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Fails v. Harbaugh-Sheriff

United States District Court, D. Montana, Billings Division

March 5, 2019



          Timothy J. Cavan, United States Magistrate Judge.

         Pending before the Court is Plaintiff Fails' Fed.R.Civ.P. 56 motion for summary judgment.[1] See, (Doc. 26.) For the reasons discussed herein, Fails' Motion for Summary Judgment will be denied.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff John Daniel Fails, Jr., appearing pro se, was incarcerated at the Custer County Detention Center ("CCDC") in Miles City, Montana, from June 13, 2017, to August 1, 2017. Defendant Tony Harbaugh is the Sheriff of Custer County; Defendant Pat Roos is the Custer County Undersheriff; Defendant Roland McGrath[2] is the Detention Sergeant of the CCDC; and Defendant Kim Jerke is a registered nurse who provides medical services for inmates incarcerated at CCDC.

         Fails was extradited from Pocatello, Idaho on outstanding warrants and transported to Custer County. On June 13, 2017, Fails arrived at the CCDC and was held in custody awaiting resolution of his criminal matters. On August 1, 2017, Fails was transferred out of the CCDC and into the custody of the Park County Detention Center in Livingston, Montana.

         Prior to his arrival at CCDC, Fails had been working with an Idaho physician, Dr. Richard Curtis, to manage his Type 1 diabetes and to treat diabetic ulcers on his feet. Upon his arrival at CCDC, Fails met with Registered Nurse Jerke to discuss his medical issues. Jerke arranged for Fails to see a local physician, Dr. Diane Cadwell. On June 20, 2017, Dr. Cadwell ordered a course of care for Fails which included medication, regular monitoring of Fails' blood levels, a specific diet, and cleaning and bandaging Fails' foot ulcers.

         Fails complains Nurse Jerke did not follow Dr. Cadwell's orders while treating him at CCDC and, accordingly, failed to provide adequate medical care under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

         Next, Fails asserts Sheriff Harbaugh and Undersheriff Roos both failed to protect his rights by inadequately training CCDC staff in violation of his constitutional rights. Fails complains that Roos decided Fails should only be provided double portions of meals at dinnertime, in contravention of Dr. CadwelPs orders.

         Finally, Fails alleges Sergeant McGrath abused his position by acting as a trained medical professional. Fails asserts McGrath ordered that Fails be segregated in a holding cell as a form of punishment for his diabetes in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA").

         Fails alleges that as a result of Defendants' collective actions, his blood sugar dropped to dangerously low levels, which resulted in his two separate hospitalizations at the Holy Rosary Hospital in Miles City. Fails also alleges that due to the inadequate care at CCDC, his diabetic foot ulcers developed into bone infections, which required ongoing medical care. This care included weeks of antibiotics, installation of an intravenous PICC line, and amputation of the small toe on his right foot.

         Fails' claims are advanced under authority of 42 U.S.C. § 1983, thereby invoking the federal question jurisdiction of this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331

         II. Applicable Law

         Summary judgment is appropriate when the moving party "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). Under summary judgment practice, "[t]he moving party initially bears the burden of proving the absence of a genuine issue of material fact." In re Oracle Corp. Sec. Litig., 627 F.3d 376, 387 (9th Cir. 2010) (citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986)). The moving party may accomplish this by "citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials," or by showing that such materials "do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that the adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A), (B).

         Once the moving party has satisfied his burden, he is entitled to summary judgment if the non-moving party fails to designate by affidavits, depositions, answers to interrogatories, or admissions on file, "specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324. Finally, in deciding a motion for summary judgment, the Court views the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and draws all justifiable inferences in the non-moving ...

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