Smith v. Lisenbe, 4:20 CV 804 JMB

CourtUnited States District Courts. 8th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Missouri)
PartiesLADY MAAKIA CHARLENE SMITH, personal representative of the Estate of Bilal Hasanie Hill, deceased, Plaintiff, v. RICHARD L. LISENBE, in his official capacity, DR. ARTHUR BENTLEY, DIONNE KELLEY, KELLY RATCLIFF, JOE TAYLOR, ADVANCED CORRECTIONAL HEALTHCARE, INC., and DR. TRAVIS SCHAMBER, Defendants.
Docket Number4:20 CV 804 JMB
Decision Date10 February 2022

LADY MAAKIA CHARLENE SMITH, personal representative of the Estate of Bilal Hasanie Hill, deceased, Plaintiff,


No. 4:20 CV 804 JMB

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

February 10, 2022



On October 4, 2019, Bilal Hasanie Hill was detained at the Phelps County Jail after being arrested by the United States Marshal Service. While in pretrial detention, he sought medical care from jail officers for a variety of symptoms and was seen by medical personnel employed by Advanced Correctional Healthcare, Inc. (“ACH”), which provides medical personnel and healthcare to the detainees at the jail. On April 1, 2020, he was transported to an emergency room and then to the Cox Health where he was diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer, for which there was no cure. Hill was thereafter granted compassionate release to the care of his sister, Lady Maakia Charlene Smith, on April 9, 2020. He passed away on January 14, 2021.

Hill filed a complaint on June 19, 2020 and Smith filed a third amended complaint on May 26, 2021 (Doc. 122), as the personal representative to his estate, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and state law.[1] She alleges that the individual defendants, Dr. Arthur Bentley, nurse Dionne Kelley,


Sheriff Richard L. Lisenbe, Sergeant Deborah Glenn, officer Kelly Ratcliff, Lieutenant Joe Taylor, Dr. Travis Schamber, and Does 1-15 (hereinafter “County defendants”), were deliberately indifferent to Hill's serious medical needs (Count I), that defendants ACH, Phelps County Sheriff's Department, Phelps County Jail, Lisenbe (in his official capacity), Schamber, and Bentley (in his official capacity) employed unconstitutional policies, practices, and/or customs and failed to train or supervise (Count II), that defendants Bentley, Schamber, Kelley, and ACH engaged in medical negligence (Count III), and that they negligently inflicted emotional distress (Count IV). On July 27, 2021, Count IV was dismissed (Doc. 172). And, on December 9, 2021, plaintiff filed a stipulation pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 41(a)(1)(A)(ii) dismissing with prejudice defendants Lisenbe (in his individual capacity), Phelps County Sheriff's Department, Phelps County Jail, and Glenn, and dismissing without prejudice Does 1-15 (Doc. 195).[2]

Now pending before the Court are the motions for summary judgment filed by the County defendants (Doc. 127), defendant Schamber (Doc. 145), and the motions for partial summary judgment filed by defendant Kelley (Doc. 148), defendant Bentley (Doc. 151), and defendant ACH (Doc. 154).[3] Plaintiff filed a consolidated response in opposition and the motions are fully briefed (Docs. 166, 178, and 188). The parties have consented to the jurisdiction of the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c).

For the following reasons, the County defendants' motion is GRANTED in part and MOOTED in part (Doc. 127), defendant Schamber's motion is GRANTED in part and MOOTED in part (Doc. 145), defendant Kelley's motion is DENIED in part and MOOTED


in part (Doc. 148), defendant Bentley's motion is DENIED in part, GRANTED in part, and MOOTED in part (Doc. 151), and defendant ACH's motion is GRANTED in part and MOOTED in part (Doc. 154).[4]


The following relevant facts are undisputed or taken in a light most favorable to the non-moving party, in this case, plaintiff.

When Hill was booked at the Phelps County Jail on October 4, 2019, he was initially screened by Ratcliff and Hill reported no complaints about this back or shoulder (Plaintiff's Statement of Uncontroverted Material Facts (“PSUMF”), ¶ 6). Hill's first point of contact with medical staff at the jail was a medical screening by Kelley, a licensed practical nurse, on October 8, 2019 (Doc. 150, [5] ¶¶ 3, 32). At the time, he was a one-pack-a-day cigarette smoker, exercised regularly, weighed 196.5 pounds, was 6'3” tall, and did not report any significant medical issues (PSUMF ¶¶ 6, 7).

