United States District Court, W.D. Texas, Austin Division
PITMAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court are Plaintiff Jesus Jimenez Jr.'s complaint and
additional pleadings (ECF Nos. 1, 8, 32, 48), Defendants'
Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 51), Plaintiff's
response (ECF No. 56), Defendants' reply (ECF No. 57),
Defendant's Motion for Reconsideration (ECF No. 62) and
Plaintiff's response (ECF No. 63). Plaintiff is
proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis (ECF No. 12). After
careful consideration of the parties' motions, the Court
grants the Defendants' motion for summary judgement and
dismisses their motion for reconsideration.
OF THE CASE
filed this complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Plaintiff alleges that on December 21, 2016, he was riding on
a Travis County Sheriff's Office (TCSO) transportation
bus when it got into an accident, causing Plaintiff to
sustain injuries to his back and his wrist. He further
alleges that, prior to the accident, he requested to wear a
seatbelt but was refused, and that after the accident, he was
denied emergency medical care, threatened, and forcibly
removed from the bus. Plaintiff is suing the Travis County
Sheriff's Department, Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez,
Officer Arnold Macias, Officer Kenneth Vohrpal, Officer
Bernard Hamilton, Sergeant Mark Hardin and Sergeant Dionisio
Dorado. Plaintiff seeks $190, 000 in compensatory damages
from each defendant and $50, 000 in punitive damages from
moved for summary judgement. Defendants argue that
Plaintiff's individual-capacity claims against Sheriff
Hernandez fail because he failed to allege or proffer any
evidence of Sheriff Hernandez's personal knowledge or
involvement in the accident. Further, Defendants argue they
are entitled to qualified immunity because there is no
constitutional right to be seat belted while being
transported in custody; that Plaintiff was not denied any
medical care; and that a mere threat of physical violence
does not state a claim for excessive force under § 1983.
response, Plaintiff argues that the record supports his
allegations that he suffered a severe injury as a result of
the 2016 bus accident; that Defendants failed to provide him
with emergency medical services, and that the summary
judgment record shows that Defendants' statements about
the accident are inconsistent and that they have tampered
with the evidence. (ECF No. 56). Plaintiff also requests
additional discovery in the case, including video from the
bus's on-board cameras, and the medical records and
contact information of other detainees involved in the
accident. (Id. at 3-4). The Court granted in part
the Defendants' Motion to Abate Discovery (ECF Nos.
60-61), and the Defendants have moved for reconsideration
(ECF No. 62).
Summary Judgment Standard
will, on a motion for summary judgment, render judgment if
the evidence shows that there is no genuine issue of material
fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law. See Eason v. Thaler, 73 F.3d 1322,
1325 (5th Cir. 1996); Int'l Shortstop, Inc. v.
Rally's Inc., 939 F.2d 1257, 1263 (5th Cir. 1991).
When a motion for summary judgment is made and supported, an
adverse party may not rest upon mere allegations or denials
but must set forth specific facts showing there is a genuine
issue for trial. Ray v. Tandem Computers, Inc., 63
F.3d 429, 433 (5th Cir. 1995); Fed.R.Civ.P. 56.
movants and non-movants bear burdens of proof in the summary
judgment process. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S.
317 (1986). The movant with the burden of proof at trial must
establish every essential element of its claim or affirmative
defense. Id. at 322. The moving party without the
burden of proof need only point to the absence of evidence on
an essential element of the non-movant's claims or
affirmative defenses. Id. at 323-24. At that point,
the burden shifts to the non-moving party to “go beyond
the pleadings and by [his] own affidavits, or by the
‘depositions, answers to interrogatories, and
admissions on file,' designate ‘specific facts
showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.'”
Id. at 324. The non-moving party cannot rely on
general allegations but must produce “specific
facts” showing a genuine issue for trial. Tubacex
v. M/V Risan, 45 F.3d 951, 954 (5th Cir. 1995).
deciding whether to grant summary judgment, the Court should
view the evidence in the light most favorable to the party
opposing summary judgment and indulge all reasonable
inferences in favor of that party. See James v.
Sadler, 909 F.2d 834, 837 (5th Cir. 1990). The Fifth
Circuit has concluded “[t]he standard of review is not
merely whether there is a sufficient factual dispute to
permit the case to go forward, but whether a rational trier
of fact could find for the non-moving party based upon the
evidence before the court.” See Id. (citing
Matsushita Electric Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986)).
relies on the protections of the Eighth and Fourteenth
Amendment for his claims. The Eighth Amendment ensures the
safety of convicted prisoners while due process under the
Fourteenth Amendment protects pretrial detainees. See
Hare v. City of Corinth, 74 F.3d 633, 639 (5th Cir.
1996) (en banc). At the time of the bus accident, Plaintiff
was a pretrial detainee. “Fourteenth Amendment case law
concerning pretrial detainees [is based] on the Supreme
Court's Eighth Amendment precedent concerning
prisoners.” Garza v. City of Donna, 922 F.3d
626, 634 (5th Cir. 2019) (citing Hare, 74 F.3d at
634-44). Plaintiff's Fourteenth Amendment rights include
the right to medical care. See Sanchez v. Young County.,
Tex., 866 F.3d 274, 279 (5th Cir. 2017); further,
because the standard is essentially the same for both
pretrial detainees and postconviction prisoners, cases
applying the Eighth Amendment remain relevant to the
establish deliberate indifference regarding his medical care,
Plaintiff must show “that a prison official
‘refused to treat him, ignored his complaints,
intentionally treated him incorrectly, or engaged in any
similar conduct that would clearly evince a wanton disregard
for any serious medical needs.'” Easter v.
Powell, 467 F.3d 459, 464 (5th Cir. 2006) (quoting
Domino v. Tex. Dep't of Criminal Justice, 239
F.3d 752, 756 (5th Cir. 2001)). A delay in medical care,
however, “can only constitute an Eighth Amendment
violation if there has been deliberate indifference [that]
results in substantial harm.” Id.
(alteration in original) (quoting Mendoza v.
Lynaugh, 989 F.2d 191, 193 (5th Cir. 1993)). Allegations