Case: Alley v. Little

3:06-cv-00340 | U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee

Filed Date: April 11, 2006

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On April 11, 2006, Sedley Alley, a death-sentenced inmate at the Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee, filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. §1983 against the Tennessee Department of Corrections in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee. Alley complained to the Court that the defendants' lethal injection protocol was unconstitutional, arguing that the executed was not properly anesthetized, allowing him to feel the excrutiating pain ca…

On April 11, 2006, Sedley Alley, a death-sentenced inmate at the Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee, filed a lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. §1983 against the Tennessee Department of Corrections in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee. Alley complained to the Court that the defendants' lethal injection protocol was unconstitutional, arguing that the executed was not properly anesthetized, allowing him to feel the excrutiating pain caused by the potassium chloride injection. He also argued that the use of the paralytic agent pancuronium bromide was arbitrary and unreasonable because it risked the infliction of torture, causing the executed to suffocate due to the inability to use his lungs. Alley asked the Court to enjoin the defendants from "using, seeking to obtain, ordering, writing a prescription, writing a physician's order, prescribing, dispensing, or in any other manner transferring to Defendant Bell or any other defendants involved in the execution process pancuronium bromide in any form whatsoever." He also asked the Court to declare the defendants' lethal injection protocol unconstitutional.

The day after the complaint was filed, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee (Judge Aleta A. Trauger) transferred the case to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Tennessee because the plaintiff already had a case pending there. On the same day, the plaintiff asked the Middle District of Tennessee to reconsider the transfer of the case, and the next day, the Court agreed to reconsider the case transfer, noting that the defendants had not opposed the plaintiff's wish to keep the case in the Middle District.

On April 19, 2006, the defendants asked the District Court to dismiss the case, arguing that the plaintiff had not demonstrated any likelihood that his complaint would prevail at trial. On May 2, 2006, the District Court (Judge Trauger) ordered that the defendants' motion to dismiss would be held in abeyance pending the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Hill v. McDonough (CJ-FL-2). Alley v. Little, 2006 WL 1207611 (M.D.Tenn. May 2, 2006). On May 11, 2006, the District Court stayed Alley's execution pending further orders of the court.

The defendants appealed the District Court's orders holding the motion to dismiss in abeyance and staying the execution. On May 12, 2006, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (Chief Judge Danny Julian Boggs) held that the lethal injection protocol at issue was not cruel and unusual punishment, and that Alley was not entitled to a preliminary injunction staying his execution. The court then vacated the District Court's orders. Alley v. Little, No. 06-5650, 181 Fed.Appx. 509 (6th Cir. 2006). The plaintiff asked the Sixth Circuit to rehear the case en banc, and four days later, the Sixth Circuit denied the petition for rehearing.

On June 12, 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a slip opinion in Hill v. McDonough in which it held that a prisoner's lethal injection challenge could be brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and did not have to be brought as a habeas claim, so long as the prisoner was only challenging the method of injection instead of challenging lethal injection as a general matter.

Two days after the U.S. Supreme Court's opinion in Hill was issued, the District Court (Judge Trauger) granted the defendants' motion to dismiss the case, noting the Supreme Court's reiteration of a state's "important interest in the timely enforcement of a sentence," and finding that Alley had brought this lawsuit merely to delay his execution, rather than to address a legitimate violation of his rights. Alley v. Little, No. 06-0340, 2006 WL 1697207 (M.D.Tenn. Jun.14, 2006).

Alley appealed the dismissal of his case, and on June 24, 2006, the Sixth Circuit (Judge Boggs) affirmed the District Court's dismissal of the case, finding that Alley's case was extremely unlikely to succeed on the merits, and that he had brought the lawsuit merely to delay his execution. Alley v. Little, 186 Fed.Appx. 604 (6th Cir. 2006). Alley applied to the Sixth Circuit for a rehearing en banc, which was denied three days later. Alley v. Little, 452 F.3d 621 (6th Cir. 2006). Alley then applied to the U.S. Supreme Court for a stay of his execution, and on July 17, 2006, (which was actually after his execution) the U.S. Supreme Court denied his petition.

On June 28, 2006, Sedley Alley was executed by lethal injection.

