Little v. Carl et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER: 1) Defs' motion for summary judgment 16 is GRANTED; 2) Plf's motion to request items/information 19 is DENIED; 3) A Judgment will enter concurrently herewith. Signed by Judge William O. Bertelsman on 7/15/2014.(ECO)cc: COR, cc mailed to Timothy Ray Little, Pro Se Pltf, at address on the docket sheet.
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF KENTUCKY
NORTHERN DIVISION AT COVINGTON
CIVIL ACTION NO. 2:13-cv-154(WOB)
TIMOTHY RAY LITTLE
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
TERRY CARL, ET AL.
This is a pro se action in which inmate, Timothy Ray Little,
appears to claim that the Defendants (1) violated his due process by
removing him from his “job” at the jail and moving him to a dorm with
fewer privileges, (2) retaliated against him for submitting grievances
by moving him to a dorm with fewer privileges, and (3) failed to
protect him from assault by another inmate at the jail.
This matter is now before the Court on a motion for summary
judgment filed by Sergeant 1 Landrum, Deputy Boyle, and Sergeant Bell
(the “Defendants") (Doc. 16) and a motion to request items/evidence
pleadings and being sufficiently advised, hereby issues the following
Memorandum Opinion and Order.
A. Inmate Little’s Confinement
On June 6, 2012, Timothy Little (“Little”) was booked into the
Kenton County Detention Center (“KCDC”) as a pretrial detainee and
placed in a general population dormitory 106.
Doc. 16-1, Bell Decl.,
Plaintiff’s Complaint misspelled Sergeant, therefore the caption is also
Inmates who are asked to help deputies with uniform exchanges receive
no tangible benefits or credits for helping.
Id. at ¶3.
There is no
dispute that Little began helping with uniform exchanges, although the
date he began assisting is unclear.
In January 2013, Deputy Boyle suspected Little was extorting food
trays, commissary items and chores from dormmates in exchange for
Doc. 16-2, Boyle Decl., p. 1, ¶1-2.
during her shift.
At some point in January, Deputy
Doc. 1, Complaint; Doc. 16, Def. Motion and Memo,
p. 2; Id. at ¶3.
B. January 9, 2013 and January 11, 2013 Grievances
On January 9, 2013, Little filed a grievance complaining that
Deputy Boyle had a personal vendetta against him and harassed him.
outside the scope of available remedies.
Sergeant Bell offered
to move Little to an isolation cell on days when Deputy Boyle was
existed between them, but Little declined this option.
On January 11, 2013, Little filed another grievance, complaining
that Deputy Boyle was telling inmates and staff that she hated him.
Doc. 16-4, 1/11/13 Grievance.
Sergeant Landrum denied the grievance
on January 12, 2013, because it was not filled out correctly.
Sergeant Landrum advised Little he could resubmit a new grievance, but
cautioned that how Deputy Boyle performed her job was not a grievable
Doc. 16-5, Landrum Decl., ¶¶1-2.
Sergeant Landrum met with Little on January 16, 2013, to discuss
the status of his grievance.
Id. at 3.
Little explained he was
satisfied that the matter had been fairly settled and did not want to
proceed with filing a revised grievance.
Later that day, Little complained verbally to Sergeant Bell about
16-2, Boyle Decl., ¶3; Doc. 16-1, p. 8, 1/16/13 Incident
C. Transfer to Dorm with Lesser Privileges
An investigation into uniform exchange assistance revealed that
inmates Little and Beal were exchanging the correct uniform sizes for
With the approval of Lieutenant Sprang, Sergeant Bell made the
Id.; Doc. 16-1, Bell Decl., ¶4.
did not change after his transfer.
D. February 21, 2013 Grievance
On February 21, 2013, Little filed a grievance complaining that
he was brought to Tango on the same day for the same reason as inmate
Beal but was in Tango longer than Beal. Doc. 16-7, 2/21/13 Grievance.
Little proposed that he be transferred to dorm 102, 106, or 152.
Sergeant Landrum denied the grievance as non-grievable.
E. Transfer to Dorm 152 & Altercation with Fellow Inmate
On February 22, 2013, Little was transferred to dorm 152.
16-1, Sgt. Bell Decl., ¶5.
Little admits that on March 16, 2013, he and a fellow inmate
3/16/13 Incident Report and Witness Statements; see surveillance of
following the incident.
Little did not request medical treatment for
any injuries allegedly suffered in the fight over the card game.
16-1, Bell Decl., ¶6.
A. Due Process
Summary judgment on Plaintiff’s due process claim is appropriate.
Whether an inmate has a liberty interest in avoiding a particular
condition of confinement or cell placement is governed by Sandin v.
Conner, 515 U.S. 472, 115 S. Ct. 2293, 132 L. Ed. 2d 418 (1995).
“[T]hese interests will be generally limited to freedom from restraint
which, while not exceeding the sentence in such an unexpected manner
as to give rise to protection by the Due Process Clause of its own
force, nonetheless imposes atypical and significant hardship on the
inmate in relation to the ordinary incidents of prison life.”
484 (internal citations removed).
