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Sanders v. Bolden

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

February 8, 2018



         The following Recommended Disposition (“Recommendation”) has been sent to United States District Judge James Moody, Jr. 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 in the office of the United States District Clerk within fourteen (14) days of this Recommendation. If no objections are filed, Judge Moody 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

         Plaintiff Daniel Sanders (“Sanders”), proceeding pro se, contends that his constitutional rights were violated when Defendants failed to protect him from an attack by a fellow prisoner on July 17, 2013, in the Varner Unit of the Arkansas Department of Correction (“ADC”). Docs. 8 & 27.

         Sanders seeks, as to each Defendant, $25, 000 in compensatory damages and $10, 000 in punitive damages. Doc. 8 at 14. He also requests declaratory relief that his constitutional rights were violated and injunctive relief requiring that he be housed at the Delta Regional Unit until he is paroled. Doc. 8 at 8.

         On September 20, 2016, the Court dismissed, on screening, Sanders' claim that he was wrongfully issued a disciplinary for his role in the July 17, 2013 attack and that the disciplinary was issued in retaliation for him filing a grievance about the attack. Sanders was permitted to proceed solely on his failure to protect claim. Doc. 10 & 12.

         On April 28, 2017, the Court: (1) granted partial summary judgment to separate Defendants Correction Officer J.G. Garcia, Warden Randy Watson, Assistant Warden Meinzer, Assistant Warden Jackson, and Classification Officer Washington;[1] and (2) allowed the case to proceed solely as to Sanders' failure to protect claims against separate Defendants Major Kenneth Bolden (“Bolden”) and Correctional Officer Kristena Rosales-Calloway (“Rosales-Calloway”). Docs. 48 & 57.[2] Doc. 48 at 4-7.

         Bolden and Rosales-Calloway have filed a Motion for Summary Judgment, a Brief in Support, and a Statement of Undisputed Facts.[3] Docs. 63-65. Sanders has filed a Response. Doc. 81.

         Before reaching the merits of Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment, the Court will review the relevant undisputed facts giving rise to Sanders' failure to protect claims.

         1. In July of 2013, Sanders was housed in Barracks 19 of the Varner Unit, which has a capacity of 50-52 inmates. Barracks 19 is an “open barracks.” Doc. 63-1 at p. 16-18, 21-22.

         2. Early on July 17, 2013, at approximately 3:50 a.m., Sanders was returning to Barracks 19 after eating breakfast.[4] Sanders' attacker, Ethan Jackson (“Jackson”), lived in Barracks 22 and was on crutches.[5] He modified a two-foot piece of one of his wooden crutches into a weapon and hid it in his pants. After Sanders walked past Inmate Jackson, who was leaning against the wall in the hallway, Inmate Jackson attacked him from behind. Doc. 63-1 at p. 26, 48, 51.

         3. Defendant Rosales-Calloway was standing at her post, close to Sanders and Inmate Jackson, when the attack occurred. She shouted “hey, hey, hey, hey” either to stop Jackson or to warn Sanders of the surprise attack. Doc. 63-1 at p. 39-41.

         4. The attack was captured on video.[6] The video shows that the fight lasted 12 seconds, from 3:48:46 to 3:48:58, at which point Sanders was able to secure himself in a control booth and pin Inmate Jackson's arm in the door until help arrived. At 3:49:46, forty-eight seconds after the attack began, four officers arrived on the scene. Fourteen seconds later, at 3:49:48, four more officers arrived. Inmate Jackson was handcuffed and taken away. Officers then spent several minutes convincing Sanders to come out of the control booth. Doc. 63-1 at 86-89.

         5. During the attack, Inmate Jackson hit Sanders three to four times with the modified crutch, landing two or three blows to Sanders's head and one blow to his arm. Sanders sustained a wound to his head and a small wound to his hand. Doc. 63-1 at 28.

         6. Immediately after the attack, Sanders was taken to the infirmary, where he was treated for his injuries, which healed completely in three weeks to a month. Doc. 63-1 at 83-90.

         7. At the time of the attack, Sanders had two inmates on his enemy alert list. Inmate Jackson was not one of them. Until Inmate Jackson attacked him, Sanders did not know who Jackson was and he had no reason to believe that Jackson might attack him. Doc. 63-1 at p. 27, 32, 48; 55, 65. Similarly, Bolden and Rosales- Calloway ...

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