United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Northern Division
PROPOSED FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATION
following Proposed Findings and Recommendation have been sent
to Chief United States District Judge Brian S. Miller. 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
Seyoum Ali Clark filed a complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 on July 11, 2016, against multiple defendants.
Clark's claims against the Arkansas Department of
Correction (ADC), Correct Care Solution, and Sheila Armstrong
were previously dismissed for failure to state a claim.
See Doc. Nos. 16, 34, 41 & 50. Clark's
claims against medical defendants Mitchell Jones and Dr.
Robert Reichard were previously dismissed due to Clark's
failure to exhaust his available administrative remedies.
See Doc. Nos. 68 & 70. The remaining defendants
are Bradley Howard Robertson, Clinton Baker, Thomas Finney,
and Johnny M. Morris (the “Defendants”).
filed this lawsuit after an incident in December 2015 in
which defendant Robertson ordered him to move to a top tier
cell, and he fell while carrying his personal property up the
stairs. Doc. Nos. 2 & 9. Clark claims Robertson was aware
of medical restrictions preventing him from climbing stairs.
Doc. No. 9 at 14. Clark also alleges that Robertson knew
Clark had a medical restriction preventing him from carrying
more than 35 pounds, and that he was forced to carry his
personal property weighing 47 pounds up the stairs.
Id. at 15. Clark further alleges that after his
fall, defendants Robertson and Baker delayed calling medical
and accused him of faking the fall. Id. at 7. Clark
also sues because he was issued two disciplinaries - one for
refusing an earlier move ordered by defendant Morris and one
issued after he refused to submit to a urine test after his
fall. Id. 12-13 & 14-15. Clark sues defendant
Finnie for not calling witnesses in the disciplinary
hearings. Id. at 11.
filed a motion for summary judgment and a supporting brief
(Doc. Nos. 87 & 88), and the Defendants filed a response
(Doc. No. 91). The Defendants subsequently filed a motion
for summary judgment, a brief in support, and a statement of
facts asserting that they are entitled to summary judgment
with respect to Clark's claims. Doc. Nos. 95- 97. Clark
filed a response (Doc. No. 99); Defendants filed a reply
(Doc. No. 100); and Clark filed an addendum to his response
(Doc. No. 101). For the reasons described herein, the
undersigned recommends that Clark's motions for summary
judgment be denied, and that the Defendants' motion for
summary judgment be granted.
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).
facts listed below are taken from those submitted by
Defendants that are supported by documents attached to their
motion for summary judgment. Because Clark failed to
specifically controvert the facts set forth in
Defendants' statement of undisputed facts, Doc. No. 96,
those facts supported by documentary evidence are deemed
admitted. See Local Rule 56.1(c). However, the Court
notes those facts disputed by Clark in his motions for
was transferred to the ADC's Grimes Unit from the Pulaski
County Jail in the Fall of 2015. Id. at 21-22. Clark
is a 40-year-old inmate with a reported history of back
problems dating back to 2008. Doc. No. 100-1, Deposition
of Seyoum Clark, at 15. Clark's lawsuit concerns two
disciplinaries he received in December 2015 and a fall he
suffered after being ordered to move to an upper level cell.
Doc. No. 2. Prior to the incidents at issue in this lawsuit,
Clark did not know defendants Robertson, Baker, Finnie or
Morris. Id. at 21-22.
8, 2015 Disciplinary
times relevant to this action, defendant Morris was a
correctional officer at the ADC. Doc. No. 95-6,
Declaration of Johnny Morris. On December 8, 2015,
Morris was directed to move Clark to another cell.
Id. Morris arrived at Clark's cell and gave him
a direct order to pack his things because he was being moved
from barracks 3, cell 107B to barracks 4, cell 213B. Doc. No.
95-6; Doc. No. 95-2. Clark claimed that he had a medical
restriction preventing him from going upstairs or having a
top bunk. Doc. No. 95-6; Doc. No. 100-1 at 50. Morris checked
the prison's electronic offender management information
system (eOMIS) which contains information about each prisoner
including any medical restrictions that they have been given
by the prison's medical providers. Id. When
Morris checked eOMIS, he found that Clark did not have any
medical restrictions that prevented him from being assigned
to a top bunk. Id. Morris moved Clark to another
cell that was downstairs with a bottom bunk. Doc. No. 100-1
at 49-51, 53; Doc. No. 95-2; Doc. No. 95-6. Morris had never
met Clark before December 8, 2015. Doc. No. 100-1 at 48-49;
Doc. No. 95-6. He had no further contact with Clark after he
moved him on December 8, 2015. Doc. No. 100-1 at 51 & 56;
Doc. No. 95-6.
wrote Clark a disciplinary violation for refusing to move
from Barracks 3 to Barracks 4 and for lying to a staff member
the same day. Id. at p. 50; Doc. No. 95-2,
Disciplinary Violation dated 12/08/15; Doc. No.
95-6. Clark was found guilty of both rule violations by a
neutral disciplinary hearing officer and he was given 15 days
in punitive isolation and a reduction in class status. Doc.
No. 100-1 at 52; Doc. No. 95-3, Disciplinary Hearing
Action Form. Clark's disciplinary conviction was
upheld on appeal by the warden, the disciplinary hearing
administrator, and ADC Director Wendy Kelley. Doc. No. 100-1
at 54; Doc. No. 95-3 at 3; Doc. No. 95-4, Disciplinary
Appeal; Doc. No. 95-5, Director Wendy Kelley's
Response to Clark's Appeal. Clark testified that his
claim of “cruel and unusual punishment” against
Morris was based on the disciplinary Morris issued. Doc. No.
100-1 at 51.