Jewell v. Stoval et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Honorable Barry A. Bryant on March 6, 2012. (cap)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
WESTERN DISTRICT OF ARKANSAS
Civil No. 4:10-cv-04176
FORMER SHERIFF LINDA RAMBO
Plaintiff, Matthew Jewell (Jewell), filed this case pursuant to the provisions of 42 U.S.C. §
1983. He proceeds pro se and in forma pauperis. The case is before me pursuant to the consent of
the parties (ECF No. 9). Jewell is currently an inmate in the Arkansas Department of Correction
(ADC), Pine Bluff Unit. The events that are the subject of this case occurred while Jewell was
incarcerated in the Miller County Detention Center (MCDC). Specifically, Jewell alleges he was
assaulted by six fellow inmates.
Defendant, Former Sheriff Linda Rambo (Rambo), has filed a motion for summary judgment
(ECF No. 44).
Jewell responded to the motion (ECF No. 49).
The motion is now ready for
Jewell was booked into the MCDC on October 3, 2008. Defendant's Exhibit D (hereinafter
Deft's Ex.). He remained incarcerated there until he was transferred to the ADC on February 26,
At the time of the assault, Jewell was housed in Max A pod. Deft's Ex. C at pg. 9. According
to Jewell, it was a twenty-eight man pod with "fifty something people in it." Id. Since it was
overcrowded, inmates were sleeping outside of the cells. Id. at pg. 10. The bathrooms were located
in the cells. Id. at pg. 9.
The day prior to the assault, Jewell was out of toilet paper and on multiple occasions had
called over the intercom to the control center for someone to bring him some toilet paper. Deft's Ex.
C at pg. 10. Finally, Sergeant Drake (Drake) entered the pod and Jewell testified Drake was upset
because Jewell had been calling over the intercom. Id. When Drake came in, Jewell claims he said:
"Where is that baby raper Jewell." Id. Nothing else happened that day. Id.
The following day, on October 23rd, a bomb threat was called in.1 Deft's Ex. C at pg. 10.
The inmates were evacuated. Id. Among the officers outside were Deputy Sheriff Jesse Grigsby
(Grigsby) and Jeff Nicks (Nicks). Id. at pg. 11. Everyone was outside the facility for about an hour.
Id. During this time, two inmates, Quintwin Arnold (Arnold) and Mike Walker (Walker), started
talking to Grigsby and Nicks. Id. Nicks told the inmates that there was a "snitch in the group, that
they needed to watch out." Id. Walker asked Nicks who he was referring to and Nicks pointed to
Jewell and identified him as the snitch. Id.
Jewell asked who Nicks was talking to. Deft's Ex. C at pgs. 11-12. At about that time, the
inmates were taken back inside. Id. Jewell asked an officer, whose name he could not recall, if he
would get somebody "to take care of the situation" for him. Id. at pg. 12. The officer said he would.
Id. About five minutes after he went back inside, Jewell states he had a blanket thrown on top of him
and six inmates jumped on him, kicked him, and beat him. Id.
At some point, Jewell got the blanket off and tried to get away. Deft's Ex. C at pg. 12.
According to Jewell, no one in the pod would help him so Jewell went to the door and pressed the
call button. Id. at pgs. 12-13. When no one answered, he started beating on the door. Id. Jewell
continued to struggle with the inmates for approximately eight to ten inmates. Id. at pg. 13.
Jewell was able to identify three of his attackers, James Byrd (Byrd), Cordarius Morrisse
Jewell believed the date of the attack was October 27th. Deft's Ex. C at pg. 8. However, the hospital records and nurse notes are
dated October 23rd. Deft's Exs. A-B.
(Morrrisse), and Timothy Holland (Holland). Deft's Ex. C at pgs. 14-15. Criminal charges were
brought against these individuals. Id. Prior to the attack, Jewell had no arguments with these
inmates and got along with them just fine. Deft's Ex. C at pg. 15.
At 3:00 p.m., Jewell was escorted to the intake area by Officer Williams (Williams). Deft's
Ex. B. He was seen by the nurse who noted red and purple swollen areas to his left eye lid, a one
inch scratch on the upper left forehead, a slightly bleeding nose, a pecan sized edematous behind his
left ear, a small cut on his upper left, and an egg size edematous area to the left forearm just above
the wrist. Id. It was also noted he had multiple abrasions. Id. At 4:00 p.m., Dr. Stringfellow stated
Jewell should be transferred to the St. Michael Emergency Room. Id.
Jewell was treated at the Christus St. Michael Health Care System in Texarkana, Texas.
Deft's Ex. A. Jewell reported he had been "jumped" and complained of head, nose, and left rib pain.
Id. at pg. 5. He was noted to have a left black eye. Id. A CT scan showed he had some left
periorbital soft tissue swelling and some edema and/or a hematoma in the scalp in the left
frontoparietal region. Id. at pg. 1.
