Patterson v. Kelley, No. 16-3891 (8th Cir. 2018)Annotate this Case
The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of plaintiff's motion for appointed counsel and adverse grant of summary judgment on plaintiff's failure to protect claims against various corrections officials after he sustained injuries when a fellow inmate attacked him. The court held that the district court had the discretion to appoint plaintiff counsel on this record, and it did not abuse this discretion in declining to do so. The court also held that insofar as plaintiff alleged that defendants failed to protect him from a specific threat posed by the inmate, his own inability to anticipate the surprise attack and his decision not to report his altercation with the inmate the previous afternoon defeated liability. Finally, assuming that plaintiff satisfied the objective component of his failure-to-protect claim, the record was devoid of evidence suggesting that any of defendants were subjectively aware of, or deliberately indifferent to, a substantial risk of harm to inmate safety.