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Oliver v. County of Gregory

United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Central Division

March 8, 2016

SCOTT OLIVER, Plaintiff,
v.
COUNTY OF GREGORY; CITY OF GREGORY; CITY OF WINNER; DEPUTY TIM DREY, individually and in his official capacity; OFFICER SHAWN CLAUSSEN, individually and in his official capacity; LAKIN STENSON, individually and in her official capacity; and JOHN AND JANE DOES 1-4, individually and in their official capacities, Defendants.

AMENDED OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

ROBERTO A. LANGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

On January 6, 2016, this Court entered an Opinion and Order Granting in Part and Denying in Part Defendants' Motions for Summary Judgment ("Opinion and Order"). Doc. 80. Nine days later, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit issued an opinion in Bailey v. Feltmann, 810 F.3d 589 (8th Cir. 2016), a factually analogous case which called into question a portion of this Court's Opinion and Order distinguishing between a denial of treatment and a delay of treatment for purposes of evaluating a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim for deliberate indifference to a serious medical need. Compare Doc. 80 at 20-21, with Bailey, 810 F.3d at 594.

This Court held a telephonic hearing on January 20, 2016, to discuss the situation and possible need to revisit its decision.[1] Counsel agreed to brief the issue of whether this Court should change its ruling in the wake of the Bailey decision. Having considered all additional arguments from the parties, this Court now issues this Amended Opinion and Order Granting Defendants' Motions for Summary Judgment ("Amended Opinion and Order"). Much of this Amended Opinion and Order is identical to what this Court previously issued, although the analysis of the Bailey decision and outcome on some issues is new.

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff, Scott Oliver ("Oliver"), instituted this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that the Defendants-the County of Gregory, the City of Gregory, the City of Winner, Gregory County Deputy Tim Drey ("Deputy Drey"), City of Gregory Officer Shawn Claussen ("Officer Claussen"), Winner City Jail correctional officer, Lakin Stenson ("Stenson"), and John and Jane Does 1-4-were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs after his arrest and during his detention at the Winner City Jail ("WCJ"). Doc. 1. Oliver also alleged state law claims of intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, negligence, and negligent training, supervision, and hiring, as well as a punitive damages claim. Doc. 1. The County of Gregory, the City of Gregory, Deputy Drey, and Officer Claussen (collectively "the Gregory Defendants") have filed a motion for summary judgment based upon the merits and on qualified immunity. Doc. 36. The City of Winner and Stenson (collectively "the Winner Defendants") and John and Jane Does 1-4 filed a similar motion for summary judgment. Doc. 50.

Oliver stipulated to dismissal of John and Jane Does 1-4 and at the hearing on the motions did not resist summary judgment for Defendants on his state law claims. Doc. 67. Oliver opposed both motions on the remaining § 1983 claims. See, e.g.. Docs. 44, 62, 63. For the reasons explained below, the motions for summary judgment are granted.

II. SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD

Under Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, summary judgment is proper "if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). Rule 56 places the burden initially on the moving party to clearly establish the absence of a genuine issue of material fact and entitlement to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). Once the moving party has met that burden, the nonmoving party must establish that a material fact is genuinely disputed either by "citing to particular parts of materials in the record" or by "showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A), (B); Gacek v. Owens & Minor Distribution, Inc., 666 F.3d 1142, 1145-46 (8th Cir. 2012); see also Mosley v. City of Northwoods. Mo.. 415 F.3d 908, 910 (8th Cir. 2005) (stating that nonmovant may not merely rely on allegations or denials). On summary judgment, courts view the evidence and reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Robbins v. Becker, 794 F.3d 988, 992 (8th Cir. 2015).

III. FACTS

At approximately 10:00 p.m. on Friday, September 7, 2012, Oliver arrived at Frank Day's Bar in Dallas, South Dakota and remained there until the bar closed at approximately 2:00 a.m. on Saturday, September 8, 2012. Doc. 38 at ¶¶ 2-3; Doc. 40 at 2. Oliver drank beers while at the bar and was unable to find a ride home when the bar closed. Doc. 38 at ¶¶ 4-5; Doc 39-1 at 3; Doc. 40 at 2. Oliver did not have a coat with him and testified that the weather that night was cold-fifteen or twenty degrees-and windy. Doc. 39-1 at 3-4. Oliver's recollection of the night of September 8, 2012, being so extraordinarily cold is at odds with weather records and the climate of south central South Dakota in early September. Oliver had a personal cell phone with him, but testified that he was unable to contact anyone for a ride home and could not complete calls because he was shaking so badly from the cold. Doc. 39-1 at 3-4.

