United States District Court, S.D. Alabama, Southern Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
KATHERINE P. NELSON, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Sharone Goodwin, an Alabama prison inmate proceeding pro
se and in forma pauperis, filed a complaint
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This action has been referred to
the undersigned for appropriate action pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b)(1)(B) and S.D. Ala. GenLR 72(a)(2)(R). After
careful review, it is recommended that Summary Judgment be
GRANTED in favor of Defendants Walter Myers,
Terry Raybon, and William DeSpain, and that Plaintiff Sharone
Goodwin's action be DISMISSED with
prejudice in its entirety.
further ORDERED that Plaintiff's Amended
Motion for Production of Documents (Doc. 48) is
DENIED for the reasons as set out in the
Court's previous order, dated January 24, 2018 (Doc. 47).
Summary of Allegations and Background.
Sharone Goodwin brings this suit alleging multiple due
process and Eighth Amendment violations occurring while
housed at Holman Correctional Facility. (Doc. 22). According
to Plaintiff, the defendants, on numerous occasions, failed
to protect him from inmate attacks and held him in segregated
housing without the proper hearings. (Id.).
claims that on May 15, 2015, five inmates attacked him
outside of the dining hall. (Id. at 4). One inmate
attempted to stab Plaintiff in the eye (causing his glasses
to shatter) and then the five inmates “escorted”
Plaintiff to the shift office and warned him “to get
out of population.” (Id.). Plaintiff entered
the shift office and reported the incident to Lieutenant
Brown, who instructed that Plaintiff be taken to the medical
unit, where Plaintiff alleges he received treatment for
“Plexiglas in his left eye.” (Id.).
Plaintiff subsequently reported the incident (and identified
the attackers by their names and nicknames) to Wardens Myers
and Raybon; yet, the wardens failed to take action against
the inmate attackers. (Id. at 4-5). Plaintiff
further alleges that Classification Supervisor William
DeSpain is responsible for the attack because of his
“error of accepting [Plaintiff] to Homan Correctional
Facility from St. Clair without insuring that he had no
validated enemies” at the prison. (Id. at 5).
the attack, Wardens Myers and Raybon moved Plaintiff to
segregated housing in Q-side and told Plaintiff that he would
be transferred to another prison after Classification
Supervisor DeSpain identified a known enemy or life threat.
(Doc. 22 at 5). According to Plaintiff, the wardens further
arranged for Plaintiff to meet with the Montgomery Gang
Taskforce (“the Taskforce”), who interviewed
Plaintiff, took photographs of Plaintiff, and recorded his
statement on video. (Id.; Doc. 48 at 3). Plaintiff
informed the Taskforce that the May 15, 2015 attack was
“a hit on his life and [that] he doesn't feel safe
at Holman.” (Id.; Doc. 37 at 1). Plaintiff
claims that Defendants have knowledge of this interview and
the “hit on his life” and, yet, failed to
transfer him or take action to protect him. (Doc. 22 at 5).
Additionally, Plaintiff challenges that the segregation
detention paperwork presented to him on May 15, 2015, stated
that his segregation holding was for “being in an
altercation with unknown inmates”, despite that he
informed the defendants of the names of his attackers.
June of 2015, Warden Myers moved Plaintiff from Q-side
segregation to “the main lockup unit” or
“segregation annex”, where Plaintiff alleges
inmates as well as officers are “cut on an almost daily
basis.” (Id.; Doc. 48 at 2). While housed in
segregation annex, Plaintiff contends he was assaulted twice
in June of 2015, “several more times” in August
and September of 2015, and again on April 1, 2016.
(Id. at 5-6). Plaintiff asserts that he was afraid
for his life while incarcerated at Holman and alleges he
communicated this fear to the Segregation Review Board, which
included Warden Myers and Classification Supervisor DeSpain,
weekly. (Id. at 6). Yet, Defendants did nothing.
oral and written requests (by Plaintiff and by his family
members) to be transferred, Plaintiff remained held in
segregation until June 11, 2016, when he was moved to
Limestone Correctional Facility. (Id. at 6-7).
