United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Southern Division
RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE
WALLACE CAPEL, JR. CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
U.S.C. § 1983 action is before the court on a complaint
filed by Eibe Scott, a state inmate, in which he challenges
the adequacy of the medical treatment he received and his
placement in confinement following surgery while incarcerated
at the Coffee County Jail. Specifically, Scott alleges that
the defendants denied him adequate medical treatment for a
broken finger he received in an altercation with a fellow
inmate on October 3, 2016. (Doc. 1 at p. 2). He also alleges
he was wrongly placed in “D.C. confinement”
following his surgery and that the Coffee County Jail has
inadequate grievance procedures. Id. Scott names
Byron Caylor, Jail Administrator, as the correctional
defendant. He also names multiple medical providers as
defendants including Quality Correctional Health Care, Brenda
Stuckey, L.P.N, and Dr. Jerry N. Gurley.
defendants filed special reports and relevant evidentiary
materials in support of their reports, including affidavits
and certified copies of Scott's medical records,
addressing the claims raised in the complaint, as amended. In
these documents, the medical and correctional defendants
maintain they did not act with deliberate indifference to
Scott's medical needs and the correctional defendants
deny they subjected Scott to unconstitutional conditions.
reviewing the special reports filed by the defendants, the
court issued an order on September 15, 2017, directing Scott
to file a response to each of the arguments set forth by the
defendants in their reports, supported by affidavits or
statements made under penalty of perjury and other
evidentiary materials. (Doc. 54 at 1-2). The order
specifically cautioned that “unless within fifteen (15)
days from the date of this order a party . . . presents
sufficient legal cause why such action should not be
undertaken . . . the court may at any time [after expiration
of the time for the plaintiff filing a response to this
order] and without further notice to the parties (1) treat
the special reports and any supporting evidentiary materials
as a motion for summary judgment and (2) after considering
any response as allowed by this order, rule on the motion for
summary judgment in accordance with the law.”
Id. Scott filed a sworn response to this order on
September 21, 2017. (Doc. 55).
to the directives of the order entered on September 15, 2017,
the court now treats the defendants' reports as a motion
for summary judgment and concludes that summary judgment is
due to be granted in favor of the defendants.
time this action was filed, the plaintiff was an inmate at
the Coffee County Jail. He was booked in the facility on
September 30, 2016, and charged with three counts of
possession of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana
in the first degree, attempt to elude, and violation of his
probation. (Doc. 17-1). On October 3, 2016, a correctional
officer observed the plaintiff strike another inmate inside
the cell. (Doc. 17-3). The correctional officer notified the
shift office of this incident and then he and two other
officers entered the cell to intervene. (Doc. 17-3). During
this altercation, the plaintiff hit a wall and broke his
finger. (Doc. 16-2 at p. 4). Following the incident, the
plaintiff was taken to disciplinary lock down for fighting.
his injury, he alleges that “I was denied to be taken
to the hospital for (8) days[.] I was made to lay on the
concrete floor and received [sic]literally no medical care.
On the (3rd) day the radiologist came to xray(s)
and confirmed the finger was broken and needed
surgery.” (Doc. 1 at p. 2). During this time, he
alleges that he was only provided Naproxen for pain. (Doc.
1-1). He also states that he saw Nurse Brenda Stuckey on the
day of the incident and she told him “that she would
see how bad it would swell overnight”. The next day
Nurse Stuckey advised him that the radiologist would be
coming to the jail. (Doc. 1-1 at p. 1). On October 12, 2016,
he was taken to an outside medical provider for surgery and
then was returned to Coffee County Jail. Id.
his return to the jail, the plaintiff alleges that he was
placed in “D.C. confinement (per B. Caylor) because of
the surgery, instead of housed in the front holding cell
(which is normally used for medical) because of a personal
vendetta by Mr. Caylor.” Id. As a result of
his placement in confinement he alleges that “he has no
access to the courts, no access to the phone, no access to
visits, or communications with friends or family.”
