United States District Court, W.D. Texas, Austin Division
SPARKS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
REMEMBERED on this day the Court reviewed the file in the
above-styled cause, and specifically Defendants City of
Pflugerville and Officer Tyler Summers' Motion to Dismiss
[#28], Plaintiff Jose Moran's Response [#39] in
opposition, and Defendants' Reply [#40], as well as
Officer Summers' Motion for Summary Judgment [#29] and
the City's Motion for Summary Judgment [#30], Moran's
Consolidated Response [#38] in opposition, and
Defendants' Consolidated Reply [#42] in
support. Having reviewed the documents, the
governing law, and the file as a whole, the Court now enters
the following opinion and orders.
case involves Section 1983 claims for violations of the
Fourteenth Amendment right to due process, as well as claims
for violations of the rights secured by the Americans with
Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act (RA). The
crux of Plaintiff Jose Moran's suit is his claim that
Officer Tyler Summers denied him medical care when he failed
to check Moran into the emergency room subsequent to his
arrest, after which Moran wandered outside, into the street,
and was struck by a hit-and-run driver.
approximately 7:32 p.m. on September 3, 2013, Moran was
involved in a single-car collision near 1600 Settlers Valley
Road in Pflugerville, Texas. Summers' Mot. Summ. J.
[#29-1] Ex. A (Summers Decl.) ¶ 3. Several officers
responded to the accident, including Officer Summers of the
Pflugerville Police Department. Id. Officer Summers
investigated the scene of the accident and spoke with Moran,
who informed Officer Summers he was diabetic. Resp. [#38-3]
Ex. 2 (Police Dept. Records) at 19-20; id. Ex. 7
(Summers Dep.) at 36:6-11. EMS personnel on the scene offered
Moran treatment and transport to the hospital, but he refused
treatment three times. Summers' Mot. Summ. J. [#29-1] Ex.
E (EMS First Response Records) at 147.
to Moran, at the time of the accident, he had not taken his
insulin in three days and, in fact, was on his way to pick up
his insulin from the pharmacy when the accident occurred.
Id. Ex. 1 (Moran Decl.) ¶¶ 8-10. Moran was
diagnosed with type II diabetes in 1996 and is aware that
when he fails to take insulin, his blood sugar rises.
Id. ¶ 3. When his blood sugar is too high, he
"get[s] confused, " has trouble "standing
upright, " and "walking in a straight line."
Id. ¶ 6. Moran testified that when he is in
this condition, he has trouble "thinking clearly"
and taking care of himself, so he will generally ask a friend
to help him seek medical attention. Id. ¶¶
further admitted to Officer Summers that he had one beer
around 4:30 p.m. that afternoon. Police Dept. Records at 19.
He advised Officer Summers that because of his diabetes, one
beer "was too much for him." Id.
Suspecting Moran of driving while intoxicated, Officer
Summers asked Moran to perform two field sobriety tests.
Id. The parties dispute whether Moran actually
performed these tests. Resp. [#38] at 3. Moran contends he
informed Officer Summers he could not do the field sobriety
tests "because of [his] diabetes." Moran Decl.
¶ 11. According to Officer Summers' report, however,
Moran performed two field sobriety tests and exhibited
several signs of intoxication. Police Dept. Records at 19-20.
Officer Summers then asked Moran if alcohol was a factor in
the collision, and Moran stated it probably was. Id.
at 20. The parties agree that Officer Summers then took Moran
into custody and informed Moran he was under arrest for
driving while intoxicated. Id.; Moran Decl. ¶
13. Officer Summers then transported Moran to the Travis
County jail. Id.
Summers and Moran arrived at the jail at 9:04 p.m.
Summers' Dash Cam at 21:04:05. Around 11:00 p.m., Nurse
Cathy Garcia evaluated Moran and determined his blood sugar
was 435. Resp. [#38-3] Ex. 13 (Garcia Decl.) ¶6. Garcia
testified that a normal blood sugar level for someone without
diabetes is between 70 and 110. Id. ¶ 10. She
further testified that because Moran's blood sugar of 435
seemed comparatively high, there were moderate ketones
present in his urine, and Moran appeared to be under the
influence of alcohol, Garcia believed Moran's medical
condition was unstable and therefore refused to book him as
an inmate. Id. ¶¶ 9-10. Accordingly,
Garcia directed Officer Summers to take Moran to the
emergency room in Brackenridge Hospital for treatment.
Id. at ¶ 11.
the short car ride from the jail to the hospital, Officer
Summers maintained a conversation with Moran, wherein he told
Moran he had two choices: Officer Summers could either
accompany Moran to the hospital and then return him to the
jail, or Officer Summers could release Moran in order to
receive the medical attention he needed. Summers' Dash
Cam at 23:24:55. When Officer Summers asked Moran if he would
refuse treatment at the hospital, Moran replied he would not.
Id. at 23:25:34. Moran expressly stated,
I'm not going to refuse the treatment. I mean I'm
fully, fully knowledgeable guy so I'm not going to refuse
anything. For real. For real. And I am glad that you
understand me how my situation is and you're willing to
take me to the hospital to be checked out for medical issues.
I don't refuse anything.
Id. at 23:25:30-23:26:15.
deposition, Officer Summers testified he believe Moran had
sobered up since his initial arrest and could describe his
medical needs to the hospital staff. Summers' Mot. Summ.