Summary Authors

Kristen Sagar (9/13/2007)

Related Cases

Hill v. McDonough, Northern District of Florida (2006)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attrorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4642507/parties/alley-v-little/


Judge(s)

Batchelder, Alice Moore (Ohio)

Boggs, Danny Julian (Kentucky)

Clay, Eric L. (Michigan)

Cole, Ransey Guy Jr. (Ohio)

Cook, Julian Abele Jr. (Michigan)

Daughtrey, Martha Craig (Tennessee)

Gilman, Ronald Lee (Tennessee)

Griffin, Richard Allen (Michigan)

Martin, Boyce Ficklen Jr. (Kentucky)

McKeague, David William (Michigan)

Judge(s)

Batchelder, Alice Moore (Ohio)

Boggs, Danny Julian (Kentucky)

Clay, Eric L. (Michigan)

Cole, Ransey Guy Jr. (Ohio)

Cook, Julian Abele Jr. (Michigan)

Daughtrey, Martha Craig (Tennessee)

Gilman, Ronald Lee (Tennessee)

Griffin, Richard Allen (Michigan)

Martin, Boyce Ficklen Jr. (Kentucky)

McKeague, David William (Michigan)

Moore, Karen Nelson (Ohio)

Rogers, Henry Wade (Connecticut)

Ryan, James Leo (Michigan)

Sutton, Jeffrey S. (Ohio)

Trauger, Aleta Arthur (Tennessee)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Bottei , Paul R. (Tennessee)

Henry , Kelley J. (Tennessee)

Minton, Christopher M. (Tennessee)

Swift, Gretchen L. (Tennessee)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Hudson , Mark Alexis (Tennessee)

Whalen , Joseph F. III (Tennessee)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

3:06-cv-00340

Docket [PACER]

Alley v. Little

July 17, 2006

July 17, 2006

Docket
1

3:06-cv-00340

Complaint

April 11, 2006

April 11, 2006

Complaint
8

3:06-cv-00340

Motion to Reconsider Order Transferring Case

April 12, 2006

April 12, 2006

Pleading / Motion / Brief
7

3:06-cv-00340

Order of Transfer

April 12, 2006

April 12, 2006

Order/Opinion
10

3:06-cv-00340

Order [Granting Motion to Reconsider]

April 13, 2006

April 13, 2006

Order/Opinion
15

3:06-cv-00340

Motion to Dismiss of Defendants Little and Bell

April 19, 2006

April 19, 2006

Pleading / Motion / Brief
16

3:06-cv-00340

Memorandum in Support of Motion to Dismiss of Defendants Little and Bell

April 19, 2006

April 19, 2006

Pleading / Motion / Brief
21

3:06-cv-00340

Memorandum [re: Motion to Dismiss]

May 2, 2006

May 2, 2006

Order/Opinion
23

3:06-cv-00340

Motion for Preliminary Injunction

May 4, 2006

May 4, 2006

Pleading / Motion / Brief
27

3:06-cv-00340

Memorandum [Granting Preliminary Injunction]

May 11, 2006

May 11, 2006

Order/Opinion

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4642507/alley-v-little/

Last updated Aug. 24, 2022, 3:20 a.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link Date / Link
21

MEMORANDUM AND OPINION re defts' Motion to Dismiss signed by Judge Aleta A. Trauger on 5/2/06. (hv)

May 2, 2006

May 2, 2006

RECAP
1

COMPLAINT against John Does 1-100, George Little, Ricky Bell, John Doe Physicians 1-100, John Doe Pharmacists 1-100, John Doe Medical Personnel 1-100, John Doe Executioners 1-100 , filed by Sedley Alley. NO summons issued.(rm) (Entered: 04/11/2006)

April 11, 2006

April 11, 2006

2

APPLICATION to Proceed in forma pauperis by Sedley Alley. Responses due by 4/28/2006 (rm) (Entered: 04/11/2006)

April 11, 2006

April 11, 2006

22

ORDER: For the reasons stated in the accompanying Memorandum, defts' 15 First MOTION to Dismiss will be HELD IN ABEYANCE pending the US Supreme Court's decision in 'Hill v. McDonough'. Signed by Judge Aleta A. Trauger on 5/2/06. (hv)

May 2, 2006

May 2, 2006

RECAP
3

ORDER granting 2 Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis; process shall issue to the defts. Signed by Judge Aleta A. Trauger on 4/11/06. (hv) (Entered: 04/11/2006)

April 11, 2006

April 11, 2006

27

MEMORANDUM AND OPINION re Motion for Preliminary Injunction signed by Judge Aleta A. Trauger on 5/11/06. (hv)

