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Stacy v. Ryals

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

June 18, 2018




         The 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.


         I. Introduction

         Plaintiff Michael Alan Stacy and Jonathan Porter filed this pro se civil rights complaint against Sheriff Tim Ryals in his official capacity while incarcerated at the Faulkner County Detention Center (“FCDC”). Doc. No. 2. Stacy and Porter alleged that they had been denied adequate recreational opportunities while incarcerated at the FCDC. Id. Porter and Stacy did not specify what type of relief they sought. Id. at 5. Porter's lawsuit was subsequently dismissed for failure to prosecute. See Porter v. Rice, et al., No. 4:17-cv-00236.

         Before the Court are Defendant Ryals' motion for summary judgment, supporting brief, and statement of undisputed facts (Doc. Nos. 39-41) as well as Stacy's response (Doc. No. 43) and Ryals' reply (Doc. No. 44). The pleadings and exhibits in the record establish that the material facts are not in dispute and Ryals is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.

         II. Legal Standard

         Under 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).

         III. Facts

         The facts listed below are taken from those submitted by Defendant Ryals that are supported by the following documents: an affidavit by Chris Reidmueller, jail administrator at the FCDC, along with “tower pass down” logs covering the time period in question and a copy of the FCDC's exercise policy (Doc. No. 41-1); and an affidavit by Gary Andrews, a Lieutenant at the FCDC (Doc. No. 44-1). The Court also includes those facts submitted by Stacy in his response that are supported by documents of record. Disputed facts are noted.

         Stacy was an inmate in the FCDC during the time period (March 26 through April 11, 2017) that he alleged he was denied regular exercise outside his cell. According to Reidmueller, Stacy was housed in two cells during that period: cell 212 and the Large Holding Cell (number 200). See Doc. No. 41-1 at 2. Stacy maintains he was housed in the Large Holding Cell and not in cell 212. See Doc. No. 43. The tower pass down logs show that Stacy was in fact housed in the Large Holding Cell during the majority (if not all) of the time period in question. See Doc. No. 41-1 at 14, 36, 41, 45-46, 63, 90 & 95. There is one notation that indicates Stacy may have been housed in or moved to cell 212 on March 30, 2017. See Id. at 29 (“15:00 Stacy from Large Holding Cell 212). Stacy also maintains he was held in cell 200 until sometime in May for a total of about 60 days. See Doc. No. 43 at 3-5. Stacy filed a copy of a grievance dated May 8, 2017, stating he had not had recreation call in cell 200 for more than five days. See Id. at 13.

         It is undisputed that Stacy was afforded time on the outside recreation yard on four occasions during the 17-day period described in Stacy's complaint. See Doc. No. 2 at 4; Doc. No. 41 at 1. A recreation period on the yard was canceled on another occasion due to bad weather according to the tower pass down logs, but Stacy maintains it was nice that day. Doc. No. 41-1 at 1-2 & 44.

         According to Riedmueller, inmates at the FCDC are permitted to and frequently do exercise in their cells. Doc. No. 41-1 at 2. Riedmueller also notes that outside recreation is sometimes not an option based on the weather and for other reasons. Id. Riedmueller opines that both cell 212 and the Large Holding Cell are large enough to do any number of exercises, such as jumping jacks, pushups, and sit-ups. Id. Cell 212 is comprised of several “bedroom” pods around a central dayroom area (where the cell's inmates spend most of their day), which is large enough for the inmates to walk laps. Id. The Large Holding Cell is one large room with bunks on the wall which is large enough for stationary exercises according to Riedmueller. Id. The Large Holding Cell measures 18 feet by 7 feet. Doc. No. 44-1 at 1. Stacy states that the Large Holding Cell is not large enough for exercise of any kind, with barely enough room for three inmates to sleep (with two on beds and one on the floor). Doc. No. 43 at 1.

         During the period cited in Stacy's Complaint, Faulkner County had a policy in place governing exercise and recreation opportunities for inmates at the FCDC. Doc. No. 41-1 at 1 & 97. The policy provides that “[d]etainees shall have the opportunity to engage in active, out of cell exercise, for one hour per day five days per week.” Id. The exercise area is designated as “[a] room or any indoor or outdoor area set-aside [sic] for exercises.” Id. The policy further provides that detainees may use exercise areas for one hour daily, ...

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