United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Statesboro Division
J. RANDAL HALL, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court is Defendants' Motion for Summary
Judgment. (Doc. 131.) Plaintiff, a former Georgia Department
of Corrections ("GDC") inmate, alleges that
Defendants violated the Eighth Amendment of the United States
Constitution and brings suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Defendants argue that they did not violate the Constitution
and that they are immune from suit based upon the principle
of qualified immunity. This Court agrees with Defendants.
Court notes, at the onset, that Plaintiff has made
exceedingly difficult this Court's task of determining
what material facts are in genuine dispute. As Defendants
noted in their reply brief, Plaintiff's response to
Defendants' Statement of Material Facts and
Plaintiff's response to Defendants' motion for
summary judgement repeatedly mystifies the facts, confuses
the timeline of events, and makes multiple unsupported
assertions. These actions placed an excessive burden
on the Court to continually parse through the record to
determine fact from fiction, when in reality no genuine
dispute of fact actually existed. S5ee Reese v.
Herbert, 527 F.3d 1253, 1268 (11th Cir. 2008) (citing
with approval the Seventh Circuit's admonition that
"judges are not like pigs, hunting for truffles buried
in briefs"); Smith v. Lamz, 321 F.3d 680, 683
(7th Cir. 2003) ("A district court is not required to
'wade through improper denials and legal argument in
search of a genuinely disputed fact.'").
Plaintiff 's Incarceration
story begins on May 10, 2012, in the Georgia Diagnostic and
Correction Prison ("GDCP"). The GDCP houses and
classifies new inmates so that they can be appropriately
placed inside the Georgia Prison System. (Doc. 131-1
¶¶ 15-26.) As part of the classification program,
prison officials evaluate the inmate's criminal history,
individual characteristics, and mental and physical health
needs. (Id.) Prison officials make an initial
security classification to determine appropriate housing,
levels of supervision, and work-detail assignment.
(Id.) They also screen inmates in accordance with
the Prison Rape Elimination Act ("PREA") to
determine if they are at risk of being either a sexual victim
or a sexual aggressor. (Id.) The PREA screening
considers many factors, including the inmate's actual and
perceived sexual orientation and gender identity,
disabilities, age, physical build, incarceration history,
criminal history, prior experiences of sexual victimization,
and the inmate's own perception of vulnerability.
(Id.) Prison officials gave Plaintiff a minimum
security classification fit for general population and
designated her as neither a PREA victim nor a PREA
aggressor. (Id. at ¶¶ 124-128.)
at GDCP, Plaintiff also underwent orientation about prison
life and the PREA. She acknowledged this orientation in
writing, and she also acknowledged that she had the
responsibility to request protective custody if she felt her
safety threatened in the future. (Doc. 131-1 ¶¶
121-123.) On July 19, 2012, prison officials transferred
Plaintiff to Rodgers State Prison. (Id. at ¶
State Prison is a medium-security facility that houses adult
male felons for the Georgia Department of Corrections. (Doc.
131-1 ¶ 46.) Located in Reidsville, Georgia, it consists
of 6 buildings: Buildings A, B, C, F, G, and H. (Id.
¶ 4 8.) Each building is composed of four dormitories
numbered 1-4. Inside each dormitory are either rooms or
cells. And inside each room or cell are beds, which are
numbered and assigned to individual inmates. Prison officials
placed Plaintiff in Building A, Dormitory 1, Room 3, Bed 5.
(Doc. 163, Exhibit 30.)
Dormitory was a general-population dormitory. Inmates in
general population were usually well-behaved and were all
cleared to live with each inmate in their dormitory. (Doc.
131-1 ¶¶ 56, 57, 71.) Al Dormitory housed inmates
in an open format that allowed them to roam freely from room
to room. (Id. at ¶ 55.) It had two halls with
two bedrooms per hall, a television room, and a day room.
(Id. at ¶¶ 58-64.) Each bedroom had eight
bunkbeds and housed sixteen inmates. (Id. at ¶
security in Al Dormitory reflected its general population
status. Officers were not continuously present in the
dormitory, but they daily conducted multiple "official
counts." (Doc. 131-1 ¶ 66.) The parties dispute the
frequency with which those occurred, (see id.; doc.
131-11 at 134-136), but the number appears to be at least
twice per day, and potentially up to five times per day, with
at least one count occurring at night (doc. 131-11 at
134-136). Officers would also regularly enter the dormitory
to deliver mail, and they conducted "census counts"
several times per day, "including at each shift
change." (Doc. 131-1 ¶ 67; Doc. 163 ¶ 67; Doc.
131-11 at 134-136.) Additionally, an officer located in the
control room of building A monitored the hallways and common
rooms of the Al Dormitory 24 hours a day. (Doc. 131-1
¶¶83-85; Doc. 141 at 41-44.)
A4 Dormitories, on the other hand, were used for
Administrative Segregation. (Doc. 131-1 ¶¶ 80-81.)