At approximately 3:00 a.m., Oliver saw a light on in a mobile home located behind Frank Day's Bar where he knew dancers and employees of the bar resided at times. Doc. 38 at ¶¶ 7-8; Doc. 39-1 at 4; Doc. 40 at 2. Oliver decided to knock on the door of the mobile home to ask the individuals inside for help in obtaining a ride. Doc. 39-1 at 4. Oliver knocked for approximately ten minutes without making contact with anyone inside. Doc. 38 at ¶ 9; Doc. 40 at 2. Oliver testified that he again attempted to use his cell phone to call for help but because he was "shaking violently" from the cold he was unable to push buttons on his phone. Doc. 39-1 at 4. Unbeknownst to Oliver, the mobile home occupant and bar employee, Kara Doles ("Doles"), had called law enforcement because Oliver's pounding on the door had caused her to fear for her own safety. Doc. 38 at ¶ 11; Doc. 40 at 2-3.

Oliver then turned to walk down the steps to leave the mobile home's landing and fell. Doc. 38 at ¶10; Doc. 40 at 2. Oliver testified he rolled and twisted his right ankle because either he had missed a step or the step had given way. Doc. 39-1 at 5. Oliver was unsure whether he had broken his ankle at that time, but believed his ankle to be severely injured. Doc. 39-1 at 5. While on the ground, Oliver tried to use his cell phone again, but with no success. Doc. 39-1 at 5. Oliver stayed on the ground outside the mobile home and attempted to stay warm. Doc. 39-1 at 5.

Responding to Doles's call, Deputy Drey and Officer Claussen arrived at the scene in the same patrol car and parked approximately ten to fifteen feet from Oliver. Doc. 38 at ¶ 12; Doc. 40 at 3. Deputy Drey approached Oliver and asked him why he was on the ground to which Oliver coarsely replied that he was taking a nap. Doc. 39-1 at 5. The individual accounts of the events following that initial contact differ from one another.

According to Oliver, he told the officers that he thought he broke his ankle and needed to see a doctor. Doc. 39-1 at 5. Oliver testified that Deputy Drey and Officer Claussen then got on each side of him, put their arms under his shoulders, lifted him up off the ground, and that he helped as much as he could by pushing with his left leg. Doc. 39-1 at 5. Oliver testified that he weighed approximately 410 pounds in September of 2012. Doc. 39-1 at 5. Once off the ground, according to Oliver, the officers carried him to the patrol vehicle, their arms still under his shoulders, and he assisted them by placing weight on his left leg and putting his right toe on the ground for balance. Doc. 42-3 at 2-3. Oliver testified that he could not put any weight on his right leg. Doc. 42-3 at 3. Once at the patrol vehicle, Oliver sat in the back seat and positioned himself upright, facing outward from the car. Doc. 39-1 at 9; Doc. 42-3 at 3. His ankle was not bleeding, not pointing in the wrong direction, and not displaced, but according to Oliver, it was discolored and visibly swollen. Doc. 39-1 at 9-10. While sitting in the back of the patrol vehicle, according to Oliver, both Deputy Drey and Officer Claussen looked at his swollen ankle, and the officers said they thought his ankle was sprained. Doc. 39-1 at 9.

Officer Claussen testified that Oliver initially told the officers that he fell off the front porch of the mobile home, hurt his ankle, and needed help getting off the ground. Doc. 39-3 at 2. For that reason, Officer Claussen grabbed one of Oliver's hands and Deputy Drey grabbed the other, and both officers lifted Oliver off the ground. Doc. 39-3 at 2. Officer Claussen testified that both officers continued to hold onto Oliver's arms and elbows (and not under his shoulders) to escort Oliver as a suspect, rather than to assist him, to the patrol car. Doc. 39-3 at 4-5. Officer Claussen testified that Oliver was able to walk to the patrol car without assistance. Doc. 39-3 at 5. Officer Claussen did not testify that he examined Oliver's ankle; rather, he testified that when Oliver was in the back seat of the patrol car, Deputy Drey stood outside the vehicle and spoke with Oliver while Officer Claussen stood behind Deputy Drey. Doc. 39-3 at 2. According to Officer Claussen, Deputy Drey merely told Oliver to "sit tight" and that the officers would be back. Doc. 39-3 at 2.

