United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
BRIAN KIZER, BRYAN MAIDLOW, RONALD WAYNE GREER, JR.
ROBERTSON COUNTY, TENNESSEE, et al.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
BARBARA D. HOLMES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Honorable Waverly D. Crenshaw, Jr., Chief District Judge
Order entered September 11, 2017 (Docket Entry No. 31), the
Court referred this prisoner civil rights action to the
Magistrate Judge for pretrial proceedings under 28 U.S.C.
§§ 636(b)(1)(A) and (B), Rule 72(b) of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure, and the Local Rules of Court.
pending is the motion for summary judgment (Docket Entry No.
35) filed by Defendants Bill Holt, Tony Crawford, and
Robertson County, Tennessee. Plaintiff Bryan Kizer has filed
a response in opposition to the motion. See Docket
Entry No. 41. For the reasons set forth below, the
undersigned Magistrate Judge respectfully recommends that the
motion be granted and that this action be dismissed.
lawsuit was filed on April 13, 2017, by Brian Kizer
(“Kizer”), Bryan Maidlow (“Maidlow”),
and Ronald Wayne Greer (“Greer”) (hereinafter
referred to collectively as “Plaintiffs”),
seeking injunctive and monetary relief under 42 U.S.C. §
1983. Plaintiffs are inmates of the Tennessee Department of
Correction (“TDOC”) who were being held at the
Robertson County Detention Center (“RCDC”)
pursuant to a contract with the TDOC at the time the lawsuit
was filed. In a pro se and in forma
pauperis complaint, Plaintiffs complained about a
variety of conditions of confinement at the RCDC, which they
assert are more harsh and oppressive than the conditions of
confinement for TDOC inmates who are confined at state penal
initial review of the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A, the Court noted that
Plaintiffs Kizer and Maidlow were no longer confined at the
RCDC and found that their claims for injunctive relief were
moot. See Memorandum (Docket Entry No.
30) at 11. The Court further dismissed all of Plaintiffs'
claims except for two claims against Robertson County,
Tennessee (“Robertson County”), Robertson County
Sheriff Bill Holt (“Holt”), and RCDC
Administrator Tony Crawford (“Crawford”)
(hereinafter referred to collectively as
“Defendants”). Id. at 3-7. The two
surviving claims are: (1) an Eighth Amendment claim based on
allegations that inmates at the RCDC are kept “locked
inside with no chance for direct sunshine [Vitamin D],
fresh-air nor any exercise equipment for
years” and that this lack of outdoor recreation
time causes inmates to experience mental health issues, such
as violent outbursts and suicide attempts; and, (2) a First
Amendment claim based on allegations that inmates at the RCDC
are not permitted to attend any out of cell group religious
services. Id. at 7-11. Defendants Holt and Crawford
are named in both their individual and official capacities.
MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
of answers, Defendants filed the pending motion for summary
judgment. Relying upon the Declaration of Defendant Crawford
(Docket Entry No. 36-1), Defendants argue that the undisputed
facts show that no violations of Plaintiffs' First or
Eighth Amendment rights occurred at the RCDC and that, at a
minimum, Defendants Holt and Crawford are entitled to
qualified immunity from any claim for damages. Defendants
further contend that there is no evidence supporting a claim
of municipal liability against Defendant Robertson County.
respect to the First Amendment claim, Defendants assert that
a Religious Practices Plan has been in place at the RCDC
since 2012, which provides inmates with the opportunity to
engage in religious activity through: (1) small group inmate
meetings; (2) requests to see a minister or chaplain from a
volunteer minister list; (3) visits with volunteer ministers
who typically visit the RCDC daily; and (4) access to Bibles
and holy books that are available to inmates upon request.
See Memorandum in Support of Summary Judgment
(Docket Entry No. 36) at 8. Defendants contend that the
Religious Practices Plan provides a constitutionally
reasonable means for inmates at the RCDC to exercise their
religious beliefs. Id. at 9.
respect to the Eighth Amendment claim, Defendants assert that
all inmates are permitted at least one hour a day outside of
their cells and that inmates who are not in restricted
housing are allowed up to 14 hours outside their cell with
access to either a day room/recreation area or a dormitory
area, which are both designed to allow natural sunlight to
enter the areas. Defendants further assert that the RCDC has
two outdoor recreation areas that are used by inmates on a
rotating basis as weather and staffing levels permit.
Defendants note the specific times when Plaintiffs both
accepted and refused outdoor recreation opportunities and
further contend that: (1) none of the Plaintiffs sought
medical treatment for any physical or mental illness, injury,
or condition that they claimed was the result of being denied
access to sunlight or outdoor exercise; and, (2) only
Plaintiff Kizer submitted a grievance about a lack of outdoor
recreation, a grievance which was itself not filed until
April 2017. Defendants argue that there is no evidence
showing that Plaintiffs suffered the type of serious total or
near-total deprivation of exercise or recreation
opportunities that is necessary to satisfy the objective
component of an Eighth Amendment claim. They further argue
that there is no evidence showing that Defendants acted with
the type of deliberate indifference necessary to show an
Eighth Amendment claim and that any limitation on outdoor
recreation opportunities for inmates at the RCDC is related
to the realities of time constraints and management decisions
at the RCDC, not to culpable indifference on the part of
Defendants Holt and Crawford or a policy of Robertson County
to deny inmates outdoor recreation opportunities.
Order entered November 28, 2017, the Court advised Plaintiffs
of the need to individually respond to the motion for summary
judgment and gave them a deadline of January 12, 2018, to
file their responses. See Docket Entry No. 38.
Plaintiffs Maidlow and Greer have not responded in any manner
to the motion for summary judgment.
Kizer has responded with a 2 page response in opposition in
which he contends that: (1) Defendants Crawford and Holt knew
that Kizer had developed high blood pressure while at the
RCDC and that the lack of exercise opportunities at the RCDC
contributed to this medical problem; (2) Defendant Crawford
was aware that “the chaplain hardly ever visited the
pods Plaintiff Kizer was housed in;” and, (3) Defendant
Crawford failed to answer or return “at least a
dozen” grievances Kizer filled out regarding
“outdoor recreation/meaningful outdoor exercise”
and the lack of “religious council and services.”
See Response (Docket Entry No. 41). Kizer attaches
to his response copies of: (1) a letter he sent to Defendant
Crawford, dated April 8, 2017, about the lack of
rehabilitation and outdoor recreation opportunities at the
RCDC; (2) a letter he sent Defendant Holt, Dated April 9,
2017, complaining about several conditions of confinement at
the RCDC; and (3) four grievances he filed on April 13, 16,
18, and 30, 2017, respectively, complaining about his high
blood pressure and a lack of outdoor recreation
opportunities, sunlight inside the RCDC, and regular
religious services at the RCDC. Id. at 3-9.