Prisoners placed in Administrative Segregation, unlike those
placed in general population, usually have reason to be
isolated from other prisoners. Thus, A3 Dormitory contained
twenty-three double-occupancy cells and one single-occupancy
cell, and A4 Dormitory contained twenty-four single-occupancy
cells. (Doc. 131-4 ¶ 23.)
security in A3 and A4 was also commensurate to its
population. Prison policy required A3 and A4 security
officers to perform 30-minute security and safety checks.
(Doc. 131-1 ¶ 87.) Officers would document these safety
checks by marking on a "door sheet" or
“30-minute Check Sheet." (Doc. 143 at 18-20.)
Additionally, Officers would notate information about
individual inmates, such as whether an inmate ate his meals,
took a shower, or went to the yard for exercise.
Plaintiff arrived at Rodgers on July 19, the prison did not
have enough beds to accommodate her in a general-population
dormitory. (Doc. 131-1 ¶ 133.) Thus, prison officials
put Plaintiff in Administrative Segregation and placed her in
A4 Dormitory until they could find a permanent spot for her
in the prison. Four days later, Prison officials moved
Plaintiff to her permanent spot in the general-population Al
Dormitory. (Doc. 163, Exhibit 30.)
s troubles began almost immediately upon stepping foot into
the Al Dormitory. Prior to arriving at Rodgers, Plaintiff
supposedly had breast enhancement surgery, and she maintained
a feminine appearance upon entering Rodgers. (Doc. 163-3;
Doc. 162 at 19.) Because of Plaintiff's feminine
appearance, Plaintiff's arrival did not go unnoticed.
Plaintiff s first day in the dormitory, inmate Darryl Ricard,
a retired member of the Vice-Lord gang who was serving a life
sentence without parole for the malicious rape of an
eleven-year-old child in retaliation for her father's
unpaid debts, approached Plaintiff to offer protection. (Doc.
131-1 ¶ 166.) Ricard claimed he was a lifer and only
looking a friend. (Doc. 132-1 at 8.) Plaintiff assented.
(Id.) But while Plaintiff and Ricard both agree that
this initial encounter was not threatening or coercive,
Plaintiff alleges that the relationship quickly turned sour.
(Id. at 7-9.)
alleges that within two weeks Ricard demanded Plaintiff
perform sexual acts upon him or else risk serious bodily
harm. (Doc. 131-1 ¶ 171.) Plaintiff also alleges that
Ricard threatened to have Plaintiff harmed if Plaintiff
transferred to another building. (Doc. 132-1 at 11-12.) Thus,
despite an initial resistance, Plaintiff states she relented
to Ricard's demands and performed sexual favors for him
for fear of her life.
naturally, denies Plaintiff's allegations. Ricard alleges
that he was Plaintiff's prison "husband" and
that any sexual acts between the two were consensual. (Doc.
163-3 at 10:00-12:00.) Nonetheless, regardless of their
differing views about whether such acts were consensual,
Plaintiff and Ricard agree that during the next several weeks
Plaintiff performed sexual acts upon Ricard multiple times.
(Id.; Doc. 132-1 at 18.)
around August 24, 2012, Plaintiff penned a letter to her
mother stating that her "life was in great
danger" and asking her mother for help. (Doc.
131-28 (emphasis in original).) Plaintiff's mother
responded as any good mother would: She called Warden Bradley
Hooks and informed him of the situation. (Doc. 131-1 ¶
210.) On the same day, Warden Hooks summoned Plaintiff to his
office to discuss the situation with him and Deputy Warden of
Security John Brown. (Doc. 131-1 ¶ 214.)
confines of his office, Warden Hooks inquired into
Plaintiff's personal well-being. The parties, however,
cannot agree on exactly what questions the Warden asked.
Defendants assert that Warden Hooks asked Plaintiff whether
she was in any danger or wanted to go into protective
custody. (Doc. 131-1 ¶¶ 219-222.) But Plaintiff
denies that Warden Hooks ever "specifically asked
Plaintiff if she was in danger" or that he ever
"ask[ed] Green directly if she wanted to be placed in
protective custody." (Doc. 163 ¶¶ 219-222.)
Nevertheless, the parties agree that, whatever questions were
asked, Warden Hooks elicited from Plaintiff statements that
she was not afraid and that she did not have any problems.
(Doc. 131-1 ¶¶ 223-224.) The parties also agree
that Plaintiff never disclosed to Warden Hooks or Deputy
Warden Brown that Ricard, or anyone, was sexually assaulting
her in Al Dormitory, that she never asked to be moved to a
different dormitory or camp, and that she never admitted to
being so much as uncomfortable in Al Dormitory. (Doc. 144 at
their meeting, Warden Hooks also went beyond merely talking
to Plaintiff. In response to questions he had about the
veracity of Plaintiff's assurances in light of her
mother's grave complaints, he telephoned Plaintiff's
mother. (Doc. 144 at 84.) He spoke with Plaintiff's
mother himself, and he also gave Plaintiff the opportunity to
speak with her mother. (Id. at 84-85.) But Plaintiff
continued to assure Warden Hooks she had no problems.
