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Jones v. Briggs

United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division

February 1, 2018

MATTHEW BRIGGS, Major, Pulaski County Regional Detention Facility, et al. DEFENDANTS


         The following Recommended Disposition (“Recommendation”) has been sent to United States Chief District Judge Brian S. Miller. Any party may file written objections to this Recommendation. Objections must be specific and include the factual or legal basis for disagreeing with the Recommendation. An objection to a factual finding must specifically identify the finding of fact believed to be wrong and describe the evidence that supports that belief.

         An original and one copy of the objections must be received by the Clerk of this Court within fourteen (14) days of this Recommendation. If no objections are filed, Judge Miller can adopt this Recommendation without independently reviewing all of the evidence in the record. By not objecting, you may also waive any right to appeal questions of fact.

         I. Introduction

         Stacy Jones ("Jones") is a prisoner in the Milwaukee County House of Correction. He has filed this pro se ' 1983 action alleging that, while he was a pretrial detainee in the Pulaski County Regional Detention Facility ("PCRDF"), Defendants Chief Mike Sylvester ("Sylvester"), Major Matthew Briggs ("Briggs"), Lieutenant Jackson Bennett ("Bennett"), Lieutenant Vivalon Nelson ("Nelson"), and Classification Representative Sylvia Wilson ("Wilson") retaliated against him for seeking medical care and subjected him to inhumane conditions of confinement. Docs. 2, 6, 7, & 8. Jones brings these claims against Defendants in their individual capacities only.[1] Doc. 15.

         Defendants have filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on the merits of Jones's claims, two Briefs in Support, two Statements of Undisputed Facts, and a Reply. Docs. 59, 60, 61, 71, 78, & 79. Jones has filed several Responses, a Statement of Disputed Facts, and Affidavits. Docs. 64, 68, 69, 70, 72, 73, 74, & 75.

         Before addressing the merits of the Motion for Summary Judgment, the Court will summarize the relevant facts giving rise to Jones's retaliation and inhumane conditions of confinement claims:[2]

1. On May 31, 2016, Jones was booked in the PCRDF and assigned to general population in S-Unit. Defendants concede, for purposes of summary judgment, that Jones was "a pretrial detainee at all times during his incarceration at the PCRDF." Doc. 60 at Ex. 1-1; Doc. 78 at Ex. 1.
2. From June 13 to July 23, 2016, Jones filed four grievances complaining about what he believed to be inadequate medical care for chest pains. Those grievances were denied by non-parties. Doc. 3 at 9; Doc. 60 at Ex. 2-2; Doc. 68 at 19.
3. On July 23, 2016, the air conditioning in S-Unit stopped working. Sometime in the afternoon, Jones told a non-party guard that the heat was causing him to have chest pains. Around 2:15 p.m., the detainees in S-Unit refused to lock down in their cells in protest of the hot conditions. The parties disagree as to whether Jones participated in that protest. Briggs ordered the Special Emergency Response Team ("SERT") to S-Unit. Two minutes after the SERT arrived at S-Unit, the detainees stopped their protest and entered their lock down cells without incident. The SERT identified Jones as one of the two "ring leaders" of the protest, removed him from S-Unit, and placed him in administrative segregation cell U-406. Briggs and Sylvester ordered that Jones: (a) remain in his administrative segregation cell twenty-three hours a day; and (b) be placed in "full restraints" with a "black box" when he was allowed out of his administrative segregation cell for one hour each day to shower, make phone calls, and have visitation.[3] Doc. 2; Doc. 60 at Exs. 1-2, 1-3; Doc. 78 at Ex. 1-4.
4. Later that day, a non-party member of the SERT filed an incident report accusing Jones of disobeying orders and being one of the "ring leaders of the refusal to lock down" in S-Unit. Doc. 71 at Ex. 1; Doc. 78 at Ex. 1-4.
5. While Jones was in cell U-406, he complained to Bennett that his toilet, which contained feces and urine, would not flush. Jones also raised that complaint in two grievances, which were denied by a non-party. Doc. 3 at 1 & 7; Doc. 7; Doc. 60 at Ex. 2-3.
6. On July 27, 2016, the Classification Board, which included Wilson, held a hearing to review the incident report filed against Jones. At the conclusion of that hearing, the Classification Board determined that: (a) Jones had disobeyed orders and was one of the "ring leaders" of the July 23, 2016 disturbance in S-Unit; and (b) when Jones was allowed to leave his cell for one hour each day, he should be placed in full restraints, with a black box, the highest security requirement at the PCRDF. Nelson affirmed both decisions on appeal. Doc. 3; Doc. 78 at Exs. 1, 1-4, 1-5, 1-6.
7. On July 29, 2016, Jones was transferred from cell U-406 to cell T-402 in administrative segregation. Jones does not allege that the toilet in T-402 was malfunctioning or that he had insufficient toilet paper while held in that cell. Doc. 60 at Ex. 1-3.
8. On August 3, 12, and 19, 2016, the Classification Board reviewed and reaffirmed their earlier decision that Jones should remain in administrative segregation and be placed in full restraints, with a black box, ...

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