United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
Crenshaw Chief Judge.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
ALISTAIR E. NEWBERN United States Magistrate Judge.
District Court referred this Section 1983 action to the
undersigned magistrate judge under 28 U.S.C. § 636 for
pre-trial case management and to issue a Report and
Recommendation on all dispositive motions. (Doc. No. 4.)
Pending before the Court is the unopposed motion for summary
judgment of Defendants Deputy Brian Halley, Mayor Bill Rial,
Sheriff Jeff Bledsoe, Chief Jerone Holt, and Rondia Felts
(Doc. No. 36). The undersigned RECOMMENDS that the Motion for
Summary Judgment be GRANTED.
January 30, 2016, at approximately 12:14 pm, Deputy Brian
Halley and Deputy Richard Brush were overseeing the
distribution of lunch trays to inmates at the Dickson County
Jail. (Doc. No. 38, PageID# 149; Doc. No. 39-2, PageID# 234,
¶ 2; Doc. No. 39-3, PageID# 244, ¶ 2.) Jail inmates
are issued two uniform orange shirts upon admission to the
facility, and jail policy requires that they wear one of
these shirts in order to receive a lunch tray. (Doc. No. 38,
PageID# 149; Doc. No. 39-1, PageID# 162, ¶¶ 10-11;
Doc. No. 39-2, PageID# 234, ¶ 3; Doc. No. 39-3, PageID#
244, ¶ 3.) When Plaintiff Kenneth Boyd entered the area
where trays were being distributed at approximately 12:15 pm,
he was not wearing his uniform orange shirt. (Doc. No. 38,
PageID# 149; Doc. No. 39-2, PageID# 234, ¶ 3; Doc. No.
39-3, PageID# 244, ¶ 3.) When Halley saw that Boyd was
not wearing the required shirt, he told Boyd to put it on.
(Doc. No. 38, PageID# 150; Doc. No. 39-2, PageID# 234, ¶
4; Doc. No. 39-3, PageID# 245, ¶ 4.) Boyd refused,
claiming that Halley had taken his orange shirt while Boyd
was sleeping. (Doc. No. 38, PageID# 150; Doc. No. 39-2,
PageID# 235, ¶ 5.) Halley told Boyd that he had received
two orange shirts when he was admitted to the jail, and
Halley again told Boyd to put on his orange uniform shirt, or
he would not receive a lunch tray. (Doc. No. 38, PageID# 150;
Doc. No. 39-2, PageID# 235, ¶ 8.) Boyd refused. (Doc.
No. 39-3, PageID# 244, ¶ 4.)
asked the inmates operating the food cart to give him a tray;
they refused to do so. (Doc. No. 38, PageID# 151; Doc. No.
39-2, PageID# 235, ¶ 9.) He then took a tray from the
cart without Halley's authorization. (Doc. No. 38,
PageID# 151; Doc. No. 39-2, PageID# 235, ¶ 10; Doc. No.
39-3, PageID# 245, ¶ 5.) Halley immediately told Boyd to
put the tray down, but Boyd did not. (Doc. No. 38, PageID#
151; Doc. No. 39-2, PageID# 235, ¶ 11; Doc. No. 39-3,
PageID# 245, ¶ 5.) Halley grabbed the tray and attempted
to remove it from Boyd's hands, without touching Boyd,
but Boyd did not let go of the tray. (Doc. No. 38, PageID#
151; Doc. No. 39-2, PageID# 235, ¶ 12; Doc. No. 39-3,
PageID# 245, ¶ 5.) Halley was eventually able to remove
the tray from Boyd's grasp and instructed Boyd to place
his hands behind his back, which Boyd did not do. (Doc. No.
