United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Cookeville Division
ROYCE D. SHYE, Plaintiff,
W.B. MELTON, SHANNON HARVEY, and RODNEY PHILLIPS, Defendants.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
JOHN S. BRYANT, Magistrate Judge.
To: The Honorable Chief Judge Kevin H. Sharp, United States District Judge
For the reasons stated below, the Magistrate Judge RECOMMENDS that Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (Docket Entry 29) be GRANTED and that this action be DISMISSED with prejudice for failure to state a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Magistrate Judge also RECOMMENDS that this dismissal count as a STRIKE under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g); that this be considered the final judgment in this case; and that any appeal NOT be certified as taken in good faith under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(3).
I. Statement of the Case
Plaintiff, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, is now an inmate at the Hardeman County Correctional Facility (HCCF) in Whiteville, Tennessee and at all times relevant to the Complaint was an inmate at Overton County Justice Center (OCJC) in Livingston, Tennessee. (Docket Entry 1 and 20). On January 28, 2014, Plaintiff filed his Complaint against Defendants alleging violation of civil rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Docket Entry 1). On February 07, 2014, the District Judge referred this case to the Magistrate Judge. (Docket Entry 3). On November 19, 2014, Defendants filed the instant Motion along with a Memorandum of Law in Support, a statement of undisputed facts, and various supportive exhibits. (Docket Entry 29; 31-32; 36-37). Defendants argue that they are entitled to summary judgment because Plaintiff "has not come forward with sufficient proof to establish that he has suffered the deprivation of any Constitutional right." (Docket Entry 31, p. 2). They also raise a bevy of other defenses and arguments, including failure to allege an injury, failure of process, failure to exhaust administrative remedies, and qualified immunity. (Docket Entry 31). Plaintiff has not filed a response and the time to do so has passed pursuant to the Scheduling Order. (Docket Entry 10). Therefore, the matter is now properly before the Court.
II. Standard of Review
A. 42 U.S.C. § 1983
A plaintiff who brings a § 1983 claim "must allege the violation of a right secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States, and must show that the alleged deprivation was committed by a person acting under color of state law." West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988) (citation omitted).
A. Summary Judgment
Pursuant to Rule 56(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FED. R. CIV. P.), "[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." FED. R. CIV. P. 56(a). A fact is material if it "might affect the outcome of the suit." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute about a material fact is genuine "if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. The Court must "decide whether the evidence presents a sufficient disagreement to require submission to a jury or whether it is so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of law.'" Burgess v. Fischer, 735 F.3d 462, 471 (6th Cir. 2013) (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 251-52).
"The moving party bears the initial burden of establishing an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case." Adams v. Rockafellow, 66 F.Appx. 584, 585 (6th Cir. 2003) (unpublished opinion) (citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986)). "Once the moving party has met its burden of production, the nonmoving party cannot rest on its pleadings, but must present significant probative evidence in support of the complaint to defeat the motion for summary judgment." Adams, 66 F.Appx. at 585 (citing Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248-49; LaPointe v. United Autoworkers Local 600, 8 F.3d 376, 378 (6th Cir. 1993)). "[T]he inferences to be drawn from the underlying facts... must be viewed in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd., v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587-88 (1986) (quoting United States v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655 (1962)).
If the nonmoving party fails to meet its burden, the Court may rely on the facts advanced by the moving party. See Guarino v. Brookfield Twp. Trustees, 980 F.2d 399, 405 (6th Cir. 1992). However, the Court may not grant a motion for summary judgment simply because a nonmoving party fails to respond. See Miller v. Shore Fin. Servs., Inc., 141 F.Appx. 417, 419 (6th Cir. 2005) (unpublished opinion). Instead, "the district court must, at a minimum, examine the moving party's motion for summary judgment to ensure that it has discharged its initial burden." Miller, 141 F.Appx. at 419 (citation omitted).
When a plaintiff is pro se, the Court will review the plaintiff's pleadings under "less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers...." Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). Still, "even pro se complaints must satisfy basic pleading requirements." Dallas v. Holmes, ...