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James v. Cerro Gordo County Jail

United States District Court, N.D. Iowa, Central Division

January 3, 2019

KING ALLAH JAMES, Plaintiff,
v.
CERRO GORDO COUNTY JAIL, DOUG MENNEN, JEFF BULAND, ANDREW STEENBLOCK, KEVIN PALS, NICOLLE MEDINA, and BOB BARKER COMPANY, INC., Defendants.

          ORDER

          C.J. Williams United States District Judge

         TABLE OF CONTENTS

         I. INTRODUCTION .......................................................................... 2

         II. PROCEDURAL HISTORY ............................................................... 2

         III. STATEMENT OF UNDISPUTED MATERIAL FACTS ........................... 3

         IV. SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD ............................................... 5

         V. ANALYSIS ................................................................................... 7

         A. Plaintiff's Failure to Resist ........................................................ 7

         B. Exhaustion Requirement ........................................................... 8

         C. Civil Rights Claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ................................ 10

         D. Merits of Plaintiff's Excessive Use of Force Claims ........................ 12

         E. Merits of Plaintiff's Retaliation Claims ....................................... 14

         F. Merits of Plaintiff's Cruel and Unusual Punishment and Conditions of Confinement Claims ....... 15

         G. Defendants Steenblock and Sheriff Pals ....................................... 20

         H. Qualified Immunity ............................................................... 20

         VI. CONCLUSION ............................................................................ 21

         I. INTRODUCTION

         This matter is before the Court on defendants' second motion for summary judgment. (Doc. 81).

         II. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         This case has a complicated history which the Court has discussed in other orders. (See Doc. 47, Doc. 56, Doc. 69 & Doc. 80). In short, pursuant to the Court's order filed April 18, 2017, (Doc. 47), the only remaining claims in this case are those set out in the supplemental complaint. (Doc. 13). As set forth by the Court in its order filed May 11, 2018, (Doc. 56), the remaining claims to be resolved in this case (from the supplemental complaint) are generally summarized as follows:

1. February 22, 2017, incident (Mennen threat to cause harm and physical assault) (docket no. 13 at 1);
2. April or May 2017 incident (Mennen pushing on way to cellblock) (docket no. 13 at 1);
3. June 1, 2017, [1] incident (tight restraints and van ride with Mennen) (docket no. 13 at 2);
4. early June 2017 incident (housing in room with light left on for two weeks)[2] (docket no. 13 at 2-3); and
5. April 16-21, 2017, incident (housing in padded cell for five days) (docket no. 13 at 3) (collectively the Remaining Claims).

(Doc. 56, at 2.)

         On September 24, 2018, the case was transferred from Honorable Linde R. Reade to the undersigned judge. Defendants have now filed a second summary judgment motion regarding the Remaining Claims. Plaintiff did not file a resistance.

         III. STATEMENT OF UNDISPUTED MATERIAL FACTS

         The Court finds the facts set forth below to be undisputed for purposes of defendants' motion for summary judgment:[3]

         At the time of the events giving rise to this claim, plaintiff was an inmate at the Cerro Gordo County Jail in Mason City, Iowa; Kevin Pals was the elected Sheriff of Cerro Gordo County; Andrew Steenblock was (and is) the Cerro Gordo County Jail Administrator; and Doug Mennen was a Cerro Gordo County Jail correctional officer. (Doc. 81-1, at ¶¶ 1-2).

         On or about October 4, 2017, [4] plaintiff filed a supplemental complaint in which he raised further allegations against Correctional Officer Mennen. (id. at ¶ 3; Doc. 13). At no time, however, did plaintiff ever submit any written grievances or any other type of report whatsoever to Jail Administrator Steenblock regarding any of the matters complained of as set forth in his supplemental complaint. (Doc. 81-1, at ¶ 3; Doc. 81-3, at 22-23).

         On June 12, 2018, counsel for defendants served to plaintiff, by regular U.S. Mail, defendants' requests for admissions regarding plaintiff's supplemental complaint, to which plaintiff has ...


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