United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Knoxville Division
THOMAS A. VARLAN, Chief District Judge.
This is a pro se prisoner's civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 filed by plaintiff James Keith ("plaintiff"). The matter is before the Court on the motion for summary judgment filed by defendant Jamie Manis ("defendant"). Plaintiff has not filed a response to the motion for summary judgment and the Court deems plaintiff to have waived his opposition to the dispositive motion. Elmore v. Evans, 449 F.Supp. 2, 3 (E.D. Tenn. 1976), aff'd mem., 577 F.2d 740 (6th Cir. 1978); E.D.TN. LR7.2. For the following reasons, the motion for summary judgment will be GRANTED and this action will be DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE.
I. Standard of Review
Rule 56(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that "[t]he court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the court must draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party. McLean v. 988011 Ontario, Ltd., 224 F.3d 797, 800 (6th Cir. 2000). "Summary judgment is proper if the evidence, taken in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, shows that there are no genuine issues of material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Hartman v. Great Seneca Fin. Corp., 569 F.3d 606, 611 (6th Cir. 2009) (internal quotations marks omitted). The burden is on the moving party to conclusively show that no genuine issue of material fact exists. Smith v. Hudson, 600 F.2d 60, 63 (6th Cir. 1979).
Summary judgment should not be disfavored and may be an appropriate avenue for the "just, speedy and inexpensive determination" of an action. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 327 (1986). The moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law "against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial." Id. at 322.
II. Factual Background
Plaintiff is in the custody of the Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC). His complaint concerns an incident that occurred during his confinement in the Morgan County Correctional Complex (MCCX). Plaintiff is now confined in the South Central Correctional Center. The defendant is a MCCX correctional officer.
Plaintiff alleges that after he was allowed into C-pod to perform his cleaning duties as the center court "rockman, " the defendant and fellow correctional officer Jerry Adkins were bringing inmates in from outside recreation. Plaintiff was then viciously attacked by inmates Ghorley, Jenkins, and Yerian, who cut and stabbed him with a box cutter and a homemade knife. According to plaintiff, prison policy provides that, when escorting inmates from recreation to their cells, there is to be one inmate per one officer. He thus argues that the defendant's failure to comply with this policy resulted in the assault. Plaintiff also alleges the defendant failed to properly search the inmates prior to the attack and discover their weapons. Plaintiff further alleges that inmate Ghorley had previously been caught with a weapon and was known to be dangerous. All in all, plaintiff claims that the defendant was deliberately indifferent to a serious risk of harm to him. [Doc. 2, Complaint, pp. 3-7].
The defendant has submitted her affidavit in support of her motion for summary judgment. [Doc. 27, Affidavit of Jamie Manis]. She admits that plaintiff was assaulted by other inmates:
On January 10, 2012, other officers and I were escorting inmates to and from recreation in Unit 26, C-Pod. Inmate James Keith, #375944, an inmate cleaner, came into the pod with the pretense to mop. As inmate Keith entered the pod, Officer Jerry Adkins told inmate Keith that he needed to leave until we were finished escorting the other inmates. While inmate Keith and Officer Adkins were discussing this matter, inmate Brady Ghorley, #427500, began to speak to inmate Keith. The words quickly escalated to physical violence. Other inmates involved were Bobby Jenkins, #385176; and Steven Yerian, #274282. Officer Adkins and I used mace and verbal commands to try to subdue the inmates. I also pressed my body alarm to notify other officers of the need for assistance. CO Melissa Davis restrained inmate Yerian. Inmate Jenkins ran to his cell following being sprayed. CO Adkins and I physically restrained and cuffed Inmate Ghorley, who was in procession [sic] of a weapon. A utility knife blade or box cutter was retrieved and placed into evidence according to procedure.
[ Id. at 1-2].
The defendant testifies that all TDOC and MCCX policies were followed on the day of the incident and the inmates were searched after leaving the recreation area. [ Id. at 2]. The defendant further testifies that she was not aware of any threats of bodily harm to the plaintiff by the other inmates prior to the incident and that the incident was unexpected. [ Id. ].
In order to state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, plaintiff must establish that he was deprived of a federal right by a person acting under color of state law. Black v. Barberton Citizens Hospital, 134 F.3d 1265, 1267 (6th Cir. 1998); O'Brien v. City of Grand Rapids, 23 F.3d 990, 995 (6th Cir. 1994); Russo v. City of Cincinnati, 953 F.2d 1036, 1042 (6th Cir. 1992). See also Braley v. City of Pontiac, 906 F.2d 220, 223 (6th Cir. 1990) ("Section 1983 does not itself create ...