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Taylor v. Hughes

United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division

August 31, 2017

BONNY EDWARD TAYLOR, as the Personal Representative and Administrator of the ESTATE OF ALMUS REED TAYLOR PLAINTIFF
v.
HENRY P. HUGHES, DEFENDANTS

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          KEITH STARRETT UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on the Motion for Summary Judgment [108] filed by Defendants Henry Hughes, Roy Parker, Benjamin Hunter, and Bill Blue. After considering the submissions of the parties, the record, and the applicable law, the Court finds that this motion is well taken and should be granted.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Bonny Edward Taylor (“Plaintiff”) brings this action on behalf of the Estate of Almus Taylor (“Taylor”), the decedent. She brings claims against Defendants Henry Hughes (“Hughes”), Roy Parker (“Parker”), Benjamin Hunter (“Hunter”), and Bill Blue (“Blue”) (collectively “Defendants”) under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violations of Taylor's rights to medical care under the Fourteenth Amendment, as well as state law claims of negligence and wantonness.[1]

         On November 16, 2013, Taylor was found by Covington County Deputy Kyle Adams (“Adams”) lying across the seat of his truck. The truck was a battered hunting truck which was missing its driver-side door[2] and was stopped in the middle of Judge Smith Road in Covington County, Alabama. Suspecting an accident, Adams called for Emergency Medical Services (“EMS”) and the Alabama State Troopers. Taylor denied having been driving to Adams because he was too intoxicated and stated that another man had been driving and that he had walked off.

         The EMS team arrived on scene, followed by Alabama State Trooper Chase Amis (“Amis”). While the EMS team examined Taylor, Amis investigated the scene but found no indication that a wreck had occurred.[3] Amis did not see any visible injuries on Taylor, who told EMS that he did not want to go to the hospital. The EMS team had Taylor make a mark on a form stating that he refused transport, which was witnessed by Adams. After the EMS team left, Amis placed Taylor under arrest for DUI.

         Amis transported Taylor to the Covington County Jail, where he told Parker that EMS had examined Taylor and that he had signed a release. Taylor was obviously intoxicated when he arrived at the jail and had to be assisted to the holding cell. Parker and Hunter are the only defendants who made contact with Taylor. Blue was working in the control pod that night, and Hughes, the jail administrator, was not present at the jail. According to other detainees in the holding cells that night, Taylor spent the night moaning and crying out in pain.

         When Jennifer Reeves (“Reeves”), the jail's nurse, arrived at work the next morning, she was told that Taylor had been complaining of pain and that he had claimed to be in a wreck but that no one was sure that was true. After contacting Amis and learning that the driver's side door was missing from his truck, Reeves had Hunter and Parker remove Taylor from his cell and place him in a wheelchair. He slid out of the wheelchair and spit up blood. Reeves tested his O2 blood saturation level, which was only 70%, and had an officer call 911.

         Taylor died en route to the hospital. An autopsy revealed he bled out due to a lacerated liver and lung.

         II. DISCUSSION

         A. Standard of Review

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a) provides that “[t]he court shall grant summary judgment 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.” The Eleventh Circuit has held that

[s]ummary judgment is appropriate if the evidence before the court shows that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. In making this determination, the court must view all evidence and make all reasonable inferences in favor of the party opposing summary judgment.
The mere existence of some factual dispute will not defeat summary judgment unless that factual dispute is material to an issue affecting the outcome of the case. The relevant rules of substantive law dictate the materiality of a disputed fact. A genuine issue of material fact does not exist unless there is sufficient evidence favoring the nonmoving party for a reasonable jury to return a verdict in its favor.

Chapman v. AI Transport, 229 F.3d 1012, 1023 (11th Cir. 2000) (quoting Haves v. City of Miami, 52 F.3d 918, 921 (11th Cir. 1995)) (alteration in original).

         Plaintiff has conceded that the claims against Hughes are due to be dismissed. (See Response [123] at p. 2 n.2.) As such, the Motion for Summary Judgment [108] will be granted with respect to Hughes, and ...


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