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Courville v. Smith

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Monroe Division

October 18, 2017

CHASE M. COURVILLE
v.
WARDEN SMITH, ET AL.

         SEC.P

          ROBERT G. JAMES JUDGE.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          KAREN L. HAYES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Before the undersigned magistrate judge, on reference from the District Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B), are cross-motions for summary judgment filed by plaintiff Chase Courville [doc. # 42], and defendants Warden Smith, Assistant Warden Bass, Lt. Sgt. Smith, Sgt. Davis, Sgt. Riley and Sgt. Washington [doc. # 32]. Also before the court is plaintiffs motion for preliminary injunction [doc. # 36]. For reasons stated below, it is recommended that the motions [doc. #s 32, 42 & 36] all be DENIED, and that the matter be referred to the assigned magistrate judge for an evidentiary hearing.

         Procedural History

         On May 4, 2016, Chase Courville, who, during the relevant period, was an inmate housed at the Tensas Parish Detention Center ("TPDC"), and then later transferred to the David Wade Correctional Center ("DWCC"), filed the instant pro se civil rights complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Warden Smith, Assistant Warden Bass, Lt. Sgt. Smith, Sgt. Davis, Sgt. Riley, Sgt. Washington, and Major Washington. Along the way, he amended his complaint on at least two occasions, [doc. # s 12 & 29].

         Courville alleges that on June 6, 2015, at approximately 8:00 p.m., while housed at the TPDC, he was stabbed in the back. He was escorted to "medical" by Lt. Sgt. Smith, cleaned, bandaged, escorted to A-Dorm Lock Down, and placed in protective custody in Cell #4. On June 7, 2015, he was escorted to the Warden's office and questioned before Warden Smith, Assistant Warden Bass, and Major Walker about inmate request forms received by the Warden raising concerns for plaintiffs safety. Specifically, he was shown two request forms stating that inmates "were going to kill [him] if they could ever get their there (sic) hands on [him]." (Amend. Compl. [doc. # 12]). Plaintiff asked to be shipped to another facility and alleges that Warden Smith asked Major Walker to put him on the transfer list. He then was escorted back to A-Dorm Lock Down Cell #4.

         On June 17, 2015, at approximately 9:15 p.m., Lt. Sgt. Smith, Sgt. Davis, Sgt. Riley and Sgt. Washington came into A-Dorm to let the inmates housed in all three protective custody cells out for showers simultaneously. Once the guards observed the inmates entering the showers, they left them alone. While plaintiff was preparing to shower, he was attacked in his cell and later in the day room, by an inmate with a knife, "in plain sight of the guards in main control." (Amend. Compl. [doc. # 12]). After hitting the window to get the guards' attention, he was brought to medical, where photographs were taken and an ambulance called. He was transported to several hospitals for treatment of his wounds. After the events at issue, plaintiff was transferred to the DWCC, where he remains in custody.

         Courville asserted claims against defendants for failure to protect him from the attack, and the ensuing failure to provide medical care. He seeks compensatory and punitive damages in the amount of $100, 000 each. (Amend. Compl. [doc. # 29]).

         On November 14, 2016, the court completed initial screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915 and 1915A, and recommended dismissal of plaintiffs claims for failure to provide medical care and all claims against Major Walker. (Nov. 14, 2016, R&R [doc. # 13]. The court contemporaneously ordered service, via U.S. Marshal, on remaining defendants, Warden Smith, Assistant Warden Bass, Lt. Sgt. Smith, Sgt. Davis, Sgt. Riley, Sgt. Washington, and Major Washington. (Nov. 14, 2016, Mem. Order [doc. # 14]). On December 14, 2016, in accordance with the R&R, the District Court dismissed plaintiffs claims for failure to provide medical care and all claims against Major Walker. (Dec. 14, 2016, Judgment [doc. # 16]). On February 3, 2017, the remaining defendants answered the complaint. (Answer [doc. # 19]).

         On April 12, 2017, defendants filed the instant motion for summary judgment on the issue of exhaustion of administrative remedies. On April 21, 2017, plaintiff filed a motion for preliminary injunction. On June 23, 2017, plaintiff filed his own motion for summary judgment on the issue of exhaustion of remedies. After delays for briefing and various discovery issues, the matter is now before the court.

         Preliminary Injunction

         In his motion, Courville alleges that the same inmate who stabbed him at the TPDC also is incarcerated at the DWCC. He contends that this presents an obvious security risk. Courville brought this matter to the attention of officials at the DWCC, but to no avail. In support of his motion, Courville adduced copies of various letters dated from April to August 2016, that he apparently sent to officials or individuals who are not parties to this suit. (M/Prel. Injunction, Exhs.). Courville seeks protection from this dangerous inmate, and a transfer or placement in protective custody.

         To obtain a preliminary injunction the movant must establish:

(1) a substantial likelihood of success on the merits, (2) a substantial threat of irreparable injury if the injunction is not issued, (3) that the threatened injury if the injunction is denied outweighs any harm that will result if the injunction is granted, and (4) that ...

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