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Taylor v. Jenkins

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

March 4, 2019

DEMETRIUS TAYLOR, Plaintiff,
v.
SHAWN JENKINS, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          RONNIE L. WHITE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the court on Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 35). This matter is fully briefed and ready for disposition.

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Demetrius Taylor, #368339 ("Taylor" or "Plaintiff), has been incarcerated as an inmate at the Potosi Correctional Center ("PCC"), a Missouri State prison located in Mineral Point, Missouri. (Defendants' Statement of Uncontroverted Material Facts ("DSUMF"), ECF No. 36, ¶l). On November 5, 2015, Taylor stated to staff that he was in fear of his life from Inmate Corey Rogers, Inmate Number 522621 (hereinafter "Inmate Rogers"). See Temporary Administrative Segregation Confinement order, ECF No. 41-1. On November 12, 2015, Officer Jenkins was instructed to move Taylor out of a single-man cell in the B-Wing of the prison housing unit into another prison cell in the C-Wing of the housing unit. (DSUMF, ¶¶2-3). Taylor objected to moving out of his single cell because he wanted protection from other inmates. (DSUMF, ¶4). Officer Jenkins learned that Taylor would be cellmates with Inmate Rogers before Officer Jenkins took Taylor into Cell No. 2-C-25. (DSUMF, ¶5). Taylor waited on the restraint bench in the B-Wing of the housing until while Officer Jenkins checked with the prison "bed broker" to determine whether Inmate Rogers had been identified as one of Taylor's "enemies" on his "Enemies List," or whether any other reason existed that Taylor should not be placed in a cell with Inmate Rogers. (DSUMF, ¶6). Inmate Rogers was not one of the forty-five (45) inmates Taylor declared as his "enemy" as of November 12, 2015. (DSUMF, ¶7).[1] The prison "bed broker" confirmed that Taylor could be placed in a cell with Inmate Rogers. (DSUMF, ¶8). Officer Jenkins informed Taylor and Defendant Shane Pashia that Inmate Rogers was not on Plaintiffs enemies list and the two inmates could be in the same cell. (DSUMF, ¶9). Officer Jenkins escorted Taylor from the B-Wing to the C-Wing and placed Taylor into Cell No. 2-C-25 with Inmate Rogers. (DSUMF, ¶10). Officer Jenkins was never informed of any fight or conflict between Taylor and Inmate Corey Rogers prior to placing them together in Cell No. 2-C-25. (DSUMF, ¶ll). Taylor admitted that he did not submit to Officers Jenkins or Pashia the documents necessary for designating Inmate Rogers as an enemy prior to November 12, 2015 (DSUMF, ¶12), but Taylor claims he told Defendants his documents were with his personal legal papers (ECF No. 39 at 3, ¶12; ECF No. 41 at 4).[2]

         The duress button inside Cell No. 2-C-25 was pressed one hour after Taylor was placed with Inmate Rogers. (DSUMF, ¶13)- Officer Jenkins and other prison guards immediately responded. (DSUMF, ¶13). When he arrived at Cell No. 2-C-25, Officer Jenkins found Taylor and Inmate Rogers grappling with each other. (DSUMF, ¶14). The two inmates were separated by officers and taken to the medical unit for examination by prison nursing staff. (DSUMF, ¶15). Taylor walked without assistance and had no injuries, other than some scrapes, scratches, and back pain. (DSUMF, ¶16).

         DISCUSSION

         I. MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

         A. Standard of Review

         The Court may grant a motion for summary judgment if "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the 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." Fed. R Civ. P. 56(c); Celotex Corp. v. Citrate, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Torgerson v. City of Rochester, 643 F.3d 1031, 1042 (8th Cir. 2011). The substantive law determines which facts are critical and which are irrelevant. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). Only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome will properly preclude summary judgment. Id. Summary judgment is not proper if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party. Id.

         A moving party always bears the burden of informing the Court of the basis of its motion. Celotex Corp., Ml U.S. at 323. Once the moving party discharges this burden, the nonmoving party must set forth specific facts demonstrating that there is a dispute as to a genuine issue of material fact, not the "mere existence of some alleged factual dispute." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e); Anderson, Ml U.S. at 248. The nonmoving party may not rest upon mere allegations or denials of his pleading. Id.

         In passing on a motion for summary judgment, the Court must view the facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his favor. Celotex Corp., Ml U.S. at 331. The Court's function is not to weigh the evidence but to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial. Anderson, Ml U.S. at 249. '"Credibility determinations, the weighing of the evidence, and the drawing of legitimate inferences from the facts are jury functions, not those of a judge.'" Torgerson, 643 F.3d at 1042 (quoting Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Prods., Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 150 (2000)).

         B. Discussion

         A prison official violates the eighth amendment if he or she "acts with deliberate indifference to a substantial risk of harm to the prisoner." Perkins v. Grimes, 161 F.3d 1127, 1130 (8th Cir.1998) (citing Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834, 114 S.Ct. 1970, 128 L.Ed.2d 811 (1994)). "To show deliberate indifference, the prisoner ... must prove both that the official's acts caused a sufficiently serious deprivation and that the official had a subjectively culpable state of mind." Perkins, 161 F.3d at 1130. "With respect to the latter requirement, the prisoner ... must prove that the official was aware of facts from which the inference could be drawn that a substantial risk of serious harm existed and that the official drew that inference." Id. This subjective state of mind must be present before a plaintiff can be successful because '"only the unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain implicates the Eighth Amendment."' Jensen v. Clarke, 73 F.3d 808, 810 (8th Cir.1996) (quoting Wilson v. Seiter, 501 U.S. 294, 297, 111 S.Ct. 2321, 115 L.Ed.2d 271 (1991) (internal quotation marks, emphasis, and citations omitted in Jensen)); Blades v. Schuetzle, 302 F.3d 801, 803 (8th Cir. 2002). The Court holds that no genuine issues of material facts exist regarding whether Defendants Jenkins or Pashia knew of any substantial risk that Taylor and Inmate Rogers would engage in violence and grants summary judgment in favor of Defendants.

         In support of his position, Taylor has come forward with his Temporary Administrative Segregation Confinement Form, dated November 5, 2015, which reported Taylor was placed in "PC [protective custody] status after stating to staff he was in fear for his life from Rogers, Cory [sic] #522621." (ECF No. 41-1). Likewise, Defendant Jenkins states in a State of Missouri Department of Corrections Potosi Correctional Center Memorandum, dated December 14, 2015, that, on November 12, 2015, "Offender Taylor, Demetrius #368339 was assigned to cell 2-C-25 by the bed broker, offender advised he could not cell in that cell due to an enemy." (hereinafter referred to as "12/14/15 Memorandum"; ECF No. 36-3). Thus, the Court is ...


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