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Millbrook v. Cosby

September 4, 2009

KIM LEE MILLBROOK, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JAMES J. COSBY, ET.AL., DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Harold A. Baker United States District Judge

SUMMARY JUDGMENT ORDER

This cause is before the court for consideration of the parties motions for summary judgment. [ 85, 87, 88, 95]

I. BACKGROUND

The pro se plaintiff filed his lawsuit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983 against defendants at the Henry County Jail. The plaintiff has the following surviving claim against Defendants Sheriff Cady, Jail Administrator Streight, Dr. Stephen Cullinan and Nurse Cheyenne Cassini:

1) Defendants Cady and Streight violated the plaintiff's due process rights when the plaintiff was placed in a suicide cell for a month without a hearing and without cause;

2) Defendants Cady and Streight violated the plaintiff's Fourteenth Amendment rights based on his cell conditions in segregation during a two month period;

3) Defendants Dr. Cullinan and Nurse Cassini were deliberately indifferent to the plaintiff's serious medical conditions;

4) Defendant Streight violated the plaintiff's due process rights based on inhumane living conditions; and,

5) Defendant Streight violated the plaintiff's due process rights based on his placement in administrative lockdown.*fn1

The plaintiff has filed a document entitled "Motion to Defendants' Motion For Summary Judgment and Plaintiff's Motion (Against Defendants) for Summary Judgment." [d/e 94, 95] The plaintiff has not followed the guidelines for filing a summary judgment motion, and instead, this appears to be a response to the defendants' dispositive motion. Therefore, the court will consider this document only as an Response to the defendants motions.*fn2

Defendants Cassini and Cullinan have filed a motion for summary judgment [d/e 85] and a motion to supplement this dispositive motion. [d/e 87]. The motion to supplement is granted.

II. FACTS

Pursuant to an agreement between the U.S. Marshall's Service and Henry County, the plaintiff was held as a federal detainee in the Henry County Jail from September 13, 2006 to August 13, 2007. (Def. Memo, Str. Aff, p. 1). The plaintiff was a pretrial detainee at the time of the events in his complaint.

Gilbert Cady is the Henry County Sheriff. Robert Streight is a Henry County Sheriff's Deputy who works as the jail administrator. Cady says he has delegated responsibility for the dayto-day operation of the jail to Streight. (Def. Memo, Cady Aff, p. 1) Streight says he reviews and approves any decision to place a detainee in administrative segregation or on lockdown status. (Def. Memo, Str. Aff, p. 1). Sheriff Cady says he is not involved in these decisions and was not involved in the placement of the plaintiff while he was in the jail. (Def. Memo, Cady Aff, p. 1 ) Further, Cady says he does not review grievances from detainees and is not aware of grievances filed by the plaintiff. (Def. Memo, Cady Aff, p. 2)

The Henry County jail has six cellblocks designated as B, D, G, H, I and J. Each cellblock consists of seven two-person cells which open into a dayroom that has a shower. Detainees are generally able to use the dayroom during the day until 10:30 p.m. when they are locked in their cells for the night. (Def. Memo, Str. Aff, p. 2)

The jail also has three holding cells: A, B and C. Each holding cell has a sink with hot and cold water and a toilet. Hold cell A is used to temporarily hold detainees going to and from court appearances. Holding Cell B is for attorney/detainee conferences and Holding C is used for suicide watch since it can be viewed by guards and is directly across from the control room. (Def. Memo, Str. Aff, p. 2).

When the plaintiff entered the jail on September 13, 2006, he was placed in general population, Cellblock B. However, on September 18, 2006 Deputy Hixon observed the plaintiff fighting with another detainee in Cellblock B. When deputies separated the two, the plaintiff asked to see a nurse and the other inmate refused care.(Def. Memo, Str. Aff, Ex. 2)

Jail Administrator Streight says when two detainees get into an altercation, the jail has a policy of separating the individuals to prevent any further disruption and protect the safety of the detainees as well as staff. Depending on the circumstances of the altercation, a detainee can either be put on lockdown within his cell, moved to a holding cell and placed in administrative segregation or moved to a different cellblock. (Def. Memo, Str. Aff, p. 3).

As a result of the plaintiff's fight with another detainee on September 18, 2006, Streight says the plaintiff was placed in administrative segregation and moved to holding cell C to separate the plaintiff from the other detainee and give them both time to calm down. (Def. Memo, Str. Aff, p. 3). The plaintiff was moved back to general population in Cellblock H on September 21, 2006.

