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Huff v. Monette

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

March 29, 2018

JOHN MARION HUFF, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
JERRY MONETTE, Defendant.

          ORDER

          LOUISE W. FLANAGAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         The matter now comes before the court on plaintiff's motion for an extension of time and to appoint counsel (DE 18), plaintiff's discovery motions (DE 19, 24, 33, 37, 43), and defendant's motion for summary judgment (DE 26) pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. The issues raised have been fully briefed and are ripe for adjudication.

         STATEMENT OF THE CASE

         On August 17, 2016, plaintiff, a state inmate, filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that Jerry Monette, the Sheriff of Craven County, and William Hoyt Paramore, his defense attorney, violated his constitutional rights because they were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical need of diabetes. (Compl. (DE 1) at 5; Pl. Ex. (DE 3-1)). Specifically, he contends they failed to abide by a “Safekeeping Order” directing plaintiff to be transferred for medical reasons. (Compl. (DE 1) at 5). Plaintiff filed a motion to appoint counsel on September 12, 2016. (DE 9). The court[1] conducted a frivolity review on March 10, 2017 and dismissed Paramore as a defendant from this action (DE 12). Plaintiff's claims against defendant Monette survived review. (Id.). The court also denied plaintiff's motion to appoint counsel. (Id.).

         On March 31, 2017, plaintiff renewed his request for the appointment of counsel, and also requested additional time “to prepare for [this] case.” (DE 18). The motion did not request an extension of any specific deadline, and, moreover, at the time it was filed plaintiff did not have any pending response deadlines. Thereafter, plaintiff began filing several motions requesting the production of discovery (DE 19, 24, 33, 37, 43). These motions largely do not indicate that plaintiff requested discovery from defendant and his request was denied, but rather seek discovery directly from the court. Likewise, the motions do not comply with Rule 37(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure or Local Civil Rule 7.1(c).

         Defendant filed the instant motion for summary judgment on July 10, 2017 (DE 26), arguing: 1) plaintiff did not exhaust his administrative remedies; 2) plaintiff's claims fail on the merits; and 3) he is entitled to qualified immunity. In support thereof, defendant attached the following: 1) affidavit of Lee Thomas; 2) affidavit of Bernadine T. Johnson; 3) records relevant to plaintiff's transportation; 4) Safekeeping Orders pertaining to plaintiff; and 5) affidavit of defendant. (See (DE 29-3)). Thereafter, plaintiff filed a second motion to appoint counsel (DE 32) and also requested an extension of time to respond to defendants motion for summary judgment (DE 34). The second motion to appoint counsel was denied (DE 32), and his request for an extension was granted (DE 35). Plaintiff filed a timely response to the motion for summary judgment[2] (DE 31, 38, 39, 40), and defendant filed a reply (DE 41).

         STATEMENT OF THE FACTS

         The facts viewed in light most favorable to plaintiff may be summarized as follows.[3]Plaintiff's claims are centered on his assertion that defendant was deliberately indifferent to his serious medical need of diabetes. (Compl. (DE 1) at 5). Specifically, he contends that defendant was aware that plaintiff needed to be transferred to a facility better equipped to treat plaintiff's diabetes and refused to do so. Id. at 5-6.

         Plaintiff was incarcerated at Craven County Detention Center (“CCDC”)[4] from December 8, 2011 until August 25, 2015. Id. at 5. During his incarceration at CCDC, he required treatment for diabetes. Id. at 5-7. On April 9, 2014, the Craven County district court issued a Safekeeping Order, which stated, in relevant part:

The above-named defendant must be held in the North Carolina Department of Adult Corrections. He has diabetes and it is currently not able to be controlled and has lost vision. The Craven County Confinement Facility does not have the capabilities to properly care for this defendant. The defendant's medical treatment can best be provided by the Division of Adult Correction of the Department of Public Safety.
WHEREFORE, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED THAT: the above-named defendant be housed in the North Carolina Department of Adult Correction where he shall be held until further order of the Court.

(Pl. Ex. (DE 3-1)).

         It is the standard policy and practice of the Craven County Sheriff's Office that when a Confinement Facility nurse or other member of the medical staff indicates that an inmate needs safekeeping due to a medical condition, the Craven County Sheriff's Office requests a Safekeeping Order from the competent court as soon as practicable. (Thomas Aff. (DE 29-1) ¶ 4). Once the Safekeeping Order is issued, the Craven County Sheriff's Office arranges for transport of the inmate in accordance with the Safekeeping Order. (Id. at ¶ 6.).

         Here, plaintiff was transported from CCDC to Central prison at 1:00 p.m. on April 9, 2014. (Johnson Aff. (DE 29-2) ¶ 7); (Def. Ex. A (DE 29-2) at 6). Thereafter, plaintiff was incarcerated at Central Prison from April 9, 2014 until May 2, 2014. (Def. Ex. C (DE 29-2) at 10). Defendant is not involved in the day to day operations at CCDC. (Monette Aff. (DE 29-2) ¶ 4). Likewise, defendant is not personally involved in the process of arranging for the transportation of inmates in compliance with Safekeeping Orders. (Id. ¶ 4). Similarly, he was not specifically involved with nor does he have any personal knowledge of plaintiff's transportation on April 9, 2014. (Id. ¶¶ 5-6).

         DISCUSSION

         A. Motion for Extension of Time and to Appoint Counsel

         This motion states in its entirety:

To the Honorable Clerk of United States District Court, Eastern District
Now comes John Marion Huff Jr., Plaintiff proceeding pro se, and respectfully request more time to prepare for ...

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