Schock v. Saunders et al

COMPLAINT against All Defendants with Jury Demand (Filing fee $ 400 receipt number 113A-15166877) filed by Nicholas Schock.

Middle District of Florida, flmd-2:2019-cv-00111

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3 PageID 1 United States District Court Middle District of Florida Case No.: General Jurisdiction Division NICHOLAS SCHOCK, Plaintiff, -vs- JAMES F. POTTER, in his official capacity as Sheriff of Desoto County, Florida, ARNOLD LANIER, in his official capacity as Sheriff of Hardee County, Florida, DENISE SAUNDERS, individually and as an employee of Centurion of Florida, and, CENTURION OF FLORIDA, LLC, A Florida Limited Liability Company, Defendants. COMPLAINT FOR MONEY DAMAGES AND TRIAL BY JURY FISCHER REDAVID PLLC 4601 Sheridan Street, Ste. 320 Hollywood, FL 33021 Telephone: (954) 860-8434 Facsimile: (954) 860-8534 Service@FRTrialLawyers.com (eService Only) By: /s/ Ian G. Ward II JORDAN REDAVID, ESQ. Florida Bar No. 109227 IAN G. WARD, ESQ. Florida Bar No. 108392 3 PageID 2 COMES NOW, the Plaintiff, NICHOLAS SCHOCK, ("SCHOCK"), by and through the undersigned attorney, and files this Complaint against Defendants, JAMES F. POTTER in his official capacity as Sheriff of Desoto County, Florida; ARNOLD LANIER, in his official capacity as Sheriff of Hardee County, Florida; DENISE SAUNDERS, individually and in her official capacity a nurse for Centurion of Florida, LLC; and CENTURION OF FLORIDA, LLC, a Florida limited liability company contracted to provide health services to Hardee County. JURISDICTION AND VENUE 1. The predominant claims in this case arise under the United States Constitution and are brought pursuant to federal statutes. U.S. Const. amend. XIV; 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985. This Court thus has original jurisdiction. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331. 2. This Court also has supplemental jurisdiction over the other claims herein which arise either common law or the laws of the State of Florida, as they are so related to those claims for which this Court has original jurisdiction that they form part of the same case or controversy under Article III of the United States Constitution. 28 U.S.C. § 1367. 3. Venue is appropriate because the facts underlying this cause of action arose in Desoto and Hardee counties in Florida. 28 U.S.C. § 1391. 4. Plaintiff has fully complied with all conditions precedent prior to bringing this action, including, but not limited to, Section 768.28, Florida Statutes. PARTIES 1. The Plaintiff, NICHOLAS SCHOCK ("SCHOCK") is a citizen of the United States, sui juris, and is now a prisoner in the Florida state prison located at the Mayo C.I. Annex. 2. Defendant JAMES F. POTTER ("SHERIFF POTTER") is the Sheriff of DeSoto County, Florida, and responsible for the administration, operation, and supervision of the DeSoto 1 3 PageID 3 County jail system, including but not limited to the promulgation and enforcement of rules, regulations, policies, customs and practices relevant thereto. 3. Defendant ARNOLD LANIER ("SHERIFF LANIER") is the Sheriff of Hardee County, Florida and responsible for the administration, operation, and supervision of the Hardee County jail system, including but not limited to the promulgation and enforcement of rules, regulations, policies, customs and practices relevant thereto. 4. Defendant DENISE SAUNDERS ("NURSE SAUNDERS") is an individual, sui juris, and who was, at all times material, a nurse employed by CENTURION OF FLORIDA, LLC to work at the Hardee County Jail, located at or near 900 East Summit Street, Wauchula, Florida 33873 ("Hardee County Jail"). Based on information and belief, NURSE SAUNDERS is a resident of Wauchula, Hardee County, Florida. 5. Defendant CENTURION OF FLORIDA, LLC ("CENTURION") is a Florida limited liability company with a principal address 7700 Forsyth Blvd., St. Louis, Missouri, 63105. At all times material, CENTURION was contracted to provide health services to inmates and detainees at the Hardee County Jail, Florida. GENERAL FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS 6. SCHOCK was incarcerated and detained within the Desoto County and Hardee County jail systems beginning on or about October 5, 2016 through on or near May 24, 2017. 