United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Asheville Division
D. WHITNEY, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
MATTER comes before the Court on the following
Defendant Linda Lee's Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc.
38], Defendant Lee's Motion to Seal Document [Doc. 40],
and Plaintiff's “Answer to Defendant's Motion
for Summary Judgment by Plaintiff's Request for Motion
for Summary Judgment” [Doc. 49].
Plaintiff Jay Junior Aiken is a prisoner currently
incarcerated at Ware State Prison in Waycross, Georgia.
Plaintiff filed this action on April 3, 2017, pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983, for events he alleges transpired while he
was detained at Jackson County Detention Center
(“Detention Center”) in Sylva, North Carolina.
Plaintiff named the following individuals as Defendants: (1)
Linda Lee, identified as a nurse at the Detention Center; (2)
Charlie LNU, identified as an officer at the Detention
Center; (3) John Bucanon, identified as a Captain at the
Detention Center; and (4) Chip L. Hall, identified as the
Sheriff of Jackson County. [Doc. 1 at 3]. Plaintiff's
claim against Defendant Lee for deliberate indifference to
Plaintiff's serious medical needs in violation of the
Eighth Amendment survived initial review. [Doc. 10]. The
Court dismissed the other Defendants, finding Plaintiff
failed to state cognizable claims against them. [Id.
14, 2019, Defendant Lee moved for summary judgment. [Doc.
38]. In support of her motion, Defendant Lee filed a
memorandum in support, an Affidavit, and Plaintiff's
medical record, which Plaintiff also moved to seal. [Docs.
38, 40]. Defendant Lee seeks summary judgment on three
grounds: (1) Defendant Lee was not properly served; (2)
Defendant Lee was not deliberately indifferent to
Plaintiff's serious medical needs; and (3) Defendant Lee
is entitled to qualified immunity. [Doc. 38 at 2].
2, 2019, 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 summary judgment motions and of the manner in which
evidence could be submitted to the Court. [Doc. 48]. The
Plaintiff was specifically advised that if he had any
evidence to offer to show that there is a genuine issue for
trial, he must present it to the Court “in a form which
would otherwise be admissible at trial, i.e., in the
form of affidavits or unsworn declarations.” The Court
further advised that:
An affidavit is a written statement under oath; that is, a
statement prepared in writing and sworn before a notary
public. An unsworn statement, made and signed under the
penalty of perjury, may also be submitted. Affidavits or
statements must be presented by Plaintiff to this Court no
later than fourteen (14) days from the date of this Order and
must be filed in duplicate.
[Id.]. The Plaintiff filed an “Answer to
Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment” [Doc. 49]
and an Affidavit [Doc. 51]. Defendant Lee, in turn, filed a
reply. [Doc. 50].
matter is now ripe for disposition.
Defendant's Forecast of Evidence
support of Defendant Lee's motion for summary judgment,
she submits her Affidavit and Plaintiff's medical record
from Jackson County Detention Center. [Docs. 39-1: Lee
Affidavit, 39-2: Medical Record]. This evidence shows as
Lee worked for Transform Health during the relevant times.
[Doc. 39-1 at ¶ 3]. Transform Health contracted with the
Detention Center to provide medical care to inmates.
[Id.]. Defendant Lee was never served with Summons
or Complaint in this lawsuit. [Id. at ¶ 5].
Defendant Lee recalls often seeing the Plaintiff in the
Detention Center “because he often caused trouble,
” she only provided medical care to Plaintiff on one
occasion, which was for Plaintiff's complaint of wrist
pain. [Id. at ¶ 6]. Defendant Lee never
provided medical treatment to Plaintiff related to his heart
or for his seizures. [Id. at ¶ 8]. Defendant
Lee worked for Transform Health until July 29, 2016, and is
now a private duty nurse in Waynesville, North Carolina.
[Id. at ¶ 3].
medical record shows that he was given a new patient
screening by Vickie Hoxit, RN, on March 19, 2016, on his
transfer to the Detention Center. [Doc. 39-2 at 2]. On March
28, 2016, Nurse Noxit was called to check on Plaintiff
secondary to his complaints of chest pain, profuse sweating,
and respiratory difficulties. Plaintiff was curled up in a
ball when Nurse Hoxit arrived and Plaintiff believed he was
having a “heart attack.” [Id. at 3].
Nurse Hoxit examined and treated the Plaintiff in
consultation with Colby Dodd, PA (“PA Dodd”).
Medication was administered and apple juice provided.
Plaintiff's chest pain ceased. An order was entered for
transport of Plaintiff to the hospital on any further
complaints of chest pain. [Id.]. Nurse Hoxit
examined Plaintiff the next day in follow up to his chest
pain the night before, which he reported was “pretty
much gone today.” [Id. at 4].
April 25, 2016, Plaintiff was seen by PA Dodd in follow up to
a recent visit to Harris Regional Hospital emergency
department for seizure activity. [Doc. 39-2 at 5]. Plaintiff
had been prescribed two different medications to manage
Plaintiff's seizures. Plaintiff reported that he had been
vomiting up his medication because he had been
“severely nauseous.” PA Dodd reported, however,
that the correctional officers and nurses had reported
hearing Plaintiff gagging himself. [Id.]. There were
no complaints related to Plaintiff's heart at this time.
On May 6, 2017, PA Dodd noted Plaintiff's ammonia level
was high, which it appears to have been related to his
seizure activity. [Id. at 6]. On May 10, 2016,
Plaintiff was seen by Nurse Hoxit for complaints of continued
seizures and “feeling poorly.” [Id. at
7]. The only “ongoing medical problem” listed in
this record is Plaintiff's seizures. [Id.].
24, 2016, a nurse, Laura Busbin, LPN, was called to
Plaintiff's dorm for concerns related to Plaintiff's
seizure activity. On arriving at Plaintiff's dorm, Nurse
Busbin observed Plaintiff lying on the floor, but saw no
seizure activity. Plaintiffs dorm-mate reported Plaintiff had
had two seizures. After being transported to medical and
examined by Nurse Busbin, Plaintiff was able to ambulate back
to his dorm ...