After he arrived back at the MCDC, Jewell was housed in West B on the opposite end of the
Max felony side of the facility. Deft's Ex. C at pg. 18. After a period of time, Walker was allowed
to come into West B. Id. According to Jewell, Walker asked two or three inmates, he was selling
cigarettes to, how much it would cost for them to jump on Jewell. Id. at pg. 19. At the time, Jewell
states Walker was standing right next to Jailer D. Arnold. Id. at pg. 20. As soon as they left, Jewell
called his mother and had her call the MCDC to ask for Jewell to be moved before he "got jumped."
Id. at pg. 20. Approximately, twenty minutes later, Jewell states Drake and another officer came and
moved Jewell to a single man cell. Id.
Jewell also believed Nicks and Grigsby were related by marriage to the individual Jewell was
convicted of raping. Deft's Ex. C at pg. 21. Jewell believes this is what motivated Nicks and Grigsby
to call Jewell a snitch. Id. at pg. 22. Jewell also believes the assault may have been racially
motivated. Id. at pg. 24. According to Jewell, he was not viewed as being of African-American
descent and not in their gang. Id.
Jewell also testified there was a history of racially motivated assaults at the MCDC. Deft's
Ex. C at pg. 25. However, when asked to state when these assaults had occurred, Jewell could only
identify one assault that occurred a week after the assault on him. Id.
With respect to Rambo, Jewell believes she is liable for the assault because she was in charge
at the time. Deft's Ex. C at pg. 26. He testified he had no other reason to believe Rambo should be
After he was transferred to the ADC, Jewell maintains he was attacked by the same gang the
inmates who attacked him at the MCDC were affiliated with. Deft's Ex. C at pg. 15. Jewell believes
a "hit" was put out on him. Id. When he was first transferred to the ADC, Jewell indicates he told
officials that he had "charges on" Holland, Morrisse, and Byrd. Id. at pg. 17. He believed this
should have been enough for officials to make sure he was not housed with these individuals. Id.
Additionally, Jewell states he believed Miller County was going to make sure he was not housed
anywhere near them. Id.
2. Applicable Standard
“Summary judgment is appropriate when “there is no genuine issue as to any material fact
and . . . the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). We view
all evidence and inferences in a light most favorable to the nonmoving party. See Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252 (1986).
3. Arguments of the Parties
Based on Jewell's own testimony, Rambo maintains the subjective component of the failure
to protect claim cannot be satisfied. Rambo points out that Jewell had never complained about any
risks to his safety to anyone employed at the MCDC. Thus, Rambo maintains there is no way she
could have known about the potential assault or could have done anything to prevent it.
Plaintiff maintains that, if Rambo had not allowed the pods to be overcrowded and would
have had enough employees on duty, he would have been unharmed. Instead, he maintains he was
subjected to a hostile and unsafe living environment. Additionally, he states MCDC employees
called him a "baby raper," a snitch, and allowed inmates to discuss the price of jumping on him.
The Eighth Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. U.S. Const. amend. VIII.
"A prisoner's conditions of confinement, including the safety measures taken to protect prisoners,
are subject to scrutiny under the Eighth Amendment." Davis v. Oregon County, Missouri, 607 F.3d
543, 548 (8th Cir. 2010). Prison officials have a duty to protect prisoners from violence at the hands
of other prisoners. See e.g., Perkins v. Grimes, 161 F.3d 1127, 1129 (8th Cir. 1998).
To prevail on his failure to protect claim, Jewell must: first prove "he was incarcerated under
conditions posing a substantial risk of serious harm." Holden v. Hirner, 663 F.3d 336, 341 (8th Cir.
2011). This is an objective requirement "to ensure the deprivation is a violation of a constitutional
right." Id. "The second requirement is a subjective test; the defendant must be aware of facts from
which the inference could be drawn that a substantial risk of serious harm exists, and he must also
draw the inference." Schoelch v. Mitchell, 625 F.3d 1041, 1046 (8th Cir. 2010)(internal quotation
marks and citation omitted). "An official's negligence alone is insufficient to meet the subjective
component because the official must recklessly disregard a known, excessive risk of serious harm
to the inmate." Davis, 607 F.3d at 549 (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
In this case, there is simply no basis on which Rambo can be held liable. Rambo cannot be
held liable merely because she was in charge of the facility at which Jewell was attacked by fellow
inmates. Lenz v. Wade, 490 F.3d 991, 995-96 (8th Cir. 2007)(Single incident, or series of isolated
incidents, insufficient to provide basis for supervisory liability). Jewell had not been involved in any
altercations at the detention center prior to October 23rd. Prior to the day of the assault, he testified
he had no problems with the inmates who assaulted him. Although he maintains the overcrowding
resulted in the creation of an unsafe environment, he did not witness any fights prior to the attack
on him, did not report any violent confrontations, and did not suggest that the conditions were such
that some type of inmate violence was imminent. With respect to the attack on Jewell, there is no
indication Rambo was present at the time of the attack, was aware of Jewell having been referred
to as a baby raper and a snitch, or played any part in either provoking the attack or failing to respond
promptly when Jewell was attacked.
For the reasons stated, by a separate judgment entered this same day, the Defendant's motion
for summary judgment (ECF No. 44) will be granted.
DATED this 6th day of March 2012.
/s/ Barry A. Bryant
HON. BARRY A. BRYANT
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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