United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Wichita Falls Division
JAMES DYLAN BRYANT, TDCJ No. 2237271, Plaintiff,
CAPTAIN LISA PATTERSON, et al., Defendants.
FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
RAY, JR. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
the Court are the Motion for Default Judgment/Motion for
Summary Judgment (ECF No. 39) filed on March 21, 2019 by
Plaintiff James Dylan Bryant (“Bryant”); Response
to the Motion for Default Judgment (ECF No. 41) filed on
March 29, 2019 by Defendants Josephine A. Colunga, Dr.
Branden Ohman, Captain Lisa Patterson, and Corporal Debra
White (“the Defendants”); Bryant's Reply in
Support of Motion for Default Judgment (ECF No. 43) filed on
April 10, 2019; Defendants' Response to Bryant's
Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 44) and Brief in Support
(ECF No. 45) filed on April 11, 2019; and Bryant's Reply
in Support of Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 46) filed
on April 25, 2019. Also pending is Bryant's Motion for
Injunctive Relief (ECF No. 18) filed on October 29, 2018.
reviewing the pleadings and applicable legal authorities, the
undersigned RECOMMENDS that Chief United
States District Judge Barbara M. G. Lynn
DENY Bryant's Motion for Default
Judgment/Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 39) and Motion
for Injunctive Relief (ECF No. 18).
proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis,
filed this case on September 12, 2018, alleging that
Defendants violated his civil rights by denying him medical
treatment for a hand injury sustained during his arrest. (ECF
No. 1). On September 27, 2018, Bryant filed an amended
complaint. (ECF No. 5). The following alleged facts are taken
from his amended complaint and response (ECF No. 20) to the
Court's questionnaire (ECF No. 19).
August 9, 2018, Bryant was arrested and taken to the Wichita
County Jail Annex. (ECF No. 5 at 4). He arrived at the jail
with a broken hand and was refused medical attention.
(Id.). Nurse Colunga “[r]ushed [him] through
[b]ook-in; and [d]enied [his] need for emergency medical
attention.” (Id. at 3). (See also ECF
No. 20 at 6, 9). Dr. Ohman examined Bryant twenty-four days
after he entered the jail. (ECF No. 5 at 4, 6). This delay
violated the jail's protocol. (Id. at 6).
filed numerous grievances and requested “sick
calls” to have the jail's administrators
investigate his hand injury. (Id.). Corporal White
“[f]ailed to [p]roperly look into [his] grievances,
furthering the wait time it took for [him] to receive proper
medical care, ” and Captain Patterson “[f]ailed
to realize [he] was denied [his] right for medical care upon
[b]ook-in.” (Id. at 3). Corporal White and
Captain Patterson denied his grievances because they
incorrectly presumed that he was complaining of a previous
hand injury sustained in June 2017. (Id. at 6). One
of his treating physicians, Dr. Dan Babbel, told him that his
current hand injury “was not an old injury, and . . .
compared . . . two [x]-[r]ay[s], ” showing him the
differences between his old and current injuries.
(Id.). (See also ECF No. 20 at 4). Dr.
Babbel informed him that because he “was not given
immediate medical attention, [his current hand injury] . . .
healed wrong, ” and that “the disfigurement
[could] not be fixed by surgery due to the amount of
calcification.” (ECF No. 5 at 6). On the same day he
saw Dr. Babbel, his hand was put in a cast and was still in a
cast on September 27, 2018, the day he filed his amended
complaint. (Id.). Dr. Ohman “overlooked the
fact that [he] had a broken hand & [d]enied [his] need
for medical care.” (Id. at 3).
response to the Court's questionnaire, Bryant clarified
that his right hand was injured during his arrest because law
enforcement “rough handl[ed]” him and
“stepp[ed] on [his] hand while [he] was laying
facedown.” (ECF No. 20 at 2-3). When Bryant arrived at
the jail, his right hand was “in pain [and] swol[l]en,
” his “[b]one was sticking out . . . in a
disfigured manner, ” and he “was unable to . . .
close [his right] hand all the way.” (Id. at
4). “Even a layperson could see [his right] hand was
broken [and] [n]eeded immediate medical attention.”
(Id.). Dr. Jason Holinbeck confirmed that
Bryant's right hand was broken when he saw him six weeks
after he was booked into the jail. (Id.). The injury
to his right hand constituted a serious medical condition
because he was given a referral to an orthopedic doctor.
Bryant filed his amended complaint and response to the
Court's questionnaire, the Court ordered the Defendants
to answer or file a responsive pleading. (See ECF
No. 26). Thereafter, Corporal White and Captain Patterson
filed a Motion for Continuance (ECF No. 30) to extend their
answer date. The Court granted the Motion on February 7, 2019
and extended their answer deadline until Saturday, March 9,
2019. (See ECF No. 31). Corporal White and Captain
Patterson filed their answer on March 11, 2019, the next day
following March 9 that was not a Saturday, Sunday, or a legal
holiday, as provided by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
6(a)(1)(C). (ECF No. 36).
February 28, 2019 and March 5, 2019, respectively, Dr. Ohman
and Nurse Colunga were properly served with process.
(See ECF Nos. 37-38). They filed their joint answer
to Bryant's amended complaint on March 22, 2019. (ECF No.
40). Before they filed their answer, Bryant filed the instant
Motion for Default Judgment/Motion for Summary Judgment on
March 21, 2019 in which he alleges that the Defendants failed
to answer his amended complaint and requests entry of default
judgment. (ECF No. 39 at 1-2). He further alleges that he is
entitled to summary judgment because he provided the Court
with supplementary evidence and a founded grievance from the
Wichita County Jail Annex, demonstrating that he suffered a
constitutional violation when he was denied medical attention
for his hand injury. (Id. at 3). The parties have
briefed Bryant's Motion (ECF No. 39), and it is ripe for
Motion for Injunctive Relief (ECF No. 18) filed on October
29, 2018, Bryant alleges that he had not received physical
therapy twice per week for six weeks as was prescribed for
his hand injury. (Id. at 1). He also requested that
the Court release him on an “[a]ppearance [b]ond”
while awaiting trial and sentencing on his state charges,
making physical therapy more accessible. (Id.).
Motion for Default Judgment
Rule of Civil Procedure 55(a) requires the clerk, upon proper
proof, to enter a default against a defendant who “has
failed to plead or otherwise defend.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
55(a). “Appearance” for purposes of Rule 55 is
not “confined to physical appearances in court or the
actual filing of a document in the record.” Sun
Bank of Ocala v. Pelican Homestead & Sav. Ass'n,
874 F.2d 274, 276 (5th Cir. 1989). Instead, an appearance is
any act, including informal acts, on a defendant's part
that are responsive to plaintiff's ...