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Scott v. Gibson

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

August 23, 2018

DEVERICK SCOTT, ADC #131042 PLAINTIFF
v.
JAMES GIBSON, et al. DEFENDANTS

          RECOMMENDED DISPOSITION

         I. Procedure for Filing Objections

         This Recommended Disposition (“Recommendation”) has been sent to Judge James M. Moody Jr. Any party may file written objections to this Recommendation. Objections must be specific and must include the factual or legal basis for the 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 Moody can adopt this Recommendation without independently reviewing the record. By not objecting, parties may waive any right to appeal questions of fact.

         II. Discussion

         A. Background

         Deverick Scott, an Arkansas Department of Correction (“ADC”) inmate, filed this lawsuit without the help of a lawyer under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Docket entry #2) He claims that Defendants Simpson-Williams and Mothershed retaliated against him, and that Defendants Gibson, Shipman, Carroll, Simpson-Williams, and Mothershed failed to protect him from an attack by an inmate porter.

         Defendants have now moved to dismiss Mr. Scott's claims against them. (#14) Mr. Scott has responded to the motion (#17), and he has filed a number of motions that remain pending in this case (#5, #16, #18).

         B. Standard

         In deciding whether Mr. Scott has stated a federal claim for relief, the Court must determine whether he has pleaded facts with enough specificity “to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (citations omitted). A complaint cannot simply “[leave] open the possibility that a plaintiff might later establish some ‘set of undisclosed facts' to support recovery.” Id. at 561 (citation omitted). Rather, the facts set forth in the complaint must be sufficient to “nudge[] [the] claims across the line from conceivable to plausible.” Id. at 547.

         1. Failure-to-Protect

         Prison officials have a clearly established duty to protect prisoners from violence at the hands of other prisoners. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 833 (1994). In order to state a claim for this constitutional violation, Mr. Scott must allege facts that, if true, show that his continued interaction with the inmate who attacked him created a substantial risk of serious harm. He must also plead facts showing that Defendants actually knew of, or were deliberately indifferent to, the risk Mr. Scott faced, yet disregarded that risk. Pagels v. Morrison, 335 F.3d 736, 740 (8th Cir. 2003); Jackson v. Everett, 140 F.3d 1149, 1151 (8th Cir. 1998).

         Mr. Scott alleges that, on March 14, 2018, he was housed in cellblock 1 of the Varner Supermax Unit behind a solid door with a trap door for access to food trays and other objects. Sometime prior to March 14th, he and an inmate-porter “had words.” (#2 at p.3) Mr. Scott explains that, during the confrontation, he had threatened to “dash” the inmate-porter. [1] (Id.)

         Mr. Scott states that, on the date of the incident giving rise to this lawsuit, the inmate-porter assaulted him with a “squeegee.” While Mr. Scott's hands were extended through the trap door to his cell, the inmate-porter allegedly struck his hands and wrists repeatedly, then stuck the squeegee through the trap door, bruising Mr. Scott's leg.

         Mr. Scott seeks to hold the ADC employees named as Defendants responsible for the squeegee attack. Mr. Scott does not allege that the Defendants were aware that the porter-inmate posed a threat to him prior to the attack. If Defendants were not aware of the risk, ...


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