United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Jacksonville Division
MORALES HOWARD, JUDGE
Clifford Leon Reid, an inmate of the Florida penal system,
initiated this action on November 17, 2014, by filing a pro
se Civil Rights Complaint (Doc. 1) under 42 U.S.C. §
1983. After several amendments, Reid filed his Fifth Amended
Complaint (FAC; Doc. 22) with exhibits (P. Ex.) on January
17, 2017. In the FAC, he names the following individuals as
Defendants: (1) R.L. Polk, Assistant Warden and a member of
the Institutional Classification Team (ICT); (2) J.A.
Parrish, Head of Classification and an ICT member; (3) Laurie
L. Owens, an ICT member; (4) Michael L. Willis, Acting Warden
at Columbia Correctional Institution (CCI); (5) Monroe
Barnes, CCI Warden; and (6) Sergeant Collins. See
FAC; Order (Doc. 37); Plaintiff's Response (Doc. 33). He
asserts that the Defendants violated his First, Eighth, and
Fourteenth Amendment rights when they failed to protect him
from harm by other inmates. As relief, he seeks a declaration
that the Defendants' actions violated the laws and
Constitution of the United States. See FAC at 22.
Additionally, he requests that the Court direct Defendants
Polk and Parrish to grant him permanent protective management
status, and transfer him to a Y dormitory cell or bunk that
is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
See id. He also seeks compensatory and punitive
damages as well as a speedier release from prison. See
id. at 23.
matter is before the Court on Defendants Polk, Parrish, and
Willis' Motion to Dismiss (Motion; Doc. 45); Defendant
Barnes' Motion to Dismiss (Barnes' Motion; Doc. 58);
and Defendant Owens' Motion to Dismiss (Owens'
Motion; Doc. 70). The Court advised Reid that granting a
motion to dismiss would be an adjudication of the case that
could foreclose subsequent litigation on the matter, and gave
him an opportunity to respond. See Order (Doc. 23).
Plaintiff filed his responses in opposition to the motions.
See Response in Opposition to Defendants' Motion
to Dismiss (Response; Doc. 55); Response in Opposition to
Defendant Barnes' Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 63); Response
in Opposition to Defendant Owens' Motion to Dismiss (Doc.
71). Defendants' motions are ripe for review.
Motion to Dismiss Standard
ruling on a motion to dismiss, the Court must accept the
factual allegations set forth in the complaint as true.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009);
Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 508 n.1
(2002); see also Lotierzo v. Woman's World Med. Ctr.,
Inc., 278 F.3d 1180, 1182 (11th Cir. 2002). In addition,
all reasonable inferences should be drawn in favor of the
plaintiff. See Omar ex. rel. Cannon v. Lindsey, 334
F.3d 1246, 1247 (11th Cir. 2003) (per curiam). Nonetheless,
the plaintiff must still meet some minimal pleading
requirements. Jackson v. BellSouth Telecomm., 372
F.3d 1250, 1262-63 (11th Cir. 2004) (citations omitted).
Indeed, while "[s]pecific facts are not necessary[,
]" the complaint should "'give the defendant
fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon
which it rests.'" Erickson v. Pardus, 551
U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (per curiam) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). Further, the
plaintiff must allege "enough facts to state a claim
that is plausible on its face." Twombly, 550
U.S. at 570. "A claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
678 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556); see
Miljkovic v. Shafritz & Dinkin, P.A., 791 F.3d 1291,
1297 (11th Cir. 2015) (citation and footnote omitted). A
"plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds of
his entitlement to relief requires more than labels and
conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a
cause of action will not do[.]" Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555 (internal quotations omitted); see also
Jackson, 372 F.3d at 1262 (explaining that
"conclusory allegations, unwarranted deductions of facts
or legal conclusions masquerading as facts will not prevent
dismissal") (internal citation and quotations omitted).
Indeed, "the tenet that a court must accept as true all
of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable
to legal conclusions[, ]" which simply "are not
entitled to [an] assumption of truth." Iqbal,
556 U.S. at 678, 680.
in ruling on a motion to dismiss, the Court must determine
whether the complaint contains "sufficient factual
matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face[.]'" Id. at
678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).
Eleventh Circuit has stated:
To survive a motion to dismiss, [plaintiff]'s complaint
must have set out facts sufficient to "raise a right to
relief above the speculative level." Bell Atl. Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). This means he must
have alleged "factual content that allow[ed] the court
to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant[s] [were]
liable for the misconduct." Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). The allegations must be plausible,
but plausibility is not probability. See id.
Lane v. Philbin, 835 F.3d 1302, 1305 (11th Cir.
Fifth Amended Complaint
asserts that the Defendants failed to protect him from harm
and acted with "personal malicious hostility"
towards him from the time he arrived at CCI in early March
2011 through September 2012. FAC at 14. He states the
knowingly and intentionally "used" said state
facility with motive and aim of causing Reid's instant
death[.] These Defendants regularly refused to provide Reid
adequate safety and regularly refused to protect Reid from
the predatory group of inmates (gang members and convicted
murderers) being housed in B-dormitory and it was this use of
said institution that directly gave rise to inmate Hawk's
said kicking attack, inmate Otis Williams' said death
threat and inmate Cheatham's May 31, 2012 unprovoked and
unwant[ed] life jeopardizing kicking attack against Reid . .
