762 F.3d 778 (8th Cir. 2014), 13-2262, Walls v. Tadman

Docket Nº:13-2262
Citation:762 F.3d 778
Opinion Judge:SMITH, Circuit Judge.
Party Name:Vincent Fitzgerald Walls, Plaintiff - Appellant v. Dave Tadman, Unit Manager Iowa State Penitentiary; Randy Van Wye; Bill Sperfslage, Deputy Warden at Iowa State Penitentiary; Deb Nichols, Security Director at Iowa State Penitentiary; Nick Ludwick, Warden at Iowa State Penitentiary; Brent Gansey; Greg Colvin, Activity specialist at Iowa State Penit
Attorney:For Vincent Fitzgerald Walls, Plaintiff - Appellant: Joseph J. Boylan, Kent J. Hayden, Colter Kennedy, Bruce LaPierre, Professor, Timothy L. McHugh, Jackson K. Otto, Thomas P. Peabody, Kevin P. Simpson, Washington University, School of Law, Saint Louis, MO; Chris Kragnes, Kragnes & Tingle, Des Mo...
Judge Panel:Before SMITH, COLLOTON, and GRUENDER, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:August 08, 2014
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

Page 778

762 F.3d 778 (8th Cir. 2014)

Vincent Fitzgerald Walls, Plaintiff - Appellant

v.

Dave Tadman, Unit Manager Iowa State Penitentiary; Randy Van Wye; Bill Sperfslage, Deputy Warden at Iowa State Penitentiary; Deb Nichols, Security Director at Iowa State Penitentiary; Nick Ludwick, Warden at Iowa State Penitentiary; Brent Gansey; Greg Colvin, Activity specialist at Iowa State Penitentiary; Harvey Huffman, Prison Guard at Iowa State Penitentiary; Shane Milligan, Defendants - Appellees

No. 13-2262

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

August 8, 2014

Submitted: April 14, 2014.

Page 779

Appeal from United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa - Des Moines.

For Vincent Fitzgerald Walls, Plaintiff - Appellant: Joseph J. Boylan, Kent J. Hayden, Colter Kennedy, Bruce LaPierre, Professor, Timothy L. McHugh, Jackson K. Otto, Thomas P. Peabody, Kevin P. Simpson, Washington University, School of Law, Saint Louis, MO; Chris Kragnes, Kragnes & Tingle, Des Moines, IA; Brian C. Walsh, Bryan & Cave, Saint Louis, MO.

Vincent Fitzgerald Walls, Plaintiff - Appellant, Pro se, Clarinda, IA.

For Dave Tadman, Unit Manager Iowa State Penitentiary, Randy Van Wye, Bill Sperfslage, Deputy Warden at Iowa State Penitentiary, Deb Nichols, Security Director at Iowa State Penitentiary, Nick Ludwick, Warden at Iowa State Penitentiary, Brent Gansey, Greg Colvin, Activity specialist at Iowa State Penitentiary, Harvey Huffman, Prison Guard at Iowa State Penitentiary, Shane Milligan, Defendants - Appellees: William Allen Hill, Assistant Attorney General, Attorney General's Office, Des Moines, IA.

Before SMITH, COLLOTON, and GRUENDER, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 780

SMITH, Circuit Judge.

Vincent Walls was attacked three times by fellow inmates over the course of about a year and a half while incarcerated in the Iowa State Penitentiary (ISP). The first two attacks came at the hands of Raymond Stallings; the third came from Jaymie Voyles, an alleged prison associate of Stallings. After each attack, Walls was disciplined for fighting. Walls sued prison officials Dave Tadman, Randy VanWye, and Deb Nichols (collectively, " defendants" ), claiming that they violated his Eighth Amendment right against the infliction of cruel and unusual punishment when they failed to protect him from those attacks. After a bench trial, the district court1 granted judgment in favor of the defendants. We affirm.

I. Background

Walls was serving a special life sentence for third-degree sexual abuse at the ISP, a maximum-security facility. The defendants are employees of the ISP. Tadman is a Unit Manager. VanWye is an investigator and handled the investigations of the three fights involved in this case. Nichols is the Security Director.

Iowa Department of Corrections policy provides that upon arriving at a correctional facility inmates have " the opportunity to name other offenders (enemies) who may potentially pose a risk to the offender" while housed in the facility. If problems arise while an inmate is incarcerated, he can report that enemy situation " at any time" by contacting a prison official or submitting a written memo called a " kite." Inmates may also bring concerns, including enemy situations, to prison officials at monthly meetings with the prison's classification committee.2 Walls did not report any potential enemy situations upon arrival or while incarcerated at the ISP.

For reported enemy situations, the ISP classification committee determines whether to assign an " enemy code" to the inmates, and if so, which code to apply. There are four such codes: A, B, C, and D. Code A is the highest-risk coding and " implies that the offenders should not be housed in the same facility." Code B applies to enemies that " the offender or others state should not come into contact" and is generally " based solely on the word of the offender or other unsubstantiated or uncorroborated information." Code B enemies may be housed together. Code C describes enemies who " state that their differences no longer cause them to be enemies," but whom staff feel require monitoring. It is used " temporarily to evaluate the offenders' claim that they

Page 781

should not be classified as enemies." Code D is reserved for " situational events or short-term hostility," but it requires " close[ ] evaluat[ion]" of contact between the offenders.

In January 2010, Walls began having trouble with another ISP inmate, Raymond Stallings. According to Walls, this stemmed from Walls's prior membership in the Vice Lords gang.3 Despite being familiar with the reporting system, Walls did not report any potential problems to prison officials. According to Walls, he believed officials might gossip about his concerns, which would lead to further conflicts.

On January 23, 2010, Stallings attacked Walls near the shower with a shank (homemade knife). Walls claims that he disarmed Stallings, kept the shank, and returned to his cell. The following day, he reported the incident and gave the shank to one of the prison guards. Walls was then asked if he wanted protective custody. He declined. Nevertheless, prison officials placed Walls in involuntary protective custody. Walls then asked to be released. Tadman warned Walls that a return to the general prison population would involve some interaction with Stallings and asked if that would present a problem, or if Walls might have an enemy situation. Walls said no. Walls instead requested a transfer to another prison; however, because of his history of disciplinary issues and his status as a maximum-security prisoner, no other prison would take him.

On March 2, 2010, VanWye interviewed Walls about the fight. Walls again requested a transfer. VanWye also interviewed Stallings; Stallings denied that there had ever been a fight or a shank. VanWye prepared a disciplinary notice that recounted both the fight and the fact that Walls reported it. Both inmates were sanctioned with thirty days of disciplinary detention and the loss of thirty days of earned-time credits. Before returning to the general population after disciplinary detention, Walls and Stallings were both interviewed about potential conflict. Both denied the existence of any further problems.

On July 16, 2010, Stallings jogged towards Walls in the prison yard (in violation of prison rules) and began punching...

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