Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Session v. Clements

United States District Court, D. Colorado

March 29, 2018

FRANKY L. SESSION, Plaintiff,
v.
DEPUTY SHERIFF CLEMENTS, in his individual capacity, DEPUTY SHERIFF CAPTAIN ROMERO, in his individual capacity, and DEPUTY SHERIFF SERGEANT JORDAN, in his individual capacity, Defendants.

          ORDER

          PHILIP A. BRIMMER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on the Recommendation of the United States Magistrate Judge [Docket No. 278] filed on January 31, 2018. The magistrate judge recommends that the Court: (1) grant summary judgment in favor of defendants with respect to plaintiff's first claim for relief - a Fourteenth Amendment due process claim against defendant Clements; (2) deny summary judgment in favor of defendants on plaintiff's third and fourth claims for relief, which assert Fourteenth Amendment due process claims against defendants Romero and Jordan; and (3) grant summary judgment in favor of defendants on plaintiff's request for compensatory damages. See Docket No. 278 at 9, 17, 19. On February 14, 2018, plaintiff and defendants Romero and Jordan filed separate objections to the recommendation. Docket Nos. 281, 282. Defendants filed a response to plaintiff's objection on March 7, 2018. Docket No. 289.

         I. BACKGROUND[1]

         This case arises out of plaintiff's pretrial detention at the Denver Detention Center (“DDC”) in March 2013. Plaintiff filed a pro se prisoner complaint on August 28, 2014 alleging that various members of the Denver Sheriff's Department had violated his constitutional rights by placing him in Cell Pod 4D, a 23-hour segregation unit at DDC. See generally Docket No. 1. Plaintiff filed his fourth amended complaint on May 16, 2016, asserting three claims for relief: (1) a Fourteenth Amendment due process claim against defendant Clements (claim one); (2) a Fourteenth Amendment due process claim against defendant Romero (claim three); and (3) a Fourteenth Amendment due process claim against defendant Jordan (claim four). Docket No. 137.[2] On July 25, 2017, defendants moved for summary judgment on all claims. Docket No. 249. On January 31, 2018, the magistrate judge recommended that the Court grant defendants' motion in part and deny it in part. Docket No. 278.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         The Court must “determine de novo any part of the magistrate judge's disposition that has been properly objected to.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3). An objection is “proper” if it is both timely and specific. United States v. One Parcel of Real Property Known as 2121 East 30th St., 73 F.3d 1057, 1059 (10th Cir. 1996).

         In the absence of a proper objection, the Court reviews the magistrate judge's recommendation to satisfy itself that there is “no clear error on the face of the record.”[3]Fed. R. Civ. P. 72(b), Advisory Committee Notes.

         Because plaintiff is proceeding pro se, the Court construes his objection and pleadings liberally without serving as his advocate. See Hall v. Bellmon, 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991).

         III. ANALYSIS

         Plaintiff raises three principal objections to the magistrate judge's recommendation. Plaintiff's first through sixth arguments challenge the magistrate judge's finding that defendants are entitled to summary judgment on plaintiff's claim against defendant Clements. See Docket No. 282 at 5-13. In his seventh argument, plaintiff appears to contest the magistrate judge's finding that he had weekly meetings with DDC's administrative review board. See Id. at 13. Finally, plaintiff's eighth and ninth arguments challenge the magistrate judge's determination that plaintiff is not entitled to seek compensatory damages. See Id. at 14-16.[4] Defendants object to the magistrate judge's finding that defendants are not entitled to summary judgment on plaintiff's claims against defendants Romero and Jordan. See Docket No. 281 at 2.

         A. Fourteenth Amendment Claim Against Defendant Clements

         Plaintiff objects to the magistrate judge's recommendation that the Court grant defendants' motion for summary judgment as to plaintiff's claim against defendant Clements. Docket No. 282 at 5-13. The magistrate judge found that the undisputed evidence showed that the Classification division - and not defendant Clements - made the decision to transfer plaintiff to Cell Pod 4D based on legitimate concerns that plaintiff would be retaliated against by other inmates for purported hygiene issues. See docket No. 278 at 6. The arguments plaintiff advances in support of his objection fall into three general categories.

         First, plaintiff asserts that defendant Clements violated his due process rights by removing plaintiff from Cell Pod 4A without: (1) conducting an investigation into the allegations regarding plaintiff's misconduct; (2) employing appropriate procedural safeguards to ensure that plaintiff had actually engaged in misconduct;[5] or (3) advising plaintiff of the alleged misconduct or affording him an opportunity to be heard. See Id. at 6-7. Second, plaintiff argues that the magistrate judge erred by finding that Clements' actions were limited to the reporting of plaintiff's rule violations to the Classification division. See Id. at 8. Plaintiff contends that Clements was not required to report rule violations and that he could have chosen instead to conduct his own investigation into the allegations regarding plaintiff's misconduct. Id. Third, plaintiff challenges the magistrate judge's finding that defendants transferred plaintiff out of Cell Pod 4A for legitimate reasons. He argues that there is no evidence showing (1) that defendant Clements detected “a foul body odor or offensive smell from Plaintiff” to corroborate other inmates' allegations of misconduct; or (2) that there were threats to plaintiff's safety. Id. at 9-10. Finally, plaintiff asserts that the magistrate judge improperly “weighed” the evidence in finding that defendant Clements is entitled to summary judgment. Id. at 12-13.

         The Court finds that plaintiff's second, third, and fourth arguments do not demonstrate any error in the magistrate judge's determination that plaintiff has failed to present evidence showing that defendant Clements acted with punitive intent. Plaintiff suggests that, under the Denver Sheriff Department's (“DSD”) Inmate Handbook, Clements was required to either report the hygiene issues to a sergeant for investigation or investigate the issues himself rather than notify the Classification division. See Docket No. 282 at 8. But plaintiff does not point to any evidence controverting defendants' assertion that the procedures set forth in the Handbook did not apply because plaintiff “was not charged with a violation of any jail rule.” Docket No. 273 at 11; see also Docket No. 282 at 7 (“Defendants have tacitly admitted that [plaintiff] was never charged with a DSD rule infraction . . . .”). The crux of defendants' argument is that plaintiff was transferred to Cell Pod 4D because of a perceived threat to plaintiff's safety. See Docket No. 249 at 12; see also Docket No. 278 at 6. And defendants presented uncontroverted evidence that it was reasonable, under the circumstances, for Clements to bring these safety concerns to the attention of the Classification division. See Docket No. 273 at 11; see also 249-4 at 1-2, ¶ 3 (stating that “[t]he Classification division evaluates and determines the appropriate housing for inmates”).[6]

         Plaintiff's third argument - that there is no evidence to substantiate defendants' concerns about plaintiff's safety - is also unavailing. The magistrate judge considered this argument but concluded that plaintiff's unsupported “doubts” regarding defendants' reasons for transferring him to Cell Pod 4D were insufficient to create a genuine dispute of material fact. See Docket No. 278 at 7. In objecting to this finding, plaintiff asserts that Clements has never stated that he personally “detected any type of foul body odor or offensive smell from plaintiff.” Docket No. 282 at 9. He further contends that the OIC Staff Report, Docket No. 268 at 84, does not substantiate def endants' alleged safety concerns because it does not say that plaintiff was threatened by other inmates. Id. Finally, he suggests that the Staff Report should be disregarded because it was hand-typed by Clements. Id. But these assertions do not create a genuine factual dispute regarding ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.