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Rivers v. Karpells

United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division

February 23, 2015

EDWARD KARPELLS, et al., Defendants.


JOHN S. BRYANT, Magistrate Judge.

Defendants Allen, Compton, Denton, Frawley, Gentry, Henson, Steely, Warren, Weikal, White, Wright, and the Metropolitan Government have filed their motion to dismiss the claims against them based upon Plaintiff's failure to exhaust administrative remedies, failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, and qualified immunity (Docket Entry No. 74). Plaintiff Rivers has not responded in opposition.

For the reasons stated below, the undersigned Magistrate Judge recommends that Defendants' motion be granted and the complaint against them dismissed.


Plaintiff Sterling Rivers, a prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, has filed this civil rights action alleging that the individual Defendants and their employer, Davidson County Sheriff's Office ("DCSO"), have violated his constitutional rights in multiple ways while he was confined in the custody of the DCSO in Nashville, Tennessee.

Defendants have filed this motion to dismiss.


In his 70-page complaint (Docket Entries Nos. 1 and 1-1), Plaintiff Rivers alleges a multitude of wrongful acts by Defendant from December 2011 through April 2012, including but not limited to, use of excessive force against him on December 17, 2011, and April 21, 2012. The factual allegations in the complaint have previously been summarized by the Court (Docket Entry No. 15 at 1-4).


Although Defendants have entitled their motion as a motion to dismiss, they have filed matters outside the pleadings in the declaration of Tom Davis (Docket Entry No. 76). Therefore, as provided in Rule 12(d) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Defendants' motion must be treated as a motion for summary judgment under Rule 56.

A party may obtain summary judgment by showing "that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Covington v. Knox County School Sys., 205 F.3d 912, 914 (6th Cir. 2000). The moving party bears the initial burden of satisfying the court that the standards of Rule 56 have been met. See Martin v. Kelley, 803 F.2d 236, 239 n.4 (6th Cir. 1986). The ultimate question to be addressed is whether there exists any genuine dispute of material fact. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986); Covington, 205 F.3d at 914 (citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 325 (1986)). If so, summary judgment is inappropriate.

To defeat a properly supported motion for summary judgment, the nonmoving party must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue of material fact for trial. If the party does not so respond, summary judgment will be entered if appropriate. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e). The nonmoving party's burden of providing specific facts demonstrating that there remains a genuine issue of material fact for trial is triggered once the moving party shows an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 325. A genuine issue of material fact exists "if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the Court must construe the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, drawing all justifiable inferences in its favor. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986).


The moving Defendants argue that the claims against them must be dismissed based upon several different defenses. First, Defendants state that many of Plaintiff Rivers's claims are subject to dismissal for his failure to exhaust administrative remedies. The Supreme Court has held that no unexhausted claim by a prisoner may be considered by the courts, and that proper exhaustion of a claim requires that prisoners must complete the administrative review process in accordance with the applicable procedural rules defined by the prison grievance process. Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 218-20 (2007); Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 88 (2006). According to DCSO policy number 1-3.540, a prisoner's complaint about a specific incident must be grieved within seven days of the incident, and complaints about policies or practices must be filed within seven days of the most recent time the inmate was affected (Docket Entry No. 76-1 at 2). If the prisoner is dissatisfied with the grievance response, he may appeal it within ...

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