United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Cookeville Division
WAVERLY D. CRENSHAW, JR. CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Yoko Sumi Gaeshi is an uncommon, yet effective, takedown move
used in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Stephan Kesting, Top 10
Throws and Takedowns for BJJ, available at
(June 15, 2015). When successfully completed, the thrower
“typically end[s] up in a very strong side control
position, ready to continue your attack and tap [his or her]
opponent out!” Id. While that move may be
appropriate and effective in a Jiu Jitsu competition, it is
rarely appropriate for a prison guard to use while escorting
a prisoner to his cell. White County, Tennessee, Deputy
Sheriff Joseph Thomas used a takedown maneuver similar to the
Yoko Sumi Gaeshi on Shannon Day, causing a bone fracture and
leading to this action brought under 28 U.S.C. § 1983.
Before the Court are Motions for Summary Judgment filed by
Quality Correctional Health Care, Inc. (Doc. No. 20), White
County, and Thomas (collectively Doc. No. 31). Day also filed
a Cross-Motion for Partial Summary Judgment on his excessive
force claim against Thomas. (Doc. No. 37.) For the following
reasons, Defendants' Motions are granted in part and
denied in part, and Day's Motion is denied.
November 7, 2012, Day was arrested and taken to the White
County Jail for violating a protective order. (Doc. No 48 at
1.) At the jail, Day made more than the one phone call
allowed under the jail policies, so Thomas approached Day and
told him three times to get off the phone. (Id. at
2.) When Day refused, Thomas reached around Day and hung up
the phone. (Id. at 3.) Thomas then put his hand on
Day's back, indicating that he wanted Day to walk back to
his cell. (Doc. No. 47-7 at 7.) Thomas claims Day cursed at
him three times, leading Thomas to put his fist in the middle
of Day's back “to control the situation.”
(Id. at 4-5; Doc. No. 48 at 4-5.) When Thomas'
fist was pushing on Day's back, Day started turning in
the direction of the exit door, although the video of the
incident does not depict Day making any effort to escape, at
which point Thomas put both his arms around Day's neck
and performed a takedown maneuver (similar to the Yoko Sumi
Gaeshi), ending in a strong side control position. (Doc. No.
lost consciousness as he hit the ground, and Thomas held him
down until Gregory Matthews, another correctional officer,
came to assist. (Id.; Doc. No. 48 at 6.) Once Thomas
handcuffed Day, the two officers searched Day for contraband,
finding a pen hidden in his pants. (Doc. No. 48 at 6.) The
officers helped Day stand up and escorted him to a different
cell away from the sally port door. (Id. at 7.) Day
testified that he fractured a bone in his shoulder during the
fall (Doc. No. 27-4 at 6), which Quality Correctional Health
Care verifies (Doc. No. 21-1 at 1).
made multiple written requests for medical treatment for his
shoulder by filling out a request form and placing it under
his door. (Doc. No. 47-7 at 9.) Someone, although it is
unclear from the record if the person is a White County or
Quality Correctional Health Care official, is supposed to
sign the form and return it to Day. (Id. at 10.)
This never happened. (Id.) He also made three to
five verbal requests per day to “everybody in command
that [he] could see.” (Doc. No. 27-4 at 3.) The
officers ignored every request, both verbal and written.
(Id. at 4.) The Quality Correctional Health Care
nurse would also visit Day's cell twice per day, and each
time Day would request medical attention for his
“broken shoulder” and each time the nurse told
him to fill out a request. (Id. at 6.)
November 30, 2012, Day was walking down a narrow corridor in
the jail and passed the open door to the area staffed by an
employee of Quality Correctional Health Care. (Id.
at 5; Doc. No. 21 at 1.) While there, he “pleaded to
the” nurse that he needed treatment for his shoulder.
(Doc. No. 27-4 at 5.) The nurse ordered an x-ray examination,
which found that Day fractured his left shoulder. (Doc. No.
21-1.) The nurse never discussed the results with Day. (Doc.
No. 27-4 at 9.) The next day, a different nurse gave Day an
immobilizer sling for his shoulder and a prescription for 800
mg of Motrin twice per day. (Doc. No. 27-2 at 2.)
December 4, 2012, Day was taken to an orthopedic clinic in
Cookeville, Tennessee. (Id. at 2-3.) After that
appointment, the doctor scheduled an MRI on Day's
shoulder for December 13, 2012. (Doc. No. 21-1.) After the
MRI, Carl Hollmann, M.D., prescribed no further treatment.
(Doc. No. 27-2 at 3.) Day was released from the White County
Jail on December 21, 2012. (Id. at 3.)
brings an excessive force claim against Thomas, pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. No. 1 at 10-12.) In response,
Thomas asserted qualified immunity, alleging that he did not
violate any of Day's clearly defined constitutional
rights. (Doc. No. 32.) Day, in turn, moved for summary
judgment on this claim, arguing that no reasonable jury could
find that Thomas acted reasonably. (Doc. No. 38.)
Qualified Immunity Standard
Supreme Court set forth the standard for qualified immunity
In [Saucier v. Katz, 533 U.S. 194, 121 S.Ct. 2151
(2001)], this Court mandated a two-step sequence for
resolving government officials' qualified immunity
claims. First, a court must decide whether the facts that a
plaintiff has alleged (see Fed. Rules Civ. Proc. 12(b)(6),
(c)) or shown (see Rules 50, 56) make out a violation of a
constitutional right. 533 U.S., at 201, 121 S.Ct. 2151.
Second, if the plaintiff has satisfied this first step, the
court must decide whether the right at issue was
“clearly established” at the time of
defendant's alleged misconduct. Ibid. Qualified
immunity is applicable unless the official's conduct
violated a clearly established constitutional right.
Anderson, at 640, 107 S.Ct. 3034.
Pearson, 555 U.S. at 232. In evaluating if a
defendant is entitled to qualified immunity, the Court must
adopt “the plaintiff's version of the facts . . .
unless the plaintiff's version is ‘blatantly
contradicted by the record, so that no reasonable jury could
believe it.” Soudemire v. Mich. Dept. of
Corr., 705 F.3d 560, 565 (6th Cir. 2013) (quoting
Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380 (2007)). The
plaintiff “has the burden to prove that a right is
clearly established.” Everson v. Leis, 556
F.3d 484, 494 (6th Cir. 2009) (citing Barrett v.
Steubenville City Sch., 388 F.3d 967, 970 (6th Cir.
2004)). When, on summary judgment, “the legal question
of immunity is completely dependent on which view of the
disputed facts is ...