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Man loses appeal of suit against sheriff, jail medical staff

November 20, 2012

A man who was held in Delaware County jail for nine days before he was released because no charges were filed sued the county sheriff and jail medical staff alleging indifference to his serious medical condition. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendants.

Shane Holloway, who has Klippel-Trenaunay Syndrome, which causes chronic body pain, was arrested Sept. 29, 2009, on suspicion of dealing drugs. A master commissioner informed Holloway of the probable cause determination and ordered that Holloway be released by 9 a.m. Oct. 7 if the prosecutor didn’t file formal charges. During his time in jail, the medical staff did not give him Oxycontin, which he took to manage pain, but instead prescribed Tylenol and ibuprofen.

Holloway was released on Oct. 7 after charges weren’t filed. He filed his lawsuit against the county sheriff, Dr. Nadir Al-Shami and two nurses claiming they were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs. While in jail, he only mentioned he was in pain once to the medical staff, although he later said he was in pain the entire time but kept quiet.

The District Court granted the defendants’ motions for summary judgment, finding Holloway did not show that an unconstitutional policy or custom resulted in a constitutional deprivation. Also, Holloway didn’t produce evidence to support an inference that the doctor or nurses were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs.

In Shane A. Holloway v. Delaware County Sheriff, in his official capacity, et al., 12-2592, the 7th Circuit found the length of Holloway’s detention did not violate the 14th Amendment and agreed that the sheriff didn’t act pursuant to an unconstitutional policy or custom. With regard to the medical staff, Holloway didn’t show any evidence that Al-Shami intended to cause Holloway pain or knew that the drugs he prescribed would be insufficient to alleviate Holloway’s symptoms. The judges also pointed out that the nurses could not prescribe medication on their own and didn’t act with deliberate indifference in following the doctor’s orders.

 

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