United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Pine Bluff Division
PROPOSED FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION
following Proposed Findings and Recommendation have been sent
to United States District Judge James M. Moody Jr. 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 this Recommendation. By not
objecting, you may waive the right to appeal questions of
Benjamin Muhammad Jones, an inmate in the custody of the
Arkansas Department of Correction (“ADC”), filed
this pro se civil rights complaint alleging that
certain defendants failed to protect him from a May 17, 2016
assault by another inmate. See Doc. No.
Jones' claims against other defendants were later
dismissed from this lawsuit. See Doc. Nos. 72 &
94. Additionally, two defendants were awarded summary
judgment because Jones failed to exhaust his administrative
remedies with respect to his claims against them.
See Doc. Nos. 168 & 173. The remaining
defendants are Danny Burl, Sterling Kirk, Ruthie Jones,
Xavier Cuclager, Gregory Newsom, and LaToya Johnson (the
“Defendants”). Jones sues Defendants in both
their individual and official capacities, and seeks both
monetary and injunctive relief. See Doc. No. 35.
the Court is a motion for summary judgment filed by Jones
(Doc. No. 172); Defendants' response (Doc. No. 175); and
Jones' objection to Defendants' response (Doc. No.
178). Also before the Court is Defendants' motion for
summary judgment, supporting brief, and statement of
undisputed material facts (Doc. Nos. 201-203); Jones'
objection to a declaration (Doc. No. 211); and Jones'
response (Doc. No. 212). For the reasons stated herein, the
Court finds there are no genuine issues of material fact for
trial, and Defendants are entitled to summary judgment as a
matter of law.
Standard of Review
Rule 56(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, summary
judgment is proper “if the pleadings, depositions,
answers to interrogatories and admissions on file, together
with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine
issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is
entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(c); Celotex v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 321 (1986).
When ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the court must
view the evidence in a light most favorable to the nonmoving
party. Naucke v. City of Park Hills, 284 F.3d 923,
927 (8th Cir. 2002). The nonmoving party may not rely on
allegations or denials, but must demonstrate the existence of
specific facts that create a genuine issue for trial.
Mann v. Yarnell, 497 F.3d 822, 825 (8th Cir. 2007).
The nonmoving party's allegations must be supported by
sufficient probative evidence that would permit a finding in
his favor on more than mere speculation, conjecture, or
fantasy. Id. (citations omitted). A dispute is
genuine if the evidence is such that it could cause a
reasonable jury to return a verdict for either party; a fact
is material if its resolution affects the outcome of the
case. Othman v. City of Country Club Hills, 671 F.3d
672, 675 (8th Cir. 2012). Disputes that are not genuine or
that are about facts that are not material will not preclude
summary judgment. Sitzes v. City of West Memphis,
Ark., 606 F.3d 461, 465 (8th Cir. 2010).
was attacked by inmate Robert Joe White on May 17, 2016. The
other undisputed facts listed below were submitted by
Defendants and are supported by the following documents
attached to Defendants' statement of undisputed facts:
Jones' status assignment sheet (Doc. No. 203-1);
Declaration of Felicia A. Bentley (Doc. No. 203-2);
Declaration of Ronald Watson (Doc. No. 205); a memorandum
from Lieutenant Maple Adkins, B-Shift Supervisor, to Major
Carl Stout, Chief of Security, regarding the May 17, 2016
attack with incident reports and an enemy alert notification
attached (Doc. No. 203-4).
March 9, 2016, Plaintiff Benjamin Jones was transferred from
cellblock 7 to cellblock 4 (cell 1) at the Maximum Security
Unit. Doc. No. 203-1.
April 26, 2016, Jones was assigned to cell 7 in cellblock 4.
cellblock consists of three tiers. Each tier consists of 18
cells. Doc. No. 203-2.
7 is located on the bottom tier of the cellblock.
of May 17, 2016, inmate White was also housed in cellblock 7.
Doc. No. 35 at 6.
Inmate White was housed in cell 12. Id.
Prior to May 17, 2016, Jones had not complained to staff
regarding any threats made by inmate White. Doc. No. 205.
Corporal Ruthie Jones was assigned to the control booth which
monitors cellblock 4. Doc. No. 35 at 9.
Security checks are performed every 30 minutes in each of the
cellblocks. Doc. No. 203-2.
Policy requires that staff supervise inmates inside the
housing areas. This does not mean that an officer must be
physically present inside the cellblock. Id.
officer posted inside the control booth can see into a
cellblock, thus providing supervision. Id.
Officers are in and out of cellblocks throughout each shift.
Inmates are allowed out of their cells during certain
designated times of the day. Id.
cellblocks are divided into halves for purposes of allowing
inmates out of their cells for recreation and activities. The
first half of a cellblock consists of cells 1 through ...