(Id.) Unable to substantiate any of the claims made
by Plaintiff's mother, Warden Hooks arranged for
Plaintiff to return to Al Dormitory in a manner that would
not raise suspicion among the other inmates. (Id. at
weeks later, on September 17, 2012, Plaintiff, allegedly,
made another cry for help. Plaintiff claims she wrote a
letter alleging that Ricard was forcing her to perform sexual
acts in Al Dormitory. (Doc. 131-1 ¶ 225.) Plaintiff
claims that she addressed the letter to the Deputy Warden of
Security and placed it in the prison mailbox. (Id.
¶ 226.) Defendants claim no Defendant ever received or
read this letter. (Id. ¶¶ 257-259.)
Plaintiff claims Defendants are lying, but she can offer no
proof for this assertion beyond her own testimony. (Doc. 163
"Put on the Door"
night of Thursday, September 21, 2012, inmates in Al
Dormitory, allegedly tired of having too many open
homosexuals in the dormitory, forced Plaintiff and two other
inmates to exit the dormitory. (Doc. 131-1 ¶¶
261-263.) In prison parlance, Plaintiff and the other ousted
inmates were "put on the door." (Id.)
Plaintiff packed her belongings, exited the dormitory, and
waited for a security officer so that she could request
protective custody. She viewed her departure from Al
Dormitory as a blessing, because it finally granted her
freedom from Ricard without any fault of her own. (Doc.
132-1, p. 24.)
Plaintiff's relief was short lived. When Ricard learned
that Plaintiff had been put on the door, he informed
Plaintiff that he would join her. (Doc. 131-1 ¶ 266.)
Whether Ricard joined because he feared retaliation for
protecting homosexual inmates, as he claimed, or because he
desired to follow Plaintiff to her next location for more
nefarious purposes, is not clear. What is clear, however, is
that Ricard requested protective custody in response to the
ouster of inmates Green, Reid, and Kiya, and that prison
officials placed him in Administrative Segregation because of
his request. (Id. ¶ 267.) Also clear, despite
Plaintiff's averments to the contrary, is that Ricard
left Al Dormitory at the same time as the other three
inmates. (Doc. 132-1 at 23-24; Doc. 131-1 ¶ 277.)
outside the dormitory, all four inmates were met by
Lieutenant Terrie Grubbs, and they requested protective
custody. (Doc. 131-1 ¶ 272; Doc. 132-1 at 24.) Another
officer then escorted Plaintiff to the shower room of A4
Dormitory, while a third officer placed Ricard in A3
Dormitory. (Doc. 131-1 ¶¶ 292A-294.)
next five hours, from 11:00 p.m. on September 20, 2012, to
4:00 a.m. on September 21, 2012, Plaintiff remained in the
shower room of A4 Dormitory. (Doc. 131-1 ¶ 298.) During
that time, she wrote a statement detailing her request for
protective custody, and she made small talk with officers.
(Id. at ¶ 296-299.) At no point in either her
written statement or casual conversation with officers did
she mention that Ricard had sexually assaulted her in Al
Dormitory. (Id. ¶ 300.) Then, around 4:00 a.m.
an unknown officer, but not Lt. Grubbs, escorted Plaintiff to
Cell 22 of A3 Dormitory - the cell of inmate Darryl Ricard.
(Id. ¶¶ 302-303.)
Cell 22, Plaintiff's situation allegedly went from bad to
worse. After a short reprieve in which Ricard allowed
Plaintiff to get some sleep, Plaintiff alleges that Ricard
demanded Plaintiff perform sexual acts on him. (Doc. 131-1
¶¶ 319-320; 347-351.) Plaintiff alleges that Ricard
threatened her with a razor blade and then proceeded to
orally and anally rape her. (Id. ¶¶
350-351.) After the assault, Plaintiff returned to her bed
and wrote a letter claiming that she had just been raped.
(Id. ¶ 354.) When Ricard was not looking,
Plaintiff slipped the note under the cell door. (Id.
¶ 355.) Approximately two minutes later, guards opened
the door of Cell 22 to see Ricard threatening Plaintiff with
a razor blade. (Id. ¶ 363.) The responding
sergeant convinced Ricard to drop the blade, guards removed
Ricard from the cell, and the Sexual Assault Response Team
arrived to investigate the situation. (Id.
the alleged assault, Plaintiff and Ricard submitted to an
interview with the GDC s Internal Investigation Unit. In her
interview, Plaintiff informed investigators that Ricard had
been sexually assaulting her for weeks and that none of their
sexual contact had been consensual. (Doc. 132-1 at 9-14.)
Ricard, for his part, asserted that the sexual contact was
consensual and that Plaintiff admitted to him she was setting
him up in order to fabricate a lawsuit against the prison.
(Doc. 163-3.) State prosecutors subsequently twice attempted
to indict Ricard. (Doc. 171 at 15.) The ...