United States District Court, D. South Dakota, Northern Division
CHARLES B. KORNMANN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
filed this action contending that, while he was a pretrial
detainee at the Roberts County Jail in April 2017, a major
leak in the roof occurred and water collected on the floor of
the jail. He claims that, as a result of the condition of the
floor, he fell and suffered serious injury. Plaintiff further
claims that defendants failed to procure immediate medical
attention for his injuries and failed to follow through with
the medical treatment prescribed for his injuries. He seeks
$300, 000 compensation from each defendant for his injuries
and his pain and suffering.
filed a motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff has failed to
respond to the motion. Defendants are entitled to prevail on
their motion for summary judgment if they demonstrate that
there is no genuine issue of material fact and they are
entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c).
Rule 56 mandates the entry of summary judgment "against
a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish
the existence of an element essential to that party's
case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof
at trial." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317, 322, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 2552, 91 L.Wd.2d 265 (1986).
"A genuine issue of material fact exists only when
'there is a dispute about a fact material to the outcome
of the case, and the dispute is genuine in that a reasonable
jury could return a verdict for either party.'"
Johnson v. Leonard, 929 F.3d 569, 577 (8th Cir.
opposing party is not required to respond to the motion, but
failure to controvert the moving party's statement of
material facts allows the Court to consider the facts
undisputed. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)(2). This Court cannot simply
grant an unopposed motion for summary judgment but must
determine whether the moving party "is entitled" to
summary judgment. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)(3). Failure to respond
to the motion for summary judgment is not conclusive; this
Court must examine the record to determine whether summary
judgment is appropriate. Canada v. Union Elec. Col
135 F.3d 1211, 1213 (8th Cir. 1997).
is no genuine issue of material fact that a leak occurred in
the roof of the Roberts County Jail and, on April 18, 2017,
plaintiff slipped in water on the floor of the jail and fell.
Staff was notified of plaintiff s fall by other inmates at
6:45 a.m. Three minutes later, a correctional officer
attended to plaintiff. Plaintiff complained of pain in his
back, elbow, and head. He requested a pain reliever and staff
gave him ibuprofen. Plaintiff did not indicate that he was
having a medical emergency and it did not appear to staff
members present at the time that he was having a medical
gave plaintiff ice packs over the next few hours and
continued to monitor his condition. At 9:09 a.m., staff
contacted a local medical clinic but no open appointments
were available. Staff transported plaintiff to the local
hospital at 10:15 a.m. where he was treated and released.
Plaintiff was diagnosed with a possible concussion and was
advised to avoid watching television or engaging in other
activities that caused him headaches. He was prescribed
prescription and non-prescription pain relievers for elbow
and tailbone pain and was referred to physical therapy.
plaintiffs release from the emergency room, plaintiff
received pain medication every day until he was transferred
to the South Dakota State Penitentiary on June 5, 2017. Staff
transported plaintiff to four doctor appointments and seven
physical therapy appointments until plaintiff was discharged
from physical therapy.
2013, jail personnel dealt with a leak in the skylight in the
cell-block area where plaintiff was housed. Caulk was applied
to the roof on several occasions when a leak would appear
after a storm. In addition to jail maintenance staff
attending to the occasional leak, an outside company was
hired to seal the skylight. After sealant was applied, the
skylight would not leak for a period of time. When the leak
occurred in the early morning hours of April 18, 2017, j ail
personnel put out buckets to collect the water and mopped up
the water on the jail floor.
United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has set
forth the standard to be applied in this case:
"[D]eliberate indifference to serious medical needs of
prisoners constitutes the unnecessary and wanton infliction
of pain proscribed by the Eighth Amendment." Estelle
v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104, 97 S.Ct. 285, 50 L.Ed.2d
251 (1976) (citation omitted). As a pretrial detainee,
[plaintiff] is "entitled to at least as much protection
under the Fourteenth Amendment as under the Eighth
Amendment." Hartsfield v. Colburn, 371 F.3d
454, 457 (8th Cir. 2004). To prove his deliberate
indifference claim, [plaintiff] must show: "(1) he
suffered from an objectively serious medical need, and (2)
defendants knew of the need yet deliberately disregarded
it." Id. "Deliberate indifference is more
than negligence, more even than gross negligence . . .
." Fourte v. Faulkner Cty., 746 F.3d 384, 387
(8th Cir. 2014). It "may be found where medical care is
so inappropriate as to evidence intentional
maltreatment." Id. See Holden, 663 F.3d at 343
("The level of culpability required to demonstrate
deliberate indifference on the part of prison officials is
equal to criminal recklessness."). This is a
"fact-intensive inquiry" that requires [plaintiff]
to "clear a substantial evidentiary threshold" to
succeed on his claim. Nelson v. Shuffman, 603 F.3d
439, 448-49 (8th Cir. 2010).
Johnson v. Leonard. 929 F.3d 569, 575-76 (8th Cir.
has not raised any genuine issue of material fact that
defendants disregarded any serious medical need. He did
receive medical treatment following his slip at the Roberts
County Jail. The medical records show that plaintiff was
provided prompt care and that he was provided follow-up care
as ordered by plaintiffs treating physicians. This is not a
case where plaintiff can claim that prison doctors refused to
follow a particular course of treatment. He was treated in
the community by doctors not associated with the jail.
bears the burden at trial to prove that defendants
disregarded his serious medical need. Plaintiff has not
responded to the motion for summary judgment by setting forth
any facts showing that he was subject to the
"unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain" as
required to meet the substantial evidentiary threshold
required to show deliberate indifference. He has failed to
refute the medical records presented by the defendants
demonstrating that care was provided ...