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Robbins v. Ingram

United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division

February 26, 2015

ALEXANDER ROBBINS, SR., Plaintiff,
v.
JOHN INGRAM and OFFICER SULLIVAN, Defendants.

ORDER

MALCOLM J. HOWARD, Senior District Judge.

This matter is before the court on defendants' motion for summary judgment [D. E. #20]. Although Mr. Robbins was issued a Roseboro letter on August 5, 2014 and subsequently requested and received an extension of time to respond to defendants' motion for summary judgment, he did not file a response. The time for filing a response has expired, and these matters are ripe for adjudication.

STATEMENT OF THE CASE

Mr. Robbins, appearing pro se, filed a complaint on February 28, 2014, alleging harms committed by defendants, Mr. Ingram and Officer Sullivan, in violation of 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983. [D.E. #1]. Mr. Robbins alleges that while formerly being held in the Brunswick County Detention Center, he was housed in what he describes as a foul-smelling cell infested with mold, bacteria, and bed bugs. [D.E. #1 at 3-4]. In addition, Mr. Robinson further contends that he was served lukewarm meals and that he was not allowed to go outside for exercise. [D. E. #1 at 3-4]. On or about December 26 or 27, 2013, Mr. Robbins alleges that "Officer Sullivan" watched him urinate and that an individual identifying himself as "Sullivan" in a later intercom communication made a comment of a sexual nature to him. [D. E. #1 at 3-4].

Defendants timely filed their answer on June 6, 2014, denying the material allegations of the complaint and asserting several affirmative defenses, including qualified immunity and failure to exhaust administrative remedies as required pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act. [D.E. #11].

STATEMENT OF THE FACTS

In September 2013, Mr. Robbins was convicted in New Hanover County of the offenses of credit card fraud and misdemeanor possession of marijuana. [D.E. #21-2 at 18]. He was sentenced to a term of confinement of 120 days and was sent to the Brunswick County Detention Center to serve his sentence pursuant to the Misdemeanant Confinement Program, [1] rather than being sent to a North Carolina Department of Correction Institution as he had expected. [D.E. #21-2 at 18 and #21-5 at 3].

Mr. Robbins claims that while being held in the Brunswick County Detention Center from September 16, 2013, to January 2, 2014, he was housed in a foul-smelling cell infested with mold, bacteria, and bed bugs. [D.E. #1 at 3-4]. During his tenure, Mr. Robbins claims further that, on many occasions, his meals were no longer hot by the time he received them. [D.E. #1 at 3-4]. Mr. Robbins claims that he was not allowed to go outside like he had been able to do when he was previously incarcerated in facilities operated by the North Carolina Department of Correction. Also, Mr. Robbins claims that a boil developed on two occasions in the same location on the side of his face. [D.E. #21-3 at 13-16].

Lastly, Mr. Robbins claims that on or about December 26 or 27, 2013, "Officer Sullivan" was standing outside of his closed cell door looking in through the window in the cell door while Mr. Robbins was urinating. When Mr. Robbins turned around, he asked Officer Sullivan, "What is it? What are you looking at?" [D.E. #21-3 at 13-16]. Mr. Robbins claims that an individual later "came over the speaker" in his cell and purportedly said words to the effect of, "Robbins, this is Sullivan. I could get you better sex than you ever had." [D. E. #1 at 3-4]. Officer Sullivan unequivocally denies making any statements of this kind to Mr. Robbins. Mr. Robbins acknowledges that prior to this incident, the only communications that he had with Officer Sullivan related to occasional inquiries regarding Mr. Robbins' need for clean sheets or blankets. [D.E. #21-2 at 41]. Mr. Robbins also acknowledges that prior to the alleged incident, Officer Sullivan had never made any improper statements or comments to him. [D.E. #21-2 at 42]. Further, Mr. Robbins states he had no further conversations or communications with Officer Sullivan after the alleged incident. [D. E. #21-2 at 43]. Mr. Robbins admits that Officer Sullivan never touched him at any time. [D. E. # 21-3 at 8].

Mr. Robbins submitted a grievance at 6:31 a.m. on December 29, 2013 by way of a computer kiosk in his cell block. [D.E. #21-2 at 45-46]. In his grievance, Mr. Robbins wrote:

TO SHERIFF JOHN INGRAM I ALEXANDER ROBBINS WOULD LIKE TOO NO WHY I HAVE NOT BEEN OUTSIDE? I WAS SENTENCE TO 120 DAYS AND I SHOULD HAVE BEEN ABLE TO GO OUTSIDE I HAVE NOT HAD A HOT MEAL, BACKMOLD IS TAKING OVER THIS SUPPOSE TO BE JAIL I HAVE HAD OFFICER SULLIVIN [SIC] STEAL MAILING STAMPS AND TALK SEX TALK WITH ME IM SCARE FOR MY LIFE HERE

[sic] [D.E. #21-3 at 42].

Plaintiff acknowledges he received a response to his grievance the next day, December 30, 2013, at 11:43 a.m. This response stated:

OK... FOR OUTSIDE TIME. WE DO NOT ALLOW OUTSIDE TIME BECAUSE THE STATE SAYS WE HAVE ADEQUATE SPACE FOR EXERCISE AND WE HAVE SKY LIGHTS FOR YOUR SUNLIGHT. THE HOT MEALS... NO THEY ARE NOT SCORTCHING HOT BUT THEY ARE SERVED AT A SAFE TEMP FOR ALL INMATES. 1ST SGT WILL GET UP WITH YOU REGAURDING THE MOLD PROBLEM, HE WANTS TO SEE AND AS FAR AS OFFICER ...

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