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Reeves v. King

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

December 16, 2014

Marvin Reeves, Plaintiff - Appellee
v.
Lt. Jacob King, Defendant - Appellant

Submitted September 11, 2014

Appeal from United States District Court for the Western District of Arkansas - Hot Springs.

For Marvin Reeves, Plaintiff - Appellee: David Michael Donovan, WATTS & DONOVAN, Little Rock, AR.

Marvin Reeves, Plaintiff - Appellee, Pro se, Little Rock, AR.

For Lt. Jacob King, Defendant - Appellant: James Owen Howe, Assistant Attorney General, ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE, Little Rock, AR.

Before BYE, COLLOTON, and GRUENDER, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 431

BYE, Circuit Judge.

Marvin Reeves brought this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action against Lieutenant Jacob King, alleging a violation of his Eighth Amendment rights. King moved for summary judgment based on qualified immunity, which the district court[1] denied. King brings this interlocutory appeal. We affirm.

I

" We state the facts in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and in accordance with the factual findings made by the district court." Handt v. Lynch, 681 F.3d 939, 941 (8th Cir. 2012).

Reeves was an inmate at the Ouachita River Unit in Malvern, Arkansas, housed in the isolation unit. After providing information to correctional officers about a prison nurse who was bringing contraband into the facility, Reeves endured retaliation from other correctional officers and inmates. Specifically, while Lieutenant King and another correctional officer made security rounds in the isolation unit, Reeves attempted to initiate a conversation with them. Lieutenant King responded to Reeves by commenting, " Go ahead and snitch to the major like you did to him on the nurse and he'll get back with you later." Lieutenant King made this comment in the presence of numerous inmates, and Reeves suffered emotional distress and a fear of retaliation as a result of the comment. The following day, Arkansas Department of Corrections transferred Reeves to the East Arkansas Regional Unit.

Reeves then initiated this ยง 1983 action, alleging Lieutenant King violated his Eighth Amendment rights by calling him a snitch. On the basis of qualified immunity, Lieutenant King brought a motion for summary judgment. The magistrate determined Lieutenant King was not entitled to qualified immunity because Eighth Circuit precedent provides a detention officer violates his duty to protect an inmate by labeling that inmate as a snitch. Over Lieutenant King's objection, the ...


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