United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Pine Bluff Division
Procedures for Filing Objections:
Recommended Disposition (“Recommendation”) has
been sent to Judge D.P. Marshall Jr. Any party may file
written objections with the Clerk of Court. To be considered,
objections must be filed within 14 days. Objections should be
specific and should include the factual or legal basis for
parties do not file objections, they may waive the right to
appeal questions of fact. And, if no objections are filed,
Judge Marshall can adopt this Recommendation without
independently reviewing the record.
Andrew Walker, an inmate in the Arkansas Department of
Correction (“ADC”), filed this 42 U.S.C. §
1983 lawsuit claiming that Defendants were deliberately
indifferent to his health and safety. Mr. Walker's claims
arise from his fall on an icy sidewalk outside of the chow
hall at the ADC's Wrightsville Unit. (Docket entries #2,
Court initially recommended that Mr. Walker's claims be
dismissed based on claim preclusion. (#16) Judge Marshall
declined to adopt the recommendation, however, because new
facts were alleged in this case that were not raised in the
prior case. (#20)
Court ordered service of process for Defendants John L.
Henderson and Stephen M. Cockrell on claims that they were
deliberately indifferent to Mr. Walker's safety in
failing to keep the sidewalk clear of ice; for Defendant
Jones on a claim that he was deliberately indifferent to Mr.
Walker's need for medical care and on a claim of
retaliatory transfer; and for Defendant Correctional Care
Solutions (“CCS”) for deliberate indifference to
medical needs. (#29) Judge Marshall subsequently adopted a
partial recommended disposition granting summary judgment to
Defendants CCS and Jones based on failure to exhaust
administrative remedies. (#98)
remaining Defendants Henderson and Cockrell
(“Defendants”) have now moved for summary
judgment on the merits of Mr. Walker's claims. (#113) Mr.
Walker has filed a response and memorandum in support of his
response, and an amended response, and the case is ripe for
decision. (#123, #124, #125)
summary judgment, the court rules in favor of a party before
trial. Defendants Henderson and Cockrell are entitled to
summary judgment if-but only if-the evidence, viewed in the
light most favorable to Mr. Walker, shows that there is no
genuine dispute about 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, 247-48 (1986).
the facts critical to the decision in this case are not
disputed. On December 8, 2013, Mr. Walker was detained in
general population at the ADC's Wrightsville Unit.
(#115-6 at 14) On that day, ice and snow caused slick
sidewalks and streets. (#115-6 at 16-17) Defendants Henderson
and Cockrill were supervising inmates and kitchen staff at
the chow hall at the Wrightsville Unit that morning. (#115-4
at 1, #115-5 at 1)
Walker asked an unidentified officer if his food could be
brought to his barracks, because he was recovering from
recent back surgery. (#115-6 at 17-18, 20) The officer denied
Mr. Walker's request, because he did not have a medical
script requiring delivery of his meals to the barracks.
(#115-6 at 21) And in fact, Mr. Walker had not requested a
medical script. (#115-6 at 21-23)
Walker walked to the chow hall for breakfast that morning
without incident. (#115-6 at 30, 32) He testified in
deposition that he saw two inmates fall on the ice as he made
his way to the chow hall, but he could not identify the
inmates. And he did not report the falls he witnessed.
(#115-6 at 30)
left the chow hall after breakfast, Mr. Walker did not notice
any snow or ice on the sidewalk. (#115-6 at 35) He did not
sense that he was in danger of falling because the sidewalk
appeared to be clear. (#115-6 at 35- 36) Just outside the
chow hall door, however, he fell on black ice. At that time,
he noticed a pile of snow 10 or 15 feet in front of him
behind the door. (#115-6 at 36) He does not know how the snow
got there, but he assumes that kitchen workers used a broom
or shovel to push the snow behind the door. (#115-6 at 38)
Wrightsville Unit, the maintenance crew typically clears
sidewalks. (#115-6 at 23) Defendants Cockrell and Henderson
were not on the maintenance crew and did not supervise the
maintenance crew. (#115-6 at 23) Mr. Walker did not see
either Defendant Cockrell or Defendant Henderson sweeping
snow or moving snow behind the door. (#115-6 at 39) Mr.
Walker did not see either Defendant Cockrell or Defendant
Henderson attempting to clear any sidewalks that day. (#115-6