Id. He asserts that the Defendants made
"adverse decisions" when they refused to protect
him from the physical violence and threats on the part of the
convicted murderers and gang members housed in B dormitory.
Id. at 18.
who is wheelchair-bound, asserts that on April 18, 2011,
inmate Hawk, who was sitting in a wheelchair, kicked
Reid's legs. See id. at 6-7. According to Reid,
Hawk was purposely blocking the exit from the B dormitory
television room, so Reid asked Hawk twice to let him pass.
See id. at 7. Reid states that when Hawk neither
responded nor moved, he "tapped on the handle" of
Hawk's wheelchair and repeated his request to pass.
Id. He avers that Hawk then spun to face Reid,
called Reid "a bitch, " and launched into kicking
Reid's legs several times. Id. Reid maintains
that Hawk's unprovoked "kicking attack" caused
"serious physical injuries" to his legs, hips,
lower back, and neck, worsened his pre-existing spinal and
neck injuries, and resulted in pain lasting more than nine
weeks. Id. at 8, 9. Reid complains that corrections
officers handcuffed and escorted him to confinement without
addressing his injuries, but took no corrective action
against Hawk. Id. at 8.
to Reid, a few days later, he requested permanent housing in
Y dormitory, an isolated protective management dormitory at
CCI. See id. at 9. He states that the ICT
(Defendants Polk, Parrish, and Owens) interviewed him about
the circumstances giving rise to his encounter with Hawk and
inquired as to why he wanted protection and Y dormitory
housing. See id. at 9-10. Reid explained that he
needed Y dormitory housing because gang members and convicted
murderers in B dormitory knew he had committed a sexual crime
against a young child, and therefore, his life was in danger.
See id. at 10. Reid avers that he informed the ICT
that he believed Hawk would eventually kill him because Hawk
had "the total support" of the gang members,
convicted murderers, and open population B dormitory security
staff who called Reid a "baby raper" and
"chomo." Id. at 10-11. Reid states that
Defendant Parrish told him staff denied his request for
protection and would return him back to open population
because the Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC) had
transferred Hawk. See id. at 11.
April 18, 2011, Reid submitted a grievance to CCI security
staff complaining about Hawk. See id. at 16; P. Ex.
1. He stated in pertinent part:
On 4-18-11 at B dorm wing 2 and in the day room I was
dangerously and violently physically attac[k]ed by a
psychopathic Negro inmate who sleeps in bunk B-2157s.
He's an abled [sic] body inmate who is still allowed a
wheelchair. Said inmate attacked me with such physical
strength and force as to completely paralyze me or murder me.
He kicked (see attachment 2 of 2) my legs and my wheelchair
several times, physically injurying [sic] me with leg
injuries and neck injuries (i.e. he snapped my neck, my head
came forward with such force it caused my neck to jerk as my
wheelchair flew backward while said inmate was kicking me
(while I was seated in my wheelchair) and my wheelchair[.]
This happen[ed] after I returned from lunch. This
inmate['s] intent to inflict upon me either of the said
known pervasive risk of harm (complete paralyzation or an
unconstitutional death) that [is] well known to the
Department and to Columbia's medical department; this
said inmate has no regards for any human life and has
threatened to use the iron removable leg rest of his
wheelchair the next time he assaults me and I fear that said
assault is imminent.
I'm a fall risk, assault risk wheelchair bound terminally
ill inmate who is pervasively known by the Department and its
medical department to be a member of an identifiable group of
inmates (i.e. weak, vulnerable, powerless inmates who were
convicted of sexually abusing a young child) who are
frequently targeted by dangerous and violently aggressive
prison staff and other inmates who are murderers, gang
members, drug dealers, kidnappers, homosexuals with malice
aforethought state of minds . . . .
I'm respectfully requesting security to take know[n]
reasonable step[s] to protect me and immediately reduce said
imminent assault upon me by said inmate who sleeps in bunk
B-2157s and that said inmate [is] punished for the assault he
has already committed upon me on 4-18-11. . . .
P. Ex. 1 at 1-2 (selected parentheses omitted). The FDOC
denied the grievance on April 30, 2011, and stated: "you
have been placed into administrative confinement status
pending [a] protection investigation." Id. at
1. On May 25, 2011,  Reid submitted a request for
administrative remedy or appeal to the Warden, stating in
The Department, through various Warden[s] has observe[d] a
custom of gross negligence and deliberate indifference to my
safety needs since 3/19/08 till [sic] the date of the filing
of this formal grievance (i.e. I've made more than 10
request[s] for protection from dangerously violent psychotic
gang members and murderers which I reported and requested of
various security staffs and wardens and said has resulted in
my being house[d] in B-Dorm among said inmates who are a
known pervasive risk of serious harm (i.e. complete
paral[y]zation or death) constantly and it has resulted in my
being dangerously physically assault[ed] by such a[n] inmate,
again, on 4/18/11 . . . .
