Langley v. Hobbs et al
ORDER adopting 45 Proposed Findings and Recommendation as this Court's findings in all respects; granting in part and denying in part 34 defendants' motion for summary judgment; dismissing with prejudice claims against all defendants in their official capacities; dismissing without prejudice each of the claims against defendants Ray Hobbs, Wendy Kelley, Larry Norris, and Floyd McHan in their personal capacities. Defendants' motion is denied with respect to Mr. Langley's personal claims against defendants Michael Elmore and Jacob King. Signed by Judge Kristine G. Baker on 09/13/2016. (rhm) (Docket text modified on 9/13/2016 to correct the description of the document filed.) (thd).
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
PINE BLUFF DIVISION
WILLIAM EUGENE LANGLEY
Case No. 5:15-cv-00097 KGB/PSH
RAY HOBBS et al
The Court has reviewed the Proposed Findings and Recommendation submitted by United
States Magistrate Judge Patricia S. Harris and the objections filed by plaintiff William Eugene
Langley (Dkt. Nos. 45, 46). After carefully considering the Proposed Findings and Recommendation
and the objections, and making a de novo review of the record in this case, the Court concludes that
the Proposed Findings and Recommendation should be, and hereby are, approved and adopted in
their entirety as this Court’s findings in all respects.
Mr. Langley filed his complaint pro se alleging that defendants failed to protect him from an
assault by another inmate and failed to provide sufficient security in the chow hall where the assault
took place (Dkt. No. 2). Mr. Langley contends that defendants violated his right to be free from cruel
and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Subsequently, defendants filed a motion for summary judgment (Dkt. No. 34).
In their motion, defendants contend that Mr. Langley filed suit against them only in their
official capacities and that Mr. Langley failed to exhaust his claims as to defendants Ray Hobbs,
Wendy Kelley, Larry Norris, and Floyd McHan in their personal capacities prior to filing suit.
Defendants contend that they are entitled to summary judgment on the official capacity claims
because § 1983 does not allow a cause of action seeking money damages to be made against prison
employees in their official capacities. Mr. Hobbs, Ms. Kelley, Mr. Norris, and Mr. McHan contend
that they are entitled to summary judgment because Mr. Langley failed to exhaust the available
administrative remedies against them. They maintain that Mr. Langley did not complete the prison
grievance process as to these defendants.
The Proposed Findings and Partial Recommendation recommends that this Court grant
summary judgment and dismiss with prejudice Mr. Langley’s claims against all defendants in their
official capacities. The Proposed Findings and Partial Recommendation further recommends that
this Court dismiss with prejudice Mr. Langley’s claims against Mr. Hobbs, Ms. Kelley, Mr. Norris,
and Mr. McHan in their personal capacities because Mr. Langley did not exhaust prison grievance
procedures before filing suit against those defendants in federal court. Finally, the Proposed
Findings and Partial Recommendation recommends that this Court deny defendants’ motion for
summary judgment with regard to Mr. Langley’s claims against defendants Michael Elmore and
In his objections Mr. Langley contends that he appealed grievance 13-01156 and named Mr.
Elmore, Mr. King, and Mr. McHan as being involved in the assault that forms the basis of his present
complaint. Mr. Langley relies on grievance forms that he submitted with his complaint (Dkt. Nos.,
2, at 19–21). This Court has reviewed those grievance forms and determines that Mr. Langley’s
grievance did not address Mr. McHan.
In his grievance, Mr Langley does not name Mr. McHan. Instead, in the appeal statement,
the warden/supervisor’s decision states that if Mr. Langley was seeking protective custody, he should
have filled out the proper paperwork and submitted it to Mr. McHan (Dkt. No. 2, at 19). This sole
reference to Mr. McHan in the appeal decision is not sufficient to say that the purposes of the
exhaustion requirements have been satisfied or that the prison had a fair and full opportunity to
adjudicate Mr. Langeley’s claim against Mr. McHan. See Hammett v. Cofield, 681 F.3d 945 (8th
Cir. 2012) (per curiam) (holding that the Prison Litigation Reform Act’s exhaustion requirement is
satisfied if prison officials decide a procedurally flawed grievance on the merits). Therefore, this
Court agrees with the Proposed Findings and Recommendation and determines that Ms. Langley did
not exhaust his administrative remedies as to Mr. McHan.
The Court notes that, although Mr. Langley contends in his objections that he did exhaust the
grievance procedure as to Ms. Elmore and Mr. King, the Proposed Findings and Recommendation
concludes the same and recommends that Mr. Langley be permitted to proceed on his claims against
those defendants in their personal capacities.
It is therefore ordered that defendants’ motion for summary judgment is granted in part and
denied in part (Dkt. No. 43). Defendants’ motion is granted to the extent that Mr. Langley’s claims
against all defendants in their official capacities are dismissed with prejudice. Defendants’ motion
is granted to the extent that each of Mr. Langley’s claims against defendants Ray Hobbs, Wendy
Kelley, Larry Norris, and Floyd McHan in their personal capacities are dismissed without prejudice.
Defendants’ motion is denied with respect to Mr. Langley’s personal capacity claims against
defendants Michael Elmore and Jacob King.
Dated this 13th day of September, 2016.
KRISTINE G. BAKER
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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