United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Asheville Division
D. WHITNEY, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
MATTER is before the Court on initial review of
pro se Plaintiff's Amended Complaint, (Doc. No.
6). Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis. (Doc.
No. 10). Plaintiff has filed two Letters, (Doc. Nos. 3, 7),
that are construed as Motions for the Appointment of Counsel,
and a third Letter, (Doc. No. 11), is construed as a Motion
for Default Judgment.
se Plaintiff, who is a pretrial detainee, filed a civil
rights suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, addressing
incidents that allegedly occurred at the Cherokee County
Detention Center (“CCDC”). He names as Defendants
Cherokee County Sheriff Derrick Palmer; CCDC Captain Mark
Patterson; CCDC Lieutenant Jeremy Bresch, and CCDC Head Nurse
Carrie Colwell. Plaintiff also attempts to add Colwell's
employer, Southern Health Partners, as a Defendant. (Doc. No.
6 at 3, 17).
the Amended Complaint liberally and accepting it as true,
Plaintiff alleges that Palmer is legally responsible for the
overall operation of the sheriff's department and the
detention center medical, their conduct, and their ability to
provide adequate medical treatment and respond reasonably to
medical care that is glaringly inexcusable or bad, and
overseeing CCDC administration. Patterson is legally
responsible for the administrative staff and the welfare of
all inmates at the facility.
Plaintiff was booked at CCDC, he answered medical questions
indicating that he had serious medical needs, stating
“back, neck and shoulder pain from accident. Right knee
swollen and painful, diagnosed as needing replaced.”
(Doc. No. 6 at 4). Plaintiff's cane was taken away and
not replaced. Two molars have painful cavities. He has
arthritis, very poor blurry vision for which he needs
prescription glasses, and he was diagnosed with Hepatitis-C,
“physician concerned with possible cirrhosis.”
(Doc. No. 6 at 4). He has a history of heavy alcohol use and
high tolerance for prescription pain medication “and
will need to be detoxed.” (Doc. No. 6 at 4). Plaintiff
is unemployed and applied for disability twice due to
“injuries, great pain, health issues and
disabilities.” (Doc. No. 6 at 4).
were also informed of Plaintiff's serious medical needs
“by physicians medical records, files, hospital
records, jail doctors, examinations, blood work, Hepatitis-C
blood panel, which is a serious contagious disease that can
cause cirrhosis, liver disease and death if not
treated.” (Doc. No. 6 at 4). An ultrasound showed
enlarged liver. X-rays of Plaintiff's right knee and
right shoulder show “existing rotator cuff injury, bone
spurs, numerous requests, sick call and grievances up to
Lieutenant, Captain and Sheriff, wanting medications, cane,
knee brace, dental appointments, eye exam and glasses,
Hepatitis-C treatment.” (Doc. No. 6 at 4-5).
made a dental appointment for Plaintiff after “months
of near-constant complaining.” (Doc. No. 6 at 5). One
molar was extracted surgically but part of the root was left
due to wires in the jaw from a previous injury. The other
tooth and root are to be taken later, “causing
pain.” (Doc. No. 6 at 5). After months of grievances
requesting medical treatment, Plaintiff was taken to a liver
specialist in Franklin who, after additional testing,
“confirmed the Hepatitis-C disease, mandated treatment
and scheduled appointments to start shots.” (Doc. No. 6
at 5). After many more requests, sick calls, and grievances
for failure to provide adequate medical care and determine
the cause of extreme back and neck pain, Patterson told
Plaintiff “it must be age, ” which effectively
denied medical care. (Doc. No. 6 at 5). Patterson also denied
a knee brace and eye exam and eyeglasses. Plaintiff alleges
that he has “blurry, deteriorating vision causing
headaches, impairing daily activities.” (Doc. No. 6 at
5). Plaintiff filed sick call requests asking why he
wasn't being taken to a physician for treatment of
Hepatitis-C that was “diagnosed and mandated treatment,
” but “[m]edical said it was ‘too
expensive'” (Doc. No. 6 at 5-6).
requested medical again for an eye exam and eyeglasses. No.
prescription glasses were given. Medical provides reading
glasses that are not needed and worsens vision and headaches.
