F I L E D
U.S. - DISTRICT COURT
JAN 31, 2001
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF TENNESSEE
COLUMBIA DIVISION CLERK
Civil No. I 01 0010
RICKY RONALD THOMPSON,
CORRECTIONS CORPORATION OF AMERICA, PRISON REALTY
TRUST, INC. and Correctional Officer DURHAM, first name unknown,
as well as other persons actingin concert with the named Defendants,
COMPLAINT FOR DAMAGES
Comes now the Plaintiff Ricky Ronald Thompson, by and through counsel, and sues the Defendants Corrections Corporation of America ("CCA"), Prison Realty Trust, Inc. ("PRT"), and Correctional Officer Durham, as well as several other unknown employees and agents acting in concert with the named Defendants. For cause of action the Plaintiff would show as follows:
I. PRELIMINARY STATEMENT
1. This is an action for actual, compensatory and punitive damages pursuant to 42 U.S.C.§§ 1983, 1985 and 1986 for human and civil rights violations arising under the First, Fourth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, as well as for State law claims for intentional torts arising under the common law of Tennessee for severe physical and emotional injuries sustained by the Plaintiff from July 26, 1999 to August 31, 1999, while the Plaintiff was a prisoner in the custody and subject to the care and protection of agents and employees of the South Central Correctional Facility ("SCCF"), Clifton, Tennessee, a facility managed and operated by the defendant Corrections Corporation of America under color of law pursuant to a public service contract with the State of Tennessee’s Department of Corrections.
2. Ricky Ronald Thompson, is an adult citizen of Phenix City, Alabama.
§ 41-24-101 et seq. PRT and its subsidiaries, including CCA, is the largest developer and manager of privatized correctional and detention facilities worldwide, and, as to the actions and omissions complained of herein, acts and operates under color of Tennessee law.
3. Defendant Corrections Corporation of America is a stock corporation combined with the Defendant Prison Realty Trust, Inc., a publicly traded Maryland Real Estate Investment Trust, with headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee. These entities, together and in constant privity of directive and instruction, operate, control and manage several correctional facilities under contract with the State of Tennessee under the Private Prison Contracting Act of 1986, Tenn. Code Annotated.
4. Defendant CCA Correctional Officer ("CO") Durham, first name unknown, upon information and belief is an adult resident and citizen of Tennessee, and at all times relevant here, served as a correctional officer, employee and agent of Defendant CCA.
5. In addition to the Defendants named herein, Plaintiff intends to join as additional defendants several other unknown employees, agents, corporate officials and board members of both PRT and CCA acting in concert with the named defendants. These persons whose names are now unknown will be joined herein as parties once their actual identities are revealed to Plaintiff in the course of comprehensive discovery and investigation.
6. This Court’s jurisdiction is invoked pursuant to 28 United States Code §1331(federal question), 28 U.S.C. §1332 (diversity) and 28 U.S.C. §1343(3)(4)(civil rights). The claims presented herein arise under 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985, and 1986 for conspiracy to violate basic human and civil rights under color of law as well as indignity torts cognizable under the common law of Tennessee under this Court’s diversity jurisdiction as the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000 exclusive of interest and costs.
V. FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS
7. On July 26, 1999 Plaintiff was a prisoner under the care and custody of CCA’s South Central Correctional Facility ("SCCF") in Clifton, Tennessee. At all times herein references to CCA are incorporated to include references to PRT.
8. On the morning of July 26, 1999 plaintiff was eating breakfast in the SCCF prison dining hall when he was accosted by several prison gang members demanding $25 a month from him for protection. Plaintiff politely refused and promptly left without finishing eating in order to return to his living unit by way of the medical station to take his morning medication, as was his daily custom.
9. Upon leaving the dining hall to take his medication and then return to his cell, plaintiff observed the aforementioned gang members stalking him, as a predator hunts its prey. Plaintiff then approached his living unit in Columbia Pod A. When Plaintiff arrived at his living unit he informed defendant CO Durham, the duty officer and gatekeeper of Columbia Pod A on the day shift, that he wanted to be locked down in his restricted living area and cell and out of harm’s way, in that several gang members were stalking him to extort money. The Plaintiff informed the Defendant Durham that he expected to be physically assaulted if he did not agree to pay $25 a month for protection.
