United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Paducah
MONYAL D. SMITH PLAINTIFF
FULTON COUNTY DETENTION CENTER, CARRIE POWELL, JEFF JOHNSON, BRITTANY WALSH, And WILL JACKSON. DEFENDANTS
B. RUSSELL, SENIOR JUDGE
matter comes before the Court upon Defendants, Carrie
Powell's, Jeff Johnson's, and Brittany Walsh's,
Motion for Summary Judgement, (R. 28). Despite the Court
warning pro se Plaintiff and inmate Monyal D. Smith
of the potential consequences, (R. 30), he has failed to
respond. Also pending before the Court is Smith's Motion
to Appoint Counsel. (R. 31). These matters are now ripe for
adjudication. For the reasons that follow, the Court HEREBY
DENIES Smith's Motion to Appoint Counsel, (R. 31), and
GRANTS the Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment, (R.
November 4, 2016, Monyal D. Smith was booked into the Fulton
County Detention Center. (R. 29, Smith Depo. p. 41). He was
placed in Cell 121. (Id. at p. 46). While in Cell
121 on the fourth, Smith reported to Deputy Jailer Jamie
Alexander that another inmate had threatened him with a
knife. (Id. at p. 15). The other inmate's name
was later identified as Davenport. Accordingly, Alexander
transferred Smith from Cell 121 to Cell 105. (Id.).
Smith also claims that Alexander told him “he had put a
keep-away on us, something like a conflict.”
(Id. at p. 53). Although never fully explained, the
Court understands a “keep-away” to be a sort of
note made in Fulton County Detention Center records that
would notify Fulton County employees that Smith and Davenport
were to remain separated.
November 24, 2016, Smith was again booked into Fulton County
Detention Center and placed in Cell 105. (Id. at p.
64). He was released a few days later without incident.
February 8, 2017 Smith was booked into Fulton County
Detention Center for a third time by Deputy Jailer Terry
Hutcherson. (Id. at pp. 65, 67). Smith did not
mention the incident with Davenport to Hutcherson.
(Id.). Hutcherson placed Smith in Cell 121.
(Id.). Shortly after Smith was placed in Cell 121,
he was allegedly attacked with a “sharpened
utensil” by Davenport. (Id. at pp. 67-72).
Other inmates in Cell 121 alerted Fulton County Detention
Center staff that Smith and Davenport were fighting.
(Id. at p. 71). Corrections Officer William Jackson
was the first to respond and called for Corrections Officer
Brittany Walsh to assist him. (Id.). Jackson
instructed Davenport to separate from Smith. (Id. at
pp. 62-63, 157-58). Davenport complied. (Id. at p.
158). Smith was then taken out of Cell 121 and brought to the
Fulton County Detention Center medical facility.
(Id. at p. 71).
February 8, 2017 and February 12, 2017, Smith filed an inmate
memorandum addressed to Defendant Jeff Johnson stating that
Smith was going to file a lawsuit concerning the incident on
the eighth. (R. Ex. C). Again, on March 21, 2017, Smith wrote
a letter to Johnson regarding the incident (R. 28, Ex. D).
Johnson responded, instructing Smith that he needed to
exhaust the grievance procedure prior to filing suit.
(Id.). Smith admits that he failed to do so. (R. 29,
Smith Depo., pp. 164-165). He claims that he attempted to,
but the electronic grievance kiosk at Fulton County Detention
Center was broken. (R. 29, Smith Depo., p. 122). Other than
trying to use the electronic kiosk, Smith admits he made no
other effort to file a grievance or exhaust his
administrative remedies prior to filing suit. (Id.
at pp. 120-122, 164-165).
on April 27, 2017, Smith filed sit against Fulton County
Detention Center, Acting Jailer Carrie Powell, Chief Deputy
Officer Jeff Johnson, Corrections Officer Brittany Walsh, and
Corrections Officer William Jackson. (R. 1). He claims that
the security cameras in Cell 121 were not functioning and
that all the Defendants failed to honor the
“keep-away.” (R. 1). After the Court's
initial review, claims remain pending against Carrie Powell,
Jeff Johnson, Brittany Walsh, and William Jackson in their
individual capacities for failure-to-protect pursuant to the
Eighth Amendment. (R. 14). To date, William Jackson has not
been served. (R. 20). Defendants Powell, Johnson, and Walsh
now move for summary judgment. The Court has warned Smith
about the potential consequences of failing to respond to the
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. Despite this
warning, Smith has not responded.
Smith's Motion to Appoint Counsel
has asked the Court to appoint him counsel. (R. 31). Pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(1), in proceedings in forma
pauperis, “[t]he court may request an attorney to
represent any person unable to afford counsel.”
Importantly though, “[t]he appointment of counsel in a
civil proceeding is not a constitutional right and is
justified only in exceptional circumstances.”
Lanier v. Bryant, 332 F.3d 999, 1006 (6th Cir. 2003)
(emphasis added). When considering whether such
“exceptional circumstances exist, courts typically
consider ‘the type of case and the ability of the
plaintiff to represent himself.'” Id.
(quoting Archie v. Christian, 812 F.2d 250, 253 (5th
Cir. 1987) and Poindexter v. Federal Bureau of
Investigation, 737 F.2d 1173, 1185, 238 U.S.App.D.C. 26
(D.C. Cir. 1984)). “This generally involves a
determination of the ‘complexity of the factual and
legal issues involved.'” Lavado v.
Keohane, 992 F.2d 601, 606 (6th Cir. 1993) (quoting
Cookish v. Cunningham, 787 F.2d 1, 3 (1st Cir.
Smith's sole reason for requesting counsel be appointed
is “because the Courts is trying to dismiss [his]
case.” (R. 31). This does not qualify as exceptional
circumstance. Furthermore, the Court finds that issues here
are relatively ...