United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Columbia Division
WAVERLY D.CRENSHAW UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
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 the Corrections Corporation of America; Cherry
Lindamood, Warden at SCCC; and six members of the
Warden's staff; seeking injunctive relief and damages.
March 16, 2016, two unknown assailants attacked the Plaintiff
in the laundry room of his housing unit at SCCC. He was
stabbed four times in the back and chest. When the assailants
fled, the Plaintiff was able to get to his feet and call for
John Doe, who was on duty in the housing unit, immediately
called to report the attack and get medical help for the
Plaintiff. When no medical help was forthcoming, the
Plaintiff walked about fifty yards to the infirmary. The
Plaintiff was taken by helicopter to Vanderbilt University
Hospital where he was rushed into surgery.
days after the attack, the Plaintiff was returned to SCCC. He
completed his recovery in a medical ward at the prison.
Following his recovery, the Plaintiff was placed in a
segregation unit under protective custody where he has
remained for a year.
before the attack, the Plaintiff was involved in a fight with
another inmate. The pair spent a week in punitive segregation
and were then released back into the general prison
population. The Plaintiff believes that it was this inmate
who was responsible in some way for the assault upon him.
Plaintiff's claims are as follows: (1) that Officer John
Doe was negligent in his duty to protect the Plaintiff
because, at the time of the attack, “he was engaged in
conversation with other inmates” and was
“clueless and oblivious to the attack”; (2) that
Ronnie White and Ms. Harris, as Managers of his housing unit,
failed to properly supervise their staff; (3) that Nurse Jane
Doe should have responded to his need for medical care while
he was still in his housing unit; (4) that the disciplinary
hearing officers, DHO Gena Gonzales and DHO Peaveyhouse,
knowingly exposed the Plaintiff to danger by releasing him
into the general prison population with the inmate that he
had fought with him earlier; and (5) that he had been exposed
to the highly restrictive conditions of protective custody
without the benefit of due process.
establish a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the Plaintiff
must plead and prove that the defendants, while acting under
color of state law, deprived him of some right or privilege
secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States.
Parratt v. Taylor, 451 U.S. 527, 535 (1981).
defendants have a constitutional duty to protect the
Plaintiff from the harmful conduct of fellow inmates.
Ingraham v. Wright, 430 U.S. 651 (1987)(Fourteenth
Amendment); Stewart v. Love, 696 F.2d 43, 44 (6th
Cir.1982)(Eighth Amendment). Thus, a constitutional violation
occurs when a prison official has been deliberately
indifferent to the Plaintiff's risk of injury. McGhee
v. Foltz, 852 F.2d 876, 880-881 (6th Cir.1988).
case, there are no allegations suggesting that Officer John
Doe was deliberately indifferent to the Plaintiff's
safety. At best, the Plaintiff merely claims that this
defendant was negligent in his duties. A claim of negligence,
however, does not rise to the level of a constitutional
violation. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104-105
(1976). This is true with respect to negligence claims
arising under both the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments.
Whitley v. Albers, 475 U.S. 312, 319 (1986)(Eighth
Amendment); Daniels v. Williams, 474 U.S. 327, 333
(1986)(Fourteenth Amendment). Therefore, even though Officer
John Doe may have been negligent in some way, his failure to
provide the Plaintiff with absolute safety from other
combative prisoners does not state a constitutional
Plaintiff also brings this action against the Corrections
Corporation of America, Warden Lindamood, Ronnie White and
Ms. Harris, for their failure as employers or supervisors, to
properly monitor staff.
plaintiff can not sue these defendants solely because of
their status as supervisors or employers. 42 U.S.C. §
1983 will not support a claim posed on a respondeat superior
theory of liability. Polk County v. Dodson, 454 U.S.
312, 325 (1981). Where there is no allegation of
participation, either directly or indirectly, by a supervisor
in an allegedly wrongful act, the Complaint fails to state a
cause of action upon which relief can be granted. See
Dunn v. Tennessee, 697 F.2d 121, 128 (6th Cir.1982),
cert. denied, 460 U.S. 1086 (1983).
instance, there has been no showing that the defendants
participated, either directly or indirectly, in the attack
upon the Plaintiff, his subsequent medical care, the decision
to keep him in protective custody, or the decision to release
an incompatible inmate out into the general prison population
with the Plaintiff. Personal liability “must be based
on the actions of that defendant in the situation that the
defendant faced, and not based on any problems caused by the
errors of others.” Gibson v. Matthews, 926
F.2d 532, 535 (6th Cir.1991). As a consequence,
the Plaintiff has failed to state an actionable claim against
Plaintiff believes that the disciplinary hearing officers,
Gena Gonzales and Officer Peaveyhouse, knowingly placed his
life in jeopardy by allowing an incompatible inmate to be
released with him into the general prison population. First,
there are no plausible facts alleged that the incompatible
inmate was the individual who orchestrated the assault upon
the Plaintiff. His unconfirmed belief is inadequate. Second,
the Plaintiff is assuming that these defendants were
responsible for classifying the incompatible inmate and
assigning him to a particular housing unit, which is
speculative at best. Finally, the Plaintiff admits that the
incompatible inmate was assigned to another housing unit ...