Medical paid for inmate Corey Luther's prescription
eyeglasses. “Captain says inmate will have to pay cost
of eye exam, glasses” and failed to provide glasses
until Plaintiff's vision became intolerable. (Doc. No. 6
at 8). Plaintiff was “[f]orced to pay $488 to Andrews
Eye Care.” (Doc. No. 6 at 8). Plaintiff filed an ADA
complaint with the Department of Justice. His efforts with
medical for treatment for Hepatitis-C, back pain, knee pain,
cortisone/steroid shots for knee and shoulder pain, and knee
brace were denied.
suffered a serious head injury and had two teeth broken off
at the gums while in the B-pod dayroom in a “possible
attack by inmates.” (Doc. No. 6 at 6). Plaintiff woke
up in an ambulance with Williams on the way to the E.R.,
bloody and in pain. Plaintiff wanted to know what happened
“but no-one knows” even though the dayroom was
full of people. (Doc. No. 6 at 6). Plaintiff wants to know
what the video camera shows. He suffered a concussion, a gash
on the head that required stitches and x-rays, a busted
mouth, lips, and a cut tongue. There was nothing more the
E.R. could do for Plaintiff's broken teeth and exposed
nerves so medical would have to make a dentist appointment.
He was prescribed 12 pain pills until the teeth could be
moved Plaintiff to medical. After about 4 days, Plaintiff
only received two pills and was told the prescription was
empty. (Doc. No. 6 at 7). Plaintiff was moved back to B-pod
where he waited for over a month to see a dentist who pulled
one tooth and ground the other down instead of fixing his
teeth whereas another inmate fell, suffered broken teeth and
got a partial. (Doc. No. 6 at 7).
asked Colwell about extracting a tooth that has a painful
cavity that is sensitive to hot and cold and a possible
exposed nerve. She said a tooth must be abscessed, infected,
and leaking pus and Plaintiff must fill out three sick-calls
($20 each) plus costs of antibiotics and ibuprofen if
prescribed. An inmate may pay for extraction if these
requirements are not met. Plaintiff states “[d]ental
treatment refused, requirements not met (new).” (Doc.
No. 6 at 12).
was assaulted by inmate Jackie Slaughter and suffered a
bloody, potentially broken nose. Medical gave him an ice pack
and he was moved to Pod-A. After “many sick
calls” Plaintiff was issued nasal spray to help him
breathe. Another inmate, Larry Reid, had cartilage drilled
out of his nose for a deviated septum to help him breathe.
moved Plaintiff from Max 23-hour lockdown to general
population on the upper floor, top bunk, “knowing the
pain and medical issues.” (Doc. No. 6 at 6). Bresch was
told he was acting with deliberate indifference to these
unreasonable and potentially dangerous changes, and Bresch
said “it's therapy.” (Doc. No. 6 at 6).
Forcing Plaintiff to be housed upstairs in a top bunk is
painful and dangerous to his health. Plaintiff confronted
Bresch about lack of treatment and an altercation ensued
during which Plaintiff was tased. Plaintiff wrote to the
Sheriff and civil rights groups and filed grievances.
was infected with “staph/MRSA” at least four
times. (Doc. No. 6 at 8). Medical was notified each time and
antibiotics and ibuprofen were given. Colwell would
surgically drain pus from abcessed boils, but Plaintiff was
“[n]ever isolated from general population to stop the
spread of the virus.” (Doc. No. 6 at 8). Plaintiff
developed another staph/MRSA infection in February and March
2018. He submitted a sick call to “medical” and a
nurse prescribed antibiotics which did not help. It got
worse, larger, and more painful. After more attempts to get
medical attention, the boil got as large as a lemon under the
left armpit. “Nurse” called Dr. Rebecca Gray who
was on vacation, who said to switch antibiotics and give
ibuprofen for pain. Colwell left for the weekend. At
“med-pass” the weekend nurse and Sgt. Robertson
“said the Captain and Lieutenant said not to give any
ibuprofen even after Dr. Gray ordered it.” (Doc. No. 6
at 9). The pain was severe. Plaintiff complained for over a
week about the serious pain. Grievances to the Lieutenant and
Captain did not do any good. The sheriff was written. (Doc.
