United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
RULING AND ORDER
JOHN W. DEGRAVELLES UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.
matter comes before the Court on the Motion to
Dismiss (Doc. 11) filed by Defendants Warden Dennis
Grimes and Deputy Marvin Daniels. Plaintiff Antonio Thomas
opposes the motion. (Doc. 15.) Defendants have filed a reply.
(Doc. 18.) Oral argument is not necessary. The Court has
carefully considered the law, the facts in the record, and
the arguments and submissions of the parties and is prepared
to rule. For the following reasons, Defendants' motion is
Relevant Factual Allegations
following allegations are taken from Plaintiff's
First Amended Complaint Under 42 USC 1983
(“FAC”) (Doc. 5). They are assumed to be
true for purposes of this motion. Thompson v. City of
Waco, Tex., 764 F.3d 500, 502-03 (5th Cir. 2014).
about May 4, 2018, Plaintiff Antonio Thomas was incarcerated
at the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison (“EBRPP”).
(FAC ¶ 10, Doc. 5.) He was awaiting trial on a
burglary charge. (Id.) “Plaintiff Thomas is
what is called a ‘High Risk Sexual Victim' under
the Prison Rape Elimination Act, the Federal Statute
governing sexual violence in jails and prisons.”
(Id. ¶ 11.) Because of Plaintiff's age
(18), his then size (5' 10”, 138 lbs.), and his
“mental makeup (mildly mentally handicapped because of
Fetal Alcohol syndrome suffered as a child), ”
Plaintiff “is at a high risk of being a victim of
sexual violence in prison.” (Id.) Plaintiff
Special care must be taken to protect these High Risk Sexual
Victims from the High Risk Sexual Predators found in prison.
Upon intake, the warden's staff interviews prisoners and
categorizes them according to their status regarding sexual
violence. Despite these concerns, he was placed in a multi
room dorm with adult offenders. On May 4, 2018, he was
viciously attacked by inmates in his dorm.
inmate named Girbaud Eisley was also housed in the area of
the prison in which Plaintiff was placed. (FAC
¶ 12, Doc. 11.) Eisley “was in jail awaiting trial
for the brutal rape, battery and robbery of a woman at the
Hollywood Casino women's bathroom in Baton Rouge in
2015.” (Id.) Plaintiff claims: “This
inmate would be categorized as a ‘High Risk Sexual
Predator', and special care must be taken to keep him
away from high risk sexual victims to avoid sexual violence.
On information and belief, Girbaud Eisley had been
categorized as a High Risk Sexual Predator by the
Warden's staff.” (Id.)
Grimes was the “warden at East Baton Rouge Parish
Prison” and was “responsible for security of the
prison, during the events that are the subject of this
lawsuit[.]” (FAC ¶ 5, Doc. 5.) Plaintiff
makes the following allegations about Grimes and Daniels'
knowledge of the risk Eisley posed:
On information and belief, the Warden knew or should have
known that he was putting a high risk plaintiff in the same
line as Eisley, known as a violent rapist. On information and
belief, neither the Warden nor Deputy Daniels took any steps
to protect Plaintiff from Eisley. This is in violation of
well established prison regulations and best practices. . . .
On information and belief, the Sheriff and the Warden knew or
should have known that offenders like Thomas are at an
increased risk of sexual assault from the general population,
yet the Warden and the Sheriff took no steps to protect this
plaintiff from sexual assault from Eisley, placing plaintiff
in a two-man cell with a High Risk Sexual Predator. . . .
On information and belief, the Warden knew or should have
known, based on his position and training, that Eisley was a
sexual predator, and was therefore a heightened threat of
sexual (sic) assaulting vulnerable inmates, like a young,
underweight slightly mentally handicapped teenager like
plaintiff. . . .
Even though the Warden knew or should have known of the
extreme risks of sexual assault by Eisley on a high-risk
sexual victim like the plaintiff, Warden Grimes allowed
plaintiff to be housed with Eisley. . . .
(Id. ¶¶ 13-16.)
4, 2018, Plaintiff “was viciously attacked by inmates
in his dorm.” (Id. ¶ 17.) According to
On information and belief, among the attackers was Girbaud
Eisley. Plaintiff suffered a broken nose and bruises and
sought treatment from OLOL hospital. When he returned to
prison, he was sent back to the cell with Girbaud Eisley, his
attacker. The results were predictable. Within two weeks,
Eisley raped plaintiff. After the rape, he was told if he
told anyone, he would be murdered.
his fear, Plaintiff “smuggled a note out of his cell
and got it to a deputy informing him of the rape.”
(FAC ¶ 18, Doc. 5.) Deputies separated
Plaintiff from Eisley and took Plaintiff to the infirmary.
(Id.) Deputies also informed the police of the
crime, at which time “the Sheriff had notice of this
alleges on information and belief that the rape was confirmed
at the hospital when Eisley's DNA was found.
(FAC ¶ 19, Doc. 5.) Plaintiff alleges:
Plaintiff suffered a fractured bone in his rectum area, along
with the obvious physical and psychological trauma of being
sodomized. He was given anti-HIV medication and told the
hospital would check in six months to confirm he was not
infected with HIV since HIV has a six-month incubation
period. . . . Thomas was confused by the anti-HIV medication
and believed he was infected with the virus. This turned out
to be an incorrect belief. As of today's filing, Thomas
is HIV negative.
(Id. ¶¶ 19-20.)
asserts the following § 1983 claims against Grimes and
Defendant Daniels knew or should have known that Thomas had
just been attacked by Eisley, and that Plaintiff had had his
nose broken in the attack; and that Eisley was a sexual
predator, but he failed to protect Plaintiff and prevent the
rape, in violation of Plaintiff's Eighth and Fourteenth
Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. . . .
Defendant Warden Grimes knew that he had a legal obligation
to protect plaintiff and other prisoners from assault and
sexual attack and knew or should have known that his actions
and omissions created a substantial risk of serious injury to
Plaintiff. With deliberate indifference to Mr. Thomas'
personal safety and federally protected rights, Defendant
Grimes failed to protect him from substantial risk of serious
harm, in violation of his rights under the Eighth and
Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, and
42 U.S.C. § 1983. . . .
The deprivations of Mr. Thomas' rights described herein
constitute a risk of harm so grave that it violated
contemporary standards of decency. No reasonable prison
official would think it was acceptable to send a prisoner
like plaintiff into a two man cell with a predator like
Eisley, especially after the May 4th attack on plaintiff.
(Id. ¶¶ 21-23.) Plaintiff also asserts
claims under state law that are not at issue in this motion.
seeks a variety of damages for his physical and mental
injuries, including punitive damages and ...