United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
WAVERLY D. CRENSHAW, JR. CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Matthews alleges that his Eighth Amendment right to be free
from cruel and unusual punishment was violated when he was
shackled too tightly while being transported from the Bledsoe
County, Tennessee Correctional Complex to the Lois M. DeBerry
Special Needs Facility in Nashville. The Magistrate Judge has
entered a Report and Recommendation (Doc. No. 79) that
recommends the Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 62)
filed by Brandon Copeland and Ronald McBay be granted.
has filed objections to the R & R in the form of a
“Motion in Opposition to Report and
Recommendation” (Doc. No. 80). After reviewing the
matter de novo as required by Rule 72(b) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the Court agrees with the
Magistrate Judge that Matthews' claim is subject to
dismissal for both procedural and substantive reasons.
objections, Matthews does not dispute that he did not comply
with Local Rule 56.01 that, in relevant part, provides:
c. Response to Statement of Facts. Any party opposing the
motion for summary judgment must respond to each fact set
forth by the movant ...
g. Failure to Respond. Failure to respond to a moving
party's statement of material facts, or a non-moving
party's statement of additional facts, within the time
periods provided by these Rules shall indicate that the
asserted facts are not disputed for the purposes of summary
L.R. 56.01(c) & (g). Nevertheless, Matthews argues that
“[a]ll facts germane to the incident in question were
answered either within the body of the Motion for Summary
Judgment or the Sworn Affidavit provided by the
Plaintiff.” (Doc. No. 80 at 2).
true, as Matthews asserts, that “[p]ro
se complaints are held to less stringent standards than
formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, and should therefore be
liberally construed.” (Id. at 4) (citing
Williams v. Curtin, 631 F.3d 380, 383 (6th Cir.
2011)). However, “federal courts ‘have never
suggested that procedural rules in ordinary civil litigation
should be interpreted so as to excuse mistakes by those who
proceed without counsel.'” Branham v. Micro
Computer Analysts, 350 F. App'x 35, 38 (6th Cir.
2009) (quoting McNeil v. United States, 508 U.S.
106, 113 (1993)). To the contrary, “it is incumbent
upon litigants, even those proceeding pro se, to
follow the . . . rules of procedure, ” and this
includes “local and state court rules.”
Fields v. Cty. of Lapeer, 238 F.3d 420 (6th Cir.
2000) (citation omitted); Jawara v. Suntrust Bank,
2016 WL 2770657, at *1 (M.D. Tenn. May 12, 2016) (collecting
cases for the proposition that, while liberality is afforded
pro se pleadings, “even a pro se
plaintiff must comply with federal [and] local rules of
procedure”). It also includes local rules specifying
certain procedures for responding to motions for summary
judgment. See, e.g., Thorn v.
McGary, 684 Fed.Appx. 430, 433 (5th Cir. 2017)
(affirming district court and stating that pro se
plaintiff “was not excused from complying with the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure [or] the district
court's local rules, ” including the requirement
that oppositions to summary judgment “include a
separate and concise statement of the material facts which
the opponent contends present a genuine issue”);
Greer v. Bd. of Educ. of City of Chicago, 267 F.3d
723, 727 (7th Cir. 2001) (noting that local rules required
plaintiff to admit or deny statement of facts and observing
that, because of plaintiff's failure to do so,
“district court would have been within its discretion
to grant the [“defendant's] motion for summary
judgment on this basis alone”).
Court's Local Rule requiring a statement of undisputed
facts and responses thereto exist for a reason. Such rules
“are meant to ease the district court's operose
task and to prevent parties from unfairly shifting the
burdens of litigation to the court.” Caban
Hernandez v. Philip Morris USA, Inc., 486 F.3d 1, 7 (1st
Cir. 2007). A litigant, whether proceeding pro se or
through counsel, ignores local rules at his or her peril.
United States v. Cruz, 757 F.3d 372, 381 (3d Cir.
2014); Alberti v. Carlo-Izquierdo, 548 Fed.Appx.
625, 631 (1st Cir. 2013). The Magistrate Judge did not err in
recommending dismissal partly on the grounds that Matthews
did not comply with the requirement of Local Rule 56.01.
noncompliance with the Local Rules aside, summary judgment is
warranted on the merits. Even when the Court considers his
affidavit, he has not presented a jury question on his claim
that he was shackled too tightly by either Copeland or McBay
in violation of the Eighth Amendment.
numerous occasions, the Sixth Circuit has addressed the
improper use of restraints, albeit usually in the context of
an excessive force claim under the Fourth Amendment. In such
cases, a plaintiff must allege and prove “1)
“some physical injury from the handcuffing' and 2)
that ‘officers ignored plaintiff's complaints that
the handcuffs were too tight.'” Anderson v.
Theibert, 2017 WL 3140581, at *2 (6th Cir. Feb. 27,
2017) (quoting Lyons v. City of Xenia, 417 F.3d 565,
576 (6th Cir. 2005)). However, “[a] factor that is not
crucial to an analysis of a claim for excessive force in
violation of the Fourth Amendment is the extent of the injury
inflicted, ” whereas “this factor is relevant to
a claim brought under the Eighth Amendment for cruel and
unusual punishment.” Baskin v. Smith, 50 F.
App'x 731, 737 (6th Cir. 2002) (collecting cases). This
is because the hallmark of an Eighth Amendment claim is
“the unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain against
prisoners, ” Williams v. Curtin, 631 F.3d 380,
383 (6th Cir. 2011), while an excessive force claim under the
Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments “operates on a sliding
scale” of reasonableness. Shreve v. Franklin
Cty., 743 F.3d 126, 134 (6th Cir. 2014).
every intrusion upon a prisoner's bodily integrity will
rise to the level of an Eighth Amendment violation, ”
Parrish v. Johnson, 800 F.2d 600, 604 (6th Cir.
1986), nor will “every shove or restraint gives rise to
a constitutional violation” under that amendment.
Cordell v. ...