United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Pine Bluff Division
DENNIS J. CHEATHAM, ADC #136117 PLAINTIFF
JOHN DOES 1-4, unknown Varner Unit Warden and Correctional Officers; and CHERYLE JOHNSON, Captain, Varner Unit, ADC DEFENDANTS
RECOMMENDED PARTIAL DISPOSITION
following Recommended Partial Disposition
(“Recommendation”) has been sent to United States
District Judge Billy Roy Wilson. You may file written
objections to all or part of this Recommendation. If you do
so, those objections must: (1) specifically explain the
factual and/or legal basis for your objection; and (2) be
received by the Clerk of this Court within fourteen (14) days
of the entry of this Recommendation. The failure to timely
file objections may result in waiver of the right to appeal
questions of fact.
Dennis J. Cheatham ("Cheatham"), is a prisoner in
the North Central Unit of the Arkansas Department of
Correction ("ADC"). He has filed this pro
se § 1983 action alleging that, while he was in the
Varner Unit, Defendants Captain Cheryle Johnson
("Johnson") and John Does, who are unknown members
of a Security Response Team and the warden of the Varner
Unit, failed to protect him from being attacked by two other
prisoners. Docs. 2, 6, & 24.
has filed two Motions to Dismiss and two Briefs in Support
arguing that: (1) she is entitled to sovereign and qualified
immunity; (2) Cheatham has failed to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted; and (3) Cheatham has failed to exhaust
his administrative remedies. Docs. 12, 13, 25, &
26. Cheatham has filed a Response to the Motions to
Dismiss and supporting Exhibits. Docs. 18 & 22.
failure to protect claims are based on the following facts as
contained in his pleadings:
1. On April 27, 2016, Cheatham lived on the top floor of 4
Barracks, a two-story open barrack at the Varner Unit.
Docs. 2, 6, & 24.
2. Around 11:00 p.m., Cheatham was on the second floor of 4
Barracks when two prisoners beat and stabbed him multiple
times, and left him in a semiconscious state on the floor.
Cheatham admits this was a "surprise
attack" and that he had no prior problems with his two
3. Cheatham's two attackers then went to the first floor
of 4 Barracks and attacked another prisoner ("the first
floor prisoner"). After being stabbed multiple times,
the first floor prisoner broke free from the two attackers
and banged on the door to 4 Barracks. The officer outside of
4 Barrack rescued the first floor prisoner, and immediately
called for back-up. Id.
4. Johnson and the Security Response Team answered the call.
They spoke to the first floor prisoner, who was in the
hallway outside of 4 Barracks, and took him to the infirmary
for medical treatment. Johnson and the Security Response Team
did not enter 4 Barracks to apprehend the attackers,
seize their weapons, or otherwise secure the barracks.
5. After Johnson and the Security Response Team left, the two
attackers returned to the second floor of 4
Barracks, found Cheatham, and stabbed him several more times.
In total, Cheatham was stabbed twenty-three times.
has sued Johnson in both her official and individual
capacity. Johnson correctly argues that the doctrine of
sovereign immunity prohibits Cheatham from obtaining monetary
damages against her, in her official capacity.See Zajrael
v. Harmon, 677 F.3d. 353, 355 (8th Cir. 2012);
Larson v. Kempker, 414 F.3d 936, 939-40 (8th Cir.
2005). Thus, Cheatham's ...