Barrie v. Grand County, Utah, No. 96-4027

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore KELLY, Circuit Judge, BRISCOE, Circuit Judge, and McWILLIAMS; McWILLIAMS; BRISCOE
Citation119 F.3d 862
Parties97 CJ C.A.R. 1227 Deborah BARRIE, Personal Representative of the Estate of Alan Charles Ricks, deceased; Alice Ricks, the Natural Mother and heir of Alan Charles Ricks; and Cheiliegh Ricks, the minor child and heir of Alan Charles Ricks, by and through her Guardian Ad Litem, Becky Freeman, Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. GRAND COUNTY, UTAH, a political subdivision of the State of Utah; James D. Nyland, Sheriff of Grand County, Utah; Archie Walker, Deputy Sheriff, Grand County, Utah; Kim Neal, Deputy Sheriff, Grand County, Utah; David Knutson, Grand County Commissioner; Manuel Torres, Grand County Commissioner; and Sam Cunningham, Grand County Commissioner, Defendants-Appellees.
Docket NumberNo. 96-4027
Decision Date23 July 1997

Page 862

119 F.3d 862
97 CJ C.A.R. 1227
Deborah BARRIE, Personal Representative of the Estate of
Alan Charles Ricks, deceased; Alice Ricks, the Natural
Mother and heir of Alan Charles Ricks; and Cheiliegh Ricks,
the minor child and heir of Alan Charles Ricks, by and
through her Guardian Ad Litem, Becky Freeman, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
v.
GRAND COUNTY, UTAH, a political subdivision of the State of
Utah; James D. Nyland, Sheriff of Grand County, Utah;
Archie Walker, Deputy Sheriff, Grand County, Utah; Kim
Neal, Deputy Sheriff, Grand County, Utah; David Knutson,
Grand County Commissioner; Manuel Torres, Grand County
Commissioner; and Sam Cunningham, Grand County
Commissioner, Defendants-Appellees.
No. 96-4027.
United States Court of Appeals,
Tenth Circuit.
July 23, 1997.

Page 863

Submitted on the briefs *

Michael P. Zaccheo, Christian W. Nelson, Richards, Brandt, Miller & Nelson, Salt Lake City, UT, for Plaintiffs-Appellants.

Dale J. Lambert, Karra J. Porter, Christensen & Jensen, Salt Lake City, UT, for Defendants-Appellees.

Before KELLY, Circuit Judge, BRISCOE, Circuit Judge, and McWILLIAMS, Senior Circuit Judge.

McWILLIAMS, Senior Circuit Judge.

On October 27, 1991, Alan Charles Ricks committed suicide in the county jail in Grand County, Utah. On October 19, 1993, Deborah Barrie, sister of Alan Ricks and the personal representative of Ricks' estate; Alice Ricks, the mother and heir of Ricks; and Cheiliegh Ricks, the minor child and heir of Ricks, filed a civil rights action in the United States District Court for the District of Utah. Jurisdiction was based on 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1988. Named as defendants were the following: Grand County, Utah, a political subdivision of the State of Utah; James D. Nyland, the sheriff of Grand County; Archie Walker and Kim Neal, deputy sheriffs for Grand County; and Grand County Commissioners David Knutson, Manuel Torres and Sam Cunningham.

In their complaint, the plaintiffs, under the heading "General Factual Allegations," alleged as follows: (1) Ricks was arrested in Grand County, Utah, without warrant by deputies of the Grand County Sheriff's office on October 26, 1991, at about 6:00 p.m. and was taken to the Grand County jail, arriving there about 7:00 p.m. on October 26, 1991; (2) after being booked, Ricks was placed in the jail's "drunk tank" at about 7:30 p.m., deputy Walker noting, inter alia, that Ricks had been drinking alcohol; (3) deputy Walker permitted Ricks to retain possession of the clothes he was wearing at the time of his arrest, which included a pair of sweat pants containing a 38-inch long cloth cord to cinch the waist of the sweat pants; (4) a jail cell

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check of Ricks was made around 11:15 p.m., without incident, and, thereafter, about 1:00 a.m. on October 27, 1991, deputy Neal, while making a routine jail check, observed Ricks in his cell and moving about, though Walker did not speak to Ricks at that time; and (5) at about 2:00 a.m. on October 27, 1991, deputy Neal, when he was unable to see Ricks in the isolation cell, entered the cell and found Ricks hanging from the 38-inch sweat pants draw cord, which had been fashioned into a noose, looped around Ricks' neck and tied to the bars of the cell, and Ricks was dead.