Plaintiff claims his holding in segregated custody without a
hearing for administrative custody and the failure to
transfer Plaintiff to an enemy free prison violated his
Eighth Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment rights.
(Id.). Plaintiff is suing Defendants William
DeSpain, Walter Myers,  and Terry Raybon for these alleged
constitutional violations and is seeking monetary relief in
the amount of $50, 000.00 from each defendant for
compensatory and punitive damages and any other relief to
which this Court finds he is entitled. (Doc. 22 at 10).
have answered the suit, have denied all allegations against
them, and asserted the immunity defenses of sovereign and
qualified immunity. (Doc. 33). Defendants have also submitted
a Special Report, which includes evidentiary support in the
form of affidavits, medical records, and various prison
records. (Id.; Doc. 35). The Court converted these
pleadings into a Motion for Summary Judgment (Docs. 34, 36),
to which Plaintiff responded by filing a combined Motion for
Extension of Time to Respond and a Motion for Production of
Documents (Doc. 37), followed by an Amended Motion for
Production of Documents (Doc. 41), a Motion to Compel
Discovery (Doc. 45), and a Motion to Hold Defendants in Civil
Contempt. (Doc. 46).
Court granted Plaintiff's request for an extension of
time to respond to the Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 40)
and ordered the defendants to respond to Plaintiff's
Motion for Production of Documents, which requested the
transcription of the May 15, 2015 interview of Plaintiff
conducted by the Department of Corrections Gang Taskforce.
(Doc. 38). Defendants objected to production of statements
contained in the investigative report (Doc. 39), and the
Court denied Plaintiff's motion. (Doc. 47). Based on
Defendants' response, the Court determined that no
transcription existed of the videotaped statement and that
Plaintiff, being aware of what he told prison authorities in
the statement, could respond to the motion for summary
judgment with his own testimony about any statements he made
to the Taskforce, and Defendants were not required to provide
him with a copy of the video tape of the statement. (Doc. 47
at 2). This same reasoning was used by the Court to deny
Plaintiff's Amended Motion for Production of Documents.
(See Doc. 47 at 2-3). Additionally, the Court denied
Plaintiff's Motion to Hold Defendants in Civil contempt.
(Id. at 4).
January 24, 2018 order, the Court declared “that
discovery in this matter has CLOSED” (Doc. 47), yet
Plaintiff filed an Amended Motion for Production of Documents
requesting an updated version of the Alabama Department of
Corrections standard operating manual, all documents related
to his protective custody placement from May 15, 2015 through
April 1, 2016, internal memos regarding his removal from cell
Q-15 to segregation annex, and all transcribed statements in
the possession of the investigative department created on May
15, 2015, as well as statements regarding Plaintiff's
2007 emergency transfer from Homan Correctional Facility.
(Doc. 48). Relying on the reasoning of its previous order,
The Court hereby denies Plaintiff's Amended Motion for
Production of Documents. (Doc. 48). The Court will, however,
consider Plaintiff's affidavit attached to the Amended
Motion for Production of Documents as a response to
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. (Doc. 48 at
thorough review of the record, the Court determines this
motion is ripe for consideration.
Summary Judgment Standard.
Judgment is proper “if the movant shows that there is
no genuine dispute as to any material fact and that the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2510, 91
L.Ed.2d 202 (1986); see also Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d
265 (1986); Garczynski v. Bradshaw, 573 F.3d 1158,
1165 (2009) ("[S]ummary judgment is appropriate even if
'some alleged factual dispute' between the parties
remains, so long as there is 'no genuine issue of
material fact.'"(emphasis omitted)).
party asking for summary judgment "always bears the
initial responsibility of informing the district court of the
basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of the
'pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and
admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if
any,' which it believes demonstrate the absence of a
genuine issue of material fact." Celotex, 477
U.S. at 323. The movant can meet this burden by presenting
evidence showing there is no dispute of material fact, or by
showing, or pointing out to, the district court that the
nonmoving party has failed to present evidence in support of
some element of its case on which it bears the ultimate
burden of proof. Id. at 322-24.
