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Fantuzzo v. Thompson

United States District Court, Sixth Circuit

November 8, 2013

LADONNA THOMPSON et al., Defendants.


JOHN G. HEYBURN, District Judge.

Plaintiff Joseph P. Fantuzzo, a released prisoner, filed the instant pro se 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action proceeding in forma pauperis. This matter is before the Court on initial review of the action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e).[1] For the reasons stated below, the Court will allow Plaintiff's failure-to-protect claims to proceed and dismiss the remaining claims.

At the outset, the Court notes that the docket sheet list two complaints (DNs 1 and 7). Plaintiff apparently sent in a second copy of his complaint, and the Clerk of Court opened a separate civil action, No. 3:13CV-P419-R. Upon review of both complaints, the Honorable Senior Judge Thomas B. Russell entered an Order dismissing the second-filed action as duplicative of this action. For the purposes of initial review, the Court considers DN 7 to be a duplicate copy of DN 1.


Plaintiff's allegations concern his previous incarceration as a convicted inmate at the Kentucky State Reformatory (KSR). He sues the following Defendants: LaDonna Thompson, Kentucky Department of Corrections (KDOC) Commissioner; Cookie Crews, whom he identifies as the KSR Warden; Daniel Grubb, a prisoner at KSR; Stephanie Roby and Tanya Young, psychologists at KSR; William Palmer and Travis St. Clair, Unit Administrators at KSR; Mary Durrett, a case worker at KSR; and John Doe, an officer at KSR. Plaintiff sues each Defendant in both his or her individual and official capacities.[2]

Plaintiff states that in December 2011 non-Defendant Aarron Perkinson asked him to be his "Clerk for the dorm." Plaintiff performed a number of tasks as Clerk, including sanitation duties, unit requisition, filling out work assignments, keeping up with inmate job changes, and payroll sign in and out sheets. Plaintiff avers that he "was taking initiative in his rehabilitation" and allowing Perkinson more time to focus on security. Plaintiff contends that this "is when immediate heat' was placed" on him "for even working for the officers." Plaintiff reports that other inmates told him that "there were hits' out on him." He states that he became so stressed and worried about these threats that he lost 55 pounds over a five-month period. On February 24, 2012, he addressed his concerns with a non-Defendant nurse, who referred him to "Psych.'"

On February 29, 2012, Plaintiff reports that he took part in a conference call with his appointed post-conviction counsel in the office of Defendant Durrett. Plaintiff made his counsel "aware of the threats' he was under and the institutions inability to care or do anything about it." He states that Defendant Durrett sat in during the call. Plaintiff avers that after ten to fifteen minutes of advising his counsel of the threats against him, Defendant Durrett signaled to Plaintiff to end the phone call and that his time was up and that she eventually "talked Plaintiff into terminating the call."

Plaintiff further reports that on March 2, 2012, he met with Defendant psychologist Roby. He states, "On this date the pressure was building and nobody was listening." He informed Defendant Roby of the issues of the death threats and that he was concerned he was being ignored. He avers that Defendant Roby told him "that he was a very interesting person' and referred him to another doctor. No protective custody was offered or signed by Plaintiff at that time or prior."

Plaintiff states that on April 23, 2012, he had been put in segregation because of a fight on April 19, 2012. He sent a letter to Defendant Palmer advising him that "the threats' were coming to fruition and that the guys' in seg were really giving the plaintiff heat' and calling him a rat' and "Perkinson's boy.'" Plaintiff also avers that on April 30, 2012, he sent correspondence to Defendants Palmer and St. Clair stating that he "felt the threats' becoming real and pointed out particular individuals" but he received no response to either letter. He also states that on May 1, 2012, he sent correspondence to Defendant Roby, "trying to enlist someone's' help" and that he received no response.

Plaintiff states that on May 4, 2012, he came out of his cell for recreation. He avers that the segregation walk has two sides and the walk is very narrow. He contends that "[f]or security purposes it is policy and normal practice for the officer on duty to only open up one side of the seg walk at a time per hour for recreation." He states, "However, this day both sides were conveniently left opened and Plaintiff was assaulted from behind and beaten on the ground from behind by an inmate who gave him the most trouble, Daniel Grubb. Grubb additionally attempted to choke Plaintiff out after he had suffered serious laceration and blood loss."

Plaintiff reports that he was taken to the segregation nurse where he met non-Defendant Lt. Sutherland and Defendant St. Clair. He states, "Their main focus was catching who did this, asking Plaintiff to help them out. Plaintiff reminded them, They already think I am a rat, if you all go right up and get someone they will know.' Use your electric eyes!'" That day he received seven staples in the back of his head. Plaintiff avers that he was released from segregation on May 8, 2012, "with no disciplinary action in the aforementioned situation."

On May 10, 2012, Plaintiff states that he "was offered and signed his first and only protective custody refusal form." He avers that on May 14, 2012, the inmate who assaulted him was released from segregation and "placed back out onto the compound without offering Plaintiff a conflict.'" He states that since 2012 Defendant Grubb has been transferred to another facility and that the "video footage could have possibly been destroyed." Plaintiff further states that the "officer who worked Seg 4 on May 4, 2012[, ]" who the Court construes to be Defendant Doe, "may no longer work for Kentucky State Reformatory or the Department of Corrections." He states that Defendants Palmer and St. Clair "claim to have not gotten parts' of the letters I sent them, but however other parts were scanned to internal affairs.'"

Plaintiff contends that Defendants Roby, Young, Palmer, St. Clair, and Durrett violated his Eighth Amendment rights by failing to protect him from a substantial risk of serious harm and were deliberately indifferent to his need for safety. He states that Defendants Thompson and Crews violated his Eighth Amendment rights "because they are legally responsible for the welfare of each inmate." Plaintiff states that Defendants Doe and Grubb violated his Eighth Amendment rights by "eventually following through with threat' ...

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