Chapman v. Norris et al
ORDER declining 110 Recommendation and sustaining 113 Objection. 93 Motion for Summary Judgment granted. Chapman's claims against Baker and Perry will be dismissed with prejudice. The Court relieves Chapman's appointed counsel with thanks for her services. Any motion for reimbursement of remaining expenses, Local Rule 83.6, due by 12/15/2017. Signed by Judge D. P. Marshall Jr. on 12/1/2017. (jak)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
PINE BLUFF DIVISION
RONNIE L. CHAPMAN
SHAY BAKER, Training Officer, Delta
Regional Unit, ADC; and TONI PERRY,
Sergeant, Delta Regional Unit, ADC
1. On de nova review, the Court declines the recommendation, NQ 11 0,
and sustains Baker and Perry's objection, NQ 11 3. FED. R. CIV. P. 72(b) (3).
Viewing the admissible evidence in the light most favorable to Chapman,
Baker and Perry are entitled to qualified immunity.
Prosser v. Ross, 70
F.3d 1005, 1007 (8th Cir. 1995).
2. There's an evidentiary objection. NQ113. In opposing the motion,
Chapman relies on several statements from fellow prisoners. NQ 100 at
Exhibit K. Baker and Perry object to those statements; and the Court sustains
this objection. The statements reflect that they were made "freely, under no
duress, and withoutunduecoercion[.]" Buttheyweren'tmade underpenalty
of perjury and thus aren't admissible "declarations" w ithin the meaning of
Rule 56 or 28 U.S.C. § 1746. The Court therefore will not consider these
statements in deciding the motion for summary judgment. FED. R. CIV.
P. 56(c); Shanklin v. Fitzgerald, 397 F.3d 596, 602 (8th Cir. 2005); see also
Watkins v. Perkins, 618 F. App'x 299, 299-300 (8th Cir. 2015) (unpublished per
Chapman's claims against Baker and Perry are in two baskets:
(1) they should have prevented the attack in the first place; and (2) they
should have intervened sooner once they knew the attack was happening.
The Court addresses each in turn.
Chapman argues that Baker knew Tanner intended to attack other
inmates. Here, Chapman relies on a particular line in Tanner's deposition:
"I let [Perry] know what I told [the classification committee]." NQ100, Exhibit
Bat 65. But this is a selective reading of Tanner's testimony. This sentence is
among Tanner's repeated testimony that he never specifically told Perry that
he intended to harm other inmates. NQ 100, Exhibit B at 64-66. Instead, he told
her only that he was" going through it." Ibid. He told the committee, on the
other hand, that he intended to hurt others if he wasn' t transferred. NQ 100,
Exhibit Bat 28-31. Read in context, Tanner's testimony doesn't support a
finding that Perry knew Tanner intended to harm Chapman or other inmates.
This is a surprise-attack case, not a targeted-threat case. Compare Prosser, 70
F.d at 1007-08, with Young v. Selk, 508 F.3d 868 (8th Cir. 2007) . Indeed,
"[Chapman] himself admitted in his deposition that the attack took him by
surprise." Prosser, 70 F.3d at 1007. Chapman' s claim r equir es Bak er a n d
Perry to have done what Chapman didn't-anticipate the attack. In the
circumstances, Baker and Perry had no such duty. The guards are therefore
entitled to qualified immunity on the prevention issue.
Second, Chapman argues that Baker and Perry should have stopped
Tanner's multi-inmate attack sooner than they did. But Chapman hasn't
established that Baker and Perry were deliberately indifferent in failing to
intervene more quickly.
Chapman saw Baker and Perry looking into the barracks at least three
times-once during an argument that preceded the attack; once while the
attack was ongoing; and again after Tanner struck Chapman. Chapman says
that roughly ten minutes went by between each of these events. NQ 100,
Exhibit A at 62-67. Chapman asks the Court to conclude that a jury could
reasonably find that Baker and Perry were standing idly, watching the
violence during that entire twenty-minute stretch.
The record, though,
doesn't go that far.
Perhaps more importantly, the evidence doesn't show that Baker and
Perry realized, or should have realized, that an attack was happening before
Tanner hit Chapman.
Notably, even Chapman-who was in the
barracks-didn't realize Tanner was attacking other inmates until Tanner hit
him. Chapman presses hard on the fact that Baker and Perry "stood around
and did nothing." Arnold v. Jones, 891 F.2d 1370, 1373 (8th Cir. 1989). His
frustration is understandable: he was hurt in what he believes was a
preventable attack. But the record simply doesn't show that the guards had
a duty to intervene sooner or that, in failing to do so, they callously
disregarded a known risk to Chapman. E.g., Williams v. Willits, 853 F.2d 586,
591 (8th Cir. 1988). "The qualified immunity standard gives ample room for
mistaken judgments by protecting all but the plainly incompetent or those
who knowingly violate the law." Latimore v. Widseth, 7 F.3d 709, 713 (8th Cir.
1993) (quotation omitted). At most, a jury could conclude that Baker and
Perry were negligent, not deliberately indifferent, in their intervention.
Qualified immunity therefore shields Baker and Perry from liability on the
Objection, NQ 113, sustained.
Recommendation, NQ 110, declined.
Motion for summary judgment, Ng 93, granted. Chapman's claims against
Baker and Perry will be dismissed with prejudice.
The Court relieves Chapman's appointed counsel with thanks for her
services. Any motion for reimbursement of remaining expenses, Local Rule
83.6, due by 15 December 2017.
D.P. Marshall Jr.
United States District Judge
I ~u.vu.i.tA ;1.0/'7
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