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Davis v. Spencer

United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Pine Bluff Division

March 28, 2017

RICHARD ALAN DAVIS ADC #89568 PLAINTIFF
v.
TONDA L. SPENCER, et al DEFENDANTS

          ORDER

          Kristine G. Baker, United States District Judge.

         Before the Court is a Proposed Findings and Recommendation (“Recommendation”) submitted by United States Magistrate Judge Patricia S. Harris (Dkt. No. 89). Plaintiff Richard Alan Davis filed a timely motion for an extension of time to file objections to the Recommendation (Dkt. No. 90). Mr. Davis's motion for an extension of time is granted (Dkt. No. 90). The Court finds that Mr. Davis's objections to the Recommendation were timely filed and will be considered by the Court (Dkt. No. 91).

         Mr. Davis is an inmate at the Arkansas Department of Correction's (“ADC”) East Arkansas Regional Unit. He brings this action against defendants Tonda L. Spencer, Chamoz Jones, Yulinda F. Campbell, Cynthia Rose Reed, Randy Watson, and Floria Washington in their individual capacities (collectively, “ADC defendants”).[1] The ADC defendants filed a motion for summary judgment on all of Mr. Davis's claims (Dkt. No. 79). In the Recommendation, Judge Harris recommends that the Court grant the ADC defendants' motion for summary judgment and dismiss with prejudice Mr. Davis's remaining claims (Dkt. No. 89, at 13). After reviewing the Recommendation and objections, and conducting a de novo review of the record in this case, the Court adopts the Recommendation (Dkt. No. 89). The ADC defendants' motion for summary judgment is granted (Dkt. No. 79). Mr. Davis's claims are dismissed with prejudice.

         In his objections to the Recommendation, Mr. Davis argues that the defendants mischaracterize his due process claims against Mr. Watson and Ms. Washington. The Court writes separately to elaborate on the issues raised in Mr. Davis's claims against Mr. Watson and Ms. Washington.

         I. Background

         Mr. Davis is an inmate housed in the Varner Super Max Unit (“VSM”). While the parties disagree as to the exact date, there is no dispute that Mr. Davis was placed in administrative segregation in 2013. Mr. Davis claims that he was placed in administrative segregation on May 29, 2013 (Dkt. No. 2, at 14). The ADC defendants claim that he was placed in administrative segregation on July 10, 2013 (Dkt. No. 80, at 1; Dkt. No. 79-1, at 3). There is no dispute that Mr. Davis remained in administrative segregation until after he filed this action on April 6, 2015 (Dkt. No. 80, at 1-2). It is unclear on the record before the Court as to whether Mr. Davis remains in administrative segregation at this time. Mr. Davis claims that, while assigned to administrative segregation, he: (1) had limited physical contact with other inmates; (2) was required to take his meals in his cell; (3) was denied the opportunity to participate in group religious services; (4) was permitted five hours a week of recreation time; (5) was not permitted to have contact visits with friends or family; and (6) was not permitted to leave his cell without wearing handcuffs and shackles (Dkt. No. 91, at 8; Dkt. No. 2, at 18).

         ADC Administrative Directive 14-07 (“AD 14-07”) provides the policy and procedures for administrative segregation in VSM (Dkt. No. 79-2). AD 14-07 provides that once a prisoner is placed in administrative segregation, the Institutional Classification Committee or authorized staff:

[M]ust review the status of every inmate assigned to administrative segregation classification every seven (7) days for the first two months, and every thirty (30) days thereafter to determine if the reason(s) for placement continue to exist. At every other, of these 30-day reviews, the inmate will be personally interviewed by the Classification Committee or authorized staff.

(Id., at 4). AD 14-07 also provides that “[n]o inmate shall remain in a segregation classification for more than one year unless he has been personally interviewed by the Warden at the end of one year and such action is approved by him” (Id.). There is no dispute that Mr. Davis was provided with the opportunity “to meet with the classification committee to consider his continued placement in administrative segregation every 60 days as required by ADC Administrative Directive 14-07” and that “[a]t each classification hearing, the committee voted to keep Davis on administrative-segregation status” (Dkt. No. 80, at 1). There is also no dispute that the Warden's review, which should have been held before Mr. Davis was detained for over a year in administrative segregation in accordance with AD 14-07, did not occur until September 19, 2014, which was at least over 14 months after Mr. Davis was placed in administrative segregation (Dkt. No. 79-3, at 1). Mr. Davis claims that Mr. Watson, the Warden of VSM, violated his due process rights by failing to conduct his review within a year after Mr. Davis was placed in administrative segregation (Dkt. No. 2, at 5).

         On October 29, 2014, Mr. Davis was sentenced to 30 days in punitive isolation (Dkt. No. 79-1, at 1). During the time that Mr. Davis was in punitive isolation, he was found guilty of committing new disciplinary violations and was sentenced to an additional 10 days in isolation (Dkt. No. 80, at 5-6). ADC Administrative Directive 12-24 provides that:

Inmates may be confined to punitive segregation for a period up to 30 days. Inmates serving consecutive punitive isolation sentences will receive 48-hour relief at the end of each 30-day sentence. Inmate privileges . . . will be restored during the 48hour relief period and will be restricted again at the beginning of the next punitive sentence.

(Dkt. No. 46, at 21). There is no dispute that Mr. Davis was not provided with 48-hour relief after he served 30 days in punitive isolation (Dkt. No. 81, at 26). The ADC defendants admit that Mr. Davis's 10-day isolation sentence was “stacked onto his 30-day isolation sentence that began on October 29, 2014[, ]” meaning Mr. Davis served 40 consecutive days in punitive isolation (Id.). Mr. Davis claims that Ms. Washington, the Classification Officer of VSM, violated his due process rights by allowing him to be held in punitive isolation for 40 consecutive days (Dkt. No. 2, at 44-46).

         Mr. Davis also claims that separate defendants Tonda Spencer, Chamoz Jones, Yulinda Campbell, and Cynthia Rose Reed violated his First Amendment rights by filing allegedly false disciplinary charges against Mr. Davis in retaliation for grievances that Mr. Davis filed against them.

         II. ...


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