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Fairley v. McGee

United States District Court, Fifth Circuit

October 9, 2013

BILLY MCGEE, et al., Defendants.


MICHAEL T. PARKER, Magistrate Judge.

This matter is before the Court on the Motion for Summary Judgment [32] filed by Defendants Billy McGee, Ron Taylor, and Ruby Bunkhelia. Having considered the motion, applicable law, and case record, the Court finds that Defendants' Motion [32] should be granted.


Plaintiff Stevenson Latroy Fairley, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed his Complaint [1] pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 in this Court on March 20, 2012. The allegations in Plaintiff's Complaint occurred while he was being held at the Forrest County Jail for a probation violation. Plaintiff is no longer incarcerated and currently resides in Gautier, Mississippi.

Plaintiff brought this action against: Sheriff Billy McGee, Lieutenant Ron Taylor, Nurse Ruby Bunkhelia, Dr. Calvin Washington, and Police Chief Charles Bolton. Plaintiff voluntarily dismissed Dr. Calvin Washington, and the Court dismissed Police Chief Charles Bolton as a defendant following the Omnibus Hearing. (Order [14]; Omnibus Order [25] at 3.)

Through his Complaint and as clarified by his testimony at the Spears [1] hearing, Plaintiff alleges that the remaining Defendants failed to protect him from harm at the hands of a fellow inmate in violation of his constitutional rights. Specifically, Plaintiff claims that on August 18, 2011, while he was returning to the Forrest County Jail from a court appearance, another inmate, David Cooper, assaulted him. Inmate Cooper allegedly beat Plaintiff in the back with hand cuffs after Plaintiff existed the elevator onto the third floor of the jail. (Omnibus Order at 2.)

Plaintiff alleges that, before the assault, he informed Defendant Taylor that he had been in protective custody while housed in Jackson County and was supposed to remain in protective custody while at the Forrest County Jail. Plaintiff also allegedly informed Defendant Taylor that an inmate would be waiting to attack him once he existed the elevator. According to Plaintiff, Defendant Taylor was aware of the danger, failed to protect him, and conspired to cover up the assault. (Omnibus Order at 2.)

Inmate Cooper allegedly attacked Plaintiff in 2008, during one of Plaintiff's prior detentions at the Forrest County Jail. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant McGee was aware of the 2008 attack but failed to prevent the August 18, 2011, attack. After the August 18, 2011, attack, Plaintiff allegedly wrote a grievance to Defendant McGee, but Defendant McGee failed to take action to protect Plaintiff. (Omnibus Order at 2-3).

Plaintiff claims he was attacked again on August 24, 2011. While Plaintiff was attempting to seek medical treatment, Defendant Bunkhelia allegedly forced him into a holding cell with Inmate Cooper and other dangerous inmates despite Plaintiff's warning that his life would be in danger. Plaintiff alleges his shoulder was dislocated as a result of the attack. Plaintiff claims that these attacks resulted, in part, because of Defendants failure to protect him. (Omnibus Order at 3.)

Plaintiff brings this action against Defendants in their individual capacities. He seeks monetary damages for the alleged violations of his constitutional rights. In their Motion for Summary Judgment, Defendants claim that Plaintiff has not made a valid claim for failure to protect and qualified immunity bars the claims against them.


Summary Judgment Standard

This Court may grant summary judgment only if, viewing the facts in a light most favorable to Plaintiff, movants demonstrate that there is no genuine issue of material fact and they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Woods v. Smith, 60 F.3d 1161, 1164 (5th Cir. 1995). If movants fail to discharge the burden of showing the absence of a genuine issue concerning any material fact, summary judgment must be denied. John v. Louisiana, 757 F.2d 698, 708 (5th Cir. 1985). The existence of an issue of material fact is a question of law that this Court must decide, and in making that decision, it must "draw inferences most favorable to the party opposing the motion, and take care that no party will be improperly deprived of a trial of disputed factual issues." Id at 712.

There, however, must be adequate proof in the record showing a real controversy regarding material facts. "Conclusory allegations, "[2] unsubstantiated assertions, [3] or the presence of a "scintilla of evidence, "[4] is not enough to create a real controversy regarding material facts. "[T]he mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment; the requirement is that there be no genuine issue of material fact." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986). In the absence of proof, the Court does not ...

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