418 F.3d 934 (8th Cir. 2005), 04-2799, Pool v. Sebastian County, Arkansas

Docket Nº:04-2799.
Citation:418 F.3d 934
Party Name:Talisa D. POOL, Appellee, v. SEBASTIAN COUNTY, ARKANSAS; Sebastian County Sheriff's Office; Frank Atkinson, Sheriff; Jim Rush; Donna Seamster; Charles Wall; Gayla Grist; Matt Brown; John and Jane Does, 1-5, Appellants.
Case Date:August 18, 2005
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

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418 F.3d 934 (8th Cir. 2005)

Talisa D. POOL, Appellee,


SEBASTIAN COUNTY, ARKANSAS; Sebastian County Sheriff's Office; Frank Atkinson, Sheriff; Jim Rush; Donna Seamster; Charles Wall; Gayla Grist; Matt Brown; John and Jane Does, 1-5, Appellants.

No. 04-2799.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit.

August 18, 2005

Submitted: March 18, 2005.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas.

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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Jason E. Owens, argued, Little Rock, AR, for appellant.

John Wesley Hall, argued, Little Rock, AR, for appellee.

Before RILEY, BOWMAN, and GRUENDER, Circuit Judges.

GRUENDER, Circuit Judge.

Talisa Pool suffered a miscarriage at the Sebastian County Detention Center ("SCDC") while awaiting transfer to the Arkansas Department of Corrections. Pool filed suit against the following defendants: Sebastian County, Arkansas; the Sebastian County Sheriff's Office; Frank Atkinson, the Sheriff of Sebastian County, Arkansas; Jim Rush, a jail administrator; Donna Seamster, a licensed practical nurse; Charles Wall, a registered nurse;

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Lt. Gayla Grist; Deputy Matt Brown; and various John and Jane Doe jailers.

Pool alleged four claims in her complaint: (1) a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Arkansas law that the defendants were deliberately indifferent to her serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment; (2) a claim under the Arkansas Civil Rights Act based on a provision of the Arkansas Constitution that states: "The policy of Arkansas is to protect the life of every unborn child from conception until birth, to the extent permitted by the Federal Constitution."; (3) a claim under Arkansas law for the tort of outrage; and (4) a claim under Arkansas law against Seamster and Wall for medical injury due to negligence.

The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment. The district court1 granted the defendants' motion for summary judgment on claims (2)-(4) above. In addition, the district court granted summary judgment to defendant Matt Brown on all claims because he was not employed at the SCDC at the time of the incident. However, the district court denied summary judgment to all of the other defendants on the § 1983 claim, holding that genuine issues of material fact exist as to whether the defendants were deliberately indifferent and that the defendants are not entitled qualified immunity.

The remaining defendants (" Appellants") now bring this interlocutory appeal from the district court's denial of their motion for summary judgment based on qualified immunity. Ordinarily, a party cannot appeal from a denial of summary judgment. Moore v. Duffy, 255 F.3d 543, 545 (8th Cir. 2001). However, "government officials who lose their motions for summary judgment on the basis of qualified immunity are . . . entitled to an immediate review solely to determine whether the plaintiff s claims allege a violation of clearly established law." Johnson-El v. Schoemehl, 878 F.2d 1043, 1046 (8th Cir. 1989). Therefore, the only issue on appeal is whether the district court erred in denying Appellants' motion for summary judgment on the § 1983 claim based on qualified immunity. For the reasons discussed below, we dismiss for lack of jurisdiction in part, and we affirm in part.


We adopt in large part the statement of facts in the district court's memorandum opinion. See Talisa D. Pool v. Sebastian County, Ark., No. 03-2112, slip op. at 2-16 (W.D. Ark. June 28, 2004). The following facts are drawn from Pool's deposition testimony and written records maintained by the SCDC.

Following a jury trial, Pool was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to ten years in prison. The Arkansas Court of Appeals affirmed her conviction and sentence. While out on bond pending her appeal, Pool learned she was pregnant by taking a home pregnancy test. Pool believed she was a couple of months pregnant. She called the Health Department and made an appointment for prenatal care. However, before the appointment, Pool turned herself in to begin serving her sentence.

