United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Columbia Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
WAVERLY D. CRENSHAW, JR. CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
referral to the Magistrate Judge is
WITHDRAWN. For the reasons set out below,
Cherry Lindamood's and Hank B. Inman's Motion for
Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 31) is GRANTED.
All other pending motions (Doc. Nos. 55, 58) are
DENIED AS MOOT.
Statement of the Case
Factual History 
Taylor is currently incarcerated at the Northeast
Correctional Complex. (Doc. No. 60.) During the times
relevant to this action, Taylor was an inmate at the South
Central Correctional Facility (SCCF). (Doc. No. 50, PageID#
314-15, ¶ 1.) Lindamood was SCCF's Warden, and Inman
was SCCF's Security Threat Group Coordinator.
(Id., ¶¶ 2-3.)
claims arise out of two physical altercations that took place
among members of the Vice Lords, including Taylor, on
February 18, 2016, and March 7, 2016. (Id. at PageID#
315, ¶ 4, 321, ¶ 47; Doc. No. 62, PageID# 454,
¶ 17.) The February 18 altercation took place in the
SCCF Apollo Pod and began “suddenly and without
warning.” (Doc. No. 50, PageID# 317, ¶ 23.) Taylor
was charged with disciplinary infractions for fighting,
possessing a deadly weapon, and security threat group
activity, to which he pleaded guilty. (Id. at
PageID# 318-20, ¶¶ 26, 27, 31, 32, 36, 37.) Taylor
was then placed in punitive segregation. (Id. at
PageID# 318, ¶ 30.) Taylor states that there was a
nationwide feud going on between the two Vice Lord factions
and that he had told Inman that there “would be a
war” if he were placed back into population with the
same inmates. (Id. at PageID# 329, ¶¶ 97,
98.) Taylor did not ask to be put in protective custody after
the altercation, although Taylor states that Inman
“knew what was going on as the issue was
widespread.” (Id. at PageID# 320, ¶¶
was released from punitive segregation on March 7, 2016.
(Id. at PageID# 321, ¶ 46.) Later that day, ten
inmates, including Taylor, were involved in a physical
altercation in the SCCF dining hall. (Id., ¶
47.) Taylor states that he was “ambushed and stabbed .
. . [while] only trying to protect himself.”
(Id. at PageID# 322, ¶ 49.) Taylor was again
charged with disciplinary infractions for fighting,
possessing a deadly weapon, and security threat group
activity, to which he again pleaded guilty. (Id. at
PageID# 326-28, ¶¶ 79, 80, 84, 85, 89, 90.) Taylor
states that Defendants knew of the risk to his safety and
were deliberately indifferent to it. (Id. at PageID#
329-30, ¶¶ 96, 97, 106.) Defendants state that they
did not have any reason to know that the March 7, 2016
altercation would occur. (Id. at PageID# 329-30,
follows Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) policy with
respect to inmate grievances. (Id. at PageID#
331-32, ¶ 113.) Upon arrival at SCCF, each inmate
receives an inmate handbook with the grievance procedure,
which permits “inmates to submit a written
complaint/grievance concerning the substance or application
of a written or unwritten policy or practice, any single
behavior or action toward an inmate by staff or other
inmates, or any condition or incident within SCCF, which
personally affects the inmates.” (Id.
¶¶ 113-14.) This policy requires an inmate to
submit a grievance within “seven calendar days of the
occurrence giving rise to the grievance.” (Id.
at PageID# 332, ¶ 115.) A grievance may be returned as
“inappropriate” if the grievance relates to
institutional placement, classification, or security threat
group placement, and an inmate may appeal the grievance's
designation as inappropriate or refile an
“appropriate” grievance. (Id.
maintains records of all properly filed inmate grievances
through the Tennessee Offender Management Information System
(TOMIS). (Id. at PageID# 333, ¶ 120.) TOMIS
records show that Taylor filed one grievance that was
received on April 6, 2016, and no other grievances concerning
the facts alleged in his complaint while incarcerated at
SCCF. (Id. at PageID# 333-34, ¶¶ 122-23.)
The April 6 grievance was deemed inappropriate because it was
untimely and involved a disciplinary matter. (Id. at
PageID# 334, ¶¶ 126-27.) Taylor agrees that his
“last grievance” was deemed untimely but states
that “the first 2 [were] never answered.”
(Id., ¶ 126.) In apparent conflict with that
statement, Taylor also states it is “undisputed”
that he filed no grievances other than the April 6 grievance
concerning these incidents. (Id., ¶ 128.)
filed this action on June 20, 2016, under 42 U.S.C. §
1983, alleging violations of his Eighth Amendment rights
arising out of the February and March altercations. (Doc. No.
1.) On November 17, 2016, Lindamood and Inman filed a motion
for summary judgment (Doc. No. 31), accompanied by a
supporting memorandum of law (Doc. No. 32) and statement of
undisputed material facts (Doc. No. 33), as well as
declarations from Lindamood (Doc. No. 35), Inman (Doc. No.
36), and Leigh Staggs, SCCF's Grievance Chairperson (Doc.
No. 34). Taylor has filed a response in opposition (Doc. No.
50) to which Defendants filed a reply (Doc. No. 51).
filed a motion for summary judgment on February 2, 2017 (Doc.
No. 58), accompanied by a memorandum of law (Doc. No. 59),
statement of undisputed material facts (id. at
PageID# 377-85), and declarations from inmate Christopher
Taylor (id. at PageID# 386-87) and Taylor
(id. at PageID# 388-92). Defendants have responded
in opposition. (Doc. Nos. 61, 62.)
Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a) provides that summary judgment
shall be granted if “the movant shows that there is no
genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(a). To prevail, the moving party must prove the absence of
a genuine issue of material fact as to any essential element
of the opposing party's claim. See Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett,477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986); Stiles ex rel.
D.S. v. Grainger Cty., Tenn., 819 F.3d 834, 847 (6th
Cir. 2016). In determining whether the moving party has met
its burden, a court must view the factual evidence and draw
all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the
nonmoving party. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v.
Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986);
Stiles, 819 F.3d at 848. A court must not weigh the
evidence and determine the truth of the matters asserted ...