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Sena v. Coleman

United States District Court, D. Nevada

February 2, 2018

TERRIE L. SENA, Plaintiff(s),
OFFICER COLEMAN, et al., Defendant(s).


         Presently before the court is defendants corrections officer Nicole Coleman (“Coleman”) and corrections officer Zippora Clinkscales's (“Clinkscales”) (collectively “defendants”) motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 35). Plaintiff Terrie L. Sena (“plaintiff”) filed a response (ECF No. 38), to which defendants replied (ECF No. 43).

         I. Background

         Plaintiff was a pretrial detainee in protective custody at the Clark County Detention Center (“CCDC”). (ECF No. 38). Plaintiff was housed in the protective custody unit in a cell with Christine Allen (“Allen”). Id. Plaintiff was in protective custody due to the nature of the charges filed against her. (ECF No. 35).

         On April 10, 2015 at around 6:30 p.m., Clinkscales was advised by the CCDC switchboard that plaintiff's husband called and advised them that plaintiff told him she was being threatened by her cellmate. Id.

         Clinkscales and Officer Sua investigated the call and took plaintiff and her cellmate, Allen, out of the cell individually to interview them. Id. Allen told Clinkscales that plaintiff snored and as a result, Allen had told plaintiff to shut up and at times, hit the bottom of plaintiff's bunk in an effort to get plaintiff to stop snoring. Id. Plaintiff corroborated Allen's statements, but did not tell Clinkscales that Allen ever threatened her. Id. When asked why she had told her husband that she had been threatened, plaintiff told Clinkscales that she was nervous because of the snoring situation. Id.

         Clinkscales advised plaintiff and Allen that when room in another cell opened up, she would move one of them. Id. Clinkscales did not believe Allen had made any physical threats nor that there had been any other issues between plaintiff and Allen apart from plaintiff's snoring. Id. Further, Clinkscales was not aware of any history of violence on the part of either inmate. Id.

         On April 10, 2015, plaintiff alleges she was present when other inmates informed Clinkscales that plaintiff needed to be moved because Allen was planning to do something to plaintiff. (ECF No. 38). Plaintiff also alleges that she was present when another inmate informed Clinkscales of Allen's violent history. Id. Defendants argue these claims are entirely unsubstantiated. (ECF No. 35).

         On April 11, 2015, at approximately 4:00 a.m., Clinkscales responded to screams coming from plaintiff's cell. Id. Clinkscales found Allen standing in front of the door and plaintiff on the cell floor holding her head. Id. Plaintiff told Clinkscales that Allen had pulled her hair, kicked her, and hit her for no reason. Id. Allen told Clinkscales that plaintiff had started the fight by hitting first. Id. Both plaintiff and Allen were disciplined for their participation in the fight. Id. Finding no marks on Allen, Clinkscales removed her from the cell and placed her in detention. Id. Clinkscales notified medical after observing swelling on plaintiff's face. Id. After being checked and cleared by medical personnel, plaintiff was returned to her cell. Id.

         Plaintiff alleges that prior to her meeting with Clinkscales on April 10, 2015, she approached Coleman with a grievance regarding issues she was having with Allen. Id. Plaintiff alleges the grievance indicated Allen was verbally abusing her, causing her to lose sleep, and beginning to hit things in the room, which made plaintiff nervous. (ECF No. 38). Plaintiff alleges she handed the grievance to Coleman who read the grievance and then returned it back to plaintiff. (ECF No. 35). Coleman has no recollection of receiving or reading a grievance from plaintiff that day, but Coleman receives grievances on a daily basis. Id.

         It was very common for her to review inmate grievances and then to respond appropriately. Id. Coleman receives many requests to change cells and part of her job is to evaluate whether a move is warranted. Id. Coleman approves such moves if the inmate has been physically abused or threatened with physical violence. Id.

         Coleman was not aware of any issues between plaintiff and Allen, nor was she aware of any history on Allen's part of attacking other inmates. Id. In fact, both Coleman and Clinkscales had been on duty in the unit where plaintiff housed for the duration of plaintiff's incarceration. Id.

         Legal Standard

         The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure allow summary judgment when the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that “there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A principal purpose of summary judgment is “to isolate and dispose of factually unsupported claims . . . .” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323- 24 (1986).

         For purposes of summary judgment, disputed factual issues should be construed in favor of the non-moving party. Lujan v. Nat'l Wildlife Fed., 497 U.S. 871, 888 (1990). However, to be entitled to a denial of summary judgment, the non-moving party must “set ...

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