The first cause of action set forth in the complaint concerned the claim of Deborah Barrie, as personal representative of Ricks' estate. In that claim Barrie alleged, inter alia, that deputy sheriffs Walker and Neal confined Ricks to "unreasonable conditions of confinement," which violated the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution. Barrie then went on to allege that the Grand County Commissioners and Sheriff Nyland also acted "unreasonably" in violation of Ricks' right to be free from unreasonable seizures as secured by the Fourth Amendment, by, for example, failing to have constructed a modern jail facility, failing to adequately train and supervise jail personnel, and the like.

The second, and remaining claim in the complaint, combined the claims of Alice Ricks, Ricks' mother, and Cheiliegh Ricks, Ricks' minor child. They realleged the allegations above summarized. They then asserted that they had a "liberty interest" under the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments "in the continued care, comfort and society of their son and father respectively," which interest had been violated by the gross negligence and callous indifference of the defendants. Each of the three plaintiffs sought $1,000,000 as damages.

After considerable discovery by all parties, the defendants filed a motion for summary judgment. 1 A hearing on the motion for summary judgment was held December 20, 1995. At that hearing, defense counsel's basic position was that the duty owed by the defendants to Ricks, a pre-trial detainee, was not to be "deliberately indifferent" to Ricks' safety, and that the background facts, as fully developed by discovery, did not show that the conduct of the defendants rose to the level of "deliberate indifference." Counsel for the plaintiffs argument was, and is, that, although the "deliberate indifference" standard is applicable to a pre-trial detainee who has been brought before a magistrate judge to determine whether there was probable cause for a warrantless arrest, that, where the pretrial detainee has not been brought before a magistrate judge to determine whether there was probable cause for his warrantless arrest, and the arrestee commits suicide, the jailor's conduct is to be judged on an "objective reasonableness" standard, which is not as strict as the "deliberate indifference" standard.

At the conclusion of the hearing, the district court, with brief comment, held that the defendants' conduct was to be tested by the "deliberate indifference" standard and that the facts, as established by the several depositions, did not make out a case of "deliberate indifference." In line with that holding, the district court also concluded that as of the date of Ricks' suicide there was "no clearly established law that deliberate indifference didn't apply, and that only objective reasonableness applied to denial of medical care cases in this situation." Accordingly, the district court then concluded that qualified immunity and legislative immunity applied. On January 3, 1996, the district court, in line with its comment made at the conclusion of the hearing held on December 20, 1995, granted the motion for summary judgment and dismissed the plaintiffs' complaint with prejudice. Plaintiffs appeal. We affirm.

The first issue to be decided is the duty owed by the defendants to Ricks. As stated, the defendants' position is that they are not liable to the plaintiffs unless they were "deliberately indifferent" to Ricks' conditions of confinement, which conditions posed a substantial risk of serious harm to

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Ricks. Plaintiffs' position is that the defendants owed Ricks the duty of exercising "objective reasonableness" to ensure that Ricks was not exposed to a substantial risk of serious harm while in their custody. However, before considering that matter, we perhaps should first examine Ricks' status at the time of his suicide.

The record before us discloses that on October 26, 1991, at approximately 5:26 p.m., Grand County Deputy Sheriff Curt Brewer was dispatched to the scene of an attempted automobile burglary. The citizen-complainant had seen Ricks carrying a purse belonging to his wife. The citizen-complainant, and others, had apprehended Ricks and then called the police. Brewer arrived on the scene at about 5:41 p.m. and backup officers arrived shortly thereafter. Brewer requested the dispatcher to contact detective John McGann and advise him of the situation. In turn, Detective McGann advised Brewer to have an officer drive Ricks to the sheriff's office where Detective McGann would meet the officers. Ricks was arrested at the scene and handcuffed. After the officers had taken photographs of Ricks' vehicle and some of its contents, an officer drove Ricks' vehicle to the sheriff's office. Brewer then advised the dispatcher that he was finished at the location and that he was transporting a male prisoner to the sheriff's office.

Ricks had been cooperative and had given Brewer information concerning his name, address, phone number, next of kin and Social Security number. At about 7:00 p.m. on October 26, after completing his arrest report, Brewer turned Ricks over to deputy sheriff Walker for booking. Walker did detect an odor of alcohol on Ricks. Also, when questioned, inter alia, about whether he had tried to hurt himself in the past, attempt suicide, or was contemplating suicide, Ricks shook his head and answered "no." As Walker finished filling out his initial log, detective McGann took Ricks to his office for questioning. McGann explained to Ricks that he was investigating several recent auto burglaries, and that, before asking Ricks any questions, he was going to read Ricks his rights. When advised of his right to a lawyer, Ricks stated he had better talk to a lawyer before answering any questions. Such terminated the interview and Ricks was returned to the custody of Walker. After the booking was completed, Ricks' shoes, hat and glasses were taken from him and he was placed in the jail's "drunk tank."