(Def. Memo, Str. Aff, p. 3)

On October 14, 2006, a detainee reported to Deputy Newman that he had an altercation with the plaintiff on October 13, 2006 and the plaintiff had injured him. (Def. Memo, Str. Aff, p. 3. Ex. 11) Deputy Newman investigated the claim, and during this investigation the plaintiff was placed on lockdown. On October 18, 2006, the plaintiff told Deputy Gearbart that the and another detainee in Cellblock H were going to fight. As a result of these incidents, the plaintiff was moved to administrative segregation in a holding cell. Defendant Streight says this action was intended to separate the plaintiff from the detainees he was having disagreements with and give him a chance to get his emotions under control. (Def. Memo, Str. Aff, p. 4) On October 26, 2006, the plaintiff was moved back to the general population, but this time in Cellblock J.

On January 1, 2007, the emergency button in Cellblock J went off and Deputy Haars responded to find one detainee on the floor and the plaintiff on top of him. (Def. Memo, Str. Aff, p. 4, Ex. 4) Deputy Haars investigated the incident and during the investigation the plaintiff was placed on lockdown in Cellblock J. On this same day, another inmate reported that he had problems with the plaintiff and claimed the plaintiff had struck him several times. (Def. Memo, Vanhyning Aff. P. 2) Deputy Vanhyning investigated and took statements from witnesses. (Def. Memo, Str. Aff, p. 4)

As of January 1, 2007, Jail Administrator Streight says the plaintiff had been involved in fights in each of the three general population cellblocks he had been assigned.

In each of the three cellblocks, other prisoners claimed that Millbrook had instigated the altercations and had threatened other prisoners. Without attempting to determine fault with respect to each of theses incidents, it was my judgment that to prevent further disruption and for the protection of Millbrook an other detainees in the cellblocks, Millbrook could not be returned to these three cellblocks and needed to be separated from other detainees until he had control of his emotions. (Def. Memo, Str. Aff, p. 5)

The plaintiff filed a grievance on January 3, 2007 complaining about his placement in administrative segregation. The Jail Administrator responded:

After reviewing your statements and complaint and those of other individuals involved and reports, I think it is best that you remain in administrative segregation until you can control your emotions when in population. We have talked before and you do fine when you are alone. I think the everyday annoyances of the other people in the blocks fuel your reactions. I know you realize this is a reoccurring problem and if you have any ideas on how it can be rectified we would like to hear them. (Def. Memo, Str. Aff, p. 5)

Jail Administrator Streight says it was not his intention that the plaintiff stay in administrative segregation undefinedly. Instead he said the plaintiff's return to general population would depend on: 1) the availability of room in the cellblocks were the plaintiff had not had difficulties; and 2) a commitment from the plaintiff that he would try to get along with other detainees in the general population. (Def. Memo, Str. Aff, p. 5-6)

Streight says on two occasions when a cell was available, he talked to the plaintiff and asked if he was ready to return to the general population. On both occasions, the plaintiff said he would prefer to stay in administrative segregation. (Def. Memo, Str. Aff, p. 6). The plaintiff denies this and the defendants have offered no documentation in support of this claim.

On February 1, 2007, the plaintiff was moved from administrative segregation to Holding Cell C because they needed room in the administrative segregation cell for another inmate. Streight says the plaintiff was not placed in this cell because of a fear he would harm himself or because he was on suicide watch. (Def. Memo, Str. Aff, p. 6)

The plaintiff was returned to the general population in Cellblock G on February 23, 2007. However, on March 16, 2007, the plaintiff was moved to general population in Cellblock D because of a report that the plaintiff was not getting along with two other detainees. (Def. Memo, Str. Aff, p. 6)

On March 20, 2007, Corporal Lessard received a report that the plaintiff had been involved in a fight with two other detainees in Cellblock D. A detainee claimed that the plaintiff had struck him in the head. (Def. Memo, Hixson Aff., p. 2) Lessard investigated and took statements from those involved and witnesses. Lessard then ordered the plaintiff to be put on lockdown in Cellblock D. (Def. Memo, Str. Aff, p. 6-7)

Jail Administrator Streight says it was at this point that he ordered that the plaintiff was to remain on lockdown during the remainder of his stay in the Henry County Jail. Streight says the plaintiff had demonstrated that he was not able to avoid confrontations when he came into contact with other detainees and had been involved in altercations in five of the general population cellblocks he was assigned.

It was my judgment that it was necessary to put (the plaintiff) on permanent lockdown in order to avoid further disruption and to avoid likely confrontation with other detainees. (Def. Memo, Str. Aff, p. 7)

The plaintiff therefore remained on lockdown from March 20, 2007, until his transfer out of the jail on August 13, 2007 with the exception of those times he was temporarily moved ...


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