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Scott v. Benson

United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Western Division

May 12, 2014

DANIEL J. SCOTT, Plaintiff,
v.
MARY BENSON, Defendant.

ORDER

DONALD E. O'BRIEN, Senior District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Presently before the Court is the Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment of the 42 U.S.C. Section 1983 Complaint filed by Mr. Scott. Mr. Scott is a patient committed to the the Iowa Civil Commitment Unit for Sex Offenders (CCUSO)[1] in Cherokee, Iowa. Defendant Mary Benson is a nurse at CCUSO.

II. PROCEDURAL HISTORY AND FACTS

A. Procedural History

Mr. Scott filed a Complaint against Mary Benson, Jason Smith and CCUSO on June 14, 2011, alleging that the medical staff at CCUSO had caused him to suffer a severe infection. Docket No. 2, Att. 1. On August 5, 2011, the Court entered an Initial Review Order allowing Mr. Scott's case to proceed (Complaint filed at Docket No. 11) and appointing attorney Pat Parry to represent him. Docket No. 10. On February 23, 2012, the Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss. Docket No. 24. Meanwhile, on March 19, 2012, Magistrate Judge Paul Zoss conducted a hearing on an unrelated preliminary injunction Mr. Scott requested regarding his access to food at CCUSO. Judge Zoss issued a report recommending that the preliminary injunction be denied. Docket No. 33. On April 16, 2012, the Defendants filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on Mr. Scott's primary Complaint. On April 30, 2012, this Court accepted Judge Zoss' Report and Recommendation and denied Mr. Scott's request for broader access to certain foods at CCUSO. Docket No. 36. On June 11, 2012, the Court held a combined hearing on Defendants' Motion to Dismiss and Motion for Summary Judgment. Docket No. 46.

On September 28, 2012, this Court entered an Order granting in part and denying in part the Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment and Motion to Dismiss. Docket No. 48. Specifically, the Court granted the Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Defendants CCUSO and Jason Smith. The Court also granted the Defendants' Motion to Dismiss monetary claims against Ms. Benson in her official capacity. However, the Court denied the Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment related to Mr. Scott's medical claim and the Defendants' request for qualified immunity. Shortly thereafter, the remaining Defendant, Ms. Benson, appealed the Court's Order denying her qualified immunity. Docket No. 50.

While the appeal was pending, both Mr. Scott and the Defendant filed various emergency motions regarding Mr. Scott's ongoing medical care. See, for example, Docket No.'s 58 and 74. Those matters were materially different than those contained in Mr. Scott's Complaint. (In his Complaint, Mr. Scott argued that CCUSO refused him adequate medical care, while the subsequent emergency motions dealt with CCUSO's desire to treat Mr. Scott's medical situation more aggressively.) Accordingly, the Court ordered that the new issues proceed as a separate case. Docket No. 64. Mr. Scott's other case is 13-CV-4028-DEO.

On February 5, 2014, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals entered an Order vacating this Court's denial of summary judgment on qualified immunity grounds. The 8th Circuit found that his Court had used the wrong standard regarding Mr. Scott's medical claim. The 8th Circuit stated:

[b]oth parties argued to the district court that the deliberate indifference standard from the Eighth Amendment should govern Scott's Fourteenth Amendment claim. Relying on a non-binding case, McDonald v. Eilers, Civ. No. 88-2751, 1988 WL 131360, at *2 (E.D. Pa. Dec. 7, 1988), the district court instead analyzed Scott's claim under the professional judgment standard from Youngberg v. Romeo , 457 U.S. 307 (1982).

Scott v. Benson , 742 F.3d 335, 339 (8th Cir. 2014). Docket No. 76. The 8th Circuit went onto say:

where a patient's Fourteenth Amendment claim is for constitutionally deficient medical care, we apply the deliberate indifference standard from the Eighth Amendment. Senty-Haugen v. Goodno , 462 F.3d 876, 889-90 (8th Cir. 2006). Accordingly, the district court should have applied the deliberate indifference standard to Scott's claim.

Scott , 742 F.3d at 339.

Based on the 8th Circuit's ruling, the Court requested that the parties file supplemental briefs, which they have now done. See Docket No.'s 79 and 84.

B. Facts

As the 8th Circuit stated, "[t]he relevant facts, almost all of which are disputed, occurred in August and September 2010." Scott , 742 F.3d at 337.

Mr. Scott alleges that on August 2, 2010, he first presented to Ms. Benson to complain of a an infected lump within his thigh. Docket No. 37, Att. 3, p. 1. Mr. Scott claims that Ms. Benson looked at his thigh and denied his request for antibiotics. Id . Ms. Benson contends that, though she saw Mr. Scott on August 2, 2010, ...


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