7. At all times material, SCHOCK was within the custody and control of SHERIFFS POTTER and LANIER, respectively. 8. At all times material, SCHOCK was within the care of SHERIFFS POTTER and LANIER, and CENTURION and NURSE SAUNDERS. 9. At all times material, all Defendants were acting under color of law. 2 3 PageID 4 COUNT I – NEGLIGENT MAINTENANCE OF JAIL (As to Defendant, Sheriff James Potter, in his official capacity only) 10. SCHOCK hereby incorporates by reference the averments found in preceding paragraphs 1-9. 11. At all times material, the DeSoto County Jail was located at or near 208 East Cypress Street, Arcadia, Florida 34266 ("DeSoto County Jail"). 12. At all times material, SHERIFF POTTER had a duty to exercise reasonable care in the maintenance and cleanliness of the DeSoto County Jail. 13. At all times material, residents within the DeSoto County jail, including SCHOCK, were within a foreseeable zone of risk to be harmed, damaged, or injured by a breach of the aforementioned duty to exercise reasonable care in the maintenance and cleanliness of the DeSoto County Jail. 14. At all times material, SHERIFF POTTER breached his exercise reasonable care in the maintenance and cleanliness of the DeSoto County Jail by: a. Failing to regularly clean the DeSoto County Jail; b. Failing to regularly disinfect the DeSoto County Jail; c. Failing to regularly sanitize the DeSoto County Jail; d. Failing to maintain adequate cleaning, disinfecting, and/or sanitization supplies and materials within the DeSoto County Jail; e. Failing to train his employees, staff, and/or agents to adequately clean, disinfect, and/or sanitize the DeSoto County Jail; and, f. Failing to supervise his employees, staff, and/or agents to ensure they reasonably cleaned, disinfected, and/or sanitized the DeSoto County Jail. 3 3 PageID 5 15. As a direct and proximate result SCHOCK was harmed when he contracted or became infected with bacteria in an area of his body that caused pain, discomfort, and inconvenience. 16. As a direct and proximate result, SCHOCK sustained pain, suffering, disability, disfigurement, mental anguish, loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life, inconvenience, and has incurred (and reasonably will incur in the future) expenses for his medical care and treatment. 17. SCHOCK requests a trial by jury on all issues so triable in this count. WHEREFORE the Plaintiff, SCHOCK, hereby demands judgment against SHERIFF POTTER for compensatory damages and asks for any other relief this Court deems proper. COUNT II – DELIBERATE INDIFFERENCE (As to Defendant, Sheriff James Potter, in his official capacity only) 18. SCHOCK hereby incorporates by reference the averments found in preceding paragraphs 1-14. 19. The provision of health care and services to pretrial detainees within a State or municipality's jail or correctional facility, such as SCHOCK within the DeSoto County Jail, is a governmental act. 20. At all times material, SHERIFF POTTER knew that SCHOCK had developed or otherwise contracted a serious medical condition (to wit: infection) that, if left untreated or not treated appropriately, posed a substantial risk of harm to SCHOCK. 21. Despite being aware of SCHOCK's serious medical condition, SHERIFF POTTER was deliberately indifferent by failing to provide SCHOCK with the constitutionally mandated level of care under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. 22. Despite recognizing that SCHOCK was suffering from severe pain and discomfort, SHERIFF POTTER made no attempts to discover the cause of the pain or treat it any meaningful way. 4 3 PageID 6 23. SHERIFF POTTER provided only cursory treatment of SCHOCK that amounted to no meaningful treatment at all, and deliberately did not afford SCHOCK with the ambulatory, emergency, specialty, and/or off-site medical services he needed. 24. This deliberate indifference resulted in an unnecessary infliction of pain and suffering, as well as an exacerbation of SCHOCK's medical condition. 