Summers v. Williamson County Jail et al
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION: For the reasons stated below, the undersigned Magistrate Judge recommends that Defendants' motions for summary judgment 26 29 31 and 33 be granted. Signed by Magistrate Judge John S. Bryant on 9/14/15. (xc:Pro se party by regular and certified mail.)(DOCKET TEXT SUMMARY ONLY-ATTORNEYS MUST OPEN THE PDF AND READ THE ORDER.)(afs)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF TENNESSEE
TABITHA LYNN SUMMERS,
TIFFANY TEAGUE, et al.,
Chief Judge Sharp/Bryant
THE HONORABLE KEVIN H. SHARP
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Defendants Vandenbousch, Roberts, Pater, and Oliveri have
filed their respective motions for summary judgment (Docket Entry
Nos. 26, 29, 31 and 33). Plaintiff Summers has filed a response in
opposition (Docket Entry No. 41). The moving Defendants filed a
reply (Docket Entry No. 44) and Plaintiff Summers filed a response
to Defendants’ reply (Docket Entry No. 45).
For the reasons stated below, the undersigned Magistrate
Judge recommends that Defendants’ motions for summary judgment be
STATEMENT OF THE CASE
Plaintiff Summers, who is proceeding pro se and in forma
pauperis, has filed her civil rights complaint based upon events
that allegedly occurred during her confinement at the Williamson
County Jail between May 27, 2013, and February 24, 2014. During
this period Plaintiff Summers was confined on a charge of violating
her probation. Defendants Vandenbousch, Roberts, Pater, and Oliveri
were employed at the jail at officers of the Williamson County
Sheriff’s Department. Plaintiff Summers claims that the events
alleged in her complaint constituted cruel and unusual punishment
violating her rights under the Eighth Amendment of the U.S.
Constitution. She seeks damages pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
(Docket Entry No. 11).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
A party may obtain summary judgment by showing “that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and that the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Fed. R. Civ.
P. 56(a); Covington v. Knox County School Sys., 205 F.3d 912, 914
(6th Cir. 2000). The moving party bears the initial burden of
satisfying the court that the standards of Rule 56 have been met.
See Martin v. Kelley, 803 F.2d 236, 239 n.4 (6th Cir. 1986). The
ultimate question to be addressed is whether there exists any
genuine dispute of material fact. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986); Covington, 205 F.3d at 914 (citing
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 325 (1986)). If so, summary
judgment is inappropriate.
judgment, the nonmoving party must set forth specific facts showing
that there is a genuine issue of material fact for trial.
party does not so respond, summary judgment will be entered if
appropriate. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e). The nonmoving party’s burden of
providing specific facts demonstrating that there remains a genuine
issue of material fact for trial is triggered once the moving party
shows an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party’s case.
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 325. A genuine issue of material fact exists
“if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. In
ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the Court must construe
the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party,
drawing all justifiable inferences in its favor. See Matsushita
Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986).
The Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibits
“cruel and unusual punishment.” Although Plaintiff Summers on this
occasion was being held on a charge of violating the terms of her
probation, claims of pretrial detainees are analyzed under the same
rubric as Eighth Amendment claims brought by prisoners. Villegas v.
Metropolitan Gov’t of Nashville, 709 F.3d 563, 568 (6th Cir. 2013).
The Supreme Court has held that “extreme deprivations are required
to make out a conditions-of-confinement claim.” Hudson v. McMillan,
503 U.S. 1, 9 (1992). To prevail on a Eighth Amendment conditionsof-confinement claim, a plaintiff must prove both an objective and
a subjective component. Santiago v. Ringle, 734 F.3d 585, 590 (6th
Cir. 2013). Subjectively, the deprivation or force must be applied
maliciously or sadistically to cause harm, rather than in a goodfaith effort to maintain or restore discipline. Hudson, 503 U.S. at
7. The deprivation must objectively be serious enough to “result in
necessities’.” Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994).
Defendants Vandenbousch and Oliveri. Plaintiff alleges
violated her constitutional rights in August 2013 by ordering that
Plaintiff be deprived of all her belongings, including clothes,
bedding and hygiene materials (Docket Entry No. 1 at 7-14). In his
affidavit, Defendant Vandenbousch states that in August 2013,
including refusing her psychiatric medication, destroying items
issued to her, throwing trash on the floor of her cell, refusing
deputies’ requests to clean her cell, and refusing to wear clothing
destructive behavior, Plaintiff Summers was placed on security
status on August 19, 2013. Defendant Vandenbousch directed deputies
to place Plaintiff Summers in a security suit and to remove all
personal items from her cell (Id.). Plaintiff Summers remained on
this security status from August 19 until August 22, 2013. During
this period, for her own safety and security, Plaintiff’s access to
items in her cell was limited. Although Plaintiff in her complaint
alleges that Defendant Oliveri, one of the female deputies, denied
her toilet paper for feminine hygiene purposes on occasion during
this four-day period, Plaintiff concedes that she was permitted to
take showers and provided clean security suits by jail employees on
other shifts during this period (Docket Entry No. 1 at 9-13).
confinement claim, only those deprivations denying the minimal
civilized measure of life’s necessities are sufficiently grave to
form the basis of a violation of a prisoner’s Eighth Amendment
rights. Maston v. Montgomery County Jail Medical Staff Personnel,
832 F. Supp. 2d 846 (S.D. Ohio 2011). In consideration of the
admissions made by Plaintiff in her complaint and the affidavit
testimonies of the Defendants (Docket Entry Nos. 35-2, -3, -6, and
-8) the undersigned Magistrate Judge finds that the temporary
hygiene products, during the period from August 19 to August 22,
deprivation constituted a violation of Plaintiff’s rights under the
Vandenbousch and Defendant Oliveri should be dismissed.
