Powers v. County of Lorain, 011108 FED6, 06-4515

Docket Nº:06-4515
Party Name:DONNA J. POWERS, Administratrix of the Estate of Cleon Oliver, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. COUNTY OF LORAIN, OHIO, et al. Defendants-Appellees,
Case Date:January 11, 2008
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

DONNA J. POWERS, Administratrix of the Estate of Cleon Oliver, Plaintiff-Appellant,


COUNTY OF LORAIN, OHIO, et al. Defendants-Appellees,

No. 06-4515

United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

January 11, 2008



BEFORE: MERRITT and CLAY, Circuit Judges; and COX District Judge.

CLAY, Circuit Judge: Plaintiff Donna J. Powers in her capacity as Administratrix of the estate of Cleon Oliver appeals the district court's order granting summary judgment to Defendants Sheriff Phil R. Stammitti and the County of Lorain, Ohio. Plaintiff claims Defendants violated 42 U.S.C. § 1983 because Oliver's death in custody from a drug overdose was the result of Defendants' lack of a drug overdose policy and failure to train correctional staff regarding drug overdoses. For the reasons that follow, we AFFIRM the district court's grant of summary judgment.


A. Procedural History

On June 10, 2005, Plaintiff filed a complaint on behalf of Cleon Oliver's estate against Defendants County of Lorain, Ohio, Lorain County Sheriff Phil R. Stammitti, and two unnamed correctional officers in their individual and official capacities.1 The complaint included federal claims for deprivation of Oliver's constitutional rights and negligent failure to train along with a supplemental state claim for wrongful death. After the completion of discovery, Defendants moved for summary judgment on July 24, 2006. On October 10, 2006, the district court granted summary judgment in favor of Defendants. Plaintiff filed a notice of appeal from this order on November 7, 2006.

B. Substantive Facts

Cleon Oliver was pulled over by a state trooper on December 19, 2003 for having inoperative rear lights. As a result of this stop, Oliver was arrested for driving without a license. Oliver arrived at the Lorain County Correctional Facility ("LCCF") at approximately 2:00 a.m. to be booked. A frisk of Oliver's person after his arrival at the Correctional Facility revealed a plastic bag containing crack cocaine in Oliver's pocket. As part of the booking process, Oliver filled out a medical screening form in which he admitted to using cocaine and marijuana on a daily basis. He also admitted to using drugs and alcohol that night. At approximately 4:30 a.m., Oliver was seen by a nurse who reviewed his answers to the medical screening questions and gave him a TB test. Oliver told the nurse that he had used only marijuana the previous evening and that he had not used cocaine for seven days. After the intake interview, a corrections officer took Oliver to his cell and did not notice any signs of medical problems.

At 6:40 a.m., corrections officers thought they heard Oliver throwing up. Oliver asked to see a nurse, and the corrections officers placed a call requesting a nurse because they believed he had ingested cocaine. Oliver then began banging on the door. He said his heart was stopping, and corrections officers again called the nurse at 6:45 a.m. The nurse replied that she would see him in a little bit. A nurse arrived at 7:05 a.m. and took Oliver's vital signs. His vital signs were all within normal range except his pulse, which was 118, above the normal range of 60-100. The nurse noted that Oliver was "tachycardic" due to his heightened pulse. Oliver complained of an upset stomach and diarrhea and admitted that he had smoked a lot...

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