United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Paducah Division
of the jury, it is now time for me to instruct you about the
law that you must follow in deciding this case. I will start
by explaining your duties and the general rules that apply in
every civil case. Then I will explain the elements, or parts,
of the claims in question.
have two main duties as a juror: The first is to decide what
the facts are from the evidence that you saw and heard here
in Court. Deciding what the facts are is your job-not mine.
Nothing that I have said or done during this trial was meant
to influence your decision about the facts in any way.
second duty is to take the law that I give you and to apply
it to the facts. It is my job to instruct you about the law,
and you are bound by the oath you took at the beginning of
the trial to follow the instructions that I give you, even if
you personally disagree with them. This includes the
instructions that I gave you during the trial and these
instructions now. All of the instructions are important, and
you should consider them together as a whole.
lawyers may have talked about the law during their arguments.
But if what they said is different from what I say, you must
follow what I say. What I say about the law controls.
these duties fairly. Do not let any bias, sympathy, or
prejudice that you may feel toward one side or the other
influence your decision in any way. The law does not permit
you to be governed by sympathy, prejudice, or public opinion.
All parties expect that you will carefully and impartially
consider all of the evidence, follow the law as I give it to
you, and reach a just verdict, regardless of the
should consider and decide this case as a dispute between
persons of equal standing in the community, of equal worth,
and holding the same or similar stations in life. All persons
stand equal before the law and are to be treated as equals.
to consider only the evidence in the case. Unless you are
otherwise instructed, the evidence in the case consists of
the sworn testimony of the witnesses regardless of who called
the witness, all exhibits received in evidence regardless of
who may have produced them, and all facts and events that may
have been admitted or stipulated to. Statements and arguments
by lawyers are not evidence. The lawyers are not witnesses.
What they have said in their opening statement, closing
arguments, and at other times is intended to help you
understand the evidence, but it is not evidence.
part of your job as jurors is to decide how credible, or
believable, each witness was. This is your job, not mine. It
is up to you to decide if a witness's testimony was
believable and how much weight you think it deserves. You are
free to believe everything that a witness said, or only part
of it, or none of it at all. But you should act reasonably
and carefully in making these decisions.
required to evaluate the testimony of a corrections officer
as you would the testimony of any other witness. No special
weight may be given to his or her testimony because he or she
is a corrections officer.
have heard the testimony of several witnesses, including
Damien Sublett, the Plaintiff in this case. You have also
heard that before this trial, the Plaintiff, as well as one
of his witnesses, Michael Cooper, had been convicted of
crimes. The earlier convictions were brought to your
attention only as one way of helping you decide how
believable their testimony was. Do not use it for any other
purpose. It is not evidence of anything else. You may
consider other things that you think shed some light on the
witness's believability. Use your common sense and your
everyday experience in dealing with other people, and then
decide what testimony you believe and how much weight you
think it deserves. The weight of the evidence does not
necessarily depend upon the number of witnesses who testify
for either side.
Plaintiff has the burden of proving his case by what is
called a preponderance of the evidence. This means that the
Plaintiff has to produce evidence that, considered in light
of all the facts, leads you to believe that what the
Plaintiff claims is more likely true than not. The term
"preponderance of the evidence" does not, of
course, require proof to an absolute certainty, since proof
to an absolute certainty is seldom possible in any case.
determining whether any fact in issue has been established by
a preponderance of the evidence in the case, you may-unless
otherwise instructed-consider the testimony of all witnesses,
regardless of who may have called them, and all exhibits
received into evidence, regardless of who may have produced
have heard of the term "proof beyond a reasonable
doubt." That is a stricter standard applicable in
criminal cases. It does not apply in civil cases, such as
this one. Therefore, you should disregard it.
and Gentlemen of the jury, before I instruct you as to the
law in this case, I want to point out something about having
multiple defendants in one case. As you have heard and seen
during this trial, there are two defendants in this case.
