995 F.2d 1526 (11th Cir. 1993), 90-5909, LaMarca v. Turner

Docket Nº:90-5909.
Citation:995 F.2d 1526
Party Name:Anthony LaMARCA, Martin Saunders and Edwin Johnson, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, and David Aldred, Steve H. Bronson, Jr., Eddie Cobb, Ron Durrance, Wayne Epprecht, Michael Gordon and Billy Joe Harper, individually, Plaintiffs-Appellees, v. R.V. TURNER, individually in his former capacity as Superintendent of Glades C
Case Date:July 07, 1993
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
 
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995 F.2d 1526 (11th Cir. 1993)

Anthony LaMARCA, Martin Saunders and Edwin Johnson,

individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated,

and David Aldred, Steve H. Bronson, Jr., Eddie Cobb, Ron

Durrance, Wayne Epprecht, Michael Gordon and Billy Joe

Harper, individually, Plaintiffs-Appellees,

v.

R.V. TURNER, individually in his former capacity as

Superintendent of Glades Correctional Institution, Chester

Lambdin, in his official capacity as Superintendent of

Glades Correctional Institution, Defendants-Appellants.

No. 90-5909.

United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit

July 7, 1993

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        Michael B. Davis, Davis, Carroll, Colbath & Isaacs, & Stinson, P.A., West Palm Beach, FL, Walter M. Meginniss, Asst. Atty. Gen., Dept. of Legal Affairs, Tallahassee, FL, for defendants-appellants.

        David M. Lipman, Miami, FL, William R. Amlong, Amlong & Amlong, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, James A. Tucker, Florida Rural Legal Services, Inc., Fort Myers, FL, for plaintiffs-appellees.

        Appeal from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

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        Before TJOFLAT, Chief Judge, DUBINA, Circuit Judge, and WILLIAMS [*], Senior Circuit Judge.

        TJOFLAT, Chief Judge:

        This is a suit brought by ten present and former inmates of Glades Correctional Institution (GCI), a Florida prison. They seek individually, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (1988), money damages for cruel and unusual punishment they allege they suffered because of the deliberate indifference of a former superintendent of the institution, Randall Turner. The plaintiffs still housed at GCI also seek an injunction, on behalf of all present and future inmates at the prison, against the current superintendent, Chester Lambdin, to correct certain allegedly unconstitutional conditions of confinement.

        After the parties joined issue (on the plaintiffs' third amended complaint), the district court, having denied Turner's demand for a jury trial, tried the ten damages claims and entered judgment for eight of them. 1 Turner appealed, but we dismissed the appeal for want of a final judgment as the district court had not disposed of the still pending claim for injunctive relief. LaMarca v. Turner, 861 F.2d 724 (11th Cir.1988) (Table) (the first appeal). After our order dismissing the appeal reached the district court, Turner moved the court to reopen the record on the plaintiffs' damages claims so that he could introduce some additional evidence on the issue of liability. The court, concluding that it lacked jurisdiction to revisit those claims, denied the motion. The court then turned to the claim for injunctive relief.

        After hearing five days of testimony relating to the current conditions of confinement, the court identified several areas of concern that "require[d its] attention." Although the challenged prison conditions had improved considerably, the court concluded that injunctive relief was necessary. The court's final judgment therefore granted injunctive relief and the money damages previously awarded, along with attorney's fees under 42 U.S.C. § 1988 (1988). The instant appeal is from that final judgment. Turner appeals the damages awards; Lambdin appeals the injunction.

        We now vacate all of the damages awards and remand them for further proceedings. We do so as to five of the appellees because the court should have honored Turner's demand for a jury trial. As to the three remaining appellees, the court applied the wrong legal standard for Eighth Amendment damages liability and, moreover, erred in concluding that it lacked jurisdiction (following dismissal of the first appeal) to reopen the record and entertain the evidence Turner proffered in defense of the damages claims. Finally, we vacate in part the injunction against Lambdin and remand the matter of equitable relief for further proceedings.

        Part I of this opinion outlines the case's procedural history and describes the facts underlying the damages claims and the claim for injunctive relief. Part II rejects Turner's argument that the plaintiffs failed to present sufficient evidence to prevail, but holds that the district court applied the wrong legal standard for Eighth Amendment liability for money damages. Part III addresses the district court's grant of injunctive relief. Part IV considers Turner's Seventh Amendment jury demand. Finally, part V reviews Turner's attacks on the trial court's treatment of his motions to continue and to augment the trial record.