May 11, 2006

May 11, 2006

RECAP
28

ORDER: For the reasons expressed in the accompanying Memorandum, granting 23 Motion for Preliminary Injunction; the pltf's execution scheduled for 5/17/06 is STAYED pending further orders of the court. Signed by Judge Aleta A. Trauger on 5/11/06. (hv)

May 11, 2006

May 11, 2006

RECAP
4

MOTION Status Conference by Sedley Alley. Responses due by 4/28/2006 (Bottei, Paul) (Entered: 04/11/2006)

April 11, 2006

April 11, 2006

5

Summons issued as to George Little, Ricky Bell, and TN Attorney General. Summons, complaint, 4/11/06 order, and USM-285 forms forwarded to US Marshal for service. (hv) (Entered: 04/11/2006)

April 11, 2006

April 11, 2006

CERTIFICATES OF SERVICE: must contain the full mailing address for all opposing counsel, whether they are served electronically by filing with CM/ECF system or by US Mail (Local Rule 8(a)(4)). Please file an appropriate certificate of service for the Motion for Status Conference (do not re-file the motion). (hv) (Entered: 04/11/2006)

April 11, 2006

April 11, 2006

6

CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE by Sedley Alley re 4 MOTION Status Conference (Bottei, Paul) (Entered: 04/11/2006)

April 11, 2006

April 11, 2006

8

MOTION for Reconsideration re 7 Order Dismissing Case Transferring the Case by Sedley Alley. Responses due by 5/1/2006 (Bottei, Paul) (Entered: 04/12/2006)

April 12, 2006

April 12, 2006

9

RESPONSE to Motion re 8 MOTION for Reconsideration re 7 Order Dismissing Case Transferring the Case filed by George Little, Ricky Bell. (Whalen, Joseph) (Entered: 04/13/2006)

April 13, 2006

April 13, 2006

CERTIFICATES OF SERVICE: must contain the full mailing address for all opposing counsel, whether they are served electronically by filing with CM/ECF system or by US Mail (Local Rule 8(a)(4)). Please file an appropriate certificate of service for the Response to Motion (#9). (hv) (Entered: 04/13/2006)

April 13, 2006

April 13, 2006

10

ORDER: granting 8 Motion for Reconsideration and 7 Order Dismissing Case is VACATED; this case will remain in this district. Granting 4 Motion for Status Conference; Status Conference set for 4/14/06 at 1:00 pm. Signed by Judge Aleta A. Trauger on 4/13/06. (hv) (Entered: 04/13/2006)

April 13, 2006

April 13, 2006

11

NOTICE by Sedley Alley Plaintiff's Postion Regarding Status of the Case (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit A-Affidavit of Lubarsky# 2 Exhibit A-Affidavit of Lubarsky Ex. 1 Lubarsky CV# 3 Exhibit A-Affidavit Lubarsky Ex. 2 Article# 4 Exhibit B-Affidavit Ramsey# 5 Exhibit C-Excerpts From Ricky Bell Deposition)(Bottei, Paul) (Entered: 04/14/2006)

April 14, 2006

April 14, 2006

12

Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Aleta A. Trauger: Status Conference held on 4/14/2006. Discovery stayed. Dispositive mtn to be filed by 4/19/06, response filed by 4/26/06, reply filed by 4/28/06. (Court Reporter Becky Cole.) (dt) (Entered: 04/14/2006)

April 14, 2006

April 14, 2006

NOTE TO FILER: Re: Document No. 11; Affidavits if original should be filed as separate entries using the event Affidavit found under the category Other Documents. Exhibits should be filed as attachments not included with the affidavit. (km, ) Modified text on 4/17/2006 (km, ). (Entered: 04/17/2006)

April 17, 2006

April 17, 2006

13

ORDER: Status conference held 4/14/06. Defts shall file their dispositive mtn by 4/19/2006, pltf shall respond by 4/26/06 and defts may reply by 4/28/06. Following a decision on this dispositive mtn, if the case is not fully dismissed, the Court will set an early status conference. Discovery is stayed pending further orders. Signed by Judge Aleta A. Trauger on 4/17/06. (gi, ) (Entered: 04/17/2006)

April 17, 2006

April 17, 2006

14

SUMMONS returned executed by Sedley Alley. Ricky Bell served on 4/13/2006, answer due 5/3/2006. (dt) (Entered: 04/19/2006)