Once the moving party has met its burden, Rule 56(e)
"requires the nonmoving party to go beyond the
pleadings and by [its] own affidavits, or by the
'depositions, answers to interrogatories, and
admissions on file,' designate 'specific facts
showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.'"
Id. at 324. To avoid summary judgment, the
nonmoving party "must do more than show that there is
some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts."
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp.,
475 U.S. 574, 586, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986).
On the other hand, the evidence of the nonmovant must be
believed and all justifiable inferences must be drawn in
its favor. See Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255.
ThyssenKrupp Steel USA, LLC v. United Forming, Inc.,
926 F.Supp.2d 1286, 1289-90 (S.D. Ala. Jan. 29, 2013)
requirement to view the facts in the nonmoving party's
favor extends only to "genuine" disputes over
material facts. A genuine dispute requires more than
"some metaphysical doubt as to material facts."
Garczynski, 573 F.3d at 1165 (internal citations
omitted). A "mere scintilla" of evidence is
insufficient; the nonmoving party must produce substantial
evidence in order to defeat a motion for summary judgment.
Id. In addition, "[t]here is no burden upon the
district court to distill every potential argument that could
be made based upon the materials before it on summary
judgment." Resolution Trust Corp. v. Dunmar
Corp., 43 F.3d 587, 599 (11th Cir. 1995). More
importantly, where "opposing parties tell two different
stories, one of which is blatantly contradicted by the
record, so that no reasonable jury could believe it, a court
should not adopt that version of the facts for purposes of
ruling on a motion for summary judgment." Scott v.
Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380, 127 S.Ct. 1769, 1776, 167
L.Ed.2d 686 (2007); see also Logan v. Smith, 439
Fed.Appx. 798, 800 (11th Cir. Aug. 29, 2011) ("In cases
where opposing parties tell different versions of the same
events one of which is blatantly contradicted by the
record-such that no reasonable jury could believe it-a court
should not adopt the contradicted allegations."
(citations omitted) (unpublished)).
state a claim for relief under § 1983, a plaintiff must
allege an act which deprived him of a right, privilege, or
immunity protected by the Constitution or laws of the United
States, committed by a person acting under color of state law
at the time the complaint arose. Richardson v.
Johnson, 598 F.3d 734, 737 (11th Cir. 2010). The
defendants in this action, employed as state correctional
officers, were no doubt acting under color of state law at
the time the complaint arose, and Plaintiff brings his claims
pursuant to the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. As such,
the undersigned will review each claim in turn.
Failure to Protect.
Eighth Amendment imposes a duty on prison officials to take
reasonable measures to guarantee the safety of the
inmates." Caldwell v. Warden, FCI Talladega,
748 F.3d 1090, 1099 (11th Cir. 2014) (quoting Farmer v.
Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 832, 114 S.Ct. 1970, 128 L.Ed.2d
811 (1994)) (alterations and quotations omitted). "It is
not, however, every injury suffered by one prisoner at the
hands of another that translates into constitutional
liability for prison officials responsible for the
victim's safety." Farmer, 511 U.S. at 834;
Purcell v. Toombs Cnty., 400 F.3d 1313, 1321 (11th
Cir. 2005) ("[A] prison custodian is not the guarantor
of a prisoner's safety.") (quotation omitted). To
survive this motion, Plaintiff must establish facts necessary
to show defendants "disregarded [a] substantial risk by
failing to act in an objectively reasonable way to alleviate
the risk," and that the defendants "'acted with
a state of mind that constituted deliberate
indifference.'" Estate of Owens v. GEO Grp.,
Inc., 660 Fed.Appx. 763, 767 (11th Cir. 2016)(citations
In this context, deliberate indifference requires: (1)
subjective knowledge of a risk of serious harm; (2)