On May 8, 2001, she was booked into the SCDC pending transfer to the Arkansas Department of Corrections. Earlier that day, Pool realized she was bleeding. When she went to the bathroom, she noticed light blood in the commode and put

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on a sanitary pad. When Pool turned herself into the SCDC, she was not visibly pregnant at the time. However, as part of the booking-in process, she completed a medical questionnaire on which she indicated that she was currently pregnant. The questionnaire contained the following question: "Is there anything else we need to know about your health?" In response, Pool wrote: "I am passing blood clots." Pool also asked if she could be seen by a nurse. She was told that she would have to fill out a form for money to be deducted from her account. Pool stated that she had no problem with that and just needed to see the nurse. Pool completed the form.

A medical treatment report dated May 8, 2001 and completed by Donna Seamster, a licensed practical nurse, indicates that Pool stated she was pregnant and bleeding. It was noted that Pool was demanding transportation to the emergency room. Seamster indicated that Pool was instructed to rest with her feet elevated.

Although the May 8 report contains a line indicating that Pool had been "seen by" Seamster, Pool maintains that she was not seen until the following day at about 8:00 a.m. or 9:00 a.m. According to Pool, the nurse was "real rude." The nurse asked Pool if she was pregnant and when Pool responded "yes," the nurse asked how she knew she was pregnant. Pool responded that she had taken a home pregnancy test. The nurse also asked Pool why she thought she needed to go to the emergency room. Pool responded that she had started hemorrhaging on her way to the jail and had put on a sanitary pad. Pool asked the nurse for some Tylenol and pads, but the nurse responded that she just needed bed rest. According to Pool, the nurse did not believe she was pregnant.

Seamster's medical treatment report dated May 9, 2001 states that according to a twenty-hour activity log, Pool had not asked for sanitary pads. It also notes that Pool had been observed standing in the recreation yard and visiting with her peers. The report indicates that Pool had been served three meals without difficulty or complaint and that no blood was observed in the commode.

After her visit to the nurse, Pool returned to her cell and lay down. She stayed in her bed all day, slept, and held her belly because of cramping in her abdominal area. When meals came, some of the other female inmates brought her tray to her. Again, she requested Tylenol and pads, but she was told that they were out of both. Throughout the day, she continued to ask for Tylenol and pads but never received any.

Finally, after a shift change, one of the other inmates was able to get her some pads. Fellow inmates took a pad containing blood clots to one of the deputies who was supposed to show it to the nurse on duty. Despite this, no one came to check on her or asked how she was doing.

Pool ached and continued to pass blood clots and overflow her sanitary pads. She rested with her feet up and slept in her clothes. According to Pool, she felt so bad while she was in the SCDC that she did not shower or go to the recreation yard.

On May 11, 2001, Pool was told to pack up her things because she was going to be taken to Benton County. Pool put on her street clothes. During the drive she was cramping and dozed in and out. By the time she got to Benton County, Pool had bled through her clothes and onto the seat of the bus. One of the male inmates told Pool she had blood on her clothes.

During the booking-in process at Benton County, Pool asked if she could be seen by

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the nurse. The booking officer asked what was wrong and Pool replied that she was pregnant and bleeding. When the booking officer saw her clothes, Pool was immediately taken to see the nurse. The nurse asked Pool to take off her clothes. Noticing that blood had overflowed the pad and through Pool's clothes, the nurse asked why she hadn't been taken to the doctor or hospital. Pool responded that she didn't know and that she had been bleeding like this for a couple of days. Pool asked the nurse if she could get her to the hospital because she felt like she was going to lose her baby. The nurse replied that she would see what she could do. Pool testified that she was passing quarter-sized blood clots during this time.

Pool was told to shower and to put on a Benton County jail uniform. She also was given some pads. However, about an hour later, Pool was told that she was going to be taken back to the SCDC and that she needed to pack up her things. Pool changed back into her bloody clothes.

A medical treatment report completed by Charles Wall, a registered nurse, indicates that Pool was returning to the SCDC from Benton County. Wall directed that Pool be placed in an observation cell, that her pad usage and bleeding be noted, and that she be encouraged to rest. He wrote that "we will observe pt. for alleged bleeding though been unable to affirm."

When Pool returned to the SCDC, she put on a uniform and was placed in an observation cell. She was told that the doctor would see her that night. The cell had a small window in the door that was kept covered from the outside. According to Pool, the observation window was opened only once while she was in the cell. When the door was opened to push in her meal tray, Pool asked the female deputy if or when she was going to see the doctor. She was told that the doctor had been checking on her throughout the night. Pool responded that she hadn't spoken to the doctor.

Pool could not eat, was cramping badly and bleeding. According to Pool, on...

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