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Estate of Jensen v. Duchesne County

United States District Court, D. Utah

January 25, 2019

ESTATE OF MADISON JODY JENSEN, Plaintiff,
v.
DUCHESNE COUNTY, ET AL., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

          DALE A. KIMBALL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the court on Defendant Logan Clark's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint [ECF Docket No. 73]. On January 23, 2019, the court held a hearing on the motion. At the hearing, Plaintiff Estate of Madison Jody Jensen was represented by Ryan B. Hancey, and Defendant Logan Clark was represented by Kathleen Abke. Counsel for other Defendants were present and observed the proceedings. After hearing argument, the court took the matter under advisement. The court has carefully considered the memoranda and other materials submitted by the parties, as well as the law and facts relating to the motions. Now being fully advised, the court issues the following Memorandum Decision and Order.

         BACKGROUND[1]

         On November 27, 2016, Jared Jensen called the Duchesne County Sheriff's Office after an altercation with his 21-year-old daughter, Madison, because he had found what he believed to be drug paraphernalia in Madison's room. Corporal Jared Harrison of the Duchesne County Sheriff's Office responded to the call and spoke to Jared and Madison. Jared showed Harrison the drug paraphernalia.

         Madison told Harrison that she was “coming off” heroin and had last used four days earlier. She stated that she had gone to the hospital four days earlier and disposed of her heroin supply that day. Madison admitted that she had been using heroin daily for approximately eighteen months. She also admitted to smoking marijuana a few days earlier.

         Harrison arrested Madison for internal possession of drugs and possession of drug paraphernalia and transported her to the Duchesne County Jail. Madison was booked into the Duchesne County Jail at 1:34pm on Sunday, November 27, 2016. During the booking process, Madison filled out an inmate mental health questionnaire where she disclosed that she suffered from anxiety and depression for which she was prescribed Wellbutrin. Madison also noted that she was taking tramadol for pain and clonidine for high blood pressure. Harrison brought some of Madison's medications, including tramadol, Wellbutrin, and clonidine to the jail with Madison. Madison also reported a history of using various illegal drugs.

         Madison was placed in the Jail's “H Block, ” in a cell with another woman who was also withdrawing from opiates. Madison soon began vomiting. She continued to vomit and suffer from diarrhea throughout the day and into the night. On Monday, November 28, 2016, she continued to feel ill and did not eat her meals. The Jail staff provided Madison with a cup for water, but she was unable to keep the water down. Madison's cell mate and Madison used the call button in their cell to notify Jail staff several times that Madison was ill and vomiting. The Jail staff responded that they were aware that Madison was ill but they did not provide any assistance or medical care.

         At the time, Duchesne County employed a jail nurse, Jana Clyde, who was responsible for overseeing the health and safety of the jail inmates and ensuring they received appropriate and necessary care and treatment. In addition to the jail nurse, Duchesne County contracted with an independent medical doctor, Dr. Kennon Tubbs, to administer the medical needs of inmates at the Jail. Dr. Tubbs' contractual duties included meeting with sick inmates at the Jail once a week, being available to jail staff at any time for medical consultation and triage, and providing training, instruction, support, and supervision to Jail nursing staff in connection with the medical needs of inmates. Dr. Tubbs subcontracted with physician assistant, Logan Clark. Clark's duties included the duties of Dr. Tubbs as delegated by Dr. Tubbs pursuant to contract.

         On November 28, 2016, around 6:00 p.m., Madison was able to leave her cell to take a shower. The following day, Madison continued to vomit, stayed in bed, and did not eat her meals. Madison's cell mate used the call button to notify the Jail staff that Madison was still vomiting and needed medical attention.

         At some point before December 1, 2016, Madison filled out a medical request form provided by the jail indicating that she had been “puking for 4 days straight, runs, diarrhea, can't hold anything down not even water.” She also wrote, “I know my body and it is not detoxing I am completely detoxed. My roommate caught the stomach bug from me.” The Jail, however, did not provide Madison with any medical care or treatment.

         Just before 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, December 1, 2016, Madison vomited a brown liquid substance. Shortly, thereafter, she had a seizure-like episode which caused her to roll off her cell bed and onto the floor. At 1:28 p.m., Physician's Assistant Clark and Nurse Clyde found Madison deceased in her cell.

         Madison's estate filed the present lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging a cause of action for deliberate indifference to Madison's serious medical needs against Duchesne County, Duchesne County Sheriff David Boren, Corporal Jared Harrison, Duchesne County Jail Commander Jason Curry, Officer Jeremy Curry, Jail Nurse Jana Clyde, Physician's Assistant Logan Clark and Dr. Kennon Tubbs.

         DISCUSSION

         Logan Clark's ...


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