Hill began experiencing pain in December 2019 and complained about it to jail employees[6](PSUMF ¶ 10).[7] In early January, 2020, he complained to Ratcliff about pain in various parts of


his body and she directed him to fill out a sick call request form (Doc. 167-13, p. 4). On January 13, 2020, Hill reported to Glenn that he had constant pain in his left shoulder that began a week prior (PSUMF ¶ 43; Doc. 167-1, p. 18).[8] That same day, he filled out a sick call request form requesting a doctor or nurse visit and indicating that he had “extreme back and neck pain shooting from shoulder blade to neck” (PSUMF ¶ 44, Doc. 167-1, p. 19). In response, Glenn contacted Bentley, who was the physician on site at the Phelps County Jail (PSUMF ¶¶ 4, 44). That same day, Bentley prescribed 1000 mg of Tylenol, twice daily for three days and directed Hill to see the nurse the next day (PSUMF ¶ 44; Doc. 167-1, p. 18). The next day, Hill was examined by Kelley who noted that he reported his pain began two weeks ago at night, that he does not experience pain with movement but rather when he is inactive (PSUMF ¶ 46; Doc 167-1, p. 17). Upon a physical examination, Bentley diagnosed Hill with a pulled trapezius muscle, prescribed a tapering dose of prednisone (an anti-inflammatory steroid) for 16 days, and directed him to reduce his workouts (PSUMF ¶ 47; Doc. 169, ¶ 26).[9] Bentley expected Hill's condition to resolve in about 6 weeks (Doc. 167-3, p. 9). A week later, on January 21, 2020, Hill filled out another sick call request form complaining of new and worsening symptoms and requesting further testing (x-ray) and accommodations (extra mattresses) (Doc. 167-1, p. 16). However, he declined to be seen by Kelley on that day (Doc. 150, ¶ 40).[10]


On January 25, 2020, Hill reported to a correctional officer[11] that he had a sharp/shooting/pulsating pain under his left nipple that had lasted for 10-15 minutes (PSUMF ¶ 50; Doc. 169, ¶ 35). Hill's symptoms were notated on a “Circulatory/Chest Pain” form which states that he had pain in his left neck and shoulder (and in particular under his left nipple), did not have heart disease, diabetes, elevated blood pressure, other medical conditions, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, or abnormal sweating (Doc. 167-1, p. 14). Bentley did not believe Hill was suffering from a cardiac problem and directed that he be given 500 mg of Tylenol once, that his vitals be rechecked in 2 hours (and to inform the doctor if they are abnormal), and that he be referred to see the nurse (Id. 15; Doc. 169, ¶ 35). It is unclear from the medical records whether his vitals were rechecked that day. Around this time period, Hill testified that Bentley asked him when he was “going home” and stated that “you know, if you're going home, because maybe it's something that you could take care of when you get on the outside” (Doc. 167-4, p. 10).

Nonetheless, Kelley followed up with Hill on January 27 (Doc. 167-1, p. 13). The medical record is difficult to decipher, but it appears to indicate that Hill denied chest pain and cardiac related discomfort but that he complained of stiff neck/back muscles and stated that “basically my shoulder and back is bothering me the most” (Id.). No. new orders were received by the nurse from Bentley and Hill was directed to “continue the current physician order on exercise/activity” (Id.). At some point at the end of January, Hill relayed other symptoms to Bentley and Kelley including a lump on his neck (Doc. 167-4, p. 9). He further informed them that he was having trouble breathing, that his voice was changing and that it was hard for him to swallow (Id. 9-10). In response, Bentley gave him three days' worth of Tylenol (Id. 10). The medical records themselves


do not reflect that Hill complained of trouble breathing or swallowing, either in January or February, 2020, and it is unclear whether Kelley told Bentley about Hill's additional symptoms. Also during this time period (and through April, 2020), his pain woke him up at night and caused him to cry, holler, and scream - again, the medical records do not reflect these reactions to his pain (Doc. 167-4, pp. 10-11).[12]

On February 6, 2020, Hill submitted a grievance to jail officials stating that he has been in “extreme pain” for the last month, that he has been misdiagnosed, that he is in pain that causes sleeplessness, and that he should be sent to an emergency room (Doc. 167-1, p. 21). In response, Lieutenant Taylor, the jail administrator, stated:

I have spoken to the nurse, she informs me that you have seen the Dr. on two occasions about your back. Three times total, you paid for two visits. I was also informed that the Dr. explained to you what the issue is with your back and what you needed to do to help relieve the issue. You have been treated with predisone, plus Tylenol on two separate occasions. You have been observed exercising with regularity and jumping up and down. I am not sure what it is you are wanting? If it is Tylenol you want whenever you want it you will have to purchase it on commissary. I have talked to the nurse after our conversation in the Horseshoe. She is going to get Tylenol for you for the next five days and put you on the Dr.'s list for next week. You must follow the Dr.'s orders. I will follow up after the Dr. sees you next week.


That same day, Hill was seen by Kelley (“per C.O. request”) - upon examination, his lungs and chest were “clear to auscultation, ” he had a normal heart rate, and it is noted that he was told to “cont. [decreasing] activity per Dr. order” (Doc. 157, p. 24; Doc. 169 ¶ 39).


Hill filled out another grievance on...

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