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Rogers v. Hollenbeck

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fort Smith Division

July 2, 2018

JERRY B. ROGERS PLAINTIFF
v.
SHERIFF BILL HOLLENBECK, CAPTAIN JOHN MILLER, and DEPUTY BRITLEY FLORENCE DEFENDANTS

          OPINION AND ORDER

          P. K. HOLMES, III CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff proceeds in this matter pro se and in forma pauperis pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Currently before the Court is Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 29).

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff filed his Complaint on March 31, 2017. (ECF No. 1). He alleges Defendants failed to protect him from an assault by other inmates while he was incarcerated in the Sebastian County Detention Center (SCDC). (ECF No. 1 at 4-7). Specifically, Plaintiff alleges he was assaulted with a laundry bag “loaded with a mop bucket wheel” while he was sleeping on March 7, 2017. (Id. at 4). He alleges Defendant Florence failed to secure the cell doors and failed to inspect the cleaning supplies for missing pieces. (Id.). Plaintiff alleges the cell doors were customarily left unsecured, the cleaning supplies were left in the pod, and assistance did not arrive until Defendant Florence had him out of the cell and into the hall. (Id. at 5).

         Plaintiff alleges Defendant Hollenbeck did not ensure that his deputies followed SCDC protocol and policies. (Id. at 5-6). Plaintiff alleges Defendant Miller did not ensure that his deputies were doing their jobs and following SCDC protocol and policies. (Id. at 6).

         Plaintiff proceeds against all Defendants in their official capacity alone for all claims. (Id. at 4-6).

         Plaintiff filed a Supplement to his Complaint on May 26, 2017, clarifying his request for damages and emphasizing that he was suing Defendants only in their official capacity. (ECF No. 12).

         Defendants filed their Motion for Summary Judgment on November 20, 2017. (ECF No. 29). On November 27, 2017, the Court entered an Order directing Plaintiff to file his Response to the Motion by December 18, 2017. (ECF No. 32). Plaintiff filed his Response on December 18, 2017. (ECF No. 36).

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         Summary judgment is appropriate if, after viewing the facts and all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986), the record “shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). “Once a party moving for summary judgment has made a sufficient showing, the burden rests with the non-moving party to set forth specific facts, by affidavit or other evidence, showing that a genuine issue of material fact exists.” National Bank of Commerce v. Dow Chemical Co., 165 F.3d 602, 607 (8th Cir. 1999).

         The non-moving party “must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.” Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586. “They must show there is sufficient evidence to support a jury verdict in their favor.” National Bank, 165 F.3d at 607 (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986)). “A case founded on speculation or suspicion is insufficient to survive a motion for summary judgment.” Id. (citing Metge v. Baehler, 762 F.2d 621, 625 (8th Cir. 1985)). “When opposing parties tell two different stories, one of which is blatantly contradicted by the record, so that no reasonable jury could believe it, a court should not adopt that version of the facts for purposes of ruling on a motion for summary judgment.” Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380 (2007).

         III. ANALYSIS

         There is no dispute that Plaintiff was seriously injured on March 7, 2017. (ECF No. 30 at 4 n.1). Defendants argue, however, that summary judgment should be granted in their favor for the following reasons: (1) Plaintiff proceeds only in the official capacity against Defendants and has provided no proof of any unconstitutional Sebastian County policy or custom; (2) even if one were to consider a personal capacity claim, there is no evidence of deliberate indifference; and, (3) alternatively, there was no personal involvement by Defendant Hollenbeck or Miller. (ECF No. 30 at 2-6).

         Plaintiff argues that if Defendant Florence had been performing his duties correctly and watching the camera screens for his housing pod, he would not have been assaulted, or the assault could have been stopped sooner. (ECF No. 36 at 1). Plaintiff argues Defendant Miller was negligent and violated SCDC policies by not having officers check cleaning supplies in and out, not having officers stay in the area while inmates are cleaning, and not keeping records of the officer ...


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