United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Eastern Division
PROPOSED FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION
following Proposed Findings and Recommendation have been sent
to United States District Judge J. Leon Holmes. 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 fact.
Robert Draft, an inmate in the custody of the East Arkansas
Regional Unit (EARU) of the Arkansas Department of Correction
(ADC), filed this pro se civil rights complaint
against EARU Warden Gaylon Lay, EARU Deputy Warden Mark
Warner, ADC Director Wendy Kelley, EARU Law Library
Supervisor Lynetta Dickerson, and Law Library Supervisor
Stacy Roebuck. See Doc. No. 1. Draft alleges that
his constitutional rights were violated because the
defendants confiscated and retained his legal documents which
included discovery and the criminal trial transcript from his
criminal conviction in White County Circuit Court.
Id. According to Draft, he received a letter from
his criminal defense attorney on April 21, 2016, notifying
him that the Arkansas Court of Appeals had affirmed his
conviction, and that Draft had a 78-day deadline to file a
Rule 37 petition for ineffective assistance of counsel. The
attorney advised Draft that the trial transcripts and
discovery would be sent to the EARU. Draft asserts that an
individual from his attorney's office arrived at the EARU
on May 17, 2016, with 859 pages of documents which were
seized as excess property by Dickerson, at the direction of
Deputy Warden Warner. Draft claims that despite filing
grievances and law library requests, he continued to be
denied access to sufficient legal materials from his trial to
properly assert his rights in a Rule 37 petition and hearing.
Draft sues defendants in their official and individual
capacities and seeks declaratory and injunctive relief, as
well as monetary damages.
claims for monetary damages against the defendants in their
official capacities were previously dismissed. See
Doc. Nos. 47 & 48. Defendants Lay, Kelley, and Roebuck
were also awarded summary judgment on all Draft's claims
based on Draft's failure to exhaust administrative
remedies with respect to them. See Doc. Nos. 64
& 67. The remaining defendants are Warner and Dickerson
the Court are the Defendants' motion for summary
judgment, supporting brief, and statement of undisputed
material facts (Doc. Nos. 78-80). Draft filed a response and
affidavit. See Doc. Nos. 84 & 85. The
Defendants' statement of facts, and the other pleadings
and exhibits in the record, establish that the material facts
are not in dispute and that Defendants are entitled to
summary judgment as a matter of law.
Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, summary
judgment is proper if “the movant shows that there is
no genuine dispute 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(a); 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). An assertion that a fact cannot be
disputed or is genuinely disputed must be supported by
materials in the record such as “depositions,
documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or
declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes
of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or
other materials . . .”. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A). A
party may also show that a fact is disputed or undisputed by
“showing that the materials cited do not establish the
absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse
party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the
fact.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(B). 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).
Undisputed Material Facts
undisputed facts listed below were submitted by Defendants
and are supported by the following documents attached to
Defendants' statement of undisputed facts: the
Declaration of Mark Warner (Doc. No. 79-1); the Declaration
of Lynetta Dickerson with certain library records attached
(Doc. No. 79-2); excerpts from the deposition of Draft (Doc.
No. 79-3); the court docket from State v. Robert Donald
Draft, case no. 73CR-14-206 (Doc. No. 79-4); an Granting
Motion for Stay of Proceedings and Permission to Amend Rule
37 Petition in case no. 73CR-14-206 (Doc. No. 79-5); and
Draft's Amended Petition for Post Conviction Relief in
case no. 73CR-14-206 (Doc. No. 79-6). Although Draft filed a
response, he did not refute these facts or challenge the
admissibility of the supporting documents except to generally
assert that Defendants did not follow ADC policy.
See Doc. No. 84.
1. On May 17, 2016, Draft was housed in the most restrictive
housing area of the EARU. Doc. No. 79-1 at ¶3.
2. Defendant Deputy Warden Warner was notified that Paul
Hampton had been sent by his employer, Joe Barraza, to
deliver a closed case file to inmate Draft after Draft had