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Kirk v. Correction Corporation of America

United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Columbia Division

December 13, 2016

JASON KIRK Plaintiff,

          William J. Haynes, Jr., Senior District Judge


          Joe B. Brown United States Magistrate Judge

         Pursuant to Rule 72(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and 28 U.S.C. §§ 636(b)(1)(A) and (B), this action was referred to the undersigned for consideration of all pretrial matters, including any dispositive motions filed by the parties. Docket Entry No. 6.

         I. Pending Motions

         Presently pending before the Court are plaintiff's Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and/or Preliminary Injunction (Docket Entry No. 3); plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File an Amended Complaint (Docket Entry Nos. 49 and 68); defendants' Motions to Strike the Amended Complaint (Docket Entry Nos. 51 and 59); defendants' Motions to Dismiss (Docket Entry Nos. 52, 56 and 77); defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (Docket Entry No. 60); and plaintiff's Motions for an evidentiary hearing “to resolve the factual basis for his opposition to defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment” (Docket Entry Nos. 103 and 111).

         II. Background

         The plaintiff, proceeding pro se, is an inmate at the South Central Correctional Center (SCCC) in Clifton, Tennessee. He brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against twenty two (22) defendants. These defendants include the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), its President, Damon Hininger, and Jason Medlin, Regional Director for CCA (the “CCA defendants”); Derrick Schofield, former Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC), Tony Parker, current Commissioner of TDOC, Jason Woodall, Deputy Commissioner of TDOC, Bryant Williams, a former contract monitor for TDOC, Cole Turner, currently serving as a contract monitor for TDOC, and Joel Foster, a liaison for TDOC (the “TDOC defendants”); and Cherry Lindamood, Warden of SCCC, with twelve members of her staff (West, Bryant, Buttram, Harrison, Dodd, McClain, H. Inman, K. Inman, Ward, Deathrage, Jackson and Harville)(the “SCCC defendants”).[1]

         On October 2, 2015, the plaintiff arrived at SCCC. Since his arrival, plaintiff alleges that he “has been continually subject to physical assaults and abuse from other inmates.” Docket Entry No. 1 at pg. 10. He attributes this to overcrowding and a culture in which the defendants have allowed inmate gangs to take control of whole housing units at the prison.

         The plaintiff believes that, in an effort to save money, the defendants have failed to maintain adequate staffing levels and properly train their personnel. He also complains that the defendants have implemented and enforced de facto policies which have created dangerous and uncontrolled conditions of confinement, that he has been forced to walk with his hands behind his back, that he has been forced “to choose between starving or remaining in the housing unit day room, for literally hours at a time”, and that he has been forced to stand at attention for “inordinately long periods of time while being denied permission to use the bathroom”.

         III. Amendment of the Complaint

         The original complaint is 157 pages in length. It is often difficult to follow and lacks the cohesiveness that a short and concise statement of the claims would provide. For that reason, the plaintiff was invited by the Court to amend his complaint with a “succinct summary” of what each of the defendants is alleged to have done. Docket Entry No. 43 at pgs. 2-3.

         In response, the plaintiff has filed two motions (Docket Entry Nos. 49 and 68) to amend, one of which includes a proposed amended complaint. The plaintiff's proposed amended complaint is but 31 pages in length. The defendants have submitted motions (Docket Entry Nos. 51 and 59) to strike the amended complaint.

         The plaintiff may amend his complaint “only with the opposing party's written consent or the court's leave. The court should freely give leave when justice so requires.” Rule 15(a)(2), Fed.R.Civ.P. In this regard, justice is better served with a more concise complaint before the Court. Thus, in light of the circumstances, it would be more appropriate to strike the defendants' motions in opposition and allow the plaintiff to amend his complaint.

         IV. Defendants Not Yet Served

         Four of the defendants, i.e., Bryant Williams (Docket Entry No. 11), Kathy Inman (Docket Entry Nos. 23 and 70), Joel Foster (Docket Entry No. 69) and Cole Turner (Docket ...

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