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Beasley v. Westbrooks

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

January 3, 2018

DEMANCE BEASLEY, Plaintiff,
v.
BRUCE WESTBROOKS and BRANDI MCCLURE, Defendants.

          Barbara D. Holmes Magistrate Judge.

          OPINION AND ORDER ACCEPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION [60] AND DENYING PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR A TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER AND PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION [49]

          LAURIE J. MICHELSON U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.

         When he filed this case, Plaintiff Demance Beasley primarily complained about how corrections officers handled (or, from Beasley's perspective, mishandled) a writing on his cell door. Beasley says that Defendant Bruce Westbrooks, then the warden at Beasley's facility, yelled and used racist language when he saw that the writing had not been removed. When Beasley contested the warden's language, Westbrooks' allegedly retaliated with segregation. Beasley also says that he attempted to grieve several officers for retaliation stemming from the writing, but Defendant Brandi McClure did not process his grievances. And when Beasley inquired about the grievances, McClure allegedly retaliated with a disciplinary infraction. All of this happened in July 2016 or not too long thereafter.

         Nine months after Beasley filed his lawsuit, he filed a motion for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction. (R. 49.) He claims that corrections officers other than the two defendants to this action have engaged in a number of harassing and retaliatory acts beginning in May 2017.

         Magistrate Judge Barbara D. Holmes, to whom all pretrial matters are referred, recommends that Beasley's motion for injunctive relief be denied. (R. 60.) Among other things, she points out that Beasley seeks to enjoin non-parties and that the harm he now complains of is unrelated to the allegations of the complaint. Beasley objects. (R. 63.) The Court, having considered these two issues, largely agrees with Magistrate Judge Holmes. Beasley's motion will be denied.

         I.

         A.

         Although presented as facts, the following are merely the allegations of Beasley's complaint. (R. 1.)

         In July 2016, Bruce Westbrooks, the warden of Beasley's correctional facility, inspected Beasley's cell. (R. 1, PID 6.) Westbrooks noticed writing on the door. (R. 1, PID 6.) Beasley explained that the writing had been there but corrections officer De'neice Bah-Scott and her officers would “catch attitudes” when asked for cleaning supplies. (R. 1, PID 6.) Westbrooks told Bah-Scott to provide Beasley with paint so that Beasley could repaint the door. (R. 1, PID 6.) Bah-Scott, “being spiteful, ” told the warden that Beasley was a “gang member” and that it was Beasley who had written on the door. (R. 1, PID 6.) Bah-Scott took a picture of the writing-but only captured two of its five letters-and sent the picture to corrections officer Robin Fish. (R. 1, PID 6.) Fish deemed the two letters gang related and Beasley was “written up” for possessing gang material. (R. 1, PID 6, 8.)

         Two days later, Westbrooks returned to Beasley's cell and noticed that the writing was still there. (R. 1, PID 8.) Beasley explains: “He then became irate saying how much disdain he had for ‘Black Gang members' and proceeded to take out his ink pen and write on the door ‘O.G Sucks Big Dicks.'” (R. 1, PID 8.) Beasley told Westbrooks that his conduct was “very unprofessional” prompting Westbrooks to become angrier and to order Beasley to “clean it.” (R. 1, PID 8.) Beasley refused, on the grounds that Westbrooks' conduct was “disrespectful, racist, and unethical.” (R. 1, PID 8.) Westbrooks then told the “cert team” to send Beasley to segregation. (See R. 1, PID 8.)

         Later in July 2016, corrections officer Bryan Tyner held a disciplinary hearing on the gang-writing charge. (R. 1, PID 8.) According to Beasley, the hearing was rife with procedural unfairness, including that Beasley was not permitted to call witnesses while Bah-Scott was able to call Fish. (R. 1, PID 8.) Beasley was found “guilty for the possession of gang-related material.” (R. 1, PID 7.) This apparently resulted in an increase in Beasley's custody-level points which, in turn, resulted in maximum-security placement. (R. 1, PID 8.) Beasley tried but was not permitted to appeal the guilty determination. (R. 1, PID 7.)

         Beasley then filed (or attempted to file) grievances. But Brandi McClure, the grievance chairperson, “failed to allow [Beasley] to exercise [his] right to the grievance procedures.” (R. 1, PID 7.) Beasley attempted to contact people outside of prison for help, but correctional staff retaliated by deactivating Beasley's phone account. (R. 1, PID 7.) And Beasley's mail never reached its destination. (R. 1, PID 7.) Beasley wrote a Title VI grievance on Westbrooks (Title VI precludes discrimination in programs that receive federal funding) and wrote grievances on Bah-Scott, Tyner, Fish, and McClure. (R. 1, PID 7.) But the grievances were held for two weeks and then either returned as unprocessed or not returned at all. (R. 1, PID 7.) Beasley says, “I asked Cpl. McClure about them [and] she stated that she ‘didn't care' and wrote a disciplinary infraction on me for defiance.” (R. 1, PID 7.) Beasley never got a copy of this disciplinary infraction. (R. 1, PID 7.)

         Unidentified corrections officers also “retaliat[ed]” by “constantly” taking Beasley's recreation and telephone privileges. (R. 1, PID 9.)

         Further, “during an institutional shakedown [Westbrooks and his staff] sent officers into [Beasley's] cell to steal [his] stamps and trash [his] envelopes so [Beasley] couldn't send any mail out.” (R. 1, PID 9.)

         At the most general level, Beasley says, “I am being deprived of my rights and privileges secured by the constitution and laws. My due process rights ha[ve] been violated over and over again. . . . I am going through retaliation, humiliation, deprivation, and intimidation.” (R. 1, PID 9.)

         For the above conduct, Beasley sued Westbrooks, McClure, Bah-Scott, Tyner, and Fish. (R. 1, PID 2-3.) As relief, Beasley sought release from maximum security and his disciplinary infractions removed. (R. 1, PID 10.) Beasley also sought damages for “retaliation, deprivation, humiliation, intimidation, ” and the ...


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