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Ford v. Ferrell

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

July 18, 2018

DAMIEN FORD, ADC #143035 PLAINTIFF
v.
CORRIE FERRELL DEFENDANT

          RECOMMENDED DISPOSITION

         I. Procedure for Filing Objections:

         This Recommended Disposition (“Recommendation”) has been sent to Judge Billy Roy Wilson. Any party may file written objections to this Recommendation. Objections should be specific and should include the factual or legal basis for your objection.

         To be considered, objections must be received in the office of the Court Clerk within 14 days of this Recommendation. If no objections are filed, Judge Wilson can adopt this Recommendation without independently reviewing the record. By not objecting, parties may also waive any right to appeal questions of fact.

         II. Discussion:

         A. Background

         Plaintiff Damien Ford, an Arkansas Department of Correction (“ADC”) inmate, filed this civil rights case claiming that Defendants violated his rights by abusing the ADC's disciplinary system. The only remaining claim, however, is against Sgt. Corrie Ferrell. Mr. Ford alleges that, after he wrote grievances against Defendant Ferrell, she retaliated by writing false disciplinary charges against him.[1] (#1) Defendant Ferrell has filed a motion for summary judgment. (#59) Mr. Ford has responded (#63), and the motion is ripe for decision.

         B. Standard

         In a summary judgment, the court rules in favor of a party before trial. Defendant Ferrell is entitled to summary judgment if the evidence shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any fact that is important to the outcome of the case. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56; Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 246 (1986). If there are genuinely disputed facts that are important enough to make a difference in how the case is decided, the Court will view those facts in a light most favorable to the Mr. Ford, provided the record does not contradict his version of the facts so as to render that version unbelievable to any reasonable juror. O'Neil v. City of Iowa City, Iowa, 496 F.3d 915, 917 (8th Cir. 2007).

         C. Facts

         During all relevant times, Mr. Ford was incarcerated at the Delta Regional Unit of the ADC and was assigned to hoe squad. (#59-1, p.12) According to her affidavit, Defendant Ferrell was the field sergeant at all times relevant to this case. (#59-2, p.1-2) Her job duties included supervising the hoe squad and, consequently, recommending inmates on her squad for an elevation in class and a change in job assignments or, conversely, a reduction in class. (#59-2, p.1-2)

         On April 21, 2014, Defendant Ferrell ordered several inmates to move from hoe-squad one to hoe-squad four in order to even the number of inmates working on each squad. (#59-2, p.2; #64, p.3) At the time, Mr. Ford was assigned to squad one. (#59-1, p.12)

         After Defendant Ferrell ordered specific inmates to change to squad four, she realized that Mr. Ford had moved to squad four, even though she had not ordered him to do so. (#59-2, p.2-3) Defendant Ferrell wrote Mr. Ford a disciplinary on April 21, 2014, charging him with violating ADC rules by being out of his assignment place, interfering with a count, and failure to obey an order. (#59-2, p.3, 88; #64, p.3)

         Mr. Ford disputes Defendant Ferrell's assertion that she did not order him to change squads and states that she did, in fact, call his name and order him to change squads. (#64, p.3)

         On April 28, 2014, seven days later, Mr. Ford filed a grievance against Defendant Ferrell, complaining that she had discriminated against him based on his race by failing to recommend him for a job change. (#59-1, p.91; #64, p.3) It is undisputed that Defendant Ferrell told Mr. Ford that she would not recommend ...


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