United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
SHEDRICK J. BRUMFIELD
JERRY GOODWIN, ET AL
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
L. HORNSBY U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
J. Brumfield (“Plaintiff”) is a convicted
prisoner who has accumulated three strikes by filing
frivolous IFP complaints. He is, therefore, barred from
filing a civil action or appeal as a pauper unless he is
under imminent danger of serious physical injury at the time
he files the complaint or appeal. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g);
Banos v O'Guin, 144 F.3d 883 (5th Cir. 1998).
asked to file this complaint as a pauper against several
officials at the David Wade Correctional Center
(“DWCC”). The court reviewed the complaint and
determined that the only claim that met the imminent danger
exception was a claim for exposure to excessive heat directed
at Secretary James LeBlanc, Warden Jerry Goodwin, Deputy
Warden Angie Huff, and Colonel Lonnie Nail. Doc. 8. The
claims against the other defendants were dismissed. Doc. 16.
The four defendants who were required to answer the heat
exposure claim have filed a Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc.
34, supplemented at Doc. 41). Plaintiff has filed a
Memorandum in Opposition (Doc. 45). For the reasons that
follow, it is recommended that Defendants' motion be
granted in part by dismissing the claims against Secretary
LeBlanc and be denied with respect to the other three
and Declaratory Relief Claims are Moot
was housed at DWCC in north Louisiana at the time he filed
this complaint, and all of his allegations regard alleged
heat exposure while held on extended lockdown at that prison
between 2014 and 2016. He seeks injunctive and declaratory
relief against DWCC officials, as well as compensatory and
punitive damages. Soon after briefing on the pending motion
was completed, Plaintiff notified the court that he is now
housed at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, more
than 200 miles from DWCC. Doc. 46.
prisoner's transfer to another facility “render[s]
his claims for declaratory and injunctive relief moot.”
Herman v. Holiday, 238 F.3d 660, 665 (5th Cir. 2001)
(claims for injunctive and declaratory relief based on
exposure to asbestos mooted by transfer); Cooper v.
Sheriff, Lubbock County, 929 F.2d 1078, 1084 (5th Cir.
1991) (claims for injunctive relief based on denial of food
at prior jail were moot). There is no information in the
record to suggest that Plaintiff might be returned to DWCC in
the foreseeable future, so any request for injunctive relief
based on that possibility “is too speculative to
warrant relief.” Herman, 238 F.3d at 665.
Accordingly, the only issues that remain are whether
Plaintiff's heat-exposure claims for compensatory and
punitive damages survive the summary judgment challenges
raised by the defendants.
judgment is appropriate “if the movant shows that there
is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed. R.
Civ. Pro. 56(a). A fact is “material” if it might
affect the outcome of the suit under governing law.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 106 S.Ct. 2505,
2510 (1986). A dispute is “genuine” if there is
sufficient evidence so that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for either party. Anderson, supra;
Hamilton v. Segue Software Inc., 232 F.3d 473, 477
(5th Cir. 2000).
party seeking summary judgment has the initial responsibility
of informing the court of the basis for its motion, and
identifying those parts of the record that it believes
demonstrate the absence of a genuine dispute of material
fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 106 S.Ct. 2548
(1986). If the moving party carries his initial burden, the
burden then falls upon the nonmoving party to demonstrate the
existence of a genuine dispute of a material fact.
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp.,
106 S.Ct. 1348, 1355-56 (1986).
alleged in his complaint that he was 36 and had been on
extended lockdown at DWCC for all or most of the prior two
years. He complained that he suffers from hypertension,
depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia, which
require him to take a variety of medications that make him
susceptible to heat-related illnesses. An exhibit to his
complaint indicates that a physician granted him a
heat-related duty status with a notation: “Heat alert
Precautions when indoor temp is greater than 90 degrees,
NSAA.” Plaintiff alleged that the temperatures in his
lockdown cellblock in the summer were extremely hot, and they
adversely affected his blood pressure and other health
matters. He complained that the single fan on the tier was
inadequate to cool the area, he was not allowed to have a cup
or afforded ice (because of his lockdown status), the water
from his sink was lukewarm, and his shower water was hot.
Plaintiff alleged that he sent letters and grievances to
Defendants about these conditions, but they afforded no
Summary Judgment Evidence
attacked the complaint with affidavits from Dr. Pam Hearn and
Colonel Lonnie Nail. Dr. Hearn has been the Medical Director
at DWCC for approximately 30 years. She explains that during
the summer months of 2014-2016, the standard of care for heat
pathology at the prison was governed by the DOC's Health
Care Policy No. 45 and DWCC Employee Policy Memorandum
policies state that offenders prescribed psychotropic
medication will be educated, monitored, and evaluated for
potential adverse reactions concerning heat-related
pathology. Education includes instruction that the prisoner
increase his consumption of liquids and avoid the sun. The
offender is generally to be brought indoors when outside
temperature reaches or exceeds 90 degrees. Between May 15 and
October 15, the staff is provided a list of all offenders
with heat-related duty status, temperatures inside and
outside each housing unit are monitored and recorded every
two hours between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., and a heat alert
will issue if the indoor temperature reaches or exceeds 90
degrees. A heat alert means that offenders with a
heat-related duty status are provided increased fluids and
ice, allowed additional showers or issued cold wet towels,
and ventilation is increased to the area as much as possible.
Offenders with signs of heat-related pathology will be
immediately referred to the medical department for evaluation
Hearn testifies that Plaintiff was taking a psychotropic
medication during the relevant time, but he was never denied
access to the medical department for complaints of
heat-related illness. He was, as demonstrated by his medical
records, treated for a number of complaints during the summer
months of 2014 through 2016. The complaints ranged from
multiple allegations of sexual assault by staff members, a
declaration of a hunger strike, multiple complaints of being
poisoned or having metal placed in his food, toothache, jock