October 15, 2016, the plaintiff filed a grievance with the
Jail Administrator, Defendant Byron Caylor, and states that
he received no response. Id. In this grievance, he
complains that he has not been able to see his family since
his surgery and he is wrongfully held in cell block #3
without a bunk bed or a cot. (Doc. 17-7). In response to this
grievance, Administrator Caylor notified the on-duty shift
supervisor to tell Scott that the medical staff recommended
that he not be sent back to a general population cell unit
and that he was under disciplinary lockdown for assaulting
another inmate. (Doc. 17-2 at pp. 4-5). Further, Caylor
testified that the plaintiff was housed in cell block #3
because he had been prescribed a narcotic following surgery.
Id. at pp. 4-5. According to Caylor, cell block #3
consists of 4 different cell units which house inmates who
are held under disciplinary lockdown, protective custody, or
medical isolation. Id. at p. 4. In further response
to this grievance, Caylor provided the plaintiff a bunk
and allowed his family to visit. (Doc. 17-2 at pp. 4-5).
respect to the grievance procedure at Coffee County Jail,
Administrator Caylor testified as follows:
“[i]t is the policy of the Coffee County Jail that
inmates are permitted to submit grievances to the jail
administrator and that each grievance will receive a
response. An inmate wishing to file a grievance will be
provided with an inmate grievance form upon request.
Completed grievance forms will be delivered promptly to me,
and I will respond to the grievance. If an inmate is
unsatisfied with the decision I make, they may appeal such
decision in writing to Sheriff Sutton within seventy-two (72)
hours of the receipt of said grievance.”
(Doc. 17-2 at p. 4).
on October 15, 2016, the plaintiff filed a form entitled
“Medical Grievance, ” wherein he complains that
he was not taken to the emergency room and that he had to
wait eight days before being seen by an outside medical
provider. He also complained that he was housed in cell block
#3 when he was supposed to be on medical observation. (Doc.
1-2 at p. 2). The same day Nurse Stuckey replied in writing
to the grievance as follows:
“[t]here was not a need for you to go to the ER because
the radiology technician comes here to do the x-rays. Your
appointment was scheduled with Southern Bone & Joint as
soon as they could see you. You were taking Naprosyn for pain
until your surgery. You are in cell block #3 because you can
not be in regular population due to your surgery. Capt.
Caylor placed your in 3# block. I do not decide which block
you are placed in and I have nothing to do with you getting a
bed or not getting a bed.”
October 16, 2016, the plaintiff filed another “Medical
Grievance” wherein he requested information about his
medication prescribed by Dr. Fleming Brooks at Southern Bone
and Joint. He also complained that “things got
unprofessional” with Nurse Moa when he mentioned making
a complaint about his medical care. (Doc. 1-2 at p. 1). On
October 18, 2016, Nurse Stuckey replied in writing to the
grievance as follows:
“[w]hile you were in Coffee County Jail you are under
the care of the medical doctors contracted to the jail. They
are the ones that state what medication you can take and how
long you can take them not Dr. Brooks. I do not know about
any words becoming unprofessional or harsh by Nurse Mo. I
have already spoken with her.”
Id. With respect to the medical care provided to the
plaintiff, Nurse Stuckey testified as follows:
At all times while Scott was incarcerated at the Coffee
County Jail, he received timely and appropriate medical care.
I have personal knowledge regarding the care and treatment I
provided to Scott in October and November 2016.
On October 3, 2016 at 5;15 p.m., Scott reported that he hit a
wall with his right hand. At that time, I observed that
Scott's hand was swollen. There was no obvious broken
bone or deformity in his right hand. At that time, in my
medical judgment, it was reasonable and appropriate to see
how Scott's right hand responded to ice and to perform a
follow-up evaluation the following day. I offered Scott an
ice pack and a sick call slip. Scott refused the sick call
slip. I instructed Scott to apply the ice pack and to keep
his hand elevated. I also told Scott that I would reexamine
his hand the following day.
At 7:00 a.m. the next day, October 4, 2016, I examined
Scott's right hand. At that time, I observed that
Scott's hand was still swollen and he reported that it
was painful. Because of the swelling and his report of pain
in his right hand, I ordered an x-ray on his hand. I also
instructed Scott to keep his hand elevated to prevent further
swelling. On October 4, 2016, Scott received an x-ray from
Vuepoint Diagnostics. Vue point Diagnostics provides portable
x-ray services and came to the Coffee County Jail to perform
an x-ray on Scott's right hand. The x-ray on Scott's
right hand showed a fracture of the fourth metacarpal neck
Once I received the results of the x-ray, I contacted Dr.