       I.

A.

        On May 14, 1982, Anthony LaMarca, then an inmate at GCI, filed a handwritten pro se complaint in the district court stating that he had "been countlessly approached, threatened with physical violence and assaulted by other inmates at [GCI] because [he] refused to participate in homosexual activities, or pay

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protection to be left alone." 2 He alleged that "a severe lack of protection" existed at GCI and that "the institution seem[ed] unable or unwilling to handle the situation." On September 21, 1983, LaMarca, having obtained counsel, filed an amended complaint adding three other GCI prisoners as plaintiffs, Martin Saunders, Edwin Johnson, and Henry Rosenbaum. 3 Each prisoner sought damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and, as class representatives, "injunctive relief for all ... present and future inmates of GCI." 4 On November 2, 1983, the defendants, Turner and Lambdin, filed their answer to the first amended complaint. 5

        On August 26, 1985, more than a year and a half after the defendants answered the first amended complaint, the plaintiffs moved the court to amend the complaint a second time, adding seven plaintiffs, David Aldred, Steve H. Bronson, Jr., Eddie Cobb, Ron Durrance, Wayne Epprecht, Michael Gordon, and Keith Harris. Each alleged that he was assaulted while an inmate at GCI, and sought damages against Turner under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

        The defendants objected to the joinder of these additional plaintiffs, claiming that the joinder would unreasonably burden their preparation for trial which was then set for November 4, 1985. Nevertheless, the magistrate judge who was to hear the case granted plaintiffs' motion to amend. 6 The defendants immediately requested a continuance of the trial, arguing that in light of the presence of the seven new plaintiffs, they required at least ninety days for additional discovery and trial preparation. The magistrate judge granted the defendants a one-month continuance, resetting the trial for December 2, 1985. On November 8, 1985, the defendants filed a demand for jury trial "of all issues so triable." 7

        On November 13, 1985, Turner and Lambdin requested another continuance, claiming that they could not complete discovery and prepare for trial by the December 2 trial date. Two days later, before the court could act on the motion, the plaintiffs moved the court for leave to file a third amended complaint, adding another plaintiff, Billy Joe Harper, who sought damages against Turner, and dropping Harris from the suit. The court referred both motions to the magistrate judge. On November 28, the magistrate judge gave the plaintiffs leave to amend, but refused to grant the defendants a continuance or a jury trial. The defendants, pursuant to S.D.Fla.Mag.J.R. 4(a), immediately appealed the magistrate judge's rulings to the district court. On December 2, the court affirmed these rulings and the trial began.

        To summarize, on December 2, the case proceeded to trial on the allegations of the third amended complaint. This complaint stated section 1983 claims for damages

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against Turner, individually, by LaMarca, Saunders, and Johnson (the original plaintiffs), and Aldred, Bronson, Cobb, Durrance, Epprecht, Gordon, and Harper (the new plaintiffs). The original plaintiffs also served as representatives for purposes of the class action claim for injunctive relief against Lambdin in his official capacity as superintendent of GCI.

B.

        The magistrate judge, operating under S.D.Fla.Mag.J.R. 1(f), commenced the bench trial. At the plaintiffs' request, the magistrate judge bifurcated the proceeding, indefinitely postponing consideration of the claim for injunctive relief. The trial, therefore, considered only the damages claims against Turner. The following is a brief statement of the facts the court found. 8

        The inmate assaults complained of occurred between 1981 and 1984, during Turner's tenure as superintendent. GCI had four dorms ("A", "B", "C", "D"). 9 The A and D dorms each had two wings containing three rows of twenty bunk beds. The B and C dorms were smaller, but also had bunk beds arranged in three rows. Each dorm had a shower, located at one end of the building, and a "wicket," or cage, located in the center of the dorm, that provided officers with a vantage point from which to observe the inmates. A guard's view from the wicket into the interior of the dorm and the shower area was obstructed by sheets and towels the inmates hung from their bunk beds, the placement of bunk beds next to the isles leading to the shower area, and opaque glass on the shower door. While officers were supposed to patrol the interiors of the dorms regularly, they did not.

        The prison also maintained cells for disciplinary, administrative, and protective confinements. This special detention suffered from substandard conditions. The cells lacked adequate ventilation, had poor lighting, and were infested with roaches and vermin. Prisoners were allowed little or no exercise, only three showers a week, no canteen privileges, and only limited use of the law library. Inmates in the general population could gain access to the confinement area...

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