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Ford v. Kelley

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

April 9, 2019

DAMIEN FORD ADC #143035 PLAINTIFF
v.
WENDY KELLEY, Director, Arkansas Department of Correction; et al. DEFENDANTS

          PROPOSED FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS INSTRUCTIONS

          JOE J. VOLPE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         The following recommended disposition has been sent to United States District Judge James M. Moody, Jr. Any party may serve and file written objections to this recommendation. Objections should be specific and should include the factual or legal basis for the objection. If the objection is to a factual finding, specifically identify that finding and the evidence that supports your objection. An original and one copy of your objections must be received in the office of the United States District Court Clerk no later than fourteen (14) days from the date of the findings and recommendations. The copy will be furnished to the opposing party. Failure to file timely objections may result in waiver of the right to appeal questions of fact.

         If you are objecting to the recommendation and also desire to submit new, different, or additional evidence, and to have a hearing for this purpose before the District Judge, you must, at the same time that you file your written objections, include the following:

1. Why the record made before the Magistrate Judge is inadequate.
2. Why the evidence proffered at the hearing (if such a hearing is granted) was not offered at the hearing before the Magistrate Judge.
3. The details of any testimony desired to be introduced at the new hearing in the form of an offer of proof, and a copy, or the original, of any documentary or other non-testimonial evidence desired to be introduced at the new hearing.

         From this submission, the District Judge will determine the necessity for an additional evidentiary hearing. Mail your objections and “Statement of Necessity” to:

Clerk, United States District Court
Eastern District of Arkansas
600 West Capitol Avenue, Suite A149
Little Rock, AR 72201-3325

         DISPOSITION

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Damien Ford (“Plaintiff”) was an inmate at the Varner Supermax Unit of the Arkansas Department of Correction (“ADC”) at the time he filed this action pro se and pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. Nos. 2, 11.) He alleges Defendants, ADC and Varner Supermax officials, violated his First, Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights by subjecting him to excessive confinement in punitive isolation and by denying him access to media and his personal property during forty-eight-hour “relief periods” in between successive thirty-day terms in punitive isolation.[1] (Doc. No. 11 at 4, 9-13.) Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages as well as injunctive relief. (Id. at 13-14.)

         The remaining Defendants are Wendy Kelley, James Gibson, McHan, [2] Cashion, [3] Claudia Harris, Stephens, [4] Brown, [5] James Plummer, F. Washington, [6] Michael Demery, Spencer, [7] Evans, [8] and Felicia Piggee. They have filed a Motion for Summary Judgment, contending they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law on Plaintiff's claims. (Doc. Nos. 126-128, 147.) Plaintiff has responded (Doc. Nos. 138, 139). Plaintiff also filed a Motion for Summary Judgment. (Doc. Nos. 140-142.) Defendants have responded. (Doc. Nos. 145, 146). This matter is now ripe for a decision. After careful review, and for the following reasons, I find Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment should be DENIED. Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment should be GRANTED and Plaintiff's claims should be DISMISSED with prejudice.

         II. FACTS

         It is undisputed that Plaintiff spent a significant amount of time in punitive isolation due to repeated rule violations. (Doc. No. 128 at 4; 126-6.) According to Plaintiff's Amended Complaint, he was denied adequate forty-eight-hour relief in between consecutive thirty-day periods in punitive isolation. (Doc. No. 11 at 4, 9-10.) Specifically, he was not moved from his punitive isolation cell during his forty-eight-hour relief periods and was not afforded access to newspapers and other media and his personal property during those times. (Id.) Plaintiff alleges he suffered “sleep deprivation, humiliation, and mental and biological deterioration.” (Id. at 11.) He seeks an injunction requiring Defendants to “obey the constitutional limitation of 30 days confinement in punitive isolation, ” as well as compensatory and punitive damages. (Id. at 13.)

         III. SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD

         Under 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 the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A party asserting that a fact cannot be or is genuinely disputed must support the assertion by citing to particular materials in the record, “including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including ...


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