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Mitchell v. Thomas

United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana

May 28, 2019

DAVID MITCHELL
v.
SGT. WILLIE THOMAS, ETAL.

          RULING AND ORDER

          JUDGE TOHN W. deGRAVELLES UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE.

         This matter comes before the Court on Defendant Thomas' Second Motion to Dismiss Pursuant to FRCP 12(b)(6) (the "Motion") (Doc. 73). Plaintiff David Mitchell ("Plaintiff or "Mitchell") has filed an opposition. (Doc. 77.) 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, Defendant Thomas's motion is granted.

         I. Relevant Factual and Procednral Background

         The facts set forth in the Second Amended Complaint ("SAC") (Doc. 55) were previously described extensively in two of this Court's rulings, both of which will be discussed extensively below: (1) the September 24, 2018, Ruling and Order on Defendant Clarence Roberts' motion to dismiss (Doc. 68; Mitchell v. Thomas, No. 17-00090-JWD-EWD, 2018 WL 4572667 (M.D. La. Sept. 24, 2018)) (the "MTD Ruling"); and (2) the May 21, 2019, Ruling and Order on Plaintiff s motion to reconsider the MTD Ruling (Doc. 84) (the "MFR Ruling"). Only the relevant facts will be described here.

         Plaintiff is an inmate at Louisiana State Penitentiary ("LSP"). He brought this suit against Defendants Sergeant Willie Thomas ("Defendant Thomas" or "Thomas") and Defendant Clarence Roberts ("Defendant Roberts" or "Roberts") (collectively, "Defendants"). This motion deals only with Thomas.

         Plaintiff alleges that Defendants conspired to harm him after he filed a sexual harassment complaint against Thomas. (SAC ¶¶ 6-7, Doc. 55.) The events of this suit allegedly happened four days after Plaintiffs complaint and five days after the harassment. (Id. ¶¶ 7, 14.)

         Specifically, on June 22, 2016, Thomas and Roberts were working at LSP at Camp J in Gator dorm. (Id. ¶¶ 15-16.) Tiers consist of fourteen cells, and the first cell at the head of the Tier is the shower cell. (Id. ¶ 19.) The next cell is Cell #2, and so on. (Id.) Plaintiff was confined in Cell #2. (Id. ¶ 26.)

         On the day in question, Thomas, who had been listed by Plaintiff as a "known enemy," was allegedly assigned to "work[] the key (cell doors) to release inmates from cells for showers on Gator Left," while Roberts was "escorting inmates to and from the showers in Gator L[eft]." (Id. ¶¶ 14, 23.) Purportedly, Thomas "could easily see cell #2 from where he stood" and knew that Plaintiff was there next to the shower cell. (Id. ¶ 26.)

         According to Plaintiff, Roberts signaled Thomas "to open the cell to remove Inmate Tillman from his cell as though Inmate Tillman was going to and from the shower," but, "in violation of policy [, ] . . . Roberts had not had Inmate Tillman come to the bars and be restrained prior to existing [sic] the cell" (or, alternatively, "did not place Inmate Tillman in restraints prior to his exiting the showers," again in violation of policy). (SAC ¶¶ 28-29, Doc. 55.) In any event, "Inmate Tillman was on the Tier unrestrained with . . . Roberts." (Id. ¶ 30.)

         "Thomas was at the head of the Tier operating the cell doors and observing all of this." (Id. ¶ 32.) Roberts signaled Thomas to open the door to Cell #2, after which time Roberts purportedly "allowed inmate Tillman into Cell #2 where Inmate Tillman violently attacked [Plaintiff] causing serious physical injury." (Id. ¶¶ 34-35.)

         Plaintiff asserted a number of claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, including retaliation, conspiracy to retaliate, failure to protect, excessive force, and violation of prison regulations. (SAC ¶¶ 7, 38, 50, 53.) Plaintiff also alleges violations of state law, including a claim for negligence. (Id. ¶¶ 43, 51, 58-59.)

         Again, on September 24, 2018, this Court issued the MTD Ruling, which dismissed Plaintiffs claims against Defendant Roberts. (MTD Ruling, Doc. 68.) This Court specifically found that Plaintiff failed to state any cognizable claim against Roberts under § 1983 and dismissed these claims with prejudice. (MTD Ruling, Doc. 68 at 17.) The Court declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiff s state law claims against Roberts and dismissed them without prejudice. (Id. at 17-18.)

         On May 21, 2019, this Court issued the MFR Ruling, which denied Plaintiffs motion for reconsideration of the MTD Ruling. (MFR Ruling, Doc. 84.)The Court specifically found that (1) its dismissal of Plaintiff s federal law claims was a judgment on the merits and was properly done with prejudice (rather than without prejudice, as Plaintiff desired), and (2) Plaintiff ...


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