April 18, 2006

April 18, 2006

15

First MOTION to Dismiss by George Little, Ricky Bell. Responses due by 5/8/2006 (Hudson, Mark) (Entered: 04/19/2006)

April 19, 2006

April 19, 2006

16

MEMORANDUM in Support of 15 First MOTION to Dismiss, 1 Complaint filed by George Little, Ricky Bell. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Affidavit to Elect Method of Execution# 2 Appendix Unpublished Cases cited in Memorandum in Support)(Hudson, Mark) (Entered: 04/19/2006)

April 19, 2006

April 19, 2006

NOTE TO FILER: Re: Document Nos. 15-16; In the future, the certificate of Service should include the names and addresses for all persons served, whether electronically or by mail. (km, ) (Entered: 04/20/2006)

April 20, 2006

April 20, 2006

18

SUMMONS returned executed by USM; George Little served on 4/13/2006, answer due 5/3/2006. (hv) (Entered: 04/25/2006)

April 25, 2006

April 25, 2006

19

RESPONSE to Motion re 15 First MOTION to Dismiss Of Defendants Little and Bell filed by Sedley Alley. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1-TN Sup. Ct. Order# 2 Exhibit 2-Bottei letter to Little# 3 Exhibit 3-Little Letter to Bottei# 4 Exhibit 4-Affidavit to Elect Method of Execution# 5 Exhibit 5-Morales v. Hickman)(Minton, Christopher) (Entered: 04/26/2006)

April 26, 2006

April 26, 2006

20

REPLY to Response to Motion re 15 First MOTION to Dismiss filed by George Little, Ricky Bell. (Hudson, Mark) (Entered: 04/28/2006)

April 28, 2006

April 28, 2006

23

MOTION for Preliminary Injunction by Sedley Alley. Responses due by 5/22/2006 (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1-Order Roane v. Gonzales# 2 Exhibit 2-Order Taylor v. Crawford# 3 Exhibit 3-Order Abu-Ali v. Bell# 4 Exhibit 4-Order Johnson v. Bell Western District# 5 Exhibit 5-Order Johnson v. Bell 6th Circuit# 6 Exhibit 6-Order Workman v. Bell Western District# 7 Exhibit 7-Order Workman v. Bell 6th Circuit# 8 Exhibit 8-Order Alley v. Bell Western District# 9 Exhibit 9-Order Alley v. Bell 6th Circuit# 10 Exhibit 10-Order Alley v. Bell TN Sup Ct. 1-05# 11 Exhibit 11-Order Alley v. Bell TN Sup Ct. 3-06)(Bottei, Paul) (Entered: 05/04/2006)

May 4, 2006

May 4, 2006

24

RESPONSE to Motion re 23 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction filed by George Little, Ricky Bell. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Unpublished Court Order# 2 Exhibit Coe Autopsy Report# 3 Exhibit Testimony of Dr. Bruce Levy in Abdur'Rahman)(Hudson, Mark) (Entered: 05/08/2006)

May 8, 2006

May 8, 2006

25

REPLY to Response to Motion re 23 MOTION for Preliminary Injunction filed by Sedley Alley. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1-George Little Letter 4-6-06)(Bottei, Paul) (Entered: 05/09/2006)

May 9, 2006

May 9, 2006

26

NOTICE of Filing by Sedley Alley (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1-Order Jackson v. Taylor)(Bottei, Paul) (Entered: 05/10/2006)

May 10, 2006

May 10, 2006

29

NOTICE OF APPEAL as to 28 Order on Motion for Preliminary Injunction, by George Little, Ricky Bell. (Hudson, Mark) (Entered: 05/11/2006)

May 11, 2006

May 11, 2006

USCA Case Number 06-5650 for 29 Notice of Appeal filed by Ricky Bell & George Little; assignment of Patricia Elder as case manager. (gi, ) (Entered: 05/11/2006)

May 11, 2006

May 11, 2006

30

USCA Appeal Fees received $ 455 receipt number 109913 re 29 Notice of Appeal filed by Ricky Bell, George Little. (hv) (Entered: 05/11/2006)

May 11, 2006

May 11, 2006

31

ORDER of USCA as to 29 Notice of Appeal filed by Ricky Bell and George Little vacating the preliminary injunction and stay of execution. (mk, ) (Entered: 05/15/2006)