Each one has been accused by the plaintiff of something
different. It is crucial that you, the jury, give separate
consideration to each claim and each party in this case.
Although there are two defendants, it does not follow that if
one is liable, the other is liable.
case, the Plaintiff has one claim against Defendant
Laura Delaney, and that is for retaliation in violation of
the Plaintiffs First Amendment rights. The Plaintiff also
only has one claim against Defendant Kaci Simmons,
and that is for an invasion of bodily privacy in violation of
the Fourth Amendment. I will discuss the elements, or parts,
of these claims below, but it is important for you to keep
these incidents and claims separate, and to apply them only
to the Defendant against whom the Plaintiff has brought that
Acts of Plaintiff
have heard testimony that, in the past, the Plaintiff has
masturbated and exposed himself while incarcerated. If you
find that the Plaintiff did those acts, you can consider that
evidence only as it relates to two things. First,
whether the Plaintiff engaged in this activity with a motive,
intent, or plan to remain in, or be moved to, segregation
units or protective custody. Second, whether the Plaintiff
engaged in this activity with a motive, intent, or plan to
provide him with the opportunity to file Prison Rape
Elimination Act ("PREA") Claims or grievances
against prison staff.
that the issues in this case revolve around two specific
incidents: the Plaintiffs interaction with Defendant Delaney
on November 10, 2015 while she was making her rounds on the
Plaintiffs cell unit, and the Plaintiffs interaction with
Defendant Simmons on December 16, 2015 during her medication
rounds. Do not return a verdict based upon the past incidents
you have heard about. Instead, reach your verdict based
only upon the evidence proffered regarding the two
Claim against Defendant Laura Delaney
now going to instruct you as to the law regarding Plaintiff
Damien Sublett's claim against Defendant Laura Delaney:
Plaintiff claims that Defendant Delaney violated his
constitutional rights under the First Amendment. More
specifically, the Plaintiff claims that Defendant Delaney
filed a disciplinary report form indicating that she had
observed the Plaintiff engaging in inappropriate sexual
behavior in retaliation for the Plaintiffs decision to
exercise his First Amendment right by filing a lawsuit
against another corrections officer, Marlene Sheets. As a
result of Defendant Delaney's actions, the Plaintiff
claims that he suffered injury for which he now seeks
damages. Defendant Delaney denies that any of her actions
taken during the time in question violated the Plaintiffs
1983, the federal civil rights statute under which the
Plaintiff sues, provides that a person may seek relief in
this Court by way of damages against any person who, under
color of state law, subjects such person to the deprivation
of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected
by the Constitution or laws of the United States.
order to prove his claim under this statute, the Plaintiff
must establish by a preponderance of the
evidence each of the following elements:
1. That Defendant Delaney acted under color of state law, as
defined and explained in Instruction No. 5; and
2. That Defendant Delaney deprived the Plaintiff of a federal
constitutional right, as defined and explained in Instruction
No. 6, by retaliating against the Plaintiff for filing a
lawsuit against another prison official.
color of state law" means under the pretense of law. A
corrections officer's acts while performing her official
duties are done "under color" of state law whether
those acts are in line with her authority or overstep such
authority. A corrections officer acts "under color of
state law" even if she misuses the power she possesses
by virtue of a state law or because she is clothed with the
authority of state law.
officer's acts that are done in pursuit of purely
personal objectives without using or misusing her authority
granted by the state are not acts done "under color of
state law." A nurse's acts while performing her
official duties as an employee for Correct Care Solutions
while working at the Kentucky State Penitentiary are done
"under color of state law" whether those acts are
in line with her authority or overstep such authority. A
nurse acts "under color of state law" even if she
misuses the power she possesses by virtue of a state law or
because she is clothed with the authority of state law.
case, the Plaintiff claims that Defendant Delaney deprived
him of his rights under the First Amendment to the United
the Plaintiff claims that Defendant Delaney violated his
rights by retaliating against the Plaintiff for filing a