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Hinton v. Moore

United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Western Division

February 9, 2018

HENRY HINTON, JR. PLAINTIFF
v.
JANET MOORE DEFENDANT

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Michael T. Parker United States Magistrate Judge.

         THIS MATTER came before the Court for an evidentiary hearing on January 29, 2018, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b).[1] Plaintiff appeared pro se, and Honorable Wayne Dowdy appeared on behalf of Defendant Janet Moore. Having heard the arguments of the parties and considered all the evidence, the undersigned finds that Plaintiff failed to prove by a preponderance of the evidence the claim asserted against Defendant. Accordingly, the undersigned recommends that this matter be dismissed with prejudice.

         BACKGROUND

         This lawsuit arises from events which took place while Plaintiff was incarcerated at the Pike County Jail.[2] According to Plaintiff, he entered the jail on June 30, 2014, and was transferred to a Mississippi Department of Corrections facility on November 24, 2015. Plaintiff asserts a claim for denial of adequate medical care against Defendant Nurse Janet Moore. As relief, Plaintiff seeks compensatory damages.

         ANALYSIS

         During the evidentiary hearing, Plaintiff testified that he does not have high blood pressure, but has “high blood pressure tendencies.” According to Plaintiff, his blood pressure is not high unless he eats a lot of salt. Plaintiff testified that he informed Nurse Moore that he wanted a low salt diet. According to Plaintiff, Nurse Moore responded by stating, “do not tell me what you want; tell me what your symptoms are, ” and informing Plaintiff that the jail does not provide a low salt diet.

         Plaintiff testified that he began to feel sick, but Nurse Moore did not provide him help. Plaintiff stated that he wrote letters to a lieutenant at the jail and the mayor of the city. According to Plaintiff, he was taken to the Osyka Medical Clinic in November of 2014, and he informed the nurse practitioner at the clinic, Kim Snow, [3] that he needed a low salt diet. Plaintiff stated that Nurse Snow did not provide him a low salt diet, but provided him blood pressure medications. Plaintiff testified that he continued to feel sick, and Nurse Moore informed him that it would take time for the blood pressure medication to work.

         Plaintiff testified that after he woke up on December 19, 2014, he had pain in his arm and was unable to move the arm well. According to Plaintiff, he informed Nurse Moore that he had a stroke, but she refused to send him to the hospital and stated, “that will teach you to stay out of jail.”[4] Plaintiff stated that he continued to submit sick call requests, and in February of 2015, he was placed in a “hallway” cell for better observation. Plaintiff testified, however, that Nurse Moore only checked his blood pressure once. He also testified that he washed his food in order to reduce the amount of salt.

         As an example of similar behavior on the part of Nurse Moore, Plaintiff testified that in June of 2015, he complained of constipation and requested a high fiber diet, but Nurse Moore denied his request and instead sent him to Osyka Medical Clinic, where he was given a prescription for a stool softener. He also stated that Nurse Moore refused to send him to a dentist after he lost a tooth and refused to refer him for surgery for a knot on his side.

         Nurse Moore also testified during the evidentiary hearing, and her testimony paints a very different picture. She submitted a medical record demonstrating that she recommended a “no added salt” diet for Plaintiff, but he refused to sign the form. See Defendant's Exhibit 1. Nurse Moore also testified that the food served at the jail is not high sodium food. According to Nurse Moore, she checked Plaintiff's blood pressure multiple times during his incarceration at the Pike County Jail. She submitted a medical record indicating that Plaintiff's blood pressure was checked twenty-seven separate times at the jail. See Defendant's Exhibit 6(e).

         Nurse Moore testified that although Plaintiff's blood pressure was sometimes high, it never reached dangerous levels. According to Nurse Moore, she referred Plaintiff to the Osyka Medical Clinic in November of 2014 because he decided that he wanted medications. See Defendant's Exhibit 9(c). She stated that once medications were prescribed, she provided them to Plaintiff.

         She testified that on December 19, 2014, Plaintiff approached her and said he had a stroke. According to Nurse Moore, she assessed Plaintiff and, after seeing no symptoms of a stroke, decided not to send him to the hospital. Nurse Moore stated that Plaintiff was using his arm, had no facial drooping, had no speech difficulty, and had no difficulty with walking. See Defendant's Exhibit 6(c). She also observed Plaintiff on the jail's cameras and saw that he appeared to have full use of his arms.

         In response to this testimony, Plaintiff pointed out that jail policy requires the following: “In the event of a medical emergency, or a perceived medical emergency, jail staff on duty will arrange for medical services without undue delay.” See Plaintiff's Exhibit A3. Nurse Moore replied that she did not perceive a medical emergency. She also stated that nearly all the inmates claim they have a medical emergency, and that is why she has to assess them to determine if there is a real emergency.

         Nurse Moore also testified that after Plaintiff was attacked by other inmates on July 21, 2015, she assessed his injuries, provided him ice packs, and sent to an outside medical provider, Stat Care. According to Nurse Moore, Plaintiff also received treatment from an ophthalmologist and ...


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