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Hixson v. State

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

March 24, 2017

TIMOTHY SHANE HIXSON, Plaintiff,
v.
STATE OF TENNESSEE, ET AL., Defendants.

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

          JAMES D. TODD UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         On April 8, 2014, the pro se prisoner Plaintiff, Timothy Shane Hixson, who is presently incarcerated at the Riverbend Maximum Security Institution in Nashville, Tennessee, filed a complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee. (ECF No. 1.) The complaint concerns Hixson's previous confinement at the Northwest Correctional Complex (“NWCX”) in Tiptonville, Tennessee. On April 11, 2014, U.S. District Judge Kevin H. Sharp assessed the civil filing fee pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(a)-(b), and transferred the case to this district, where venue is proper. (ECF No. 3.) Subsequently, Plaintiff filed a motion for additional time to amend the complaint (ECF No. 7), which this Court granted (ECF No. 11). An amended complaint was filed on March 30, 2015. (ECF No. 12.)

         On March 31, 2015, the Court issued an order dismissing portions of the amended complaint denying Plaintiff's motions for appointment of counsel, dismissing portions of the complaint and directing that process be served on Defendants Corizon, Inc. and Dr. John Hochberg. (ECF No. 13.) Following service of process, the Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment on April 6, 2016. (ECF No. 42.) Plaintiff has not filed a response to the summary judgment motion.

         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” because the nonmoving party has failed to make a sufficient showing on an essential element of [his] case with respect to which [he] has the burden of proof.

477 U.S. at 322-23. However, where the party moving for summary judgment also has the burden of persuasion at trial, the initial burden on summary judgment is higher. Under those circumstances, the moving party must show “that the record contains evidence satisfying the burden of persuasion and that the evidence is so powerful that no reasonable jury would be free to disbelieve it.” Surles v. Andison, 678 F.3d 452, 455-56 (6th Cir. 2012) (internal quotation marks omitted).

         In considering whether to grant summary judgment, “the evidence as well as the inferences drawn therefrom must be read in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion.” Kochins v. Linden-Alimak, Inc., 799 F.2d 1128, 1133 (6th Cir. 1986); see also Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587-88 (1986) (same). However, the Court's function is not to weigh the evidence, judge credibility, or in any way determine the truth of the matter. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986). Rather, the inquiry is “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.” Id. at 251-52.

         The fact that a plaintiff does not respond does not require granting a motion for summary judgment. Nevertheless, if the allegations of the complaint are contravened by the defendants' evidence and the defendants are entitled to judgment as a matter of law on those facts, then ...


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