United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division
MrTORDEN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Albert Davis, is an indigent inmate incarcerated at the
Donaldson Correctional Facility in Bessemer,
Alabama. He brings this pro se 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 action for injunctive relief and damages alleging
Defendants acted with deliberate indifference to his safety
during his incarceration at the Montgomery County Detention
Facility in May 2015 by failing to protect him from an inmate
assault. Davis maintains the inmate assault resulted from a
lack of security at the facility and a failure to supervise
and train subordinates. Davis names as defendants the
Montgomery County Detention Facility, Sheriff Derrick
Cunningham, Correctional Officers Latasha Campbell and Amber
Fitts, and Director Wanda Robinson. Docs. 1 & 38.
have filed an amended answer, special reports, a supplemental
special report, and supporting evidentiary materials
addressing Davis' claims for relief. Docs. 18, 19, 27,
28, 44, 46, 47 & 50. In these filings, Defendants deny
they acted in violation of Davis' constitutional rights.
Upon receipt of Defendants' special reports, the court
issued an order directing Davis to file a response, including
sworn affidavits and other evidentiary materials, and
specifically cautioning Davis that “the court may at
any time thereafter and without notice to the parties (1)
treat the special report and any supporting evidentiary
materials as a motion for summary judgment.” Docs. 30
at 2 & 48 at 2.
responded to Defendants' special reports. Docs. 37, 56,
84 & 85. Davis has not sworn to the truthfulness of the
statements in his responses, however, and thus they do not
meet the requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
56(e)(1) that an affidavit “be made on personal
knowledge, set out facts that would be admissible in
evidence, and show that the affiant is competent to testify
on the matters stated.” This failure on Davis' part
means that these responses are not evidence that could be
deemed to create a genuine issue of material fact.
See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e)(1); Holloman v.
Jacksonville Housing Auth., 2007 WL 245555, *2 (11th
Cir. Jan. 30, 2007) (holding that “unsworn statements,
even from pro se parties, should not be considered
in determining the propriety of summary judgment”);
Pfeil v. Rogers, 757 F.2d 850, 859 (7th Cir. 1986);
Dickinson v. Wainwright, 626 F.2d 1184, 1185 (5th
Cir. 1980). The court will treat Defendants' reports as
motions for summary judgment, and resolves these motions in
favor of Defendants.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
judgment is appropriate if the pleadings, depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together
with the affidavits, if any, show there is no genuine
[dispute] as to any material fact and that the moving party
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Greenberg v. BellSouth Telecomm., Inc., 498 F.3d
1258, 1263 (11th Cir. 2007); Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a) (“The
court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”).
The party moving 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
[record, including pleadings, discovery materials and
affidavits], which it believes demonstrate the absence of a
genuine [dispute] of material fact.” Celotex Corp.
v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). The movant may
meet this burden by presenting evidence indicating there is
no dispute of material fact or by showing the non-moving
party has failed to present evidence to support some element
on which it bears the ultimate burden of proof. Id.
have met their evidentiary burden. Thus, the burden shifts to
Davis to establish, with appropriate evidence beyond the
pleadings, that a genuine dispute material to his case
exists. Clark v. Coats & Clark, Inc., 929 F.2d
604, 608 (11th Cir. 1991); Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324;
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)(3); Jeffery v. Sarasota White Sox,
Inc., 64 F.3d 590, 593-94 (11th Cir. 1995) (holding
that, once the moving party meets its burden, “the
non-moving party must then go beyond the pleadings, and by
its own affidavits [or sworn statements], or by depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, ”
demonstrate there is a genuine dispute of material fact)
(internal quotations omitted). This court also will consider
“specific facts” pleaded in a plaintiff's
sworn complaint when considering his opposition to summary
judgment. Caldwell v. Warden, FCI Talladega, 748
F.3d 1090, 1098 (11th Cir. 2014). A genuine dispute of
material fact exists when the non-moving party produces
evidence that would allow a reasonable factfinder to return a
verdict in its favor. Greenberg, 498 F.3d at 1263;
Allen v. Bd. of Public Educ., 495 F.3d 1306, 1313
(11th Cir. 2007).
factual inferences must be viewed in a light most favorable
to the non-moving party and pro se complaints are
entitled to liberal interpretation by the courts, a pro
se litigant does not escape the burden of establishing
by sufficient evidence a genuine dispute of material fact.
