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BROWN v. MONMOUTH COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEP.

May 10, 2005.

TYRONE BROWN, Plaintiff,
v.
MONMOUTH COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS & MEDICAL DEPARTMENT, et al., Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MARY COOPER, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This matter comes before the Court on the motion for summary judgment, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure ("Rule") 56(c), by defendant County of Monmouth, improperly pleaded as Monmouth County Sheriff's Department of Corrections and Medical Department, ("Monmouth County"). The Court, for the reasons stated herein, will be grant the motion.

BACKGROUND

  I. Facts

  Plaintiff pro se, Tyrone Brown, while incarcerated at the Monmouth County Correctional Institute ("MCCI"), was struck on the head by a weight bar as he used a bench press, allegedly made by Universal Fitness, Inc. ("Universal"), in MCCI's weight room on October 30, 2002 ("the initial incident"). (Monmouth County Br. at 1.) Plaintiff contends that the weight bar fell on his head because a bolt, that had been replaced by Monmouth County with a non-factory bolt, broke. (Pl. Br. at 1-2.) Plaintiff claims to have lost consciousness. (Id.) Monmouth County, however, contends plaintiff denied losing consciousness when asked by medical personnel at the scene of the initial incident. (Monmouth County Br. at 2.) Plaintiff claims that he suffered permanent injury as a result of the incident, specifically that his senses of smell and taste are distorted, he suffers from chronic back pain, and his right knee pops out of place with fast movements.*fn1 (Jones Cert., Ex. A, Interrogatories, at 5.)

  Plaintiff was taken to the MCCI infirmary immediately following the initial incident where he was examined by, at the very least, licensed nurse R. Condora. (Monmouth County Br. at 2.) Plaintiff contends that he was not evaluated by a doctor, but rather only by Nurse Condora. (Pl. Br. at 3.) Monmouth County claims that plaintiff was examined after the initial incident by Doctor Y. Masood. (Monmouth County Br. at 3.) Monmouth County cites treatment notes in support of this contention, which indicate that Doctor Masood examined plaintiff and found that he was oriented, his overall appearance was appropriate, that there was no bruising, lacerations, erythema, or neurological defect, and minimal swelling. (Id. (citing Jones Cert., Ex. L, 10-30-02 Masood Treatment Notes).) Plaintiff was prescribed ibuprofen and released back to the general population. (Id.)

  MCCI infirmary personnel received a call that same afternoon indicating that plaintiff had fallen down the stairs in his pod ("the second incident"). (Jones Cert., Ex. N., 10-30-02 Marion Bibby, RN Treatment Notes relating to the second incident.) When medical personnel arrived at the scene plaintiff was observed lying prone on the floor at the foot of the staircase with his arms and legs spread out and his feet resting on the bottom two stairs. (Id.) Plaintiff was "alert [and] responsive, but holding [his] eyelids closed tightly most of the time." (Id.) Plaintiff was able to open his eyes on command and move his arms, fingers, and legs at times, but remained motionless in the same position for approximately thirty minutes until the first aid squad arrived. (Id.) Treatment notes indicate that there was no flaccidity nor evidence of abrasions, lacerations, bruises, redness, lumps, or deformities. (Id.) Plaintiff was immobilized and transported to Centra State Medical Center ("CSMC") for further examination. (Id.)

  The MCCI infirmary received a call at 9pm on October 30, 2002 from an emergency room nurse at CSMC indicating that plaintiff was being released back to MCCI. (Jones Cert., Ex. O, 10-30-02 Bibby Treatment Notes relating to plaintiff's return from CSMC.) MCCI infirmary nurse, Marion Bibby, was told by a CSMC nurse that a CT scan was performed and was negative and that plaintiff was ambulatory. (Id.) MCCI was advised that plaintiff should continue taking Motrin and follow up with an orthopedist but that special housing was unnecessary. (Id.) Plaintiff, upon his return to MCCI, was observed to be ambulatory and in good spirits and was given priority for a bottom bunk and an ice pack for comfort. (Id.)

  Plaintiff was examined in the infirmary on October 31, 2002 by advanced practice nurse Pamela Duke. (Jones Cert., Ex. P, 10-31-02 Treatment Notes.) Plaintiff complained of seeing "little flashes of light in both eyes," headaches, an inability to taste his food, and neck and lower back pain. (Id.) Plaintiff also complained of pain when he touched his chin to his chest. (Id.) Plaintiff was observed to have full range of motion otherwise. (Id.) Plaintiff also was observed to have "superficial scratches" on his forehead. (Id.) Advanced practice nurse Duke noted that plaintiff's symptoms did "not match [his] injury and physical exam." (Id.) Plaintiff was given Motrin and told to perform gentle range of motion exercises for his neck and back. (Id.)

