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Young v. O'Fallon

United States District Court, D. Montana, Great Falls Division

November 9, 2018

ADAM CLARK YOUNG, Plaintiff,
v.
CPT. DAN O'FALLON, MARK S. INCH, NATE JOHNS, MCKENZIE HANNAN, and BENEFIS HOSPITAL, Defendants.

          ORDER AND FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          JOHN JOHNSTON, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff Adam Young filed a Complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging his conditions of confinement at the Cascade County Detention Facility violated his constitutional rights and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Mr. Young's claims regarding housing state prisoners with federal prisoners and Defendants Inch, Benefis Hopsital, and Nate Johns will be recommended for dismissal. Defendant O'Fallon will be required to respond to Mr. Young's remaining claims. Defendant Hannan will be required to respond to Mr. Young's ADA claim.

         I. STATEMENT OF THE CASE

         A. Parties

         Mr. Young is a state prisoner proceeding without counsel and in forma pauperis. He is currently incarcerated at Montana State Prison but was incarcerated at the Cascade County Detention Center (CCDC) at all times relevant to his Complaint. (Complaint, Doc. 2.)

         Mr. Young names the following Defendants: CCDC Administrator Captain Dan O'Fallon, Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons Mark Inch, Department of Corrections ADA Coordinator McKenzie Hannan, Benefis Hopsital, and Nate Johns. (Doc. 2 at 5.)

         B. Allegations

         Mr. Young makes the following allegations in his Complaint: Mr. Young was involved in an altercation with a federal inmate, Ryan Old Chief on January 26, 2017.[1] Mr. Young alleges that Mr. Old Chief came at him aggressively so Mr. Young punched Mr. Old Chief in the mouth splitting his middle knuckle on his left hand. Mr. Old Chief then told Mr. Young he was HIV positive. Mr. Young was cuffed up and taken to a visitation booth. He alleges Captain O'Fallon was aware that Mr. Old Chief was an aggressive, homosexual federal inmate who had HIV and was known to bully other inmates but Captain O'Fallon failed to protect Mr. Young and other inmates from Mr. Old Chief.

         Mr. Young alleges Captain O'Fallon failed to follow proper medical treatment and procedures by making Mr. Young wait approximately 45 minutes with no medical attention. Mr. Young alleges that Captain O'Fallon then made him wait approximately three hours before seeing a doctor to have his hand stitched up. The doctor directed the nurse to order antibiotics, x-rays, and an HIV test. Mr. Young was then placed in solitary confinement where Mr. Young did not receive any antibiotics until three days after a serious infection developed.

         Approximately four hours after he was placed in solitary confinement Mr. Young's left hand began to ache painfully and swell and the pain became unbearable. Captain O'Fallon told Mr. Young that “nothing could be done.” Mr. Young could not regain his composure and was frantic and crying. Captain O'Fallon stripped Mr. Young out and took the bandage from his left hand and placed him in the “rubber room” for the rest of the night. The next morning, Mr. Young was taken to the infirmary for x-rays and an HIV test. The x-ray technician took x-rays and determined that nothing was broken or fractured. The x-ray technician asked if the nurse was testing for an infection because Mr. Young's hand looked infected. She said she was not because the doctor had only ordered an HIV test.

         Captain O'Fallon then took Mr. Young back to the rubber room and later that evening he was placed in solitary confinement. While in solitary, Mr. Young's wound was constantly leaking pus and the pain was overwhelming. He told this to the station officer and asked to see the doctor but Captain O'Fallon told him he would not call the infirmary. Later, Mr. Young showed officers that the swelling was going up his arm and that pus was constantly draining from the wound but the officers told him that Captain O'Fallon said nothing could be done.

         On the evening of January 28, 2017, Mr. Young showed officers that the swelling in his arm had traveled to his elbow, that pus was freely oozing from around the stitches, and there was a putrid smell coming from the pus.

         On the morning of January 29, 2017, Mr. Young was transported to Benefis Hospital in Great Falls. Mr. Young was diagnosed with cellulitus. He was placed on IV fluids, antibiotics and morphine and prepped for surgery.

