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Baughman v. Hickman

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

August 15, 2019

STEVEN KURT BAUGHMAN, Plaintiff-Appellant
v.
RON HICKMAN; DOCTOR MARCUS GUICE, Medical Doctor; LICENSED VOCATIONAL NURSE K. JOHNSON; HARRIS COUNTY, TEXAS; DEPUTY DURHAM; LICENSED VOCATIONAL NURSE JANE DOE; HENRI MADIKO, Licensed Vocational Nurse; DEPUTY RICHARD PRUITT; DAVID SOLCE, Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine; MEDICAL DOCTOR M. HAQUE; STEPHEN WILLIAMS, Medical Doctor, Defendants-Appellees

          Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas

          Before HIGGINBOTHAM, SMITH, and SOUTHWICK, Circuit Judges.

          LESLIE H. SOUTHWICK, CIRCUIT JUDGE.

         A pretrial detainee sued Harris County, Texas and county jail officials for allegedly violating his constitutional rights by being deliberately indifferent to his health, safety, and medical needs. He also sued a prison nurse for retaliation and Harris County for negligence under Texas law. The district court dismissed some of the claims on the pleadings and granted summary judgment for the defendants on all others. We AFFIRM.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Steven Baughman was in custody of the Harris County, Texas Sheriff's Office at the time the events relevant to this suit took place. On November 11, 2015, sheriff deputies transported him to a hospital from which he was discharged the next day. Deputy Sheriff Richard Pruitt picked Baughman up at the hospital in a sheriff's-office van to return him to jail. Baughman alleges that during this ride, Deputy Pruitt drove recklessly and caused Baughman, who was handcuffed, shackled, and not secured by a seatbelt, to be thrown out of his seat and injured when the van lurched after hitting a pothole or speed bump.

         Baughman further claims that once back at the jail, he sought medical attention but was rebuffed by the jail's medical staff. Those responsible are said to be Nurse Henri Madiko, unknown Nurse Jane Doe, Deputy Bryan Durham, and Drs. Stephan Williams and M. Haque. Baughman also alleges that Drs. Williams and Haque, along with another sheriff-office doctor, David Solce, generally denied him appropriate treatment.

         Finally, Baughman claims that two and a half weeks after the van ride, another nurse, Kellie Johnson, refused to administer his medication and then retaliated against him after he filed an administrative complaint against her.

         Proceeding pro se, Baughman sued Deputy Pruitt, Nurse Madiko, Nurse Jane Doe, Deputy Durham, Dr. Williams, Dr. Solce, and Nurse Johnson in their individual capacities. He also sued the jail's interim Executive Director for Health Services Dr. Marcus Guice and the former sheriff of Harris County Ron Hickman for their supervisory roles. He brought his suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, claiming deliberate indifference to his health, safety, and medical needs. Baughman also asserted a retaliation claim against Nurse Johnson. Seeking county liability, he further sued Harris County along with Dr. Guice and Sheriff Hickman in their official capacities. Last, Baughman asserted a negligence claim under the Texas Tort Claims Act against Harris County. Baughman requested a declaration that his rights had been violated along with injunctive relief and damages.

         Deputy Pruitt, Nurse Madiko, Deputy Durham, Sheriff Hickman, Harris County, Dr. Guice, and Nurse Johnson filed a joint motion for summary judgment. Drs. Williams and Haque filed separate motions to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Nurse Jane Doe and Doctor Solce were never served, but the district court evaluated the claims against them under the Prison Litigation Reform Act. The district court dismissed all of the federal claims and declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the Texas-law claim. The district court also dismissed Baughman's motions for appointment of counsel and a stay.

         Baughman appealed, contending the district court erred when it dismissed his claims and refused to appoint counsel. He also filed a motion for appointment of counsel in this court. Drs. Williams and Haque filed a motion in this court for leave to file a sur-reply or alternatively to strike portions of Baughman's reply brief. These motions have been carried with the case.

         DISCUSSION

         The district court dismissed some of the claims as failing to state a claim and granted summary judgment on others. "A dismissal for failure to state a claim under Rule 12(b)(6) is reviewed 'de novo, accepting all well-pleaded facts as true and viewing those facts in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.'" Whitaker v. Collier, 862 F.3d 490, 496-97 (5th Cir. 2017) (citation omitted). A provision of the Prison Litigation Reform Act incorporates similar analysis by allowing dismissal if the suit is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(ii). A separate provision requiring a district court to screen prisoner cases before docketing them allows dismissal for similar reasons. § 1915A(b)(1).

         Our review of the grant of summary judgment is "de novo, viewing 'all facts and evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party'" and ensuring "the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Burell v. Prudential Ins. Co. of Am., 820 F.3d 132, 136 (5th Cir. 2016) (citations omitted).

         I. Deliberate ...


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