United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Hot Springs Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
O. Hickey Chief United States District Judge
the Court is Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment.
(ECF No. 48). Plaintiff has filed a response to the motion.
(ECF No. 52). Defendants have filed a reply to
Plaintiff's response. (ECF No. 58). In addition,
Plaintiff has filed a response to Defendants' reply (ECF
No. 62) and a supplemental response in opposition to
Defendants' motion. (ECF No. 65). The Court finds the
matter ripe for consideration.
a civil rights action filed by Plaintiff pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff proceeds pro se and
in forma pauperis. Plaintiff is incarcerated in the
Arkansas Department of Correction (“ADC”) and is
currently housed at the Varner Unit. Plaintiff's claims
concern his incarceration and subsequent transfer from the
Ouachita River Correctional Unit (“ORCU”) to the
Second Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants
unconstitutionally retaliated against him by revoking his
Hobby Craft card at the ORCU. Plaintiff also alleges that he
was retaliated against when he was transferred from the ORCU
to the Varner Unit on February 8, 2018. (ECF No. 42).
Crystal Littleton has been the Hobby Craft Supervisor at the
ORCU since November 20, 2016. (ECF No. 50-1). Defendant Faust
is and was at all times relevant to this lawsuit the Warden
at the ORCU. (ECF No. 43). Defendants Outlaw and Jackson are
and were at all times relevant to this case Assistant Wardens
at the ORCU. (ECF No. 43).
ORCU is primarily a treatment unit for inmates with medical
conditions and/or special needs. (ECF No. 50-2). The ORCU is
a minimum to medium security unit and is intended only to
house prisoners with medical conditions and/or special needs.
(ECF No. 50-2). The ORCU frequently receives transfer
requests from other ADC units needing to send inmates that
require services only provided at the ORCU. (ECF No. 50-2).
inmates whose medical issues are resolved at the ORCU are
returned to the same units or units similar to those from
which they came. (ECF No. 50-2). The Classification Officer
at the ORCU keeps a list of inmates currently housed at the
ORCU that are eligible to be transferred. An inmate can only
be placed on the transfer list by Warden Faust, an assistant
warden, or a major. (ECF No. 50-2).
Hobby Craft program is authorized by Administrative Directive
16-49, Inmate Work Craft Program. (ECF No. 50-1; ECF No.
50-4, pp. 45-51). The Hobby Craft program at each ADC unit is
governed by policies specific to that unit. At the ORCU, the
Hobby Craft program is governed by Ouachita River
Correctional Unit Policy and Procedures, O.R.U. 22.1.0, Hobby
Craft Privileges. (ECF No. 50-1; ECF No. 50-4, pp. 38-44).
Section V of O.R.U. 22.1.0 states that “Hobby Craft
participation is a privilege and should be treated as
such.” (ECF No. 50- 4, pp. 38). All tools for Hobby
Craft activities “must be on the inmates'
inventory.” (ECF No. 50-4, pp. 39-40). Further,
“[a]n inmate's inability to account for Hobby Craft
items will result in the revocation of Hobby Craft privileges
and formal disciplinary action may also be taken.” (ECF
No. 50-4, p. 40). O.R.U. 22.1.0(VI)(I)(2) advises inmates
that “Hobby Craft privileges may be revoked or
suspended with failure to observe verbal or written Hobby
Craft rules.” (ECF No. 50-4, p. 43).
an inmate can participate in the Hobby Craft program, the
inmate must sign an institutional agreement stating the
I understand that I may not sell, give away, loan, or sublet
any of my Hobby Craft tools/equipment to other inmates. I
understand that I am Accountable for all my Hobby Craft
tools, equipment, etc. at all times. If my tools are stolen,
I must report the theft immediately to the Shift Supervisor.
I understand that the violation of any of the above rules or
any other Hobby Craft Regulation may result in disciplinary
action and/or revocation of My Work Craft privileges.