10. Within moments of the Plaintiff’s being admitted to Columbia Pod A the Defendant Durham did willfully, intentionally and with malice aforethought, notwithstanding the plaintiff’s plea for safe haven, deliberately admit the gang members that had threatened the Plaintiff in the dining hall earlier that morning, into the Plaintiff’s secured living area, whereupon the Plaintiff was brutally and savagely assaulted with knives while in an area restricted under CCA’s own written policies to only those prisoners with an assigned cell and an identification card for Pod A. The Defendant Durham unlocked the doors to facilitate the gang members’ hasty retreat out of Pod A and back into the general prison population, while the Plaintiff was left on the floor unattended, bleeding profusely. The Defendant Durham, with deliberate indifference to plaintiff’s grave and life threatening injuries, ignored and neglected the Plaintiff, this Defendant being unwilling to even call for emergency medical care and treatment for the injuries administered to the Plaintiff during brutal assault that the Defendant Durham had just facilitated.
11. As a result of the brutal assault on the Plaintiff which was facilitated by the Defendant Durham, the Defendant CCA’s medical staff had Plaintiff immediately evacuated to Nashville Memorial Hospital for emergency surgery to attend to his severe bodily injuries and profuse bleeding.
12. On or about August 2, 1999, upon release from Nashville Memorial Hospital by his attending physicians, unknown and unnamed agents of defendant CCA, with pre-planned military style precision, transported the Plaintiff back to SCCF, where upon he was placed not in the SCCF infirmity to recuperate from his serious injuries, but instead falsely imprisoned ex communicado and segregated in punitive solitary confinement in a cell to sleep on the floor like an animal with his wounds re-opened and bleeding on the cell floor.
13. For the next 30 days the Plaintiff was falsely imprisoned by the Defendants, being arbitrarily and capriciously placed in solitary confinement, without any access to the outside world and being unable to communicate with his family, with a human rights attorney or with the courts or the free press. During this time unknown and unnamed CCA officials at SCCF at the highest levels of the institution, including at least two assistant wardens, attempted repeatedly every few days to intimidate, terrorize, threaten and coerce the Plaintiff by calling him a"dead mother fucking nigger" if he did not execute a signed standard form written legal agreement prepared by PRT and CCA’s legal counsel releasing CCA and its affiliates from all liability for the princely sum of $25,000.
14. On August 31, 1999, after Plaintiff’s persistent and repeated refusal to sign a written agreement releasing CCA and its affiliates of all liability, CCA arranged for the Plaintiff to be abruptly transferred to a Tennessee Department of Correction prison, Northwest Correctional Facility in Tiptonville, Tennessee, to serve out the remainder of his sentence.
15. On February 14, 2000 plaintiff was released from Department of Correction custody and promptly relocated to Alabama.
16. On July 12, 2000 the Social Security Administration found plaintiff permanently and totally disabled on the basis of a mental impairment directly traceable to the psychological abuse and trauma he suffered while an inmate at SCCF, under the imprisonment and abuse of CCA and PRT under color of Tennessee law.
17. The Plaintiff avers that the willful and intentional acts as alleged herein were undertaken by CCA and its control person and parent PRT pursuant to corporate customs, practices and/or policies, and countless unknown and unnamed PRT and CCA officials conspired to injure, oppress, threaten and intimidate the Plaintiff under color of law in CCA’s charge from the free exercise of rights or privileges secured to Plaintiff under the United States Constitution.
18. The Plaintiff previously filed this action in this Court on July 21, 2000 as Case No. CA-1-00-0090, which action was non-suited without prejudice on July 25, 2000. The instant complaint follows.
VI. CLAIMS FOR RELIEF
19. The facts alleged herein constitute claims under 42 U.S.C.§1983 for violations of Plaintiff’s rights arising under the First, Fourth, Eighth Amendments, as well as substantive and procedural due process claims arising under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
20. The facts alleged herein constitute claims actionable under 42 U.S.C.§1985 for conspiracy to violate rights secured by the United States Constitution.
21. The facts alleged herein constitute claims under 42 U.S.C.§1986 against PRT and CCA, ratified and directed by unknown corporate officials in Nashville, Tennessee and other PRT and CCA offices as yet unidentified, and having the power to do so failed to prevent such wrongful human rights violations to occur.
22. The facts alleged herein constitute claims for common law false imprisonment within a prison, false arrest within a prison, assault and battery and torture within a prison, extortion, and outrageous cruel and unusual punishment within a prison.
VII. DEMAND FOR RELIEF
WHEREFORE, plaintiff prays that this Court:
a) Set this matter down promptly for jury trial;
b) Award plaintiff actual, compensatory and punitive damages in an amount exceeding $75,000 against each Defendant for the draconian human rights violations and indignity torts set forth herein;
c) Award the Plaintiff his costs and expenses herein as well as his reasonable attorneys fees under 42 U.S.C.
d) Grant such further or general relief as may be appropriate.
JOHN E. HERBISON # 12659
2016 Eighth Avenue South
Nashville, Tennessee 37204
ROBERT S. CATZ*
P.O. Box 0771
Cadiz, Kentucky 42211-0771
Attorneys for Petitioner
*Admitted to practice before the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky