United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
G. SMITH, J.
Monell v. New York City Department of Social
Services, 436 U.S. 658 (1978), a plaintiff may only hold
a municipality liable for a constitutional deprivation under
42 U.S.C. § 1983 where the alleged deprivation arises
from a policy or custom that amounts to deliberate
indifference to constitutional rights. The plaintiff, a
former inmate, has sued the defendant, a municipality, under
§ 1983 for an alleged beating he endured while
incarcerated, contending that the beating violated his
constitutional rights. He asserts that the defendant's
policy or custom of failing to properly train and supervise
its corrections officers caused the deprivation of his
rights. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment,
which the plaintiff opposes. Because the plaintiff has failed
to point to record evidence establishing a policy or custom,
and has failed to demonstrate that the alleged policy or
custom caused his injuries, the court will grant the
defendant's motion for summary judgment.
FACTUAL RECORD AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
plaintiff, Jeffrey Butler (“Butler”), was
incarcerated at the Northampton County Jail
(“NCJ”) on May 17, 2012. Statement of Material
Undisputed Facts in Supp. of Def.'s Renewed Mot. for
Summ. J. (“Def.'s Facts”) at ¶ 1, Doc.
No. 66; Plaintiff's Resp. to Def.'s Statement of
Purportedly Undisputed Facts (“Pl.'s Facts”)
at ¶ 1, Doc. No. 68. At the time, Butler was taking
prescription medications for a heart problem, diabetes,
depression, and anxiety. Def.'s Facts at ¶ 2;
Pl.'s Facts at ¶ 2. After about three weeks of
incarceration, Butler began suffering from insomnia and
anxiety. Def.'s Facts at ¶ 3; Pl.'s Facts at
¶ 3. A staff member from PrimeCare Medical, the
non-party medical provider at NCJ, saw Butler and prescribed
medication to control his symptoms. Def.'s Facts at
¶ 3; Pl.'s Facts at ¶ 3.
point after being prescribed the new medication, Butler began
experiencing hallucinations. Def.'s Facts at ¶ 4;
Pl.'s Facts at ¶ 4. Butler hallucinated that his
friend and infant children were in his cell wall and could
not breathe or get out. Def.'s Facts at ¶ 5;
Pl.'s Facts at ¶ 5. A PrimeCare staff member
performed a mental health and suicide observation on June 18,
2012, and during that observation, described Butler as
“anxious” and “verbally hostile.”
Def.'s Facts at ¶ 6; Pl.'s Facts at ¶ 6.
The PrimeCare staff member also noted that Butler was banging
on the bars of his cell, would not look the staff member in
the eye, was not following orders, and was questioning the
status of his medications. Def.'s Facts at ¶ 6;
Pl.'s Facts at ¶ 6. Butler was then placed on
suicide watch level two (but was not transported to a suicide
cell) due to irrational behavior and his worry that his
medications had been changed. Def.'s Facts at ¶ 7;
Pl.'s Facts at ¶ 7. The following day, on June 19,
2012, during another observation, Butler was described as
“very anxious, hallucinating, and hostile, ” and
he was found on the floor of his cell yelling “get the
children out of the wall.” Def.'s Facts at ¶
8; Pl.'s Facts at ¶ 8.
approximately 1:45 a.m. on June 20, 2012, Butler was in his
cell yelling about saving the children stuck in the cell
wall. Def.'s Facts at ¶ 9; Pl.'s Facts at ¶
9. Nurse Colleen Bowling ordered that he be placed on suicide
watch level one, and he was accordingly transported to a
suicide cell. Def.'s Facts at ¶¶ 10, 11;
Pl.'s Facts at ¶¶ 10, 11. Butler's clothes,
including a religious medallion, were removed. Def.'s Facts
at ¶¶ 12, 13; Pl.'s Facts at ¶¶ 12,
13. The officers then removed Butler's handcuffs and
exited the cell, and a PrimeCare staff member gave him
medication. Def.'s Facts at ¶ 14; Pl.'s Facts at
that day, Nurse Bowling observed Butler sitting upright on
his bunk. Def.'s Facts at ¶ 15; Pl.'s Facts at
¶ 15. Butler reported pain in his ribs, but he was
wearing a suicide gown and Nurse Bowling observed no bruises
on him at that time. Def.'s Facts at ¶¶ 15, 16;
Pl.'s Facts at ¶¶ 15, 16.
