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Montalba v. Nelson

United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division

January 4, 2019

JUAN C. MONTALBA PLAINTIFF
v.
VIVALON NELSON, Lieutenant, Pulaski County Regional Detention Facility, et al . DEFENDANTS

          RECOMMENDED DISPOSITION

         The following Recommended Disposition (“Recommendation”) has been sent to United States District Judge James Moody, Jr. Any party may file written objections to this Recommendation. Objections must be specific and include the factual or legal basis for disagreeing with the Recommendation. An objection to a factual finding must specifically identify the finding of fact believed to be wrong and describe the evidence that supports that belief.

         An original and one copy of the objections must be received in the office of the United States District Clerk within fourteen (14) days of this Recommendation. If no objections are filed, Judge Moody can adopt this Recommendation without independently reviewing all of the evidence in the record. By not objecting, you may also waive any right to appeal questions of fact.

         I. Introduction

         Plaintiff Juan C. Montalba (“Montalba”), proceeding pro se, contends that, while incarcerated at the Pulaski County Regional Detention Facility (“PCRDF”), his constitutional rights were violated when Defendants Officer Robert Andexler (“Andexler”), Lieutenant Vivalon Nelson (“Nelson”), and Officer Curtis Williams (“Officer Williams”) failed to protect him from an attack by a fellow prisoner, Jessie Williams (“Inmate Williams”).[1] Docs. 2 & 6. Defendants are sued in their individual capacities only for the injuries Montalba received during the attack by Inmate Williams. Doc. 9 & 13.

         Defendants Andexler, Nelson and Williams have filed a Motion for Summary Judgment, a Brief in Support, and a Statement of Undisputed Facts.[2] Docs. 47-49. Montalba has filed a Response, Doc. 53, to which Defendants have filed a Reply, Doc. 54.

         Before reaching the merits of Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment, the Court will review the relevant undisputed facts giving rise to Montalba's failure to protect claims.

         1. On December 2, 2015, Montalba was a convicted prisoner awaiting transfer to the ADC to being serving his sentence. He was housed in the PCRDC's P-Unit. Doc. 48 at pp. 1-2.

         2. Andexler was on duty at the deputy station in the PCRDC's P-Unit at the time Montalba was attacked. Another inmate told Andexler: “They are fighting outside, it's pretty bad.” Andexler immediately went outside and found Montalba sitting against a wall, bleeding from a wound over his left eye. Doc. 48 at p. 2; Incident Report, Doc. 48-1, p. 11.

         3. Andexler called a Code Red (Medical Infirmary), placed the unit on lock down, and waited with Montalba until other officers, nurses and an EMT arrived.[3] Id.

         4. After securing medical attention for Montalba, Andexler investigated and learned that Inmate Williams was the prisoner who attacked Montalba. After examining Inmate Williams' face and knuckles, both of which were swollen, Andexler charged Inmate Williams with battery. Id.

         5. Before the December 2, 2015 fight, Montalba had a “keep separate” list that identified inmates who were to be housed separately from him. Inmate Williams was not on that list. If Inmate Williams had been on Montalba's “keep separate” list, the two inmates would have been housed separately, in accordance with PCRDF policy and practice. Doc. 48, p. 3, ¶¶ 18-20; Affidavit of Lt. Nelson, Doc. 48-2, p. 1, ¶ 5.

         6. Before the December 2, 2015 fight, Montalba alleges that he repeatedly asked Officer Williams to “please [do] not put him [Montalba] in P-Unit” because “he had an enemy in that unit.” He also alleges he told the Defendants that he “was scared to go in P-Unit.”[4] Doc. 53 at pp. 2-3.

         7. On December 4, 2015, Inmate Williams and Montalba were each placed on the other's “keep separate” list. Doc. 48-1, pp. 3, 24, 27.

         II. ...


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