United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
RULING AND ORDER
A. JACKSON, CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
the Court is the Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 70) and
the Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 98) filed by Defendant, Sergeant
Tyranissuim Ephion ("Sgt. Ephion"); as well as the
Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 124) and the Motion to
Dismiss (Doc. 123) filed by Defendants, Lieutenant Colonel
Paul Smith ("Lt. Col. Smith"), Lieutenant Jeffrey
Franklin ("Lt. Franklin"), and Sergeant F.
Vannorman ("Sgt. Vannorman"). All Defendants seek
summary judgment in their favor based on Plaintiff-Inmate
Sede Baker's ("Plaintiff) alleged failure to exhaust
all available administrative remedies. All Defendants also
seek a dismissal of the claims brought by Plaintiff under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state
a claim. Plaintiff filed an Opposition to each Motion. (Docs.
72, 129, 127, 108). Sgt. Ephion filed a Reply in Support of
the Motion for Summary Judgment. (Doc. 81). The Court has
jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1331. Oral argument is
following reasons, the Motions for Summary Judgment (Docs.
70, 124) are DENIED. The Motions to Dismiss (Docs. 98, 123)
are DENIED. Additionally, the Motion for Leave to File Third
Amended Complaint (Doc. 126) is discussed below. The motion
is an inmate currently confined at the Louisiana State
Penitentiary ("LSP"), in Angola, Louisiana. (Doc.
118). He alleges that on or about March 23, 2015, he was
housed in the Jaguar 1 Right Cell #8 when he was attacked by
another inmate. (Doc. 118 at ¶ 6). Plaintiff asserts
that Defendants Sgt. Ephion, Lt. Col. Smith, Lt. Franklin,
and Sgt. Vannorman ("Defendants") were stationed at
the dorm and that they knew which inmates were in which
cells, and that no inmate could be let into the cell of any
other inmate. (Id. at ¶ 7). On March 23, 2015,
Inmate Norton Hamilton ("Hamilton") was allegedly
housed in Cell #7, next to Cell #8. (Id. at ¶
10). According to Plaintiff, one or all of the Defendants
allowed Hamilton to exit his cell, Cell #7. (Id.).
At that time, Hamilton purportedly and noticeably had his
hands wrapped in cloth, which was an indication that Hamilton
intended to commit an assault. (Id.).
alleges that Hamilton then stood in front of Cell #8 and
requested that Defendants "Pop Cell # 8, " to allow
Hamilton to enter Plaintiffs cell either intentionally or
"grossly negligently by] failing to merely check the
log" to ensure Hamilton was not seeking to enter the
wrong cell. (Id. at ¶¶ 11-12). Plaintiff
was allegedly asleep in his bunk when the attack began.
(Id. at ¶ 13). Further, Plaintiff contends that
Defendants closed Cell #8 with Hamilton inside assaulting
him. (Id. at ¶ 14). Plaintiff claims that
Defendants then walked away, and eventually Lt. Col. Smith
opened the cell door and pulled Hamilton out of the cell.
(Id. at ¶ 16). Plaintiff required medical
attention for the injuries sustained during the alleged
attack. (Id. at ¶¶ 17-18).
March 29, 2015, LSP received an Administrative Remedy
Procedure ("ARP") complaint from Plaintiff in which
he complained of alleged negligence on the part of an unknown
officer, which supposedly resulted in the breach of security
and the altercation between Plaintiff and Hamilton. (Doc.
124-2 at ¶ 1). Plaintiffs ARP was assigned ARP No.
LSP-2015-0807. (Id. at ¶ 2; Doc. 69). In the
ARP, Plaintiff complained that "unknown security"
negligently opened his cell door while he was sleeping,
resulting in Hamilton attacking him and causing injury. (Doc.
69 at pp. 3-4). In his request for relief, Plaintiff
requested compensation for the injuries sustained due to the
"negligent actions of the officer or officers" that
allegedly opened his cell door and allowed another inmate to
"enter in early morning hours to assault [Plaintiff] as
[he] slept." (Id.). Notably, the First Step
Response Form claimed that "[Lt. Col.] Smith observed
another offender run into [Plaintiffs] cell during yard call
and begin fist fighting with [Plaintiff]." (Doc.
69 at p. 7). Additionally, Lt. Franklin responded to
the ARP by asserting that "[a]t no time was [Plaintiffs]
cell opened intentionally to let another offender into his
cell." (Id. at p. 16).
his request for relief was denied at the Second Step,
Plaintiff filed his original Complaint on December 14, 2015.
(Doc. 1). Plaintiff filed his First Amended Complaint on July
22, 2016, to properly name Defendant "Sgt. Tyranissuin
Ephion" by correcting the spelling of her name. (Doc.
35). Plaintiff filed his Second Amended Complaint on August
12, 2017, naming three additional Defendants, Lt. Col. Smith,
Lt. Franklin, and Sgt. Vannorman. (Doc. 118). He also alleged
that these Defendants, as well as Sgt.
Ephion, violated his rights by failing to protect him from
attack by another inmate. (Id.). Plaintiff seeks
relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against all
Defendants in their individual capacities, for a violation of
his Fourth and Eighth Amendment rights to be free
from cruel and unusual punishment and the use of excessive
force while being detained or incarcerated. (Id. at
¶ 22). Plaintiff also alleges a state law claim of
negligence against all Defendants. (Id. at ¶
MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
judgment is appropriate "if the movant shows that there
is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and that the
movant is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). "[W]hen a properly supported motion
for summary judgment is made, the adverse party must set
forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue
for trial." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986) (quotation marks and footnote
determining whether the movant is entitled to summary
judgment, the Court "view[s] facts in the light most
favorable to the non-movant and draw[s] all reasonable
inferences in her favor." Coleman v. Houston Indep.
Sch. Dist., 113 F.3d 528, 533 (5th Cir. 1997) (citing
Brothers v. Klevenhagen, 28 F.3d 452, 455 (5th Cir.
1994)). At this stage, the Court does not evaluate the
credibility of witnesses, weigh the evidence, or resolve
factual disputes. Int'l Shortstop, Inc. v.
Rally's, Inc., 939 F.2d 1257, 1263 (5th Cir. 1991),
cert, denied, 502 U.S. 1059 (1992). However, if the
evidence in the record is such that a reasonable jury,
drawing all inferences in favor of the non-moving party,
could arrive at a verdict in that party's favor, the
motion for summary judgment must be denied. Int'l
Shortstop, Inc., 939 F.2d at 1263. On the other hand,
the non-movant's burden is not satisfied merely upon a
showing of "some metaphysical doubt as to the material
facts, by conclusory allegations, by unsubstantiated
assertions, or by only a scintilla of evidence."
Little v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th
summary judgment is appropriate if, "after adequate time
for discovery and upon motion, [the non-movant] fails to make
a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element
essential to that party's case, and on which that party
will bear the burden of proof at trial." Celotex
Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). Summary
judgment will lie only "if the pleadings, depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file,
together with affidavits if any, show that there is no
genuine issue as to any material fact, and that the moving
party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law."
Sherman v. Hallbauer, 455 F.2d 1236, 1241 (5th Cir.
Failure to Exhaust ...