According to Deputy Drey's account, Oliver told the officers that he fell off the steps, hurt his ankle, and rolled on the ground to the spot where he was found near a tree. Doc. 42-6 at 3. Although both officers assisted Oliver off the ground, Deputy Drey testified that Oliver never stated that he could not get off the ground himself. Doc. 42-6 at 3. Consistent with Officer Claussen's testimony, Deputy Drey testified that once Oliver was standing each officer steadied Oliver to the patrol vehicle, holding onto Oliver's wrists and elbows. Doc. 42-6 at 3. According to Deputy Drey, Oliver "walked just fine" to the patrol car and "seemed to be putting his full weight, which is a lot of weight, on both legs." Doc. 42-6 at 5, 12. When asked whether he looked for any swelling, Deputy Drey testified that the only observations he made of Oliver's ankle occurred when Oliver walked on his ankle to the patrol car. Doc. 42-6 at 10.

Oliver stayed in the patrol car while both officers went to the mobile home to speak with Doles. Doc. 39-3 at 2-3; Doc. 42-6 at 4. After obtaining her statement, Deputy Drey informed Oliver that he was under arrest for disorderly conduct. Doc. 42-6 at 4. Oliver was then transported the twenty-two miles from Dallas to Winner, South Dakota.[2] Doc. 39-3 at 5. According to Deputy Drey, Oliver never complained about his ankle and never asked to go to the hospital during the drive from Dallas to Winner. Doc. 42-6 at 10.

Upon arriving at the WCJ, Deputy Drey and Officer Claussen attempted to remove Oliver from the patrol vehicle, but Oliver said he could not stand on his leg. Doc. 42-6 at 6. Oliver was able to get out of the patrol vehicle but would not walk on his foot, so the WCJ staff, including correctional officer Stenson, provided Oliver a chair with wheels.[3] Doc. 42-7 at 2. Oliver was wheeled into the booking area of the WCJ at approximately 4:21 a.m. Doc. 42-7 at 2; Doc. 60 at ¶ 42; Doc. 63.

Oliver testified that while he, Deputy Drey, Officer Clausen, and Stenson were in the booking area, Oliver said that his ankle hurt and that he needed to see a doctor. Doc. 58-11 at 13. According to Oliver, Stenson then asked Deputy Drey if Oliver was really hurt. Doc. 58-11 at 13. Oliver testified that Deputy Drey shook his head, and said to Stenson, "[N]o, he is not hurt, put him in the jail cell." Doc. 58-11 at 13. Oliver claims that Officer Claussen was standing next to Deputy Drey during this exchange. Doc. 58-11 at 13. According to Stenson, however, Oliver did not tell her that his ankle hurt and did not tell her that he wanted to go to the hospital or seek treatment.[4] Doc. 42-7 at 11. Deputy Drey and Officer Claussen then relinquished custody of Oliver to the WCJ and had no further contact with him. Doc. 38 at ¶ 23; Doc. 40 at 4.

The WCJ staff determined that Oliver was too intoxicated to be fully booked or to have his mug shot taken, so Stenson proceeded with the intake process because the WCJ had a policy not to release a person until he or she is sober, even if a bond is set. Doc. 41 at ΒΆ 120; Doc. 42-7 at 4-5; Doc. 68 at 2. Stenson administered a breathalyzer test to Oliver, which revealed a blood alcohol content level of .159. Doc. 42-7 at 5. Stenson entered Oliver's name into the computer system and assigned Oliver to a holding cell. Doc. 42-7 at 2, 6. The intake process took approximately fifteen minutes, and no medical questionnaire was completed for Oliver at that time. Doc. 42-7 at 5, 8. Oliver, who was still in the wheeled chair, was then transported to a holding cell. Doc. 42-7 at 11. Stenson testified that she observed Oliver stand up to get out of the chair and assumed that he walked into the holding cell. Doc. 42-7 at 11-12. Stenson also testified that she made no observations of Oliver's ankle and that she did not make any further observations of Oliver ...


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