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Glenda Kolota v. Sevier County

March 28, 2011

GLENDA KOLOTA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
SEVIER COUNTY, TENNESSEE, ) ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Leon Jordan United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM

This is a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983;*fn1 plaintiff is represented by counsel. Plaintiff alleges that, while incarcerated in the Sevier County Detention Facility, she was assaulted and raped by fellow inmates Kandi Arwood, Michelle Gunter, Megan Hudson, Krystal Kawalski, and Vandy Morin, all of whom are named as defendants in addition to Sevier County, Tennessee, and all of whom are proceeding pro se. The matter is before the court on the motion for summary judgment filed by Sevier County, Tennessee, and plaintiff's response thereto.*fn2 For the following reasons, the motion [Doc. 82] will be GRANTED. In addition, this court will DECLINE to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over any pendent state claims which the plaintiff may have. Accordingly, this action will be DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.

I. Standard of Review

Rule 56(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that summary judgment "should be rendered if the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law."*fn3 "In considering a motion for summary judgment, the court must view the facts and all inferences to be drawn therefrom in the light most favorable to the non-moving party." 60 Ivy Street Corp. v. Alexander, 822 F.2d 1432, 1435 (6th Cir. 1987). See also Kochins v. Linden-Alimak, Inc., 799 F.2d 1128, 1133 (6th Cir. 1986); Securities and Exchange Commission v. Blavin, 760 F.2d 706, 710 (6th Cir. 1985). The burden is on the moving party to conclusively show that no genuine issue of material fact exists. Smith v. Hudson, 600 F.2d 60, 63 (6th Cir. 1979).

Not every factual dispute between the parties will prevent summary judgment. The disputed facts must be material. They must be facts which, under the substantive law governing the issue, might affect the outcome of the suit. The dispute must also be genuine. The facts must be such that if they were proven at trial a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-moving party. The disputed issue does not have to be resolved conclusively in favor of the non-moving party, but that party is required to present some significant probative evidence which makes it necessary to resolve the parties' differing versions of the dispute at trial.

60 Ivy Street Corp. v. Alexander, 822 F.2d at 1435-36 (citations omitted).

Once the moving party presents evidence sufficient to support a motion for summary judgment, the non-moving party is not entitled to a trial merely on the basis of allegations. The non-moving party must present some significant probative evidence to support its position. White v. Turfway Park Racing Association, Inc., 909 F.2d 941, 943-44 (6th Cir. 1990); Gregg v. Allen-Bradley Co., 801 F.2d 859, 861 (6th Cir. 1986). Mere allegations of a cause of action will no longer suffice to get a plaintiff's case to the jury. Cloverdale Equipment Co. v. Simon Aerials, Inc., 869 F.2d 934, 937 (6th Cir. 1989).

Summary judgment should not be disfavored and may be an appropriate avenue for the "just, speedy and inexpensive determination" of an action. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 327 (1986). The moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law "against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial." Id. at 322.

II. Factual Background

Plaintiff, who is legally blind*fn4 , alleges in her complaint as amended*fn5 that she was incarcerated in the Sevier County Jail on December 5, 2006. Defendants Kandi Arwood, Michelle Gunter, Megan Hudson, Krystal Kawalski, and Vandy Morin ("inmate defendants") were also incarcerated in the jail on that date and housed in the same holding cell as plaintiff. Plaintiff alleges that she was assaulted and raped by the inmate defendants when they placed a rag in her mouth, four of the inmate defendants held down each of her limbs, and the fifth inmate defendant groped within her vaginal cavity for approximately fifteen minutes. Plaintiff alleges that during the rape she repeatedly begged for help but no one, including deputies and employees of the Sevier County Sheriff, responded or otherwise intervened on her behalf.*fn6

Plaintiff named as defendants the following: Sevier County, Tennessee; Sevier County, Tennessee, on relation of Sevier County Sheriff Ronald Seals; Sevier County, Tennessee, on relation of unknown Sevier County Sheriff Deputies; Sevier County, Tennessee, on relation of unknown Sevier County Employees; Kandi Arwood; Michelle Gunter; Megan Hudson; Krystal Kawalski; and Vandy Morin. To date, plaintiff has not named or served the unknown deputies or employees.

Sevier County, Tennessee, is sued by plaintiff based on the acts and/or omissions of its Sheriff, unknown deputies, and unknown employees. Plaintiff alleges that the failure to respond was the result of the county's failure to adequately train its deputies and employees in the protection of inmates and that the county did not take reasonable steps to ensure plaintiff's safety. Plaintiff alleges that the rape took place in a cell that was out of plain view of security, was separated from jail employees by sight and sound, and lacked video and/or surveillance equipment.

Plaintiff alleges that, pursuant to official custom, policy, and practices, she was not properly classified within the Sevier County Jail and was unreasonably classified to the same holding cell as the inmate defendants. As a disabled inmate, plaintiff claims she exhibited characteristics which made her particularly susceptible and vulnerable to attack. Plaintiff alleges that there was no sufficient medical evaluation made before placing her in a cell with violent criminal offenders, that Sevier County knew or should have known of her disability, and that Sevier County knew or should have known of her vulnerability to attack by violent inmates.

Plaintiff alleges that Sevier County knew or should have known of the inmate defendants' violent natures based on their criminal histories. Plaintiff also alleges that the Sevier County Jail was significantly overcrowded at the time she was attacked, which resulted in a lack of supervision of inmates, failure to provide adequate security, and failure to employ and follow a proper inmate classification system. Plaintiff alleges that the unreasonable classification created a substantial risk of harm, which Sevier County knew or should have known, and which Sevier County disregarded.

Plaintiff claims that Sevier County's failure to take reasonable steps to ensure her safety caused plaintiff to suffer from cruel and unusual punishment in violation of her constitutional rights. Plaintiff claims that Sevier County was deliberately indifferent to a substantial risk of serious harm to plaintiff, which also violated her constitutional rights. Plaintiff alleges that she has ...


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