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Hatley v. Simerly

United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Greeneville

May 11, 2017




         This is a pro se prisoner's civil rights complaint filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Before the Court is a motion to dismiss for failure to prosecute filed by Defendant [Doc. 29], a motion for summary judgment filed by Defendant [Doc. 31], a motion to strike filed by Defendant [Doc. 37], and a motion to appoint counsel filed by Plaintiff [Doc. 41]. As Plaintiff has not filed a response to Defendant's motion for summary judgment and the time for doing so has passed [Doc. 38], Plaintiff has waived any opposition to this 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. LR 7.2. For the following reasons, the motion for summary judgment [Doc. 31] will be GRANTED and this action will be DISMISSED. Accordingly, the remaining pending motions [Docs. 29, 37, and 41] will be DENIED as moot.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The Court has previously summarized Plaintiff's complaint as follows:

In his complaint, plaintiff alleges that a lot of his rights are being violated and were violated, and that he has no felony convictions but only misdemeanor convictions [Doc. 1 p. 3]. Plaintiff also states that he was tazed and maced and left in belly chains to die for eight hours or more and that he has mental disabilities [Id.].
In a letter filed with his complaint, plaintiff states that he had been undergoing therapy for a stabbing to his left wrist and that, at the beginning of his incarceration, he was placed in a holding cell [Doc. 1-1 p. 1]. Plaintiff further alleges that the holding cell had no toilet and that when he needed to use the restroom, he tried to get the guards' attention but could not for hours [Id.]. Plaintiff states that he finally kicked the door, at which point two guards came in with chains [Id.].
Plaintiff alleges that he told the officers his needs and that his wrist was injured, at which point defendant Simerly maced him and placed him in belly chains even though he was not resisting, and that this further injured his wrist [Id.]. Plaintiff states that he filed many grievances and got no help [Id.]. Plaintiff then states that his head was smacked “off the wall” and he was left in the cell for ten or more hours in belly chains and that now his hand is numb all the time [Id. at 2]. Plaintiff alleges that he was knocked out when his head was smacked, that he has heard that the officer who hurt him has Dated this to other inmates, that he has post-traumatic stress disorder, and that after this incident he was placed in isolation for twenty-five days with no mat [Id.]. Plaintiff states that many police in the jail and on the street do not like his mom or dad, so he thinks that is why they have Dated this to him [Id.].

[Doc. 6 p. 2-5].


         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 quotation marks omitted). The moving party has the burden of conclusively showing the lack of any genuine issue of material fact. Smith v. Hudson, 600 F.2d 60, 63 (6th Cir. 1979).

         Summary judgment is an integral tool for securing the “just, speedy[, ] and inexpensive determination of every 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 truth at trial.” Id. at 322.

         A district court cannot grant summary judgment in favor of a movant simply because the adverse party has not responded, but rather the court is required to, at a minimum, examine the motion to ensure that the movant has met its initial burden. Stough v. Mayville Cmty. Sch., 138 F.3d 612, 614 (6th Cir. 1998). In doing so, the court “must not overlook the possibility of evidentiary misstatements presented by the moving party.” Guarino v. Brookfield Twp. Trs., 980 F.2d 399, 407 (6th Cir. 1992). The court must “intelligently and carefully review the legitimacy of [] an unresponded-to motion, even as it refrains from actively pursuing advocacy or inventing the riposte for a silent party.” Id. In the absence of a response, however, the Court will not “sua sponte comb the record from the partisan perspective of an advocate for the non-moving party.” Id. at 410. If the court determines that the unrebutted evidence set forth by the moving party supports a conclusion that there is no genuine issue of material fact, the court will determine that the moving party has carried its burden, and “judgment shall be rendered forthwith.” Id. (alteration omitted).

         III. ANALYSIS

         In his motion for summary judgment and the memorandum, statement of material facts, and declaration filed in support thereof [Docs. 31, 31-1, 32, and 33], Defendant Simerly has set forth undisputed evidence regarding the incident at issue in Plaintiff's complaint [Doc. 33 at 1- 4[1] that demonstrates that all of the force Defendant Simerly used during the incident at issue in ...

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