United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Texarkana Division
O. Hickey United States District Judge.
the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment filed by
Defendants Warden Moore and Lieutenant Golden Adams. (ECF No.
37). Plaintiff Jeremi Blake has a filed a Response. (ECF Nos.
53, 55). The Court finds this matter ripe for consideration.
a civil rights action filed pro se by Plaintiff
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff's claims in this
action arise from alleged incidents that occurred in 2016,
while he was incarcerated in the Miller County Detention
Center (“MCDC”) in Texarkana,
Arkansas. Viewed in the light most favorable to
Plaintiff, the relevant facts are as follows.
was booked into the MCDC on July 8, 2016, and placed in Max
Alpha Cell #13. (ECF No. 1, p. 3). The following day,
Plaintiff asked to be moved to protective custody
“[b]ecause of [his] past history in general population
settings and because he feared for his safety.”
Id. On July 9, 2016, Plaintiff was placed in
protective custody and moved to Max Echo Cell #5.
Id. He was released from the MCDC on October 17,
to Plaintiff being booked into the MCDC, physicians with the
TDCJ prescribed him 400mg of Carbamazepine (Tegretol) and
20mg of Citalopram (Celexa) for daily treatment of his mental
health conditions. (ECF No. 53-1). Plaintiff continued taking
these medications after he was booked into the MCDC.
his incarceration in the MCDC, Plaintiff filed a total of
twenty-five grievances using the kiosk provided by the
jail. The following thirteen grievances relate
to Plaintiff's claims in this lawsuit:
• #1, 062, 430: “grieving the fact that back in
MAX E pod, we are not given outdoor recreation.” (ECF
No. 39-4, p. 10).
• #1, 065, 070: “grieving the conditions of
confinement in MAX E pod . . . shower area is disgusting and
has not been cleaned . . . no toilet in the dayroom they do
not leave our cell open while we get our hour of
recreation… I have nowhere to go…” (ECF
No. 39-4, p. 11).
• #1, 078, 497, #1, 078, 533, and #1, 081, 376:
concerning denial and reinstatement of commissary privileges.
(ECF No. 39-4, pp. 12-14).
• #1, 092, 167, #1, 136, 770, #1, 136, 780, #1, 139,
022, and #1, 147, 185: regarding inadequate responses to
grievances. (ECF No. 39-4, pp. 15, 17-19, 22).
• #1, 095, 389: claiming his recreation time was taken
away for two days because of the conduct of another inmate.
(ECF No. 39-4, p. 16).
• #1, 219, 546 and #1, 219, 547: filed against Separate
Defendant King for denial of medical care. (ECF No. 39-4, pp.
addition to these grievances, on August 26, 2016, Plaintiff
placed a medical request, asking that his Celexa dosage be
increased because it was not helping his depression. (ECF
No.53-2, p. 1). A nurse responded and stated that Plaintiff
needed to give the medication more time to start working. On
September 15, 2016, an MCDC officer was informed by another
inmate that Plaintiff was storing his psych medication in his
cell. A search of Plaintiff's cell was conducted and
according to the MCDC disciplinary report:
Upon searching inmate [Plaintiff's] cell . . . several
items inside the cell . . . were unauthorized and are
considered contraband. The prescription medication that is
issued to [Plaintiff] were located in another inmate's
box. It was confirmed through [Separate Defendant] King that
the medicine was in fact inmate [Plaintiff's]. Also when
looking through [Plaintiff's] property we found a pair of
finger nail clippers which are also unauthorized. We moved
[Plaintiff] to max echo without further incident.
(ECF No. 53-2, p. 20). Plaintiff was charged with stealing or
being in possession of stolen property, possession of an item
not authorized for retention, and misuse of authorized
medication. Id. On September 19, 2016, Plaintiff
entered a plea of guilty to the infractions and the MCDC
Disciplinary Committee ordered that Plaintiff be moved to
segregation for thirty days which included the loss of
commissary, visitation, and mail privileges during this time.
September 19, 2016, Separate Defendant King entered a
notation on Plaintiff's medical progress notes which
reads in part: “Due to the fact that [Plaintiff] is not
taking his prescribed medication as directed and is hoarding
and using them as currency, [Nurse Practitioner] Foltz
directs the medications to be discontinued.” (ECF No.
35-7). Underneath the notes there is an illegible signature.
It is not clear if this signature is Separate Defendant
King's or that of the Nurse Practitioner
Foltz. Also on September 19, 2016,
Plaintiff's medications were discontinued without any
evaluation of Plaintiff for potential adverse reactions that
may occur as a result of the cessation of his medications.
September 23, 2016, Plaintiff submitted a medical request
stating: “I think that I am having a mental breakdown,
please call me to psych or get me some help because I have no
way of dealing with anything that I am feeling.” (ECF
No. 53-2, p. 2). Separate Defendant King responded as
follows: “You were on medication to help with this. You
chose to refuse your meds after being caught hoarding your
medication for sale. Your medication was discontinued due to
this. It will not be restarted.” Id. The
following day, Plaintiff filed a grievance against Separate
Defendant King, alleging that he had denied Plaintiff proper
medical attention. (ECF No. 53-2, pp. 5-6). Separate
Defendant King responded to the grievance and informed
Plaintiff that he could contact the corporate headquarters
for his employer in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Id.
filed his Complaint on August 15, 2016, alleging that
Defendants Moore and Adams subjected him to the following
unlawful conditions of confinement at the MCDC:
[L]ockdown in a 8' x 12' cell 23 hours a day . . . no
access to outside recreation . . . no access to television or
newspapers, no visitation privileges, no commissary
privileges, rat and roach infestations, no cells in Max Echo
have windows . . . the dayroom in which we are allowed
‘1 hour out' per day has not bathroom or toilette,
forcing plaintiff to shower in the same shower inmates
urinate and defecate in.
(ECF No. 1). In addition, Plaintiff alleged that the MCDC had
an unconstitutional classification system because
“pre-trial detainees are housed with sentenced inmates
. . . misdemeanor inmates are housed with felons . . . [and]
state inmates are housed with federal inmates.”
Id. at 4. Plaintiff claimed further that regardless
of the classification of inmates, all who are assigned to Max
Echo are treated as if they are on punitive segregation.
21, 2017, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint, reasserting
his conditions of confinement claims against Defendants Moore
and Adams, naming Separate Defendant King as an additional
defendant, and alleging that all Defendants denied him
adequate medical care. (ECF No. 19). Plaintiff also added claims
for inadequate training of employees and contractors in
providing recreation, sanitized living, and the dispensing of
medication, and interference with medical treatment as a
punitive measure. Id. at p. 3. Plaintiff proceeds
against Defendants Moore and Adams in both their individual
and official capacities and seeks compensatory and punitive
damages. Id. at p. 6.
February 12, 2016, Defendants Moore and Adams filed the
instant motion. Defendants argue they are entitled to summary
judgment because: (1) Plaintiff failed to exhaust his
administrative remedies; (2) there is no proof that Defendant
Moore or Adams were personally involved in any of the alleged
constitutional violations; (3) there is no constitutional
right to the answering of grievances; (4) Plaintiff was not
subjected to unconstitutional conditions of confinement; (5)
Defendants were not deliberately indifferent to
Plaintiff's medical needs; (6) Defendants are entitled to
qualified immunity; and (7) there is no basis for official
capacity liability. (ECF No. 37).
judgment is appropriate if, after viewing the facts and all
reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the
nonmoving party, 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); Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). “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.” Nat'l
Bank of Comm. v. Dow Chem. Co., 165 F.3d 602, 607 (8th
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.” Nat'l
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 ...