No. 6 at 9). Plaintiff stopped every officer, showed them the
boil and how it spread down the ribcage towards the hip,
“trenching, ” with nowhere else for the pus to
go. Plaintiff told staff that he was not allowed pain meds.
Sgt. Robertson, Sgt. Gunter, Sgt. Dayly and other floor
officers gave pain medicine. Plaintiff's roommate,
Valerie Myers, and officers Steve Zoller, Brandi Spiva,
Tiffany Enloe and Sandy Guffey are witnesses. (Doc. No. 6 at
Gray determined that the MRSA infection “looked like
carbuncle and trenching and believed it to be in the
bloodstream.” (Doc. No. 6 at 10). She said it was the
worst case she had ever seen and was considering
hospitalization. She started antibiotic and pain medication
by needle. Nurse Colwell “acted mad and said no-one has
ever got a pain shot here before.” (Doc. No. 6 at 10).
told Dr. Gray about Bresch and the Captain not allowing staff
to give ibuprofen and that officials were charging
Plaintiff's account $20 for each visit and antibiotic and
pain shot. (Doc. No. 6 at 10). The doctor said there was not
to be any charge and told officials this. “Abscessed
boil was surgically drained and Doctor orders back
ibuprofen.” (Doc. No. 6 at 10).
knew of the serious and contagious staph infection Plaintiff
was suffering in constant pain, yet “he and other
officials” showed deliberate indifference, and sadistic
and malicious conduct by denying him pain medication and
treatment which caused a severe life-threatening infection to
spread in the bloodstream. Even though jail officials are
required to take steps to prevent the spread of MRSA, they
allowed Plaintiff to return to the general population with a
contagious open wound which put other inmates at a great risk
of being infected. (Doc. No. 6 at 10).
had to be taken to the nurse's station to have pus/fluid
drained from the ribcabe/armpit daily for about a week.
Plaintiff was charged $135 after Dr. Gray said he should not
be charged. Plaintiff asked Bresch about this and he said
“I have to pay when I get medical attention, you're
no different.” (Doc. No. 6 at 11).
outgoing and incoming mail is stopped and censored,
“[l]egal and religious alike.” (Doc. No. 6 at 8,
12). Plaintiff continued with the grievance process and
starts writing the Sheriff, civil rights groups, internal
affairs, safe and humane jails project, county manager,
county attorney, attorney general, threatening to sue.
“Staff” refused to hive mail-log and magazines
that Plaintiff paid out of his account. (Doc. No. 6 at 12).
Bresch renewed seven subscriptions and refused to give
Plaintiff Rock of Ages Discipleship Courses Plaintiff'
was taking, all religious materials from various ministries
were denied, as well as daily devotionals.
sent the Sheriff a letter through is attorney telling him of
the retaliation, mistreatment and civil rights violations.
Patterson returned the mailed letter to Plaintiff,
“angry that the sheriff got the letter and immediately
transferred plaintiff to Macon Co. Detention Ctr. Even though
CCDC houses approximately twelve MCDC inmates at any given
time.” (Doc. No. 6 at 12).
was in general population and placed in Max segregation 23-hr
lockdown on 4-23-18 to 9-4-18 while in MCDC.” (Doc. No.
6 at 12-13). While in MCDC Plaintiff continued to write the
sheriff, county manager, county attorney, who advised sheriff
to give Plaintiff his mail that was “boxed up”
for over a year. (Doc. No. 6 at 13).
wrote Human Rights Defense Center, the ACLU, Internal
Affairs, SBI, Attorney General, and many others. Sheriff and
Chief Dept. Joe Wood go to MCDC to see plaintiff and ask what
he wants. Plaintiff wants reimbursement for medical charges
and magazines and newspapers that were being held, mail, and
fair medical treatment. “Sheriff says to send him and
Co. Attny proof.” (Doc. No. 6 at 13).
sent Sheriff Palmer and County Attorney Darryl Brown
statements and copies of all grievances, sick calls, magazine
covers with names of other inmates receiving them, detailed
complaints about what is going on at CCDC after verbally
telling sheriff and Wood. After repeated attempts to resolve
these issues with the sheriff, Brown, and County Manager
Wiggins, Plaintiff never got a response. Plaintiff even asked
Sheriff to settle for $800 to reimburse Plaintiff for his
in segregation at MCDC, Plaintiff submitted a sick call about
a decayed painful tooth that was denied medical attention at
CCDC. Jail Doctor Creel promptly scheduled a dentist
appointment and the tooth was extracted for free. Creel
ordered a blood panel for Hepatitis-C and requested files
from liver specialist, Dr. Berrier, to see why treatment was
not administered after it was mandated. “Increased
meds.” (Doc. No. 6 at 14).
