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Beatty v. Davidson

March 31, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: William M. Skretny Chief Judge United States District Court



Plaintiff Craig Beatty commenced this civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 on August 24, 2006, alleging that Defendants denied him adequate medical care while he was a pretrial detainee at the Erie County Holding Center ("ECHC"), in violation of his Fourteenth Amendment rights.

Presently before this Court is Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment.*fn1 (Docket No. 70.) For the reasons that follow, Defendants' motion is denied.


Because Plaintiff is the nonmoving party, this Court views all facts and inferences in his favor. Addickes v. S.H. Kress and Co., 398 U.S. 144, 158-59, 90 S.Ct.1598, 1609, 26 L.Ed. 2d 142 (1970).

Plaintiff is a diabetic. (Beatty Tr., Docket No. 75-2, p. 39.) He takes insulin as needed, based on readings of his blood glucose level, which he monitors six times per day. (Beatty Tr., pp. 36-37.) During the time period at issue, Plaintiff took Humalog daily, as needed, usually 30-40 units per day. (Beatty Tr., pp. 37, 50.) He has since also started taking 30 units of Lantus daily, half in the morning, half at night. (Beatty Tr., p. 37.)

A. Plaintiff's Arrest - April 14, 2005

Plaintiff is a corrections officer at the Gowanda Correctional Facility. (Beatty Tr., p. 19.) On April 14, 2005, he worked the 6:45 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. shift. (Beatty Tr., pp. 58, 72.) Plaintiff took insulin at approximately 1:00 p.m. that day, after he ate lunch. (Beatty Tr., pp. 60, 73.) He took other medications that day as well, including Lorcet, Valium, Lorazepam, and Prozac. (Beatty Tr., pp. 76-77, 85.)

Plaintiff maintains that he had a reaction to one of his medications or a combination of them after leaving work. (Beatty Tr., p. 78.) He apparently went to a business, had an altercation with the owner, and then went home. (Beatty Tr., pp. 77-79.) He vaguely remembers being arrested by Erie County Sheriff's Deputy George Avery later that evening, around 7:00 p.m. (Beatty Tr., p. 79.) The arrest report, however, indicates that Plaintiff was arrested at 8:00 p.m. (Chase Tr., Docket No. 75-3, p. 20.)

When Avery arrived at Plaintiff's residence, Plaintiff was testing his glucose level and had his insulin on the counter. (Beatty Tr., p. 79.) Avery interrupted Plaintiff's testing and arrested him immediately upon confirming his identity. (Beatty Tr., pp. 79-80.) Plaintiff maintains that he told Avery that he was a Type 1 diabetic, that he had medication with him, that he needed to check his glucose level, and that he needed to take an insulin shot. (Beatty Tr., p. 84.) Avery allegedly told Plaintiff that "they'll do that down at the holding center." (Beatty Tr., p. 84.) Plaintiff again reiterated that he needed to take his insulin, and Avery again told him that he would receive medication at the holding center. (Beatty Tr., p. 84.) Consequently, Plaintiff left his house without testing his glucose or taking insulin. (Beatty Tr., pp. 79-84.)

Avery first took Plaintiff to the substation, where they completed paperwork. (Beatty Tr., at 83, 86.) Plaintiff and Avery were the only people at the substation. (Beatty Tr., pp. 86-87.) Plaintiff recalls being there several hours until Avery took him to the ECHC, but he does not recall the drive to the ECHC. (Beatty Tr., p. 87.)

B. Plaintiff's Booking at the Erie County Holding Center - April 14-15, 2005

Erie County Sheriff's Deputy Jeremy Chase booked Plaintiff upon his arrival at the ECHC. (Chase Tr., pp. 20-21.) Chase completed a Suicide Prevention Screening form at 11:40 p.m. and booked Plaintiff into the ECHC computer system at 12:30 a.m. on April 15, 2005. (Chase Tr., p. 21.) A medical intake form Chase completed indicates that Plaintiff reported that he was diabetic and received insulin shots. (Chase Tr., p. 27.) Chase testified that he was trained to immediately notify the medical department if an individual identifies himself as diabetic. (Chase Tr., p. 36.) But when the medical department is closed, as it was at this time of night,*fn2 the booking process simply continues. (Chase Tr., p. 36.)