  Plaintiff was examined by advanced practice nurse Albert Endler on November 1, 2002. (Jones Cert., Ex. Q, 11-1-02 Treatment Notes.) Plaintiff complained of headaches, joint stiffness and insomnia, secondary to neck and back pain. (Id.) Plaintiff's neck appeared normal but range of motion of the neck revealed pain. (Id.) Plaintiff was prescribed Benedryl for sleep. (Id.) Plaintiff complained of back pain and dizziness when he was examined by Doctor Masood on November 5, 2002. (Jones Cert., Ex. R, 11-5-02 Treatment Notes.) Doctor Masood's examination revealed that plaintiff was oriented and had an appropriate overall appearance. (Id.) Doctor Masood noted that plaintiff had an atraumtic normal cranium and did not have lesions on his head or face. (Id.) The doctor also noted that plaintiff's pupils were equally round and reacted to light. (Id.) Plaintiff's neck was normal, non-tender, and had full range of motion. (Id.) Doctor Masood assessed plaintiff as having a well exam and back muscle spasm. (Id.) Doctor Masood further commented: "No physical signs of injury, was examined at CSMC ER, for this `fall', all work up, [x-rays] negative." (Id.) It was also noted that plaintiff wanted to be in the infirmary and a back and neck brace. (Id.)

  Plaintiff complained of dizziness and was examined by Doctor Edmund Preston on November 12, 2002. (Jones Cert., Ex. S, 11-12-02 Treatment Notes.) Doctor Preston's examination of plaintiff revealed that plaintiff was oriented and had an overall appropriate appearance. (Id.) Plaintiff's pupils were equally round and reacted to light. (Id.) Plaintiff's neck was normal, nontender, and had full range of motion. (Id.) Doctor Preston assessed plaintiff as having a backache and dizziness. (Id.) The doctor prescribed Motrin and Flexeril. (Id.) Plaintiff continued to complain of dizziness on November 21, 2002. (Jones Cert., Ex. T, 11-21-02 Treatment notes.) Plaintiff was examined by advance practice nurse Endler on that day and found to have decreased lumbar mobility and tenderness upon palpation of the lumbar musculature. (Id.) Plaintiff was assessed as having dizziness and a loss of taste sensation. (Id.) Advance practice nurse Endler recommended that plaintiff's Flexeril prescription be allowed to expire, as it was potentially attributing to plaintiff's dizziness. (Id.)

  Michael Feldler, MA attempted to interview plaintiff on November 23, 2002. (Jones Cert., Ex. U, 11-23-02 Feldler Notes.) Plaintiff however indicated that he had no mental health issues. (Id.) Plaintiff was prescribed ibuprofen and advised to continue his current plan by advanced practice nurse Mary C. Krug on an November 27, 2002 followup visit. (Jones Cert., Ex. V, 11-27-02 Treatment Notes.) Plaintiff went to the MCCI infirmary on December 9, 2002 complaining of a backache and was examined by Doctor Masood. (Jones Cert., Ex. W, 12-9-02 Treatment Notes.) The doctor found that Plaintiff's back was not tender with palpation but found that plaintiff had limited range of motion with any movement and was ambulating stiffly with a cane. (Id.) Doctor Masood prescribed Naprosyn and noted that plaintiff was given a sheet of back exercises at his last visit. (Id.) Plaintiff has not had any further medical treatment since December 9, 2002. (Monmouth County Br. at 7.) II. Procedural History

  Plaintiff filed a complaint against Monmouth County in this Court on November 22, 2002. The Court entered its opinion, on March 11, 2003, finding that the complaint failed to state a claim. The Court, therefore, granted plaintiff leave to file an amended complaint. Plaintiff filed an amended complaint against Monmouth County on April 29, 2003. The Court, in a May 27, 2003 order, dismissed the complaint with prejudice because the amended complaint failed to address the deficiencies described in the Court's March 11, 2003 opinion. Plaintiff moved for reconsideration on July 9, 2003. The Court granted plaintiff's motion for reconsideration and ordered that its May 27, 2003 order dismissing the complaint with prejudice be vacated on September 5, 2003.

  Plaintiff filed a second amended complaint, which was received by the Clerk's Office on September 28, 2004, asserting claims against Monmouth County and Universal. The complaint alleges that Monmouth County's conscious act of using the wrong replacement bolt to replace a factory part and failing to provide adequate exercise equipment constitutes deliberate indifference to the conditions of plaintiff's confinement in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution. (Id. at 1.) Plaintiff also contends that Monmouth County was deliberately indifferent to his medical condition because "more should have been done by way of diagnosis and treatment" after he sustained a head injury. (Id. at 1-2.) Plaintiff specially contends that he should have been put under observation for a few hours after the initial incident and that he was not seen by a doctor after that incident. (Id.) ...


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