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Miles v. Conrad

United States District Court, D. Kansas

May 22, 2019

MAURICE L. MILES, JR. Plaintiff,
v.
DEPUTY CONRAD, in his official capacity with Reno County Sheriff's Department; DEPUTY SWONGER, in his official capacity with Reno County Sheriff's Department; DEPUTY MONDRAGON, in his official capacity with Reno County Sheriff's Department; and DEPUTY CARDER, in his official capacity with Reno County Sheriff's Department; Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          ERIC F. MELGREN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This case arises out of an assault that took place in the Reno County Jail. Plaintiff Maurice Miles, Jr., alleges that Defendants violated his Eighth Amendment rights against cruel and unusual punishment by failing to provide him protection from another inmate. Following Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, Defendant Conrad is the sole remaining defendant in the case. He now seeks summary judgment on the Eighth Amendment claim brought against him (Doc. 81). The Court finds that Plaintiff cannot establish essential elements of his claim. Thus, Defendant's motion is granted.

         I. Factual and Procedural Background

         [1]This case arose after another inmate at the Reno County Jail assaulted Plaintiff. On or about April 30, 2016, Plaintiff was booked into and incarcerated at the Reno County Jail in Hutchinson, Kansas. On May 25, 2016, Plaintiff was placed into the same cell with inmate Robert Sallabedra.[2]

         Inmates at the Reno County Jail are directed to communicate concerns, requests, and related information to the Sheriff's Department through the “turnkey system.” The turnkey system electronically transmits inmate messages to Reno County jail personnel to be reviewed and addressed by the jail staff.

         On May 29, 2016, Plaintiff submitted his first turnkey request related to his cellmate. In this request, submitted at 5:03 a.m., he stated: “Please can I move cells? i keep catching my cellie digging through my stuff and its pissing me off.” Deputy Nall reviewed and denied the request on May 29 at 6:47 p.m.

         At 6:08 p.m., on May 30, 2016, Plaintiff submitted a second turnkey request. In it, he said: “I dnt know why yall do this to me. Is it a set up to fail? I do not get along with my cellie at as a room mate theres plenty of other cells in this pod that are open. Can you please move me?” The next day, at 6:20 p.m., Deputy Conrad responded: “You will not be moved.”

         Five days later, on June 4, 2016, at 8:09 p.m., Plaintiff sent a message: “I just to make sure that I dont get into any truble for the stolen books that my cellie has been hording in our cell the next time you shake down.” Deputy Nall responded with “Noted.”

         On June 6, Plaintiff sent the following message about his cell mate: “People are talking about woopin my cellie for stealing and tering up the librarybooks an he keeps stealing coffee from people as well. Something need to be done soon about it.” That same day, Deputy Wornkey replied with “noted.”

         On June 7, 2016, at 9:36 p.m., Plaintiff sent his fifth turnkey report about his cellmate: “Imasking that you please do something with my cellie, if he steals or disrespects me one more time Im gonna end up in the hole. He constantly disrespects this whole pod. Im not going to keep putting up with his stealing from me problem.” There was no response to this message.

         On June 9, 2016, at 4:51 a.m., Plaintiff sent the following message: “Are yall realy serious? I mean we gave a nte t the gaurds last night with over 10 signatures on it to move salabedra out of this pod and yall still ignore us? So what do we do now? All go to the hole for handeling it our selvs? Everybody is ready to woop this dudes ass if something dont happen. The stealing and disrespect has gone to far.”

         That same day, approximately 10 minutes later at 5:00 a.m., Plaintiff and Sallabedra were involved in a physical altercation (which is the subject of Plaintiff's claim in this case). Deputy Conrad called for a code red over the radio immediately upon learning of the altercation. Deputy Conrad and other personnel removed Plaintiff and Sallabedra from the pod and separated them to investigate the occurrence. Plaintiff and Sallabedra were moved to separate pods and cells for approximately seven weeks. They were placed in the same pod, but not the same cell, for approximately 12 days in late July and early August.

         Plaintiff filed several different handwritten grievances during his imprisonment at the Reno County jail. The first one was filed on June 11, 2016.[3] On August 8, 2016, Plaintiff along with ten other inmates, filed a handwritten inmate grievance.[4] In this grievance, they asked for Sallabedra to be removed from the pod because he was disrespectful and stealing things. This grievance referenced the previous assault and asked that Sallabedra be moved as soon as possible. The inmate housing history report indicates that Sallabedra was moved from the pod on August 10 at 8:12 a.m.

         Deputy Conrad provided an affidavit in which he avers that he did not directly receive any reports from Plaintiff or other inmates that Sallabedra had threatened Plaintiff with physical harm and was not aware of any such reports.

         On July 13, 2016, Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, filed the current lawsuit against several individuals employed with the Reno County Sheriff's Department. The Court issued a notice of deficiency to Plaintiff, and Plaintiff submitted a new Complaint on July 29, 2016, which he supplemented on August 11, 2016. The case was dismissed for failure to exhaust administrative remedies, but it was reversed on appeal and subsequently reassigned to this Judge. After reassignment, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint, as well as a supplement to his Amended Complaint.

         All Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss. The Court granted in part and denied in part Defendants' motion. The only claim remaining asserts that Deputy Conrad violated Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment rights when he failed to protect Plaintiff from his cellmate, Sallabedra. Defendant Conrad now moves for summary judgment on this claim.

         II. ...


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