Plaintiff remembers being in the booking area of the ECHC and telling someone that he was a Type 1 diabetic and was in desperate need of insulin. (Beatty Tr., p. 88.) He recalls that someone told him that "they don't do that at that area," and that he would have to wait to see medical staff. (Beatty Tr., p. 88.)

Plaintiff also recalls recognizing Deputy Phil Kuppel, a former co-worker. (Beatty Tr., p. 110.) Plaintiff told Kuppel that he was diabetic and needed insulin. (Beatty Tr., pp. 110; 113-14.) Kuppel nodded his head, but did not get Plaintiff insulin. (Beatty Tr., p. 111.) At that time, Plaintiff was not feeling well, could not think or speak clearly, did not understand why he was being arrested or why he could not have medication. (Beatty Tr., p. 88.)

After booking, Plaintiff went to a cell for what seemed to him to be hours. (Beatty Tr., p. 89.) Plaintiff twice asked a Deputy for medication and reported that he was thirsty and needed something to drink. (Beatty Tr., p. 89.) The Deputy told him to drink from the sink in his cell. (Beatty Tr., p. 89.) After Plaintiff reported that the sink was inoperable, the Deputy responded that he would try to get Plaintiff a cup of water. (Beatty Tr., p. 89.) After a half hour and not having received any water, Plaintiff again asked the Deputy for medication, explained that he was diabetic, and told him he was thirsty and needed water. (Beatty Tr., pp. 89-90.)

Thereafter, Plaintiff moved to another cell and immediately went to the sink. (Beatty Tr., pp. 90-91.) That sink was also inoperable. (Beatty Tr., p. 91.) When the Deputy in charge of the cell block came by, Plaintiff again stated that he was diabetic and desperately needed insulin. (Beatty Tr., p. 91.) Plaintiff reported that he was becoming dehydrated and was "getting sick." (Beatty Tr., p. 91.) The Deputy told Plaintiff that there was nothing that he could do about it and that he would be moved in the morning. (Beatty Tr., p. 91.) Plaintiff, desperate for water, cupped his hands and drank out of the toilet in his cell to quench his thirst. (Beatty Tr., p. 92.) Plaintiff continued to feel dizzy, delusional, and dehydrated. (Beatty Tr., p. 92.)

C. Plaintiff's Medical Care - April 15, 2005

Plaintiff did not receive medical care until the next afternoon, on April 15, 2005. According to Angela Gibbs, the Senior Medical Secretary at the ECHC, no procedure exists for an inmate who comes into ECHC between 11:30 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. to be examined for medical problems. (Gibbs Tr., Docket No. 75-15, pp. 9, 19.) There is no medical secretary on the second or third shifts. (Gibbs Tr., pp. 17-18.) The booking papers go into the "Medical Department" box to be processed in the morning. (Gibbs Tr., pp. 19-20.) Nurses collect the medical forms and screen them as needed throughout the day until approximately 9:30 p.m. (Gibbs Tr., p. 20.) Forms placed in the box after 9:30 p.m. are collected and reviewed the next morning. (Gibbs Tr., pp. 19-21.)

Gibbs reviewed Plaintiff's booking papers on April 15, 2005, at 9:41 a.m. (Gibbs Tr., pp. 22-23.) She did not interview Plaintiff nor did she ever see him. (Gibbs Tr., p. 23.) After reviewing the booking papers, Gibbs noted that Plaintiff was a diabetic on insulin and delivered the paperwork to the nursing station. (Gibbs Tr., pp. 24-25.) Gibbs estimates that the nurses in the medical department would have received Plaintiff's paperwork between 10:00 and 10:30 a.m. (Gibbs Tr., p. 28.) But it was not until approximately 2:00 p.m. that day that the medical department requested that the booking department send Plaintiff "to medical," because he was a diabetic. (Gibbs Tr., p. 27.)

