NEW ORLEANS — A Concordia Parish
Correctional Facility detainee who had been stabbed
and stomped on by fellow inmates will get to pursue legal claims
against a prison worker who allegedly delayed medical care for more than 10 days after the attack.
In a per curiam ruling issued Feb. 9,
the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals held that Larry Dupree Alderson, who
had been a pre-trial detainee at the time of the attack on Dec. 22,
2014, can seek damages from correctional-facility employee Lt. Harvey
The appeals court reversed in part a
ruling from the Western District of Louisiana, which dismissed
Alderson's claim that Bryant was deliberately indifferent to his need
for prescriptions for painkillers and antibiotics. After the attack,
Alderson had been diagnosed with bruised or broken ribs and multiple
puncture wounds to his face, head and body.
But the appeals court also affirmed the
district court's dismissal of Alderson's allegation that the
facility, warden, security chief and others failed to provide
adequate security. Alderson had represented himself in court.
According to background information
contained in the opinion, Alderson was housed with Department of
Correction inmates because of a "misclassification" by the
head of security and an administrative assistant.
"Alderson’s assailants were two
DOC inmates whom he did not know," the opinion stated. "They
stabbed him and stomped on him in an attack that lasted at least
three to five minutes."
When Alderson informed personnel about
his safety and medical condition after the attack, Bryant sent him to
lockdown in a cell with DOC inmates, the opinion stated
"It was not until after Alderson
and his family made numerous complaints to staff that Bryant returned
to the cell, took pictures of Alderson’s injuries using his own
cellphone instead of the investigative camera used for documenting
incidents, and then left Alderson for an hour before taking him to
the hospital," the opinion stated.
When Alderson asked for his
prescriptions, Bryant told him, “Man up & wait til [sic]
medical staff returns from the Christmas holiday,” the opinion
Alderson did not receive his
medications until Jan. 2, 2015, the opinion states. He claims that
his only injury during that time was an "excruciating amount of
He further claims that since the
attack, he has suffered from mental instability, has been on
psychiatric medications and has been "in constant fear for my
life from inmates and staff," the opinion stated.
The 5th Circuit found that the lower
court had correctly dismissed Alderson's failure to protect claims
against a security chief and others.
"When the state deprives an
individual of the freedom to act on his own behalf, the 14th
Amendment imposes on the state a duty to protect that individual,"
the opinion stated.
"'The confinement of pretrial
detainees indiscriminately with convicted persons is unconstitutional
unless such a practice is reasonably related to the institution's
interest in maintaining jail security or physical facilities do not
permit their separation.'"
The appellate judges found that in
order for Alderson to state a claim against security personnel, he
must allege that their misclassification was because of deliberate
"Even assuming that Alderson
should not have been housed with DOC detainees as he alleges, we
nevertheless hold that Alderson has failed to state a claim against
Byrnes and Spinner for misclassifying him," the opinion stated.
The appeals panel, which included
Circuit Judges Jennifer Elrod, Leslie Southwick and James Graves Jr.,
remanded the case to the district court to consider Alderson's claim
that Bryant was deliberately indifferent to his need for medications
prescribed and his claim that Bryant impermissibly delayed his
initial medical evaluation.