P. Ex. 2 at 1. On June 7, 2011, Defendant Willis responded in
Your request for administrative remedy or appeal has been
received and reviewed. It appears that your last request for
protection was denied, as well as your appeal to Tallahassee.
If you are in fear for your safety you may inform any staff
member. There will be no mon[e]tary reimbursement. Based on
the foregoing, your request for administrative remedy is
Id. at 2. On June 17, 2011, Reid submitted a request
for administrative remedy or appeal to the FDOC Secretary.
See FAC at 17; P. Ex. 3. He asserted that the
security staff informed "known dangerous murderers, drug
dealers, and gang members" that he was convicted of a
sexual offense involving a child to create "a known
constant pervasive risk of serious harm" and housed him
in the same dormitory with the "informed inmates."
P. Ex. 3. On June 23, 2011, Reid submitted an informal
grievance to the Assistant Warden and complained about Hawk
("a convicted murderer") attacking him in B
dormitory. P. Ex. 4 at 1. The classification department
denied the grievance on June 27th, and stated in pertinent
You are currently serving a life sentence and at the
institutional level [we] cannot process your request. You may
request a good adjustment transfer if you would like to be
close to your family.
Id. Notably, Reid does not assert that he had any
contact or interaction with Hawk following the April 18, 2011
respect to the second alleged incident, Reid avers that, on
April 25, 2011, inmate Otis Williams woke him, demanded that
Reid roll over, and told Reid that he "was making
noise." FAC at 12. According to Reid, Williams warned
Reid that he would not wake him the next time, but instead
would "flip" Reid and his bunk and beat Reid with
his cane. Id. Reid states that he feared Williams
would kill him if he stayed in B dormitory, and therefore
reported the incident to a security officer that same day.
See id. at 12-13. He asserts that, on April 30,
2011, the ICT conducted an interview, at which Reid described
Williams' threat, maintained that Williams was
"motivated" to kill him because of his sexual
battery conviction, and explained that numerous gang members,
convicted murderers, and corrections officers were
"aiming to cause [his] instant death." Id.
at 13. According to Reid, Defendants refused to protect him,
and returned him to B dormitory, just a few bunks over from
Williams. See id. Reid does not assert that Williams
has harmed him in any way.
complained about Williams' alleged threat by using the
prison's administrative grievance procedure. On June 13,
2011, he submitted a request for administrative remedy or
appeal to the Warden. See P. Ex. 5. In the
grievance, he requested protection from inmate Williams and
the "victimization" in B dormitory. Id. On
June 20th, the FDOC responded in pertinent part:
Your request for administrative remedy or appeal has been
received and reviewed. You were previously placed into
protection status due to your allegations against inmate
Williams, but you were denied PM [(protective management)]
status because a threat could not be confirmed and it was
felt . . . that you just wanted single cell housing. You have
not demonstrated additional threats towards you, only that
you fear a dangerous situation could present itself due to
the types of inmates that you are housed with. If you again
fear for your safety[, ] speak to a staff member with your
concerns. At this time you have not demonstrated that you
have been victimized. Based on the foregoing, your request
for administrative remedy is denied.
Id. at 5; see FAC at 20.
25, 2011, Reid submitted a request for administrative remedy
or appeal to the FDOC Secretary and asserted that inmates
(Henderson in 2007, and Hawk and Williams in 2011),
corrections officers, and medical staff have assaulted him
since 1994. See P. Ex. 6. On July 5, 2011, he
submitted a request for administrative remedy or appeal to
the Warden and complained that "the class of dangerous
inmates" (convicted murderers and gang members)
victimized him, and therefore, rehabilitation was unlikely.
P. Ex. 7. On July 21st, the FDOC stated in pertinent part:
request for administrative remedy has been received, reviewed
Log # 1107-201-091 In one long run-on sentence you seem to be
making an inane argument to either be transferred to another
institution or to be released from the custody of the Florida
Department of Corrections. Your formal grievance is denied.
Id. at 7. On August 1, 2011, he submitted a request
for administrative remedy or appeal to the FDOC Secretary.
See P. Ex. 8. In the grievance, he complained about
the convicted murderers and gang members and requested that
the FDOC remove the "barriers" that could prevent
his successful return to society and accordingly not
incarcerate him in any prison or correctional institution.
Id. at 2.
regard to the third alleged attack, Reid asserts that inmate
Cheatham, a convicted murderer, kicked Reid's right leg
and threatened him on May 31, 2012. See FAC at 14.
Reid refers to his exhibits, in which he recited the alleged
facts relating to Cheatham's assault and complained about
the convicted murderers and gang members in B dormitory.
See id. (citing P. Exs. 10; 11; 12; 13); see
also P. Ex. 9. In his June 12, 2012 grievance to the
Warden, Reid complained about the FDOC's failure to
develop an adequate system of due process for his safety
needs. See P. Ex. 11.
21st, Defendant Polk responded, in pertinent part:
Your request for administrative remedy has been received,