At about 11:00 p.m. on October 26, 1991, deputy Kim Neal came on duty, relieving Walker. After Walker briefed Neal on what was going on in the jail, and that he had a prisoner in the tank on vehicle burglary, Neal did a jail check and found Ricks in his cell. In response to Neal's question as to how he was doing, Ricks said "alright" and appeared "fine" to Neal. At about 1:00 a.m. on October 27, 1991, Neal made another jail check and noted Ricks "moving around" in his cell. Neal did not speak to Ricks at this time. Around 2:00 a.m. on October 27, 1991, Neal made another jail check. On this occasion Neal could not see Ricks, so he opened the cell door and entered the cell. He discovered Ricks in...

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140 practice notes
  • Glover v. Gartman, No. CIV 11–0752 JB/LAM.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • September 27, 2012
    ...[899 F.Supp.2d 1126]in the case of “the suicide of a pretrial detainee.” Motion to Dismiss at 9 (quoting Barrie v. Grand County, 119 F.3d 862, 870 (10th Cir.1997)(Briscoe, J., concurring)(internal quotations omitted)). Rice and Collins argue that Count III fails to “support or give rise to ......
  • Crane v. Utah Dep't of Corrs., 20-4032
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • October 21, 2021
    ...800 F.3d 1231, 1249-50 (10th Cir. 2015) (citing Est. of Hocker v. Walsh, 6 22 F.3d 995, 1000 (10th Cir. 1994) and Barrie v. Grand Cnty., 119 F.3d 862, 868-69 (10th Cir. 1997)). The majority does not consider this theory because Ms. Crane did not cite Cox in her opening brief. Maj. Op. at 12......
  • Quintana v. Santa Fe Cnty. Bd. of Comm'rs, No. 19-2039
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Tenth Circuit
    • August 28, 2020
    ...civil liability under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violating pretrial detainees’ constitutional right to medical care. Barrie v. Grand Cty. , 119 F.3d 862, 867–68 (10th Cir. 1997). This right is violated when county employees act with deliberate indifference to detainees’ medical needs. Farmer v. B......
  • County of Sacramento v. Lewis, 961337
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • May 26, 1998
    ...for due process claims based on the medical needs of someone jailed while awaiting trial, see, e.g., Barrie v. Grand County, Utah, 119 F.3d 862, 867 (C.A.10 1997); Weyant v. Okst, 101 F.3d 845, 856 (C.A.2 1996). 10 Rules of due process are not, however, subject to mechanical application in ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
140 cases
  • Glover v. Gartman, No. CIV 11–0752 JB/LAM.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 10th Circuit. District of New Mexico
    • September 27, 2012
    ...[899 F.Supp.2d 1126]in the case of “the suicide of a pretrial detainee.” Motion to Dismiss at 9 (quoting Barrie v. Grand County, 119 F.3d 862, 870 (10th Cir.1997)(Briscoe, J., concurring)(internal quotations omitted)). Rice and Collins argue that Count III fails to “support or give rise to ......
  • Crane v. Utah Dep't of Corrs., 20-4032
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (10th Circuit)
    • October 21, 2021
    ...800 F.3d 1231, 1249-50 (10th Cir. 2015) (citing Est. of Hocker v. Walsh, 6 22 F.3d 995, 1000 (10th Cir. 1994) and Barrie v. Grand Cnty., 119 F.3d 862, 868-69 (10th Cir. 1997)). The majority does not consider this theory because Ms. Crane did not cite Cox in her opening brief. Maj. Op. at 12......
  • Quintana v. Santa Fe Cnty. Bd. of Comm'rs, No. 19-2039
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Tenth Circuit
    • August 28, 2020
    ...civil liability under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violating pretrial detainees’ constitutional right to medical care. Barrie v. Grand Cty. , 119 F.3d 862, 867–68 (10th Cir. 1997). This right is violated when county employees act with deliberate indifference to detainees’ medical needs. Farmer v. B......
  • County of Sacramento v. Lewis, 961337
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • May 26, 1998
    ...for due process claims based on the medical needs of someone jailed while awaiting trial, see, e.g., Barrie v. Grand County, Utah, 119 F.3d 862, 867 (C.A.10 1997); Weyant v. Okst, 101 F.3d 845, 856 (C.A.2 1996). 10 Rules of due process are not, however, subject to mechanical application in ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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