PAUL A. CLEVELAND; PARIS LEBLANC; MINDY CAPELLO, Plaintiffs-Appellees,
LILLIAN BELL, Defendant-Appellant.
from the United States District Court for the Middle District
Southwick, Willett, and Oldham, Circuit Judges.
S. Oldham, Circuit Judge:
Cleveland's survivors sued a prison nurse named Lillian
Bell under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for allegedly violating his
Fourteenth Amendment rights. The district court denied
qualified immunity to Nurse Bell. We reverse.
Cleveland was seventy-two years old when he was detained at
the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on September 19, 2014.
Upon entering the Prison, Cleveland completed a health
assessment. According to the assessment, Cleveland had a host
of health problems, including diabetes, high blood pressure,
rheumatoid arthritis, and peripheral artery disease. During
his two months at the Prison, Cleveland received medication
for his conditions and had numerous visits with medical staff
regarding a variety of health issues.
morning of November 10th, Cleveland received emergency
medical treatment after he became dizzy and nauseated in the
bathroom and fainted. Nurse Ebony White checked his vital
signs, treated him for a cut on the back of his head, and put
him on a list to see the next available doctor. In the late
afternoon, Cleveland said he was "going to pass
out." Nurse White visited Cleveland, and Cleveland said
he felt dizzy when sitting up or walking long distances.
Cleveland demanded to go to the hospital for evaluation and
said he wanted "pain medication to knock him out."
He reported no chest pains or shortness of breath. Nurse
White told Cleveland that he did not exhibit any signs of
acute distress, so he would not be sent to the emergency
room. Instead, Cleveland would be placed on the list to see
the next available doctor for further evaluation.
nurses brought Cleveland back to the "medical
tank," where patients with health issues are kept for
observation by medical staff. Nurse White wrote in her notes
that Cleveland was "very argumentative" while he
was in the medical tank and was banging on the windows.
Cleveland was eventually moved from the medical tank to a
November 11th, at around 5:54 p.m., Nurse Bell went with
Officer Richard Camp to Cleveland's cell to give him his
medication. Cleveland was lying in bed, and Nurse Bell told
him to get a cup of water so he could take his pills.
Cleveland said that he was too weak to get up. Nurse Bell
told Cleveland "to stop playing and come get your
medication . . . there is nothing wrong with you." But
Cleveland said that he couldn't get up. Nurse Bell left
and said she would come back after completing her "pill
call" with the other inmates.
8:42 p.m., Nurse Bell returned and asked Officer Camp how
Cleveland was doing. Camp said he "seems to be
sleeping" but had been turning around in his bed and
occasionally hit the wall with his fist. Nurse Bell said
"okay" and returned to the medical department. Her
notes in Cleveland's medical chart indicate that she
completed a high-priority "[l]ockdown/trusty sick
call" at 11:53 p.m. But to Officer Camp's knowledge,
Nurse Bell did not visit Cleveland again to give him his
around 2:32 a.m. on November 12th, Officer Camp saw that
Cleveland had defecated on himself and his mattress. Officer
Camp called Officers Jasmyn Cage and Larry Turner to
supervise the cleanup of Cleveland and his cell. The officers
told Cleveland to "get up off the floor and come to the
bars to be handcuffed so that his cell could be cleaned
out." But Cleveland continued to lie on the floor and
said that he was "tired." The officers entered
Cleveland's cell, removed his dirty mattress and
jumpsuit, and allowed staff to clean his cell. Cleveland
received a clean jumpsuit, but he declined a chance to use
the cleanup, Officer Cage called Nurse Bell. Officer Cage
told her that Cleveland was lying "on the floor and
talking about [how] he was tired and he couldn't get
up." Nurse Bell said she thought he was
"faking" and was "trying to get back in the
the call, Officer Camp continued to make his rounds in the
Prison. According to his written report, every time he passed
by Cleveland's cell, Cleveland "would rollover [sic]
or move." If he did not see Cleveland move, he would
talk to Cleveland. Officer Camp didn't hold a
conversation with Cleveland but would call his name and make
sure "he either moved or every now and then . . . would
answer." Officer Camp paid "extra attention to Mr.
Cleveland because of what had occurred." A deputy had
advised Officer Camp to keep an eye on Cleveland because
Cleveland had just come back from the medical department.
a.m. on November 12th, Officer Camp passed out food to
inmates. As he gave the inmates their trays, he made sure
they were awake. When Officer Camp went to Cleveland's
cell, he noticed Cleveland was unresponsive. He had seen
Cleveland just five or ten minutes ...