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Derello v. Jackson

United States District Court, D. Arizona

August 9, 2018

Douglas Wayne Derello, Jr., Plaintiff,
Unknown Jackson, et al., Defendants.



         Plaintiff Douglas Wayne Derello, Jr., who is currently confined in the Arizona State Prison Complex (ASPC)-Florence, brought this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. 1.) Defendant Jackson moves for summary judgment, and Plaintiff opposes.[1] (Docs. 80, 85-87.) Also before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration. (Doc. 93.) The Court will deny Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration, grant Defendant Jackson's Motion for Summary Judgment, and terminate the action.

         I. Background

         On screening under 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a), the Court determined that Plaintiff stated an Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claim against Defendants Jackson and Olsen and directed them to answer. (Doc. 6.) The Court dismissed the remaining claims and Defendants. (Id.) Defendant Olson was subsequently dismissed from the action without prejudice. (Doc. 76.)

         Plaintiff's claim stems from an August 2016 assault on him by another inmate while he was assigned to the Special Management Unit (SMU) of ASPC-Eyman in Florence, Arizona. (Doc. 1 at 3-4.) In relevant part, Plaintiff makes the following allegations against Corrections Officer (CO) Jackson:

         The housing pod Plaintiff was assigned to contained “alot [sic] of mental health/SMI [serious mental illness] inmates.” (Id.) Plaintiff does not have “mental issues” and has not “taken any mental medication.” (Id.) On or about June 20, 2016, Plaintiff was moved to a new pod that contained “even more mental issued [sic] inmates” including “Brian, ” the inmate who assaulted Plaintiff. (Id. at 4.) On some unspecified date, Brian “boiled hot water and thr[e]w [it] on another inmate, ” but was not reprimanded by the staff. (Id.)

         In July 2016, Brian accused Plaintiff of thinking he (Plaintiff) was better than the other inmates because Plaintiff did not take psychiatric medications. (Id.) Brian also stated that one of the officers told him that Plaintiff had been whining about being housed near mentally ill inmates. (Id.)

         At some point, Plaintiff complained to Sergeant Olson that Brian had threatened Plaintiff's life, made “racial remarks” towards him, and threated the staff that “they better move [Plaintiff's] ass out of the pod.” (Id. at 4-5.) Olson responded, “All you nuts better go to sleep [or] I'm going to spray all of you[, ] and walked out of the pod. (Id. at 5.)

         On August 16, 2016, Plaintiff was assaulted by Brian while Defendant Jackson was escorting five maximum security inmates, including Plaintiff and Brian, to recreation. (Id. at 5.) At some unspecified time prior to the assault, Defendant Jackson “had been made aware by [Plaintiff]” that Brian had threatened Plaintiff with physical harm, but Defendant Jackson failed to protect Plaintiff. (Id.)

         As a result of the assault, Plaintiff sustained injuries to his left eye and his ankle. (Id. at 1.) Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages as well as costs and fees. (Id. at 10.)

         Defendant Jackson moves for summary judgment on the grounds that he was not deliberately indifferent to a substantial risk to Plaintiff's safety and that he is entitled to qualified immunity. (Doc. 80.)

         II. Governing Standards

         A. Summary Judgment

         A court must grant summary judgment “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); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). The movant bears the initial responsibility of presenting the basis for its motion and identifying those portions of the record, together with affidavits, if any, that it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323.

         If the movant fails to carry its initial burden of production, the nonmovant need not produce anything. Nissan Fire & Marine Ins. Co., Ltd. v. Fritz Co., Inc., 210 F.3d 1099, 1102-03 (9th Cir. 2000). But if the movant meets its initial responsibility, the burden shifts to the nonmovant to demonstrate the existence of a factual dispute and that the fact in contention is material, i.e., a fact that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law, and that the dispute is genuine, i.e., the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmovant. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 250 (1986); see Triton Energy Corp. v. Square D. Co., 68 F.3d 1216, 1221 (9th Cir. 1995). The nonmovant need not establish a material issue of fact conclusively in its favor, First Nat'l Bank of Ariz. v. Cities Serv. Co., 391 U.S. 253, 288-89 (1968); however, it must ...

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