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Butler v. Rios

United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma

November 30, 2017

BILLY BUTLER, Plaintiff,
HECTOR RIOS, et al., Defendants.



         Plaintiff, a state prisoner who appears pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. United States District Judge Friot referred the matter to the undersigned Magistrate Judge for initial proceedings consistent with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B).

         I. Background and Complaint

         In his Complaint, Plaintiff states that he is confined at the Lawton Correctional Facility (“LCF”), a private prison in Lawton, Oklahoma. LCF contracts with the Oklahoma Department of Corrections (“ODOC”) to house Oklahoma inmates. Plaintiff is serving six, 26-year concurrent sentences for four armed robbery convictions, a conviction for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and a conviction for being a felon in possession of a firearm.

         Plaintiff is confined in a maximum security unit at LCF. In a Facility Assignment Form completed at Joseph Harp Correctional Center (“JHCC”) in December 2015 by Plaintiff's JHCC Facility Classification Committee (“FCC”) members, the committee members recommended Plaintiff for transfer to a maximum security facility because he had “vowed that to earn his ‘patch' with the Irish Mob (STG) he will carry out an attack on anyone he is ordered to. On 12/6/15 he attacked an ex-[United Aryan Brotherhood] offender at JHCC and had possession of a homemade knife during the attack. Information was received that this was due to an order from Irish Mob. His continued presence in general population is a security risk for staff and other offenders.” Defendants' Motion to Dismiss or in the Alternative Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. # 27), Ex. 2. The form indicates that the committee members' request was received by ODOC's Classification & Population office on December 10, 2015, and that on December 11, 2015, ODOC's Population Officer assigned Plaintiff to LCF's maximum security unit. The form also indicates Plaintiff was transferred to LCF on January 7, 2016.

         In his claim for relief under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, Plaintiff alleges that he was subjected to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of his Eighth Amendment rights when

Defendants Gordon and Clark conspired and became complicit with Aryan Brotherhood's [sic] and deliberately and intentionally opened the door of these known prison gang members to have Plaintiff killed. Defendants Gordon and Clark are both Aryan sympathizers. This attack happen[ed] due to Plaintiff had previously had an argument with defendant Gordon. Due to her discriminating against Plaintiff, Plaintiff was told by Defendant Gordon you will learn to watch your mouth. This conversation took place on the intercom in Plaintiff's cell. Plaintiff did not know defendant Gordon was listening in on a conversation between Plaintiff and his cellmate. Defendant Gordon opened the door of the Aryan inmates and allowed them to stick a ‘Rig' in there [sic] door. The Aryan inmates placed the rig in the door and waited for Plaintiff to be shackled at the feet and handcuffed behind his back. When Plaintiff walked by, the Aryan inmates came out of there [sic] cell and started stabbing Plaintiff repeatedly, all over Plaintiff's body. . . . Sevral [sic] African American inmates had warned Plaintiff to be careful, due to Gordon will ‘pop' doors for the Aryans. Therefore Plaintiff asked the guards before he ever exited the cell, “Y'all not going to set me up are you?” This is maximum security. The doors must be opened from the control room. The inmates can't open their doors from the inside. As of this date, the Aryan's [sic] are still bragging about severly [sic] wounding me. Each time Gordon enters the pod the Aryans all solute [sic] her. Due to the actions of defendant Gordon, Plaintiff was savagely attacked. Plaintiff now suffers from schizophrenia and P.T.S.D. along with pain in his back and neck.

Complaint (Doc. # 1), at 6-7. Later in the Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that “defendant Clark along with defendant Gordon wanted Plaintiff hurt. The control panel clearly showed the Aryan inmates door was opened prior to them coming out” of their cell. Complaint, at 10. “Defendant Clark knew their door was ajar [and] watched Plaintiff [be] stabbed repeatedly within an inch of his life. Defendant Clark deliberately and intentionally set Plaintiff up to be attacked.” Complaint, at 10.

         In this claim, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Rios “knew of the danger I would face” and “knew or reasonably should have known that when he opened/created a unit to get more funds from the state of Oklahoma that [sic] if he placed rival gang members on the same pod right next door to each other with corrupt staff such as Gordon and Clark an attack would be imminent.” Complaint (Doc. #1), at 6, 9. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Dawson “was the defendant [sic] over the unit where the altercation occurred” and Defendant Dawson “had been warned prior to the assault by African American inmates concerning Gordon and that potential danger loomed and was evident and abundantly clear an attack was going to occur.” Id.

         Plaintiff presents repetitive allegations concerning Defendants Rios, Dawson, Gordon, and Clark in Claim II of the Complaint, but he has not clearly stated any additional claims for relief against a named Defendant. Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages against Defendants in their individual capacities.

         Defendants Rios, Dawson, Gordon, and Clark have filed under seal a Motion to Dismiss or in the Alternative Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. # 27). Although Plaintiff was notified by Order entered October 20, 2017 (Doc. # 28) of his obligations in responding to Defendants' Motion and given until November 13, 2017, to file his responsive pleading, to this date Plaintiff has not responded to the Motion. In their Motion, Defendants rely on evidentiary documents beyond the pleadings to support their request for judgment in their favor. Accordingly, Defendants' Motion will be considered solely as a motion seeking summary judgment under Fed.R.Civ.P. 56.

         II. Standard of Review - Motion for Summary Judgment

         Summary judgment may be granted when there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). In considering a motion for summary judgment, the court reviews the evidence and inferences drawn from the record in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Burke v. Utah Transit Auth. & Local, 462 F.3d 1253, 1258 (10th Cir. 2006). A dispute is “genuine” if a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). “Material facts” are “facts which might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law.” Id. “At the summary judgment stage, a complainant cannot rest on mere allegations, but must set forth by affidavit or other evidence specific facts, which for purposes of the summary judgment motion will be taken to be true.” Burke, 462 F.3d at 1258 (internal quotation marks and citations omitted). “Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party, there is no genuine issue for trial.” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986)(quotations omitted).

         III. Material, ...

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