May 12, 2006

May 12, 2006

32

ORDER of USCA as to 29 Notice of Appeal denying petition for rehearing en banc. (mk, ) (Entered: 05/16/2006)

May 16, 2006

May 16, 2006

33

MANDATE of USCA as to 29 Notice of Appeal filed by Ricky Bell, George Little (mk, ) (Entered: 05/18/2006)

May 18, 2006

May 18, 2006

34

TRANSCRIPT prepared by OCR Becky Cole for Status Conference held on 4/14/06 before Judge Trauger.(This document is NOT available on-line. Contact the court reporter at 615-726-4893 to purchase a copy) (hv) (Entered: 05/24/2006)

May 24, 2006

May 24, 2006

35

MOTION For Status Conference by Sedley Alley. Responses due by 6/23/2006 (Bottei, Paul) (Entered: 06/06/2006)

June 6, 2006

June 6, 2006

36

ORDER: the defts shall file a response to pltf's Motion for Status Conference by 6/9/06. Signed by Judge Todd J. Campbell on 6/7/06. (hv) (Entered: 06/07/2006)

June 7, 2006

June 7, 2006

37

RESPONSE to Motion re 35 MOTION For Status Conference filed by George Little, Ricky Bell. (Hudson, Mark) (Entered: 06/09/2006)

June 9, 2006

June 9, 2006

38

ORDER: the 35 MOTION For Status Conference filed by Sedley Alley will be held in abeyance pending a decision re defts' Motion to Dismiss, on which the Court expects to rule this week. Signed by Judge Todd J. Campbell on 6/13/06. (hv) (Entered: 06/13/2006)

June 13, 2006

June 13, 2006

41

Docket entry no. 40 was entered on the docket in compliance with Rule 58 and/or Rule 79(a) FRCP, on 6/14/06 by hv. (hv) (Entered: 06/14/2006)

June 14, 2006

June 14, 2006

42

NOTICE OF APPEAL as to 40 Order on Motion for Miscellaneous Relief, Order on Motion to Dismiss, 39 Memorandum & Opinion by Sedley Alley. (Bottei, Paul) (Entered: 06/19/2006)

June 19, 2006

June 19, 2006

44

INFORMATION COPY from 6CCA denying the petition for rehearing en banc of the decision issued 6/24/06. (mk, ) (Entered: 07/03/2006)

June 29, 2006

June 29, 2006

45

AMENDED INFORMATION COPY from 6CCA denying petition for rehearing en banc of decision issued 6/24/06. (mk, ) (Entered: 07/03/2006)

June 29, 2006

June 29, 2006

47

MANDATE of USCA as to 42 Notice of Appeal filed by Sedley Alley, (mk, ) (Entered: 07/03/2006)

June 29, 2006

June 29, 2006

DE 46 docketed in wrong case & removed from docket. Redocketed in 3:06-0646. (aef, ) (Entered: 07/03/2006)

July 3, 2006

July 3, 2006

48

NOTICE from US Supreme Court (application number 05A1213) that application for stay of execution of sentence of death is denied. Petition for writ of certiorari is also denied. (mk, ) (Entered: 07/17/2006)

July 17, 2006

July 17, 2006

49

NOTICE from US Supreme Court (application number 05A1209) that application for stay of execution of sentence of death is denied. Petition for writ of certiorari is also denied. (mk, ) (Entered: 07/17/2006)

July 17, 2006

July 17, 2006

39

MEMORANDUM AND OPINION re defts' Motion to Dismiss signed by Judge Aleta A. Trauger on 6/14/06. (hv)

June 14, 2006

June 14, 2006

RECAP
40

ORDER: For the reasons stated in the accompanying Memorandum, denying 35 Motion for Status Conference, granting 15 Motion to Dismiss. Signed by Judge Aleta A. Trauger on 6/14/06. (hv)

June 14, 2006

June 14, 2006

RECAP

Case Details

State / Territory: Tennessee

Case Type(s):

Criminal Justice (Other)

Special Collection(s):

Multi-LexSum (in sample)

Key Dates

Filing Date: April 11, 2006

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

a death-sentenced inmate at the Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville, Davidson County, Tennessee

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Tennessee Department of Corrections (Nashville, Davidson), State

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Defendant

Nature of Relief:

None

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Content of Injunction:

Preliminary relief granted

Issues

Death Penalty:

Lethal Injection - General