Defendant Roberts. Plaintiff alleges that on or about
depressed” (Docket Entry No. 1 at 24). She was placed upon suicide
watch by the Defendants and was taken to Middle Tennessee Mental
Health Institute for evaluation and thereafter returned to the
Williamson County Jail. Upon returning to the jail, Plaintiff
alleges that she “had already started hitting [her] head again on
the walls and table” (Id. at 25). Several deputies, including
Defendant Roberts, responded by removing Plaintiff from her cell
and placing her into a restraint chair. Two hours later when the
deputies released her from the restraint chair and attempted to
stand her up, she intentionally “busted [her] head into the table
in front of Pod 508" (Docket Entry No. 1 at 26). Plaintiff alleges
that Defendant Roberts “jerked my arms from behind” and “slings me
down back into the restraint chair and grabs my head calling me a
dumbass and turning my head with pressure and force to the left
In his affidavit, Defendant Roberts states that he had
been sent to the female pod of the detention facility to assist in
removing Plaintiff Summers from the restraint chair (Docket Entry
No. 35-2 at 1). Summers had been placed in the restraint chair in
order to prevent her self harm. Assisted by two officers, Defendant
Roberts removed Plaintiff’s restraints and assisted her to her
feet. Summers then suddenly attempted to pull away from the
deputies and began banging her head very violently against a nearby
table (Id. at 2). Defendant Roberts testifies that he approached
Plaintiff from the back, took hold of her shoulders and placed her
back in the restraint chair. He states that she continued to resist
and that he used only that force necessary to place her back in the
restraint chair and to prevent her from causing further harm to
herself. He states that he held her head to the side so that she
could not bite, spit, or otherwise use her head to strike at the
other officers as they reapplied her restraints. Roberts testified
that Plaintiff “remained agitated, screaming and telling me to
break her neck,” and that once Plaintiff was securely back in the
chair medical personnel examined her circulation and her restraints
evaluation for possible transfer to the Middle Tennessee Mental
Health Institute (Id.).
Defendants have filed 13 audio visual recordings of many of the
Magistrate Judge has reviewed all of these audio visual recordings,
including the one that records the event involving Defendant
Roberts. Although some of the video images are dark and not of good
quality, the undersigned Magistrate Judge finds that from this
treatment of Plaintiff Summers was done maliciously or sadistically
in an effort to cause her harm, or that the discomfort inflicted
contemporary standards of decency. Hudson v. McMillan, 503 U.S. 1,
7 (1992); Cordell v. McKinney, 759 F.3d 573, 580 (6th Cir. 2014).
For these reasons, the undersigned finds that the claims against
Defendant Roberts should be dismissed.
Defendant Pater. The complaint fails to contain any
allegation of wrongdoing against Defendant Pater. Plaintiff does
allege that on August 19, 2013, she asked Defendant Pater and
Deputy Teague why her belongings were being taken from her, and
that Pater and the others “responded it was per order of Staff
Sergeant Vandenbousch” (Docket Entry No. 1 at 8). In the absence of
any specific claim against Defendant Pater, the undersigned finds
that the complaint against her should be dismissed.
As a general statement, both from the allegations in
Plaintiff’s complaint and from the evidence in the record, it is
clear that during Plaintiff’s confinement at the Williamson County
Jail she was suffering from serious mental health problems. In the
audio visual recordings filed in this record, Plaintiff Summers can
be heard on multiple occasions stating “I will kill myself;” “I
want to die;” “I don’t want to live;” “I deserve to die and I’m
going to kill myself;” and “I’m sick and tired of my life.” As the
Plaintiff’s complaint and the affidavits of Defendants confirm,
Plaintiff was seen on multiple occasions by medical personnel in
the jail and was also transported for evaluation on multiple
occasions both to the emergency room of Williamson Medical Center
and Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute. As the audio visual
psychiatric medication and was uncooperative and resistant to
efforts by the Defendant deputies to manage her outbursts and
frequent attempts to injure herself in the jail.
For the reasons stated above, the undersigned Magistrate
Judge finds that the motions for summary judgment filed on behalf
of Defendants Vandenbousch, Roberts, Pater, and Oliveri (Docket
Entry Nos. 26, 29, 31 and 33) should be granted.
For the reasons stated above, the undersigned Magistrate
Judge recommends that the motions for summary judgment on behalf of
Defendants Vandenbousch, Roberts, Pater, and Oliveri should be
granted and the claims against them dismissed.
Under Rule 72(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,
Recommendation in which to file any written objections to this
Recommendation with the District Court. Any party opposing said
objections shall have 14 days from receipt of any objections filed
in this Report in which to file any responses to said objections.
Failure to file specific objections within 14 days of receipt of
this Report and Recommendation can constitute a waiver of further
appeal of this Recommendation. Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140 106 S.
Ct. 466, 88 L.Ed.2d 435 (1985), Reh’g denied, 474 U.S. 1111 (1986).
ENTER this 14th day of September, 2015.
/s/ John S. Bryant
JOHN S. BRYANT
United States Magistrate Judge
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