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Green v. Singleton

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Texarkana Division

September 3, 2014

LAVELL GREEN, Plaintiff,
v.
SHERIFF JAMES SINGLETON; JAIL ADMINISTRATOR JOHNNY GODBOLT; SARGENT BERONICA MAULDIN; JAILER SIMON AMES; JAILER KATHY FINCHER; and PIERRE SUMMERVILLE, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

BARRY A. BRYANT, Magistrate Judge.

This is a civil rights case filed by the Plaintiff, Lavell Green, pursuant to the terms of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff proceeds pro se and in forma pauperis. The case is before me pursuant to the consent of the parties. ECF No. 19.

Plaintiff is currently incarcerated in the Cummins Unit of the Arkansas Department of Correction located in Grady, Arkansas. However, the events that are the subject of this case occurred when Plaintiff was incarcerated in the Hempstead County Detention Center (HCDC) located in Hope, Arkansas. Specifically, Plaintiff maintains excessive force was used against him on February 22, 2012, when he was tased and pepper sprayed.

Defendants have filed a motion for partial summary judgment. ECF Nos. 29-31. Given the differing versions of the events, Defendants concede there are genuine issues of fact as to the individual capacity claims against Defendants Ames and Fincher. ECF No. 31 at ¶ 12. Plaintiff has responded to the motion. ECF No. 36. The partial summary judgment motion is ready for decision.

1. Background

A. Plaintiff's Version

Plaintiff was housed in H-pod. According to him, he pushed the control button and asked Pierre Summerville to inform the sergeant on shift, Beronica Mauldin, that he needed to speak with her in regards to a serious situation. ECF No. 1 at pg. 5. Mauldin refused to come and speak with the Plaintiff so he asked to speak with the jail administrator, Johnny Godbolt. Summerville refused to relay his message. Id.

As a result, Plaintiff states that he banged on the door to get an officer to come to the pod. He then stopped and sat down at a table in the pod. ECF No. 1 at pg. 6. Kathy Fincher and Simon Ames came to H-pod. Id. Ames entered the pod, pointed a taser gun at the Plaintiff, and pulled the trigger shooting the prongs at the Plaintiff. Id. The prongs missed. Id. So Ames "pulled the front part of the taser off and pressed it against [Plaintiff's] body shocking [Plaintiff] to the ground. Once on the ground he continued to shock [Plaintiff] over and over in different parts of [Plaintiff's] body."

Once Plaintiff was able to stand up, Ames pepper sprayed Plaintiff while yanking on his shirt. ECF No. 1 at pg. 6. Ames and Fincher then existed the pod without giving Plaintiff a chance to decontaminate. Id.

Plaintiff says he banged on the door again to try to get someone to come so he could decontaminate. ECF No. 1 at pg. 6. Ames and Fincher entered the pod again. Ames pointed the taser at Plaintiff and he tried to go to his cell. Id. Ames discharged the taser and the prongs went into Plaintiff's left side causing him to fall to the ground. Id. While this was occurring, Plaintiff asserts that Ames was being sarcastic asking him if he wanted a § 1983 form now. Id. Ames rolled the Plaintiff over and handcuffed him. Beronica Mauldin came to the pod and took pictures of the prongs still stuck in his side. Id. Plaintiff states that Fincher then yanked out the probes leaving his side swollen and bleeding. Id.

Ames in a "rage" began taking all of the Plaintiff's property and throwing it all over the place. ECF No. 1 at pgs. 6-7. In the process a Bible that had belonged to Plaintiff's grandmother was destroyed. Id. Plaintiff states that Ames was going to pepper spray him again but Mauldin stopped him. Id. at pg. 7.

Plaintiff asserts that he was left in the pod with his hands cuffed behind his back in pain and feeling light headed. ECF No. 1 at pg. 7. Plaintiff attempted to reach the control button but was unable to do so he went to his cell to sit down. Id. Before he could sit, Plaintiff states he became unconscious and landed face first on the concrete floor. Id.

When he regained consciousness, Plaintiff states he was face first in a small, but noticeable, pool of blood. ECF No. 1 at pg. 7. His handcuffs had been removed so he asserts that the jailers must have been aware of his state. Id.

Plaintiff states he was finally able to get up and pushed the intercom button asking for assistance. ECF No. 1 at pg. 7. His request was refused. Id. At this point, Plaintiff felt his "only resort to get help was a desperate attempt to cover the camera." Id. The jailers came but did not assist him. Id. In fact, Plaintiff alleges that the taser was pulled on him again and he was told to put his belongings in a laundry basket "or else [he] would be shot again." Id.

Plaintiff was moved to B-pod and placed in a cell with no running water. ECF No. 1 at pg. 7. Plaintiff asserts that he still had pepper spray on his clothes, face, and head. Id. He was locked down and the trap on his door shut. Id. Plaintiff says he was barely able to breathe. Id. He states he had no drinking water and the toilet did not flush. Id. He asserts that a review of the surveillance video would verify his claims. Id. He maintains he was not decontaminated and received no medical attention. Id.

In an addendum (ECF No. 6 at pg. 1), Plaintiff indicated he was suing the Defendants in their official capacities. When asked to describe in detail the custom, policy, or practice, Plaintiff responded: "They will come and tase or pepper spray you without so much ...


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