Argued: May 11, 2016
from the United States District Court for the Western
District of Virginia, at Roanoke. Glen E. Conrad, Chief
District Judge. (7:12-cv-00154-GEC)
Guynn, Jr., GUYNN & WADDELL, P.C., Salem, Virginia;
Christopher Carey Newton, FRITH ANDERSON & PEAKE, P.C.,
Roanoke, Virginia, for Appellants.
Edward Williams, MEL WILLIAMS PLC, Roanoke, Virginia, for
C. Johnson, FRITH ANDERSON & PEAKE, P.C., Roanoke, Virginia,
for Appellant Justin Miles.
DUNCAN, WYNN, and HARRIS, Circuit Judges.
HARRIS, Circuit Judge
2011, appellee Dewayne Cox was severely beaten by a fellow
inmate while incarcerated at the Western Virginia Regional
Jail. Cox had repeatedly complained to jail officials -
including the appellants, correctional officers Bradley
Quinn, Joshua Pinkerman, Benjamin Baxley, and Justin Miles -
that he was being threatened, harassed, and robbed by the
group of inmates who ultimately orchestrated the beating. Cox
filed suit against Baxley, Quinn, Pinkerman, and Miles,
alleging that they had been deliberately indifferent to a
substantial risk to his safety, in violation of 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 and the Eighth Amendment. The district court
denied summary judgment to the correctional officers, finding
that they were not entitled to qualified immunity on
Cox's claims. We agree, and we affirm.
this is an interlocutory appeal of a denial of qualified
immunity, we consider only "the facts as the district
court viewed them as well as any additional undisputed
facts." Danser v. Stansberry, 772 F.3d 340, 345
(4th Cir. 2014).
and 2011, Dewayne Cox was incarcerated at the Western
Virginia Regional Jail. Cox was housed in "Pod 3A"
with about fifty other men, including Terrence Jackson, David
Cabell, Sheron Harris, and Brandon Reddix. Jackson, Cabell,
and Harris formed an informal gang or group in the pod. At
some point, Reddix joined their group as well.
other inmates found the Jackson-Cabell-Harris group to be
loud, aggressive, intimidating, and threatening. As one
inmate, Gerald Garlic, explained,
They would snatch the T.V. remote from others['] hands,
and take radios or unplug headphones, and disrupt board
games or card games by pushing them out of reach or taking
p[ie]ces and issuing a challenge to who-ever they chose to
pick on at the time by saying things like "what ya gonna
do pops" "say something" "I'll fuck
you up" ["]we rule this pod and if y[']all
don't like it just say something and we'll take care
of you" or "say something to the [correctional
officers] we will beat your old toothless stinking ass to
death, " or ["]we are Bloods and we run shit in
J.A. 317-18. According to another inmate, Joe Rutherford,
"Harris[, ] Cabell and Jackson [were] constantly loud
and intimidating and more or less [were] in a gang all their
own. They were trouble waiting to happen." J.A. 324.
at least one other inmate submitted informal complaints, or
"blue slips, " describing the group's
aggressive and threatening behavior to jail officials, and
Cox discussed his concerns with Captain Chad Keller on March
8, 2011. Cox informed Keller that Harris was harassing and
stealing from him and requested that either he or Harris be
moved to a different pod. According to Cox, Keller responded
that he knew Harris was "an asshole" who
"creates problems everywhere he goes." J.A. 282.
But Keller asked Cox if he and Harris could remain in the pod
together if he talked to Harris and "ke[pt] him on a
chain." Id. Cox agreed.
Keller talked to Harris about Cox's complaints, however,
the situation in the pod only got worse for Cox. Harris
called Cox a "snitch" and threatened that he
"was going to get" him. J.A. 283. Then, a few weeks
later, Harris and Cabell instigated a physical altercation
with Cox and issued explicit threats in front of other
inmates. As one inmate described:
[T]here were about six of us playing poker together. . . .
Dewayne [Cox] won a hand. Harris and Cabell started raising
their voices, telling Dewayne he was a p[ie]ce of shit. Mr.
Cabell jerked the sheet we had covering the table off the
table and threw cards everywhere. He reached across the table
and knocked other cards . . . out of Dewayne's hands and
got in Dewayne[']s face and said "Do something punk,
 say anything you old toothless son of a bitch and I'll
stomp your white ass all over this pod." Then Cabell
went to the telephone area, still angry, upset, and threw a
blue plastic chair . . . across the floor, and issued a
challenge for the whole pod, for "anybody say one
fucking word about it I will fuck em up" "Go on!
Anybody, please say something so I can beat some ass."
J.A. 324-25 (affidavit of inmate Rutherford). In addition,
Harris and Cabell stole commissary items from Cox and
harassed him on other occasions. Cox submitted several more
blue slips complaining about these issues and requesting that
either he or the inmates who were ...