See Beard v. Banks, 548 U.S. 521, 525 (2006);
Brown v. Crawford, 906 F.2d 667, 670 (11th Cir.
1990). Davis' pro se status alone does not
compel this court to disregard elementary principles of
production and proof in a civil case.
The Montgomery County Detention Facility
argue that the Montgomery County Detention Facility is not a
legal entity capable of being sued. Doc. 18. The court
allege a viable § 1983 claim, a plaintiff must name as a
defendant an entity subject to being sued. Dean v.
Barber, 951 F.2d 1210, 1214 (11th Cir. 1992). The
capacity of a party to be sued is “determined by the
law of the state in which the district court is held.”
Id. Both federal and state law are settled that a
county sheriff's department is not a legal entity subject
to suit or liability. Id.; White v.
Birchfield, 582 So.2d 1085, 1087 (Ala. 1991). It follows
that a building or structure utilized by a sheriff's
department is not a legal entity subject to suit.
Accordingly, Davis' claims against the Montgomery County
Detention Facility are dismissed.
individual defendants assert that Davis'
official-capacity claims against them are due to be dismissed
based on the Eleventh Amendment to the United States
Constitution Docs. 18 & 47. The Eleventh Amendment bars
suits for money damages against a state by the citizens of
that state, unless the state waives its Eleventh Amendment
immunity or Congress abrogates said immunity. See Carr v.
City of Florence, Ala., 916 F.2d 1521, 1524 (11th Cir.
1990). Congress has not abrogated Eleventh Amendment immunity
in § 1983 cases, nor has the State of Alabama consented
to suit. Id. at 1525. Moreover, Eleventh Amendment
immunity extends to state officials sued in their official
capacities when “‘the state is the real,
substantial party in interest.'” Id. at
1524 (quoting Pennhurst St. Sch. & Hosp. v.
Halderman, 465 U.S. 89, 101 (1984)). Under Alabama law,
because sheriffs are deemed “executive officers of the
state, ” lawsuits against sheriffs in their official
capacities are, in essence, lawsuits against the state.
Id. at 1525 (citation omitted). Thus, the Eleventh
Amendment provides absolute immunity to sheriffs sued in
their official capacities. Id.; Turquitt v.
Jefferson Cnty., 137 F.3d 1285, 1288 (11th Cir. 1998)
(“[A]n Alabama sheriff acts exclusively for the state
rather than for the county in operating a county
jail.”). This immunity extends to deputy sheriffs
because of their “traditional function under Alabama
law as the Sheriff's alter ego.” Carr, 916
F.2d at 1527. Accordingly, the individual defendants are
entitled to sovereign immunity under the Eleventh Amendment
for claims seeking monetary damages against them in their
official capacities. Lancaster v. Monroe Cnty., 116
F.3d 1419, 1429 (11th Cir. 1997); Jackson v. Ga.
Dep't of Transp., 16 F.3d 1573, 1575 (11th Cir.
1994); Parker v. Williams, 862 F.2d 1471 (11th Cir.
is no longer incarcerated at the Montgomery County Detention
Center. The transfer or release of a prisoner renders moot
any claims for injunctive or declaratory relief.
Cnty. of Los Angeles v. Davis, 440 U.S. 625, 631 (1979);
see also Cotterall v. Paul, 755 F.2d 777, 780 (11th
Cir. 1985) (holding that past exposure to even illegal
conduct does not in and of itself show a pending case or
controversy regarding injunctive relief if unaccompanied by
any continuing present injury or real and immediate threat of
repeated injury). As it is clear from the pleadings and
records before the court that ...