, the delay was at most about
10½ hours-from 7:30 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.See (Doc.
No. 24-1 at pp. 54-55).
alleges that he first complained of chest pains, left arm
pain, and breathing problems to Holloway at 7:30 a.m.,
although he does not expressly allege he requested medical
attention at that time. (Doc. No. 1 ¶ IV(1)). Plaintiff
alleges that Holloway checked his blood pressure, informed
him it was “very high, ” and instructed him to go
lay down on his bunk. (Id.). Around 8:00 a.m.,
Plaintiff told jail personnel that he was “hurting
bad” and needed to go to the doctor. (Doc. No. 24-1 at
p. 87). At or around this time, another inmate at the jail,
Charles Goodson, fell and also requested medical attention.
(Doc. No. 1 ¶ IV(3); Doc. No. 24-1 at pp. 25, 89-90).
Both Plaintiff and Goodson filled out Medical Request Forms
to be taken for medical treatment sometime between 11:30 a.m.
and noon. (Doc. No. 24-1 at pp. 25, 45, 100; Ex. 4).
Plaintiff understood that filling out this form “was
the first step to me being . . . taken . . . to the
doctor.” (Id. at pp. 48-49). Plaintiff
contends that Hyde informed Plaintiff that he and Goodson
would be transported for medical treatment “around
noon, ” but that around 1:00 p.m., the transport
officer Crane told him he could not watch both Plaintiff and
Goodson at the same time, and transported Goodson for
treatment before him. (Doc. No. 1 ¶¶ IV(3) and
(4)); Doc. No. 24-1 at pp. 91-92, 124).
testified that he told Hyde that he thought he was having a
heart attack, although he did not specifically allege this in
his Complaint, nor did he write it on his Medical Request
Form. (Doc. No. 24-1 at pp. 92-93, 104, Ex. 4; Doc. No. 1).
At no time did Plaintiff tell defendants to “call
911” for him. (Doc. No. 24-1 at p. 103). Plaintiff
testified that he kept asking whether anyone was going to
take him every time the jail personnel made their rounds, and
was eventually told that there was not anyone available to
take him and that he would have to wait until Charlene
West's son was finished playing a football game sometime
after 5:00 p.m. (Id. at pp. 100-01). Around 6:00
p.m., Charlene West transported Plaintiff to an urgent care
clinic. (Id. at p. 52). The urgent care clinic then
referred him to Murphy Medical Center. (Id. at p.
testified that medical testing performed at Murphy Medical
Center indicated he had experienced “multiple heart
attacks.” (Id. at p. 107). Plaintiff was then
transported from Murphy Medical Center to Mission Hospital.
(Id.). He underwent testing at Mission the next
morning, on September 20, 2015. (Id. at pp. 51-52).
Plaintiff testified that cardiologist William Thomas Maddox
evaluated him and diagnosed him as having had a heart attack.
(Id. at pp. 50, 107). According to Plaintiff, Dr.
Maddox advised him that “there was some bad stuff going
on” and that he had “blockages.”
(Id. at pp. 52-53). Dr. Maddox recommended bypass
surgery. (Id.). Plaintiff testified he was
“scared to death” at the thought of heart
surgery, and he asked Dr. Maddox whether there were any less
serious treatment alternatives. (Id.). Dr. Maddox
informed him about a stent procedure as an alternative to
bypass surgery. (Id.). Plaintiff decided on the
stent procedure instead of bypass surgery. (Id. at
doctor other than Dr. Maddox performed the stent procedure.
(Id. at pp. 53-54). Plaintiff is unable to identify
this doctor. (Id.). After the stent procedure, Dr.
Maddox checked on Plaintiff. (Id. at p. 54). Dr.
Maddox told him that the stents were not permanent, and that
he would “have trouble out of them eventually.”
(Id. at p. 55). Plaintiff told Dr. Maddox he was
thinking about filing a lawsuit over the alleged delay by the
jail in getting him medical attention. (Id. at p.
54). According to Plaintiff, Dr. Maddox told him that
“excessive delay has caused you severe heart damage,
” and that if Plaintiff needed his help with anything
to contact him. (Id. at p. 55). Dr. Maddox
prescribed Plaintiff's medications following the stent
procedure, but Plaintiff only takes aspirin now.
(Id. at pp. 66-67). Plaintiff has not been seen by a
cardiologist since being treated by Dr. Maddox in September
2015. (Id. at p. 58).
testified he has written Dr. Maddox at Asheville Cardiology
three times since filing suit, asking whether he would
testify on Plaintiff's behalf. (Id. at pp.
74-75). He has not received any response, and has not had any
communications with Dr. Maddox since speaking with him in the
hospital. (Id. at pp. 75-77). Plaintiff testified he
has also requested ...