United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division
MADELINE HUGHES HAIKALA UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
prisoner civil rights action is before the Court for a review
of the magistrate judge's November 18, 2016 report
concerning the defendants' motion for summary judgment.
In the report, the magistrate judge recommends that the Court
enter judgment for the defendants on all of plaintiff Daniel
Bartholomew Clark's claims. (Doc. 23). Mr. Clark has
filed objections to the report (Doc. 24), and he has filed a
“Writ of Mandamus/Equitable Tolling” (Doc. 26)
and a “Motion to Leave to Suppl[e]ment Reply to Special
Report/Objections” (Doc. 27).
Court treats the writ of mandamus as a motion to extend the
deadline for submitting additional medical records. (Doc. 26,
pp. 1-2). In his motion for leave to supplement his
reply to the special report and objections, Mr. Clark asks
the Court to consider the additional medical records and
other evidence. (Doc. 27, p. 1). The Court grants Mr.
Clark's motion to extend the deadline to submit evidence
and his motion to supplement his reply to the special report
and objections. In this opinion, the Court considers Mr.
Clark's objections to the report and recommendation
together with the additional evidence and argument that Mr.
Clark has submitted.
district court “may accept, reject, or modify, in whole
or part, the findings or recommendations made by the
magistrate judge.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). When
a party objects to a report and recommendation, the district
court must “make a de novo determination of those
portions of the report or specified proposed findings or
recommendations to which objection is made.”
Id. The Court reviews for plain error proposed
factual findings to which no objection is made, and the Court
reviews propositions of law de novo. Garvey v.
Vaughn, 993 F.2d 776, 779 n.9 (11th Cir. 1993); see
also United States v. Slay, 714 F.2d 1093, 1095 (11th
Cir. 1983) (per curiam), cert. denied, 464 U.S. 1050
(1984) (“The failure to object to the magistrate's
findings of fact prohibits an attack on appeal of the factual
findings adopted by the district court except on grounds of
plain error or manifest injustice.”) (internal citation
omitted); Macort v. Prem, Inc., 208 Fed.Appx. 781,
784 (11th Cir. 2006).
Clark argues that the defendants provided insufficient
security in the dorms of his prison and that the inadequate
security violated his equal protection rights. (Doc. 24, p.
2). “To establish an equal protection claim, ‘a
prisoner must demonstrate that (1) he is similarly situated
to other prisoners who received more favorable treatment; and
[that] (2) the state engaged in invidious discrimination
against him based on race, religion, national origin, or some
other constitutionally protected basis.'”
Muhammad v. Sapp, 388 Fed.Appx. 892, 899 (11th Cir.
2010) (quoting Sweet v. Sec'y Dep't of
Corr., 467 F.3d 1311, 1318-1319 (11th Cir. 2006))
(alteration in Muhammad). “[P]urposeful
discrimination requires more than intent as volition or
intent as awareness of consequences. . . . It instead
involves a decisionmaker's undertaking a course of action
because of, not merely in spite of, the action's adverse
effects upon an identifiable group.” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 676-77 (2009) (internal quotation
marks, citation, and editorial marks omitted). To demonstrate
a violation of a clearly established right, a plaintiff must
show that the defendants adopted and implemented the policy
at issue “for the purpose of discriminating on account
of race, religion or national origin.” Id. at
Clark has not submitted evidence to demonstrate that the
defendants enforced the security policy in the dorms in a
discriminatory manner. In fact, Mr. Clark asserts that
everyone in the dorm was subjected to the same inadequate
protection. Therefore, Mr. Clark has not presented a viable
equal protection claim, and the Court overrules Mr.
Clark's first objection.
Eighth Amendment - Failure to Protect
extent that Mr. Clark attempts to raise a failure to protect
claim under the Eighth Amendment (see Doc. 24, pp.
1-2), the record does not support such a claim. Under the
Eighth Amendment, prison officials must “protect
prisoners from violence at the hands of other
prisoners.” Caldwell v. Warden, FCI Talladega,
748 F.3d 1090, 1099 (11th Cir. 2014) (quoting Farmer v.
Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 833 (1994) (internal marks
omitted)). Although prison officials have a general duty to
protect inmates from violence by other prisoners, prison
officials are not the guarantors of a prisoner's safety.
Morgan v. Toombs Cty., GA., 400 F.3d 1313, 1321
(11th Cir. 2005) (citing Popham v. City of
Talladega, 908 F.2d 1561, 1564 (11th Cir. 1990)).
establish a violation of the Eighth Amendment, a plaintiff
must show that he faced a “substantial risk of serious
harm” and that the defendants were deliberately
indifferent to that risk. Farmer, 511 U.S. at 834.
An objective standard governs the “substantial risk of
serious harm” element of the Eighth Amendment test.
Caldwell, 748 F.3d at 1099 (citing Marsh v.
Butler Cty., Ala., 268 F.3d 1014, 1028-29 (11th Cir.
2001) (en banc), abrogated on other grounds in Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007)). The deliberate
indifference element has two components, one subjective and
one objective. “To satisfy the subjective component, a
plaintiff must produce evidence that the defendant
‘actually (subjectively) kn[ew] that an inmate [faced]
a substantial risk of serious harm.'”
Caldwell, 748 F.3d at 1099 (quoting Rodriguez v.
Sec'y for Dep't of Corr., 508 F.3d 611, 617
(11th Cir. 2007)) (alterations in Caldwell).
“To satisfy the objective component, a plaintiff must
produce evidence that the defendant ‘disregard[ed] that
known risk by failing to respond to it in an (objectively)
reasonable manner.'” Id. (quoting
Rodriguez, 508 F.3d at 617) (alteration in
Caldwell). “[N]egligent failure to protect an
inmate from attack does not justify liability under section
1983.” Carter v. Galloway, 352 F.3d 1346, 1350
(11th Cir. 2003) (internal quotation marks and citation
omitted). Instead, a plaintiff must demonstrate that prison
officials were aware of “specific facts from which an
inference could be drawn that a substantial risk of serious
harm exist[ed]-and the prison official must also [have drawn]
that inference.” Carter, 352 F.3d at 1349
(internal quotation marks and citations omitted).
Clark has not produced evidence that a particular defendant
was aware or should have been aware of a strong likelihood
that he (Mr. Clark) would be assaulted. See Brown v.
Hughes, 894 F.2d 1533, 1537 (11th Cir. 1990). Mr. Clark
has not demonstrated that anyone previously had threatened
him, or that prison officials were aware that such a threat
existed, that a fight was imminent, or that he feared attack.
Therefore, to the extent that Mr. Clark objects to the report
and recommendation based on the defendants' alleged
failure to protect him from the inmate who attacked him, the
Court overrules the objection.
§ 1983 Conspiracy
Clark also argues that he is the victim of a conspiracy.
(Doc. 24, p. 2). Mr. Clark contends that guards placed him in
a holding cell pending a write up for fighting, but he never
received a disciplinary report. (Doc. 24, p. 2). This bare
set of facts, standing alone, is not sufficient to establish
a conspiracy among the defendants. To the extent that Mr.
Clark contends that absence ...