Jerry Gurley, who is a physician employed by QCHC. I told Dr.
Gurley the result of the x-ray on Scott's right hand. Dr.
Gurley gave me a telephone order to make arrangements for
Scott to see an orthopedic doctor. Dr. Gurley also gave me a
telephone order to dispense Ibuprofen 400 mg to Scott twice
daily for five days. Ibuprofen is a NSAID, non-steroidal
anti-inflammatory drug that is used to treat pain. As
indicated on the Medication Administration Record (MAR),
Scott received the Ibuprofen from October 4, 2016 until
October 6, 2016.
On October 6, 2016, I contacted Southern Bone and Joint to
make Scott an appointment. Scott's appointment was
scheduled by Southern Bone and Joint for October 11, 2016. On
October 6, 2016, Dr. Kern discontinued the Ibuprofen and
ordered Naproxen 500 mg to be given twice daily for seven
days. Naproxen is a NSAID, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory
drug that is used to treat pain. As demonstrated by the MAR,
Scott was given Naproxen 500 mg as ordered.
On October 11, 2016, Scott was seen by Dr. Fleming Brooks at
Southern Bone and Joint Specialists. According to Dr. Brooks
note, Scott needed surgery on his right fourth metacarpal.
Dr. Brooks also applied a splint to Scott's finger. Dr.
Brooks scheduled Scott for surgery for October 12, 2016.
On October 12, 2016, Dr. Brooks performed surgery on
Scott's right fourth metacarpal at Medical Center
Enterprise in Enterprise, Alabama. Dr. Brooks prescribed
Scott Percocet 7.5/325 to be taken every 4-6 hours as need
for pain. Dr. Brooks also prescribed Naprosyn 500 mg to be
taken twice daily and scheduled a follow-up appointment for
Scott on October 25, 2016.
When Scott returned from surgery on October 12, 2016, I
contacted Dr. Johnny Bates, the CEO of QCHC, and provided him
with a report on Scott's surgery. Dr. Bates gave me a
telephone order to give Scott Percocet 7.5/325 every four to
six hours for 24-48 hours to treat his post-surgical pain.
Based on this verbal order and as demonstrated on the MAR,
Scott received Percocet 7.5/325 every six hours beginning
after he returned from surgery on October 12, 2016 and ending
on October 15, 2016. Naprosyn 500 mg was then prescribed for
Scott to be given twice daily beginning on October 16, 2016
until his scheduled follow-up appointment at Southern Bone
and Joint on October 25, 2016. As indicated on the MAR, Scott
received Naprosyn as ordered from October 16, 2016 until
October 25, 2016.
On October 25, 2016, Scott had a follow up appointment with
Dr. Brooks at Southern Bone and Joint Specialists. According
to the medical record, Scott did not have any new complaints.
Scott's sutures were removed and he was placed in a few
splint. A follow up appointment was scheduled in two weeks.
On October 25, 2016, Dr. Bates gave me a telephone order to
give Scott Naprosyn 500 mg twice daily for ten days. From
October 26, 2016 until October 27, 2016, Scott took Naprosyn
500 mg twice daily. Beginning on the evening of October 27,
2016, Scott refused to take Naprosyn 500 mg and did not take
Naprosyn again after October 27, 2016.
On November 9, 2016, Scott had a second follow-up appointment
with Dr. Brooks at Southern Bone and Joint Specialists.
According to the medical record, Scott reported that he was
doing better. Scott was placed in a n Orthoglass splint and a
follow-up visit was scheduled in three weeks.
Based on my review of his medical records from the Coffee
County Jail and my personal recollection of the treatment I
provided to him, Scott was not denied access to medical
evaluation or treatment at any time. Based on my review of
his medical records from the Coffee County Jail, Scott's
requests for evaluation were neither ignored nor his
treatment delayed. In my opinion, the treatment I provided to
Scott during his incarceration at the Coffee County Jail was
reasonable and appropriate. In my opinion, the treatment I
provided to Scott during his incarceration at the Coffee
County Jail exceeded the standard of care.
(Doc. 16-2 at pp. 3-8).