(ECF No. 50-1; ECF No. 50-4, p. 43-44). According to
Littleton, an inmate's Hobby Craft privileges (Hobby
Craft card) can be revoked without formal disciplinary action
being taken. (ECF No. 50-1, p. 2).
Hobby Craft card was originally issued on February 10, 2016,
after he signed an Institution/Inmate Agreement for Hobby
Craft. (ECF No. 55-1, pp. 1-2: 10-11). On November 14, 2017,
Plaintiff, who was being housed at the ORCU, signed a new
Institution/Inmate Agreement for Hobby Craft. (ECF Nos. 50-1;
50-4, pp.11-12). In addition to the above language, the
agreement signed by Plaintiff stated, “I understand
that the violation of any of the above rules or any other
Hobby Craft Regulation as stated in ORU policy number 22.1.0
may result in disciplinary action and/or revocation of my
Work Craft privileges at which time I must wait six (6)
months before I can reapply.” (ECF No. 50-4, p. 11).
revoked Plaintiff's Hobby Craft card on or about January
22 or 23, 2018. (ECF No. 42, p. 8; ECF No. 50-1).
Littleton's affidavit states that she revoked
Plaintiff's Hobby Craft card because he failed to
maintain an accurate and up-to-date inventory list of his
tools and supplies. (ECF No. 50-1). Specifically, Littleton
testifies that Plaintiff's “Daily Use Area Tool
Inventory” dated January 22, 2018, failed to include a
utility blade. (ECF Nos. 50-1; 50-4, p. 36).
admits that his January 22, 2018 inventory failed to include
a utility blade. Plaintiff also admits that, on that date, a
utility blade was found in his Hobby Craft tools. (ECF No.
50-3, p. 3). However, Plaintiff asserts that a mix-up with
his inventory list is to blame for the discrepancy. According
to Plaintiff, the utility blade that was left off his
inventory list was supposed to have been confiscated by
Littleton, because it was not on the approved list of tools
for Hobby Craft participants. (ECF No. 50-4, pp. 20-22; ECF
No. 55, pp. 38-40). Plaintiff asserts that he received forms
stating that the utility blade was officially confiscated and
removed from his inventory on November 19, 2017. (ECF No.
52-2, p. 11; ECF No. 55, pp. 38-40). Plaintiff further
asserts that after he received his inventory in January 2018,
he discovered that the tools he thought had been confiscated
were still located in their spot in the cabinet. (ECF No. 55,
to Plaintiff, before his Hobby Craft card was revoked, he had
spoken to Littleton's “porters” about the
problems with the tool inventory. Plaintiff alleges that the
revocation of his Hobby Craft card was in retaliation for his
complaints about problems with the tool inventories. (ECF No.
52-2, p. 12). Plaintiff also asserts that he asked
“them to correct [his inventory] earlier on . . . [and]
assumed that they had, but obviously they still wasn't on
there.” (ECF No. 52-6 at pp. 53-54). Plaintiff
thinks that he filed a “request for an
interview” with Littleton to attempt to correct the
inventory before his Hobby Craft card was revoked. (ECF No.
55-1, p. 56). Plaintiff does not remember if he put the
“request for an interview” in the mailbox or the
Hobby Craft box. (ECF No. 55-1, pp. 54-56).
January 22, 2018, Plaintiff filed a Formal Grievance, which
On 1-22-18, Hobby Craft Supervisor retaliated against myself
and others, by revoking my card for not communicating with
her about the inventory and her closed door policies. Every
since Mrs. Littleton has become Hobby Craft Supervisor the
inventory has been incorrect, she lost a pair of scissors and
a box cutter not long ago that still has not been accounted
for, as Sgt. Ugartchea wrote a 005 on at the time. She has
even suggested for myself and others in Hobby Craft to speak
with her clerks however its ADC policy that inmates are not
to supervise other inmates. The inventory is ultimately Mrs.
Warden/Center Supervisor's Decision regarding the
grievance, signed by Warden Faust and ...