continued to write to the Sheriff, Wiggins, Brown, Scout
newspaper, Andrews Journal newspaper, civil rights centers,
the state auditor, County Finance Director Candy Anderson who
was doing an audit on CCDC, the SBI which was investigation
CCDC about the suspicious death of an inmate and the beating
of a handcuffed federal inmate. CCDC paid Stokes $800 not to
litigate. Plaintiff writes to DOJ, Internal Affairs, Governor
Roy Cooper, Congressman Mark Meadows, and county
commissioners. Plaintiff receives letter from Brown stating
he had a meeting with Sheriff Palmer and Patterson, stating
he advised them to turn over Plaintiff's “boxed
up” mail without delay. (Doc. No. 6 at 14).
sent Plaintiff approximately three dozen magazines, many of
which were not his, and there should have been at least 124,
and sent him “some religious material but not all. No.
newspapers.” (Doc. No. 6 at 15). The Macon County mail
log shows what is included. Wood came to see Plaintiff at
Macon on August 8, 2018 to let him know he was looking into
Plaintiff's allegations and an internal investigation.
Palmer came to Macon on August 15, 2018 after four months of
segregation to see what Plaintiff wanted. Plaintiff told the
Sheriff about “civil rights being violated, drugs, cell
phones, vigilante justice carried out by officers or officers
paying inmates to do it.” (Doc. No. 6 at 15). Plaintiff
stated he feared going back to CCDC because more retaliation
moved Plaintiff back to CCDC and placed him in max
segregation 23-hour lockdown. Punishment continues for
“no reason” on September 4, 2018 and Plaintiff
still in “Max” as of November 5, 2018. (Doc. No.
6 at 15).
and Defendants were deliberately indifferent to the
violations of Plaintiff's First and Fourteenth Amendment
rights by knowing of the risk and failing to respond
reasonably or by failing to act. They were notified by
grievance, letters, health history, inmate fights, incident
reports, the county attorney, civil rights groups, letters to
the sheriff and personal interviews with the sheriff and
Wood. Plaintiff's needs, unwarranted punishment, and
medical care neglect show interference with serious medical
and Hepatitis-C treatment were mandated and never given.
Broken teeth were delayed over a month, causing excessive and
wanton pain before extraction. Plaintiff's back, neck,
and knee were untreated. He was denied pain medications for
MRSA, which was not property diagnosed or treated by a
specialist. He was given three different antibiotics which
caused the spread of the infection, severe pain, and was
returned to gen pop with a contagious open wound. Colwell cut
Plaintiff's pain medications by nearly 70% and his
anxiety and mental health by 50% and will not follow up or
get medical records from MCDC.
wrote grievances and mailed out lawsuits on October 8 and 10,
2018 and learned that Bresch “has intercepted them and
taken them out of the mail-log on the computer.” (Doc.
No. 6 at 15). Morris logged them in and Officer Chandler says
they were taken out of the computer. Plaintiff confronted
Bresch and he said “he does not have to provide
mail-log nor does he have to prove it.” (Doc. No. 6 at
16). An “altercation” ensued; Bresch
“choke[d] plaintiff out in Max dayroom, ”
witnessed by all inmates. (Doc. No. 6 at 16). Bresch locked
Plaintiff down for 14 days with no hour out. Plaintiff wrote
grievances which did not help. “Defendants” say
they do not have to give an hour out, contrary to North
Carolina statutes. (Doc. No. 6 at 16-17).
claims that he was repeatedly delayed/denied medical care
resulting in further, more serious injuries and will continue
to cause unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain, and that
he will continue to be irreparably injured by Defendants'
conduct unless the Court grants declaratory and injunctive
relief. Plaintiff seeks declaratory judgment, compensatory
and punitive damages, fees and costs, other just and
equitable relief that the Court deems necessary.