United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Greeneville
CHRISTOPHER H. STEGER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
a pro se prisoner's civil rights action filed pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983. Now before the Court is Defendant
Hodges' motion for summary judgment [Doc. 30], in support
of which Defendant Hodges filed a memorandum, a statement of
undisputed facts, and several exhibits [Docs. 30-1, 30-2,
30-3, 31, and 32]. Plaintiff did not file a substantive
response in opposition, and the time for doing so has passed.
E.D. Tenn. LR 7.1(a)(2). As such, Plaintiff waived any
opposition thereto. Elmore v. Evans, 449 F.Supp. 2,
3 (E.D. Tenn. 1976), aff'd mem. 577 F.2d 740
(6th Cir. 1978); E.D. Tenn. LR 7.2. For the reasons set forth
below, Defendant Hodges' motion for summary judgment
[Doc. 30] will be GRANTED and this action
will be DISMISSED.
Court previously summarized the factual allegations of
Plaintiff's complaint and amended complaint as follows:
Plaintiff alleges that on September 28, 2017, Defendant
Correctional Officer Hodges assaulted him with a water
bottle. Plaintiff further alleges that a nurse then checked
out his injuries and gave him a dose of anti-inflammatory
medicine, but this medicine did not alleviate the pain.
Plaintiff also states that the nurses did not follow up with
a checkup or an x-ray as they had stated they were going to
Additionally, in his amended complaint, Plaintiff claims that
he suffers from acute stress disorder due to the underlying
incident, that Defendant Hodges was deliberately indifferent
to his safety, that Defendant Hodges intentionally threw the
water bottle at him from a distance of approximately
twenty-five feet, that Defendant Lee is responsible for the
actions of Defendant Hodges because he is the Warden, and
that TDOC is liable for the actions at issue because it has
violated its own policies.
[Doc. 10 p. 2-3 (internal citations omitted)]. The Court
screened the amended complaint and allowed Plaintiff's
Eighth Amendment claim against Defendant Hodges to proceed
[Id. at 4-5].
STANDARD OF REVIEW
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). As such, 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).
successfully oppose a motion for summary judgment, “the
non-moving party . . . must present sufficient evidence from
which a jury could reasonably find for him.” Jones
v. Muskegon County, 625 F.3d 935, 940 (6th Cir. 2010). A
district court cannot grant summary judgment in favor of a
movant simply because the other party did not respond to the
motion, however. Stough v. Mayville Cmty. Sch., 138
F.3d 612, 614 (6th Cir. 1998). Rather, the court must, at a
minimum, ensure that the movant has met its initial burden.
Id. 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.
Hodges seeks summary judgment on the grounds that: (1) the
fact that Defendant Hodges' water bottle hit Plaintiff is
insufficient to establish a violation of Plaintiff's
Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual
punishment, as it is undisputed that Defendant Hodges did not
intend to hit Plaintiff with the water bottle or know of any
risk that this would occur; and (2) Defendant Hodges is
entitled to qualified immunity. The Court agrees with
Defendant Hodges that Plaintiff has not set forth evidence
from which a jury could reasonably find in Plaintiff's
favor on his Eighth Amendment Claim. Accordingly, Defendant
Hodges is entitled to summary judgment on this ground and the
Court does not reach the issue of qualified immunity.
determining whether prison officials violated the Eighth
Amendment by “inflict[ing] unnecessary and wanton pain
in using force upon a prisoner, ” the key issue is
“‘whether force was applied in a good-faith
effort to maintain or restore discipline . . . or maliciously
and sadistically to cause harm.'” Kingsley v.
Hendrickson, 135 S.Ct. 2466, 2475 (2015) (quoting
Whitley v. Albers, 475 U.S. 312, 320-21 (1986)).
“[A] prison official who was unaware of a substantial
risk of harm to an inmate may not be held liable under the