Little’s transfer from dorm 106 to a different dorm with fewer
privileges did not impose “atypical or significant hardship” on him
“in relation to the ordinary incidents of prison life.”
exchanges was randomly afforded to him and other inmates of that dorm,
and that he received no tangible benefit from assisting.
Bell Decl., p. 1, ¶¶1-3.
Even if Little’s suspected extortion was not
substantiated as Plaintiff contends, the jail has discretion in making
A holding that any deprivation of a privilege imposed by prison
authorities triggers the protections of the Due Process Clause would
subject a wide spectrum of discretionary actions that traditionally
judicial review. See Meachum v. Fano, 427 U.S. 215, 225, 96 S. Ct.
2532, 49 L. Ed. 2d 451 (1976).
Little’s due process claim is warranted.
Summary judgment for the Defendants on Little’s retaliation claim
is also appropriate.
To state a claim for retaliation, Little must
establish that (1) he engaged in protected conduct; (2) he suffered an
adverse action which would deter a person of ordinary firmness from
continuing to engage in the protected conduct; and (3) the adverse
Thaddeus-X v. Blatter, 175 F.3d 378, 394 (6th Cir. 1999) (citing Bloch
v. Ribar, 156 F.3d 673, 678 (6th Cir. 1998)).
Little has failed to demonstrate a genuine issue of fact that he
engaged in protected activity by complaining about how Deputy Boyle
Campbell, 250 F.3d 1032, 1037 (6th Cir. 2001) (“[W]hile a prisoner may
have a right to file grievances against prison officials, he or she
cannot exercise that right in a manner that violates legitimate prison
regulations or penological objectives.”); Ward v. Dyke, 58 F.3d 271,
274 (6th Cir. 1995)) (“The ability to transfer a prisoner who is
interfering with prison administration and staff morale goes to the
essence of prison management.”)
Deputy Boyle’s managerial decisions
about who she chose to assist with uniform exchange is not a grievable
As such, Little’s complaints do not constitute protected
The fact that Little disputes extorting items in exchange for
correct uniform sizes does not alter the conclusion that Little’s
substantiated is irrelevant, because Deputy Boyle may rely upon her
managerial discretion in how to conduct uniform exchanges during her
Plaintiff also failed to raise a material issue of fact that he
suffered an adverse action.
The Sixth Circuit recently recognized
that cell assignments are incidental to detention and do not typically
amount to an adverse action.
See LaFountain v. Harry, 716 F.3d 944,
948 (6th Cir. 2013) (recognizing the general rule but holding that the
prisoner sufficiently pled that prison officials retaliated against
him by forcing him into a cell with a mentally ill prisoner who
ultimately threatened the prisoner’s life).
appropriate on this claim.
C. Failure to Protect
Little’s failure to protect claim.
“Pretrial detainee claims, though
rather than the Eighth Amendment, City of Revere v. Mass. Gen. Hosp.,
analyzed under the same rubric as Eighth Amendment claims brought by
Villegas v. Metro. Gov't of Nashville, 709 F.3d 563, 568
(6th Cir. 2013) (citing Roberts v. City of Troy, 773 F.2d 720, 723
(6th Cir. 1985)).
alleging his medical need was “sufficiently serious.”
McCrary, 273 F.3d 693, 703 (citing Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825,
834, 114 S. Ct. 1970, 128 L. Ed. 2d 811 (1994)).
To satisfy the
subjective component, the plaintiff must show the official being sued
perceived facts from which to infer substantial risk to the prisoner,
official then disregarded that risk.
There is no evidence that any KCDC deputy possessed the requisite
Doc. 16-8, 3/16/13 Incident Report and Witness Statements;
Doc. 15, surveillance video.
Little is also unable to demonstrate that the Defendants failed
to protect him by being deliberately indifferent to his medical needs.
There is no evidence Little made a request for medical attention on or
after the March 16, 2013 altercation.
Little was taking prescribed
medications for conditions unrelated to the fight and therefore had
access to medical personnel at least twice daily during medical pass
opportunities to request help, he did not do so.
Id. at 6.
substantiated by testimony or surveillance, Plaintiff never claims he
told an officer of his concerns.
Because Little is unable demonstrate a genuine issue of material
fact exists with respect to whether any defendant was aware of and
ignored an obvious substantial risk of harm to him or serious medical
need, summary judgment in favor of the Defendants is appropriate.
D. Plaintiff’s Motion to Request Items and Evidence
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(f) provides that the Court may
postpone ruling on summary judgment to allow a party opposing summary
judgment to conduct discovery, the opposing party must demonstrate how
the discovery being requested will rebut the showing of the absence of
a genuine issue of material fact.
See Emmons v. McLaughlin, 874 F.2d
351, 356-57 (6th Cir. 1989).
Plaintiff has failed to demonstrate how
daily logs, video surveillance, or names of inmates at KCDC would
constitutional violations against the Defendants.
Therefore, the Court being sufficiently advised, IT IS ORDERED:
Defendants’ motion for summary judgment (Doc. 16) be, and
hereby is, GRANTED; and
Plaintiff’s motion to request items/information (Doc. 19),
be, and hereby is, DENIED;
A Judgment will enter concurrently herewith.
This 15th day of July, 2014.
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