25. SHERIFF POTTER's deliberate indifference to SCHOCK's serious medical condition contributed or caused the development of perirectal abysses and further emergent medical needs. 26. At all times material, it was the policy, practice, custom, and/or procedure of the DeSoto County Sheriff's Office to be deliberately indifferent to the known serious medical needs of prisoners and/or detainees within the Desoto County Jail, including SCHOCK. 27. At all times material, it was the policy, practice, custom, and/or procedure of the DeSoto County Sheriff's Office and/or its employees who have final decision-making authority to refuse and/or delay providing necessary and adequate medical testing and treatment to prisoners and pre-trial detainees within their care, custody, and control. 28. At all times material, SHERIFF POTTER was deliberately indifferent to SCHOCK's serious medical needs by, inter alia, failing to diagnose, failing to render adequate treatment, failing to refer to a doctor, failing to order a follow-up assessment, failing to run diagnostic testing, failing to activate EMS, failing to activate 911, failing to request ambulatory services, failing to arrange specialty care, failing to transport to an urgent care, failing to transport to an emergency room, and/or failing to transport to a hospital. 29. As a direct and proximate cause of SHERIFF POTTER's deliberate indifference, SCHOCK was injured and suffered adverse, health consequences such as irritation, pain, and suffering, disfigurement, mental anguish, emotional distress, inconvenience, loss for enjoyment of 5 3 PageID 7 life, and invasive medical procedures. 30. SHERIFF POTTER's deliberate indifference was also a direct and proximate cause of SCHOCK incurring past and future medical expenses. 31. SHERIFF POTTER's deliberate indifference was a violation of SCHOCK's clearly-established federal constitutional rights for which 42 U.S.C. § 1983 provides a remedy. 32. SCHOCK requests a trial by jury on all issues so triable in this count. 33. SCHOCK is entitled to recover reasonable attorneys' fees for the successful prosecution of this claim pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1988. WHEREFORE the Plaintiff, SHOCK, hereby demands judgment against SHERIFF POTTER for compensatory damages, punitive damages, attorneys' fees, and asks for any other relief this Court deems proper. COUNT III – NEGLIGENT TRAINING & SUPERVISION OF NURSE SAUNDERS (As to Defendant, Centurion of Florida, LLC, only) 34. SCHOCK hereby incorporates by reference the averments found in preceding paragraphs 1-9. 35. At all times material, CENTURION was the employer of people it designated to work at the Hardee County Jail, including NURSE SAUNDERS, for the purpose of providing health care services to residents at that jail, including SCHOCK. 36. CENTURION's relationship with its employees gave rise to a legal duty that extended to the residents of the Hardee County Jail, including SCHOCK, to reasonably supervise and train its employees and/or agents, including NURSE SAUNDERS. 37. At all times material, CENTURION breached those duties to supervise and train its employees and/or agents, including NURSE SAUNDERS, by: a. Failing to ensure compliance with CENTURION's policies; b. Failing to ensure compliance with the terms of CENTURION's agreement and/or 6 3 PageID 8 contract with Hardee County, Florida and/or Hardee County Sheriff's Office; c. Failing to review the performance of nurses, doctors, and correctional officers in the provision of health services and care to residents, including SCHOCK; d. Failing to review CENTURION employees' and/or agents' management and maintenance of medical charts and records, including SCHOCK's; e. Failing to review CENTURION's employees' and/or agents' use of forms, reports, and designated documents in the performance of their duties; f. Failing to ensure CENTURION employees and agents were properly trained; g. Failing to recognize misdiagnoses of medical conditions in residents at the Hardee County Jail, including SCHOCK; h