         Mr. Young alleges that Captain O'Fallon failed to notify Mr. Young's emergency contact (his wife) and when his wife contacted the jail inquiring about Mr. Young, Captain O'Fallon told her Mr. Young was in trouble and could not use the phone. He did not tell her that Mr. Young had been taken to the hospital.

         Mr. Young argues he suffered unnecessary pain, serious infection, surgeries, permanent damage to his left hand and he has contracted HIV.

         In Claim 2, Mr. Young alleges that Benefis Hospital failed to obtain proper information before treating Mr. Young. He contends that Captain O'Fallon informed the Hospital that he had cut his hand and placed it into a toilet to induce an infection. He argues this misinformation caused the Hospital to place Mr. Young on the wrong antibiotics which resulted in three additional surgeries. It was only after these three additional surgeries that Dr. Miller asked him about his injury. He alleges the Hospital did not obtain the proper paperwork regarding Mr. Young's injury.

         Mr. Young left the Hospital after two weeks, five surgeries, and 37 stitches. He was told by Dr. Miller that he would likely never have full use of his left hand again. Dr. Miller also told Mr. Young that he would need a lot of physical therapy which he did not receive. He also claims that the Hospital allowed CCDC Officers to take pictures of Mr. Young's injury after each of the five surgeries which he contends is a violation of his HIPPA rights.

         In Claim 3, Mr. Young alleges that Bureau of Prisons Director Mark Inch, Captain Dan O'Fallon, and Nate Johns failed to follow proper policies and procedures in failing to separate state and federal inmates at CCDC and as a result they failed to protect Mr. Young from a known aggressive inmate.

         In Claim 4, Mr. Young alleges Captain O'Fallon and Department of Corrections ADA Coordinator McKenzie Hannan failed to provide Mr. Young with reasonable accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by refusing to provide him with assistance to effectively exhaust the grievance process in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment and the ADA. Specifically, he alleges he was released from the Hospital on February 12, 2017 and returned to the Detention Center in a splint with 37 stitches up by his elbow on his left arm, down the back of his left hand, and halfway up his middle finger. Mr. Young is left-handed and was unable to write with his right hand. He was placed back in solitary confinement and was unable to seek assistance from other inmates. He requested grievance forms and when he finally received a grievance form it took several more days to get a pencil. He requested reasonable accommodations from Captain O'Fallon and Ms. Hannan to write his grievances pursuant to the ADA and was told he could use his teeth or feet. (Complaint, Doc. 2.)

         II. INITIAL SCREENING

         Mr. Young is a prisoner proceeding in forma pauperis so the Court must review his Complaint under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915, 1915A. Sections 1915A(b) and 1915(e)(2)(B) require the Court to dismiss a complaint filed in forma pauperis and/or by a prisoner against a governmental defendant before it is served if it is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. A complaint is frivolous if it “lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact.” Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). “A case is malicious if it was filed with the intention or desire to harm another.” Andrews v. King, 398 F.3d 1113, 1121 (9th Cir. 2005). A complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted if a plaintiff fails to allege the “grounds” of his “entitlement to relief.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quotation omitted).

         Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that a complaint “that states a claim for relief must contain . . . a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the [plaintiff] is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). That is, a complaint must “contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quotations omitted). A complaint's allegations must cross “the line from conceivable to plausible.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 680.

         There is a two-step procedure to determine whether a complaint's allegations cross that line. See Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556; Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662. First, the Court must identify “the allegations in the complaint that are not entitled to the assumption of truth.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679, 680. Factual allegations are not entitled to the assumption of truth if they are “merely consistent with liability, ” or “amount to nothing more than a ‘formulaic recitation of the elements' of a constitutional” claim. Id. at 679, 681. A complaint stops short of the line between probability and the possibility of relief where the facts pled are merely consistent with a defendant's liability. Id. at 678.

         Second, the Court must determine whether the complaint states a “plausible” claim for relief. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. A claim is “plausible” if the factual allegations, which are accepted as true, “allow[ ] the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. at 678. This inquiry is “a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” Id. at 679 (citation omitted). If the factual allegations, which are accepted as true, “do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged-but it has not “show[n]”-“that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Id. (citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)).

         “A document filed pro se is ‘to be liberally construed,' and ‘a pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.'” Erickson v. Pardu,551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007); cf. Fed. ...


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