Mental Health Clinician Catherine Filszar
(“Filszar”) observed Butler between 8:50 a.m. and
9:05 a.m. and noted that he was talking to the walls, banging
on the walls and windows, and yelling about people coming out
of the walls. Def.'s Facts at ¶ 17; Pl.'s Facts
at ¶ 17. Fliszar also noted that Butler presented in
“an acute, psychotic state, with auditory and visual
hallucinations, delusions, disorganized thinking, loose
associations, incoherent speech, [and] rapid speech.”
Def.'s Facts at ¶ 18; Pl.'s Facts at ¶ 18.
Butler seemed “completely out of touch with reality,
irrational, and unable to verbally deescalate.”
Def.'s Facts at ¶ 19; Pl.'s Facts at ¶ 19.
Fliszar contacted the nursing staff to “contact [a]
psychiatrist for stat PRN and possible restraint chair
order.” Def.'s Facts at ¶ 20; Pl.'s Facts
at ¶ 20.
returned to observe Butler sometime between 9:50 a.m. and
11:00 a.m. and described him as in an “acute psychotic
state. He yelled, screamed, experienced auditory and visual
hallucinations, was delusional, paranoid, hostile, labile,
verbally and physically aggressive . . . he was completely
out of touch with reality and could not be
deescalated.” Def.'s Facts at ¶ 21; Pl.'s
Facts at ¶ 21.
approximately 10:45 a.m., medical staff observed Butler
behaving irrationally in his cell and refusing to take
medication. Def.'s Facts at ¶ 22; Pl.'s Facts at
¶ 22. The medical staff notified corrections officers
that Butler needed to be “given a shot of
medication.” Def.'s Facts at ¶ 23; Pl.'s
Facts at ¶ 23. Butler was very erratic and was unaware
of who was talking to him. Def.'s Facts at ¶ 24;
Pl.'s Facts at ¶ 24.
Lieutenant Boushell called for the CERT team to remove Butler
from his cell and, pursuant to PrimeCare orders, place him in
a restraint chair. Def.'s Facts at ¶ 25; Pl.'s
Facts at ¶ 25. Butler was removed from his cell, placed
in a restraint chair, and given an injection of medication.
Def.'s Facts at ¶ 26; Pl.'s Facts at ¶ 26.
Butler remained in the chair for one hour, and Fliszar
observed him several times. Def.'s Facts at ¶ 27;
Pl.'s Facts at ¶ 27.
a.m. on June 21, 2012, Fliszar checked on Butler and noted
that he claimed his ribs were broken and “repeatedly
asked [her] to get him ‘the McDonald's bag'
that was on the food cart. [She] showed him that it was not a
McDonald's bag, and he became agitated and refused to
speak with [her] anymore.” Def.'s Facts at ¶
28; Pl.'s Facts at ¶ 28. She noted that Butler
presented as easily agitated and delusional with disorganized
thoughts, and continued to be acutely psychotic. Def.'s
Facts at ¶ 29; Pl.'s Facts at ¶ 29. Later,
Physician's Assistant Jennifer Mroz (“Mroz”)
saw Butler, and he complained about shoulder and rib pain.
Def.'s Facts at ¶ 30; Pl.'s Facts at ¶ 30.
Mroz also noted that he had contusions on his arms and
shoulder. Def.'s Facts at ¶ 31; Pl.'s Facts at
¶ 31. Mroz ordered an x-ray to be completed the same
day. Def.'s Facts at ¶ 32; Pl.'s Facts at ¶
23, 2012, Butler was released from NCJ. Def.'s Facts at
¶ 35; Pl.'s Facts at ¶ 35. Upon release,
Butler's girlfriend and an acquaintance, both registered
nurses, noticed that Butler could not walk, was badly
bruised, and was gasping for air due to broken ribs.
Def.'s Facts at ¶¶ 38, 39; Pl.'s Facts at
¶¶ 38, 39. Two weeks later, on July 4, 2012, an
x-ray indicated that Butler had broken ribs. Def.'s Facts
at ¶ 36; Pl.'s Facts at ¶ 36.
filed this lawsuit on June 17, 2014, against the County of
Northampton (“the County”) and various
individuals employed at NCJ for the alleged beating he
endured while incarcerated on June 20, 2012. Doc. No. 1. On
January 8, 2016, the Honorable James Knoll Gardner granted
summary judgment in favor of the individual defendants
because Butler had not presented evidence demonstrating that
any individual defendant was personally involved in the
alleged wrongdoing. Opinion at 22-23, 24, Doc. No. 52. Judge
Gardner also granted summary judgment as to the ...