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Wallace v. Management and Training Corporation

United States District Court, E.D. Texas, Lufkin Division

December 2, 2019

ROSCOE WALLACE
v.
MANAGEMENT AND TRAINING CORPORATION (“MTC”) AND DANIEL DRISKELL

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Zack Hawthorn United States Magistrate Judge.

         Plaintiff, Roscoe Wallace, represented by counsel, Reginald McKamie, filed the above-referenced civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C § 1983 against defendants Management and Training Corporation (“MTC”) and Warden David Driskell.

         Factual & Procedural Background

         Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint on September 6, 2018, and brings this suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violations of his constitutional rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment (docket entry no. 27). Plaintiff alleges the following:

For a significant period of time prior to and including July 19, 2014 there existed in the housing area/dayroom area where Plaintiff was assigned to live at the Diboll Correctional Facility a condition which posed a substantial risk of harm to Plaintiff. An approximately 20-foot high suspended ceiling in the dayroom area, believed to be constructed of sheetrock, and the structure holding the ceiling, was in a dangerous, deteriorating condition for a number of months, becoming progressively worse with recurring rainfalls, with water leaking through the ceiling and condensation leakage from a HVAC unit.
Prison inmates of the Diboll facility utilized mop buckets to catch the dripping water from the dayroom ceiling, as well as mops to mop the dayroom floor. Several inmates slipped, lost balance and/or fell on the wet floor. “MTC” was notified of the dangerous condition of the dayroom ceiling by means of requests for work orders from “MTC” Diboll staff, and grievances or written and verbal requests from inmates to repair the ceiling.
Inmates assigned to live in the housing location with the faulty dayroom ceiling were aware of the dangerous condition, as well as “MTC” staff assigned to work in or near the particular housing area. “MTC” maintenance department was aware of the condition of the dayroom ceiling. Defendant David Driskell was personally aware of the water leaking from the dayroom ceiling and the substantial risk of harm it presented to safety or welfare of inmates living in the housing area and using the dayroom. On several occasions during the months prior to July 19, 2014 Defendant Driskell personally came into the dayroom having the dangerous ceiling condition and observed the condition, and knew that water was leaking through the roof and dayroom ceiling onto the floor. On one or more occasions, prior to July 19, 2014 Defendant Driskell refused to allow inspectors to inspect the dayroom ceiling in question. Defendant Driskell failed to take any reasonable steps to abate the condition of the dayroom ceiling prior to July 19, 2014, but was deliberately indifferent to the risk of serious harm presented by the dayroom ceiling condition.
On July 19, 2014 Plaintiff, along with a number of other inmates were in the dayroom of the faulty ceiling. On that date the deteriorated dayroom ceiling and its structure suddenly collapsed, without warning, falling upon Plaintiff with significant force, causing significant physical injuries to Plaintiff, as well as severe mental and emotional distress and suffering.

         Amended Complaint, pgs. 3-4 (docket entry no. 27). Plaintiff asserts a cause of action for deliberate indifference:

Defendant David Driskell, having knowledge of a substantial risk of harm to Plaintiff due to the dangerous condition of the dayroom ceiling, acted with deliberate indifference to that risk over the course of a several-month period prior to and including July 19, 2014. David Driskell took no reasonable action to abate the serious risk of harm, by causing the timely repair of the dayroom ceiling prior to July 19, 2014, and/or causing Plaintiff to be reassigned to other housing quarters not having a dangerous dayroom ceiling condition, and/or shutting down the dayroom until the dangerous dayroom ceiling condition could be repaired. Instead of taking reasonable measures to abate the condition, and risk of harm to plaintiff, plaintiff alleges further that Defendant David Driskell adopted policy or custom of an unreasonable delay in taking reasonable action to abate the condition, or causing the abatement of the condition, and/or adopted a policy of custom of deliberate indifference to the condition and the risk of harm by ignoring it. Defendants David Driskell and “MTC” adopted a custom of tolerance or acquiescence to the said risk of harm to plaintiff and the violation of plaintiff's Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment Rights. The inaction, policy or custom of “MTC” policy-maker David Driskell and “MTC” was the moving force behind the injuries sustained by plaintiff when the dayroom ceiling collapsed on June 19, 2014, and which evidenced a deliberate indifference to plaintiff's Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights under the United States Constitution; as well as Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment Right to be accorded reasonable personal safety while confined at the Diboll Correctional Facility. The circumstances show that Defendants “MTC” and David Driskell acted in a reckless disregard for the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment Rights of Plaintiff.

         Amended Complaint, pgs. 4-5 (docket entry no. 27). Plaintiff pursues no other cause of action.

         Motion for Leave to Designate Responsible Third Party

         Pending before the Court is Defendants' Motion for Leave to Designate Responsible Third Party (docket entry no. 53). Pursuant to Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, Section 33.004(a), defendants seek to designate J.E. Kingham Construction Co. as a responsible third party. According to the motion, J.E. Kingham Construction Co. constructed the Diboll facility, including the suspended ceiling at issue in this case. Defendants allege the ceiling assembly suspension system fell as a result of J.E. Kingham Construction Co.'s actions and/or omissions in constructing the facility. As such, defendants ...


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