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Watson v. Tennessee Department of Correction

United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Eastern Division

September 5, 2014

TIMOTHY C. WATSON, Plaintiff,
v.
TENNESSEE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTION, ET AL., Defendants.

ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT, DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT, CERTIFYING AN APPEAL WOULD NOT BE TAKEN IN GOOD FAITH, AND NOTIFYING PLAINTIFF OF APPELLATE FILING FEE

JAMES D. TODD, District Judge.

On February 22, 2011, Plaintiff Timothy C. Watson, who is currently an inmate at the Whiteville Correctional Facility in Whiteville, Tennessee, filed a pro se complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and a motion to proceed in forma pauperis. (ECF Nos. 1 & 2.) The Court subsequently granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis and assessed the civil filing fee pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA"), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(a)-(b). (ECF No. 3.) On May 30, 2012, the Court issued an order dismissing portions of the complaint and directing the Clerk to issue process for the remaining Defendant, Darlene Mathews. Mathews is the librarian at the Hardeman County Correctional Facility ("HCCF"), where Plaintiff was formerly housed. (ECF No. 17.) HCCF is owned and operated by the Corrections Corporation of America ("CCA").

Defendant filed a motion for summary judgment on January 30, 2014. (ECF No. 52.) After being granted an extension of time (ECF No. 54), Plaintiff responded by filing a cross-motion for summary judgment on April 30, 2014 (ECF No. 55). Defendant responded to the cross-motion (ECF No. 56), and Plaintiff filed a reply (ECF No. 58).

Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56, summary judgment is appropriate "if the movant shows that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). "[T]he burden on the moving party may be discharged by showing'-that is, pointing out to the district court-that there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 325 (1986). Rule 56(c)(1) provides that "[a] party asserting that a fact cannot be or is genuinely disputed" is required to support that assertion by:

(A) citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations..., admissions, interrogatory answers or other materials;[1] or
(B) showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact.

"If a party fails to properly support an assertion of fact or fails to properly address another party's assertion of fact as required by Rule 56(c)" the district court may:

(1) give an opportunity to properly support or address the fact;
(2) consider the fact undisputed for purposes of the motion;
(3) grant summary judgment if the motion and supporting materials- including the facts considered undisputed-show that the movant is entitled to it; or
(4) issue any other appropriate order.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e).

In Celotex Corp., the Supreme Court explained that Rule 56: mandates the entry of summary judgment, after adequate time for discovery and upon motion, 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. In such a situation, there can be "no genuine issue as to any material fact, " since a complete failure of proof concerning an essential element of the nonmoving party's case necessarily renders all other facts immaterial. The moving party is "entitled to judgment as a matter of law" ...

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