J. [#29-1] Ex. F (Summers Dep.) at 93:17-23. Officer Summers
further believed that if it were an emergency situation,
Garcia would have called an ambulance to take Moran to the
hospital. Id. at 31:24-32:9.
however, maintains he was not lucid during this car ride, and
in fact, does not remember this conversation with Officer
Summers or the ensuing "rambling soliloquy, "
wherein Moran talked about needing a police escort to pick up
his things from his wife's house the following day. Moran
Decl. ¶ 17. At his deposition, Moran explained he has
never been married. Resp. [#38-3] Ex. 14 (Moran Dep.) at
28:19-21. In support of Moran's contention that he was
disoriented during the car ride, Moran points to his hospital
medical records, which reveal that twenty minutes after Moran
was dropped off at the hospital, his blood alcohol level was
still .09. Summers' Mot. Summ. J. [#29-1] Ex. C
(Brackenridge Records) at 106.
11:29 p.m., Officer Summers and Moran arrived at the
hospital. Summers' Dash Cam at 23:29:58. The parties
agree Officer Summers left the hospital at 11:32 p.m.-just
over two minutes after he arrived-and during that time,
Officer Summers exited the vehicle, assisted Moran out of the
car, removed his handcuffs, and retrieved Moran's
possessions from the trunk of his car. Moran Decl. ¶ 18;
Summers Dep. at 38:13-39:23; Summers Dash Cam at 23:30:15. At
this point the parties' stories diverge. According to
Officer Summers, he expressly told Moran he was released from
custody before walking Moran up ten stairs and through a door
to the entrance of the emergency room, where he saw Moran
speak with a hospital staff member. Summers Dep. at
40:4-42:4. He then returned to his car and drove away. Moran,
however, maintains that Officer Summers did not tell him he
was released from custody and simply instructed Moran to
"go check yourself in." Moran Decl. ¶¶
20-21. Thus, according to Moran, Officer Summers did not
escort Moran inside the emergency room, nor did he tell any
medical provider of Moran's condition. Id.
previously testified that after Officer Summers dropped him
off, he entered the emergency room and spoke with a woman at
the front desk. Summers' Mot. Summ. J. [#29-1] Ex. D
(Moran Dep.) at 155:11-16. He did not tell anyone at the
emergency room he was diabetic. Id. at 170:25-171:1.
Moran took a seat in the lobby and waited approximately
fifteen to twenty minutes. Id. at 156:6-8. Moran
then told a nearby patient to save his seat and walked
outside to "get some fresh air." Moran Decl. ¶
24. Moran contends this is the last thing he remembers before
waking up in the hospital. Id. Although Moran waited
in the lobby for some time, "no one at Brackenridge ever
knew Moran had arrived, had extremely high blood sugar, and
needed medical treatment." Resp. [#38] at 8.
before midnight, Moran was hit by a hit-and-run driver.
Id. Ex. 4 (Austin Police Department Records) at 68.
EMS records reveal Moran was found in the middle of the road
on the opposite side of the hospital, "unconscious . . .
[and] bleeding from a severe laceration to the front of his
head." Id.; Summers' Mot. Summ. J. [#29-1]
Ex. H (EMS Second Response Records) at 197. He was
transported back to the hospital. EMS Second Response Records
intake at the hospital, a Hemoglobin A-lc test was conducted,
which provides a 2-3 month average of blood sugars.
Brackenridge Records at 46. According to Moran's
physicians' records, the goal of a Hemoglobin A-lc test
is to achieve a reading below 7.0. Id. at 46.
Moran's Hemoglobin A-lc on the night he was admitted to
the hospital was 14. Id. at 106. As noted above,
Moran's blood alcohol concentration was 0.09.
Id. Moran was not released from the hospital until
September 19, 2013. Id.
September 1, 2015, Moran filed a lawsuit against Officer
Summers in his individual capacity, the City, and Seton
Family Hospitals (Seton). See Compl. [#1].
Subsequently, the Court granted Moran's motion to dismiss
his claims against Seton with prejudice. See
PL's Agreed Mot. Dismiss [#12]; Order of Nov. 10, 2015
[#13]. In his complaint, Moran alleges Officer Summers
violated his Fourteenth Amendment right to due process by
being deliberately indifferent to his medical needs. Compl.
[#1] ¶¶ 30-35. As to the City, Moran contends it
violated his constitutional rights by "fail[ing] to
train officers that patients in custody must be admitted to
the hospital, not merely left on the curb at the
hospital." Id. ¶ 38. Moran further claims
the City intentionally discriminated against Moran in
violation of the ADA and RA by failing to provide him with
reasonable accommodations, "such as admission to or
monitoring at the hospital when his blood sugar was
dangerously high." Id. ¶ 46.
separately moved for summary judgment. Officer Summers argues
the Court should grant summary judgment in his favor because
he is entitled to qualified immunity, while the City contends
summary judgment is warranted because no policy or practice
was adopted with deliberate indifference to Moran's
clearly established constitutional rights. See
Summers' Mot. Summ. J. [#29] at 16; City's Mot. Summ.
J. [#30] at 7-12. These motions have been fully briefed and
are now ripe for the Court's consideration.