Kathleen Davidson, a nurse at ECHC, saw Plaintiff in the medical department between 2:00 and 2:15 p.m. (Davidson Aug. 1, 2007 Tr., Docket No. 75-16, pp. 21, 51; Davidson Jan. 30, 2008 Tr., Docket No. 75-18, p. 11.) Plaintiff told Davidson that he had not had insulin since the previous afternoon and had not eaten that day. (Davidson Aug. 1, 2007 Tr., p. 57.) Davidson determined from the booking papers that Plaintiff was an insulin-dependent diabetic, but she did not start an insulin administration sheet for him, nor did she order him a diabetic diet. (Davidson Aug. 1, 2007 Tr., p. 29; Davidson Jan. 30, 2008 Tr., pp. 11-13.) Davidson determined that Plaintiff's blood glucose level was 368 and that he needed insulin.*fn3 (Davidson Aug. 1, 2007 Tr., p. 58; Davidson Jan. 30, 2008 Tr., p. 12.) She took a finger stick and called the doctor, because Plaintiff was scheduled to go to court and needed to be taken care of immediately. (Davidson Aug. 1, 2007 Tr., pp. 35-37; Davidson Jan. 30, 2008 Tr., pp. 13, 17.) Davidson gave Plaintiff water and, at a doctor's direction, administered Plaintiff eight units of Humalog. (Davidson Aug. 1, 2007 Tr., pp. 60-61, 64; Davidson Jan. 30, 2008 Tr., pp. 15, 19, 22, 23.) Plaintiff did not receive any food at that time. (Davidson Aug. 1, 2007 Tr., p. 97.) Davidson also ordered that Plaintiff be seen at 10:00 p.m. that night for a blood glucose check and be seen at 8:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. for blood sugar testing each of the next four days. (Davidson Aug. 1, 2007 Tr., p. 40; Davidson Jan. 30, 2008 Tr., p. 17.)

D. Town Court - April 15, 2005

At approximately 6:30 p.m., Erie County Sheriff's Deputy Michael Beyers took Plaintiff from the ECHC to Elma Town Court. (Beyers Tr., Docket No. 75-20, p. 16.) They arrived at approximately 6:50 p.m. (Beyers Tr., p. 25.) The court arraigned Plaintiff and noted that he seemed disoriented and said he needed insulin, Valium, and pain medication. (Beyers Tr., p. 35.) According to Beyers, he returned Plaintiff to the booking department at ECHC at 8:00 p.m. (Beyers Tr., pp. 16, 26, 32.) Beyers does not know where within the ECHC Plaintiff was housed after he returned from court. (Beyers Tr., p. 38.)

Despite Plaintiff's return to the ECHC at 8:00 p.m., he missed the 10:00 p.m. finger stick that Davidson ordered. (Davidson Aug. 1, 2007 Tr., p. 65.) This is because the medical department mistakenly believed that Plaintiff had not yet returned from court.

Nurse Laura Cudzilo was working in the medical department that evening and noted from Plaintiff's file that he was insulin-dependent. (Cudzilo Tr., Docket No. 75-19, p. 20.) After Plaintiff missed his 10:00 finger stick, Cudzilo was in contact with a Deputy around 10:30 p.m. (Cudzilo Tr., p. 12.) The Deputy advised Cudzilo that Plaintiff was still out at court. (Cudzilo Tr., p. 12.) The next time anyone from the medical department saw Plaintiff was when Davidson responded to an emergency medical call the next day. (Davidson Aug. 1, 2007 Tr., p. 82.)

E. Plaintiff's Medical Emergency - April 16, 2005

At approximately 2:30 p.m. on April 16, 2005, Davidson responded to a medical emergency call from the cell-block. (Davidson Aug. 1, 2007 Tr., p. 82.) The call was made because Plaintiff was found lying unresponsive on the floor of his cell. (Davidson Aug. 1, 2007 Tr., p. 82.) When Davidson arrived, she observed Plaintiff slumped over on his bed mumbling. (Davidson Aug. 1, 2007 Tr., pp. 84, 85.) A deputy reported that Plaintiff had been falling into the walls. (Davidson Aug. 1, 2007 Tr., pp. 84, 85.)

Davidson recognized Plaintiff from the day before, knew that he was an insulin-dependent diabetic, and therefore called for a wheel chair. (Davidson Aug. 1, 2007 Tr., p. 84.) Davidson took Plaintiff to the medical department to do a finger stick and call the doctor. (Davidson ...

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