38, PageID# 152; Doc. No. 39-2, PageID# 235-36, ¶¶
13, 15; Doc. No. 39-3, PageID# 245, ¶ 6.) Halley took
control of Boyd's wrists, placed them behind his back,
and handcuffed him for transport to the booking area of the
jail. (Doc. No. 39-2, PageID# 236, ¶¶16-18.)
the walk from the lunch area to booking, Boyd threatened
Halley and struggled to pull away from him. (Doc. No. 38,
PageID# 153; Doc. No. 39-2, PageID# 236, ¶¶ 20-22;
Doc. No. 39-3, PageID# 245, ¶ 10.) Boyd's handcuffs
apparently tightened as a result of Boyd's struggling
against them, and he complained to Halley that they were too
tight, demanding that they be removed. (Doc. No. 38, PageID#
154; Doc. No. 39-2, PageID# 236, ¶¶ 23-24.) Halley
refused this request until Boyd was placed into a cell in the
booking area, whereupon Halley removed Boyd's handcuffs.
(Id. at PageID# 236-37, ¶¶ 24-25.) Boyd
only wore the handcuffs for the short walk to the booking
area. (Id. at PageID# 237, ¶ 26.) Once Halley
removed the handcuffs, indentation marks were visible on
Boyd's wrists, but there was no indication of cuts,
blood, or other “trauma.” (Doc. No. 38, PageID#
155; Doc. No. 39-2, PageID# 237, ¶ 27.)
complaint, Boyd describes the incident somewhat differently.
He states that he got in line for chow call not wearing his
orange shirt because Halley had taken it while he was
sleeping. (Doc. No. 1, PageID# 5.) He states that he told
Halley that he had a right to be fed and picked up a lunch
tray. (Id. at PageID# 6.) He states that he then put
the tray down pursuant to Halley's order to do so.
(Id. at PageID# 6-7.) Boyd states that then Halley
grabbed Boyd's wrist “with brute force, ”
handcuffed him too tightly, “jerk[ed]” his arm,
and “kept twisting” his left arm while escorting
him to the booking office. (Id.) Boyd states that
this caused his wrist to bleed and that the jail provided him
with an icepack for his injuries. (Id.)
March 31, 2016, Boyd, proceeding pro se and in forma
pauperis, filed this action bringing claims under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 based on the lunchtime incident with Halley at
the Dickson County Jail. (Doc. No. 1, PageID# 5.) Upon
initial review pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act,
28 U.S.C. § 1915 et seq., the District Court
found that Boyd had stated a colorable Fourteenth Amendment
excessive force claim against Halley. (Doc. No. 4, PageID#
24.) On April 22, 2016, Boyd sent a letter to the Court
stating that he “would like to add the defendants . . .
Bill Rial, Jeff Bledsoe, Jerome Holts, Rhonda Felts[,
]” whom he identified as the people “who Deputy
Halley work[s] for.” (Doc. No. 9, PageID# 32.) The
Clerk's Office docketed this letter as an amended
complaint and issued summonses for Rial, Bledsoe, Halley,
Felts, and Holt, all of which were returned executed. (Doc.
Nos. 9, 12-17.)
December 9, 2016, Defendants Bledsoe, Felts, Halley, Holts,
and Rial filed a motion for summary judgment (Doc. No. 36)
accompanied by a supporting memorandum of law (Doc. No. 37)
and statement of undisputed material facts (Doc. No. 38), as
well as the affidavits of Felts (Doc. No. 39-1), Halley (Doc.
No. 39-2), and Brush (Doc. No. 39-3). Defendants argue that
summary judgment is appropriate because Halley's conduct
does not rise to the level of a constitutional violation and,
even if it did, he is entitled to qualified immunity because
his actions were not objectively unreasonable. (Doc. No. 37,
PageID# 136-37, 139.) With respect to Boyd's claims
against Halley's supervisors, Defendants argue that Boyd
has failed to provide evidence to support a claim of
supervisory liability. (Id. at PageID# 141.)
has not responded to Defendants' Motion or Statement of
Undisputed Material Facts, nor has he filed his own ...