United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
LUCINDA LOVETT, Co-personal Representative of the Estate of Daniel J. Martin, et al., Plaintiffs,
LANDON HERBERT, et al., Defendants.
ENTRY ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY
William T. Lawrence, Judge United States District Court
cause is before the Court on the Defendants' Motion for
Summary Judgment (Dkt. No. 52). The motion is fully briefed,
and the Court, being duly advised, GRANTS IN
PART AND DENIES IN PART the Defendants' motion for the
reasons set forth below.
Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a) provides that summary judgment
is appropriate “if 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.” In ruling on
a motion for summary judgment, the admissible evidence
presented by the non-moving party must be believed and all
reasonable inferences must be drawn in the non-movant's
favor. Hemsworth v. Quotesmith.com, Inc., 476 F.3d
487, 490 (7th Cir. 2007); Zerante v. DeLuca, 555
F.3d 582, 584 (7th Cir. 2009) (“We view the record in
the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and draw all
reasonable inferences in that party's favor.”).
However, “[a] party who bears the burden of proof on a
particular issue may not rest on its pleadings, but must
affirmatively demonstrate, by specific factual allegations,
that there is a genuine issue of material fact that requires
trial.” Hemsworth, 476 F.3d at 490. Finally,
the non-moving party bears the burden of specifically
identifying the relevant evidence of record, and “the
court is not required to ‘scour the record in search of
evidence to defeat a motion for summary judgment.'”
Ritchie v. Glidden Co., 242 F.3d 713, 723 (7th Cir.
2001) (citation omitted).
SUMMARY OF FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS
properly supported facts of record, viewed in the light most
favorable to the Plaintiffs, Lucinda Lovett and Michael
Lovett, Co-Personal Representatives of the Estate of Daniel
J. Martin, are as follows.
December 13, 2013, Danny Joe Martin was arrested by Indiana
State Trooper Todd Brown as a habitual traffic violator and
for operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Brown took Martin
to the Clay County Jail. Martin was booked into the Clay
County Jail by Amber Lambert and Defendants Landon Herbert
and Zach Overton, correctional officers with the Clay County
Sheriff. At the jail, Martin was given a breath test.
Martin's blood alcohol content (“BAC”)
registered 0.16, although neither Defendant Herbert nor
Defendant Overton looked at the sheet on which Martin's
BAC was recorded. Defendant Herbert knew that Martin had
failed a sobriety test at the scene of the arrest and had
refused to take a breath test at the jail. Defendant Herbert
smelled alcohol on Martin, but neither Herbert nor Overton
observed any slurred speech or stumbling on Martin's
part. After Martin was booked in and fingerprinted, he asked
to retrieve a phone number from his cell phone so that he
could arrange for his dog to be fed.
receiving area of the jail, where new arrivals to the jail
are temporarily housed, has six two-person holding cells
(cells R1-R6), a padded cell, a one-person medical isolation
cell, and a holding tank (drunk tank). Defendant Overton made
the decision to place Martin in cell R- 4. After the officers
finished booking Martin in, Defendant Herbert escorted Martin
to cell R4. Holding cell R4 is a two-person cell with a bunk
bed. The bunk bed did not have a ladder to access the top
bunk. The lower bunk was occupied by an inmate who had
recently undergone surgery for cancer.
told Herbert that he could not get onto the top bunk because
he was too drunk.Defendant Herbert told Martin to take the
mattress from the top bunk and put it on the floor. The
mattress can be removed from the bunk by one person, and that
person does not need to climb to the top of the bunk to
remove the mattress.
eventually did climb onto the top bunk, where he lay for
approximately twenty minutes. At approximately 2:30 a.m.,
while attempting to climb down from the top bunk, Martin fell
and hit his head on a table that was on the opposite wall. No
jail officer monitored Martin between the time he was placed
in R4 and the time he fell.
fell to the floor and lay face down. He broke two vertebrae
and damaged his spinal cord in the fall, rendering him a
quadriplegic. Defendant Herbert entered Martin's cell and
found him to be unresponsive. Martin was transported by
ambulance to a hospital located in Brazil, Indiana and
subsequently airlifted to St. Vincent Hospital. Martin
remained hospitalized or in a rehabilitation center until his
death on May 7, 2014.
Plaintiffs have brought an action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 alleging violations of the Fourth and Fourteenth
Amendments. They seek compensation for injuries, including
wrongful death, that they allege resulted from the negligent
and objectively unreasonable treatment of Daniel J. Martin in
the Clay County Jail on December 13, 2013. They have sued
Michael W. Heaton, Sheriff of Clay County,  in his official
capacity and jail officers Landon Herbert and Zachary Overton
in their individual capacities.
Fourth Amendment Claims
Plaintiffs argue that the Defendants violated Martin's
Fourth Amendment rights by failing to exercise reasonable
care for Martin's medical needs and safety. The Fourth
Amendment's “objectively unreasonable”
standard applies to claims brought by arrestees who have not
yet had a probable cause hearing, regardless of whether the
claims relate to an officer's conduct regarding an
arrestee's medical care or general conditions of
confinement. See Currie v. Chhabra,728 F.3d 626,
629 (7th Cir. 2013). For the Plaintiffs to survive summary
judgment on their claims brought under Section 1983, they are
required to point to evidence of record from which ...