disregard of that risk; and (3) conduct that amounts to
more than mere negligence. [Richardson v. Johnson,
598 F.3d 734, 737 (11th Cir. 2010)]; see also Ray v.
Foltz, 370 F.3d 1079, 1083 (11th Cir. 2004)
("Deliberate indifference is not the same thing as
negligence or carelessness."). Thus, a prison official
may have subjective knowledge only if he had both knowledge
of specific facts from which an inference of risk of
serious harm could be drawn, and he actually drew that
inference. Carter[ v. Galloway, 352 F.3d 1346,
1349 (11th Cir. 2003)]. And, therefore, a plaintiff's
claim will fail as a matter of law in the absence of actual
knowledge of the substantial risk, because to hold
otherwise would impermissibly vitiate the subjective
component of the analysis. See Farmer, 511 U.S. at
Id. Taking as true, for purposes of this motion,
Plaintiff's version of the facts alleged in the
complaint, the undersigned determines that Plaintiff has
failed to carry his burden of establishing a constitutional
Transfer to Holman.
alleges that Defendants failed to protect him from being
attacked while incarcerated at Holman Correctional Facility
because they allowed him to be incarcerated with known
enemies at the prison. Specifically, Plaintiff claims that
Defendant DeSpain violated his constitutional rights by
allowing him to be transferred to Holman Correctional
Facility in August of 2013 when Plaintiff had documented
enemies housed at the prison.
extent that Plaintiff's claim asserts a challenge to his
transfer to Holman Correctional Facility
(“Holman”), the law is well-settled that
prisoners do not have a constitutional right to remain or be
housed in any particular prison or region or to be
transferred to a penal institution of their choosing. See
Meachum v. Fano, 427 U.S. 215, 225, 96 S.Ct. 2532, 49
L.Ed.2d 451 (1976) ("The Constitution does not require
that the State have more than one prison for convicted
felons; nor does it guarantee that the convicted prisoner
will be placed in any particular prison if, as is likely, the
State has more than one correctional institution.");
Olim v. Wakinekona, 461 U.S. 238, 103 S.Ct. 1741, 75
L.Ed.2d 813 (1983) (holding that transferring a prisoner from
a Hawaii state prison to a California prison did not
implicate a liberty interest protected by the Due Process
Clause). Thus, the fact that Plaintiff was transferred from
one correctional institution within the State of Alabama to
another fails to implicate any constitutional right to which
he is entitled.
extent that Plaintiff asserts an Eighth Amendment claim for
Defendants' failure to protect him based on his transfer
from St. Clair Correctional Facility to Holman, Plaintiff
also fails to establish a constitutional claim. Defendant
DeSpain affirms that, in accordance with the Alabama
Department of Corrections' quarterly segregation rotation
of inmates housed in administrative segregation, Plaintiff
was transferred to Holman from St. Clair Correctional
Facility on August 22, 2013. (Doc. 33-1 at 1). At the time of
the transfer, Plaintiff was classified as a Security Level 5
inmate and had documented enemies at multiple facilities,
Correctional Facility, Donaldson Correctional Facility, and
Holman Correctional Facility. (Id.). Due to
Plaintiff's inability to live in general population and
in order to keep him safe from known enemies, Plaintiff was
placed in a single cell housing in the Homan Segregation Unit
upon arrival at Homan. (Id. at 2).
record shows that Plaintiff attempted multiple times during
his incarceration at Holman to have the status of documented
enemies changed and declared instead that they were persons
with whom he could live peaceably; these requests, however,
were consistently denied, mostly due to Plaintiff's
confirmed status as a former FBI informant. (Doc. 33-5 at
12-14; Doc. 33-6 at 18-22; Doc. 48 at 4). It was not until
validated enemies were removed from general population that
Plaintiff was assigned to population; this housing
classification however was short lived. (Doc. 33-2 at 1). The
evidence before the Court shows that on January 3, 2014,
Plaintiff executed a document acknowledging that he could and
wanted to enter general population (Doc. 33-6 at 37), but