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Fourte v. Faulkner County

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

March 25, 2014

Broderick Fourte, Plaintiff - Appellee
v.
Faulkner County, Arkansas; Karl Byrd, in his official and individual capacities; John Randall, in his official and individual capacities; Bobby Brown; Tamara R. Lumpkin, in her official and individual capacities; Dr. Garry Stewart, in his official and individual capacities, Defendants - Appellants

Submitted January 16, 2014.

Page 385

Appeal from United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas - Little Rock.

For Broderick Fourte, Plaintiff - Appellee: Mark Leverett, Leverett & Watts, Little Rock, AR; Willard Proctor Jr., Little Rock, AR.

For Faulkner County, Arkansas, Karl Byrd, in his official and individual capacities, John Randall, in his official and individual capacities, Bobby Brown, Tamara R. Lumpkin, in her official and individual capacities, Dr. Garry Stewart, in his official and individual capacities, Defendants - Appellants: Jason E. Owens, Geoffrey Thompson, Rainwater & Holt, Little Rock, AR.

Before GRUENDER, BENTON, and KELLY, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 386

BENTON, Circuit Judge.

This interlocutory appeal tests the line between negligence and deliberate indifference to an inmate's chronic medical condition. If the inmate is not medically screened, has his condition monitored but not treated, and has a prescription delayed, may officials receive qualified immunity? Here, Broderick L. Fourte, Sr. suffered from high blood pressure. He claims he became partially blind after treatment was delayed while in the Faulkner County, Arkansas jail. He sued the attending physician, Dr. Garry L. Stewart, the jail nurse, Tamara R. Lumpkin, and the County for violating his right against cruel and unusual punishment.[1] Dr. Stewart and Nurse Lumpkin asserted qualified immunity. The district court found factual questions that precluded summary judgment. This court affirms in part, reverses in part, and remands.

I.

On September 25, 2009, Fourte was admitted to the County jail as a pre-trial detainee. He did not receive a medical screening. On October 3, he submitted a medical form complaining of high blood pressure and asking jail staff to call two family members who could get his " meds." Fourte's family was never contacted. The guards began a daily log of his blood pressure on October 5. Nurse Lumpkin's name appears at the top of the log. Dr. Stewart reviewed it weekly. Unless an emergency level of 180/120 is reached, Dr. Stewart's practice is to monitor blood pressure for at least 30 days before prescribing medication.

During October, Fourte's median blood pressure was 150/104, with most readings between 140/95 and 160/110. On October 24 and 30, he submitted the form complaining

Page 387

of vision loss and requesting blood-pressure medicine.[2] On October 30, his blood pressure read 180/121. Nurse Lumpkin gave him a blood-pressure pill. On October 31, he submitted the form and wrote, " Thanks for the blood pressure pill but I need it every day and I am losing my eye. I don't see that good. It's getting bad. I need help please I need help bad." On November 2, Nurse Lumpkin scheduled a visit with Dr. Stewart for November 5. After Dr. Stewart examined him on November 5, he prescribed Hydrochlorothiazide to start on November 7. The medication did not arrive until November 18--after Dr. Stewart issued a second prescription for it. On ...


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