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Owuor v. Courville

United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lake Charles Division

March 31, 2015

PETER MAKUSI OTEMBA OWUOR,
v.
CATHY COURVILLE, ET AL

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

KATHLEEN KAY, Magistrate Judge.

Defendant Cathy Courville and her co-defendants move this court to dismiss the plaintiff's complaint as it applies to them on the ground that they are entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law. Despite being granted an extension of time to file a response, plaintiff has not responded to the motion. Doc. 68. For the reasons stated below IT IS RECOMMENDED that the defendants' motion be GRANTED.

I.

Background

This is an action under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), arising from numerous constitutional violations allegedly perpetuated against the plaintiff, Makusi Otemba Owuor, while he was incarcerated at the Federal Detention Center in Oakdale, Louisiana ("FDC"). At the time he filed suit, plaintiff was in the custody of the Department of Homeland Security/United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement pending a determination of his immigration status. He was released from Immigration custody on May 22, 2012. Doc. 51, att.1, p. 11.

Initially the plaintiff named only Courville as defendant. Plaintiff later filed an amended complaint adding co-defendants Byrd, Chapman, Straub, and Williams. In his amended complaint plaintiff alleged that the various defendants, acting in concert as Courville's "cat's paws" and at her direction, violated his constitutional rights by:

(1) Denying plaintiff access to the prison law library in violation of his First Amendment's right of access to the courts;
(2) Forcing plaintiff to secure employment in order to gain access to the library in violation of his Thirteenth Amendment right against involuntary servitude;
(3) Retaliating against plaintiff for lodging administrative complaints in violation of his Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights to due process of law;
(4) Placing plaintiff in the FDC's special housing unit ("SHU") without "any charges being filed against him" and without officially notifying him of the reasons for such incarceration in violation of his Fourth and Fifth Amendments due process rights; and
(5) Acting with deliberate indifference toward plaintiff's health and safety in assigning a cellmate who allegedly sexually assaulted him in violation of his Eighth Amendment right against cruel and unusual punishment.

See Doc. 15, pp. 3-5; Doc. 51, att. 1, p. 7; see also Doc. 53, att. 2, p. 5.[1]

Courville filed a motion ("the Courville motion") seeking to dismiss plaintiff's lawlibrary-access, forced-labor, and retaliation claims against her on the grounds that the allegations failed to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, or, alternatively, that she was entitled to summary judgment. Doc. 51, att. 1, p. 1. Byrd, Chapman, Straub, and Williams were not included in the Courville motion because they had not yet been served with process. Doc. 51, att. 1, p. 2. Accordingly, on the recommendation of the undersigned, the court dismissed the law-library-access and forced-labor claims but retained the retaliation claim as it applied to Courville. Doc. 55, p. 9; See Doc. 59.

Thereafter co-defendants Byrd, Staub, Chapman, and Williams filed a motion to dismiss claims (1) through (4) of the plaintiff's complaint and further moved for summary judgment on claim (5). See Doc. 53, p. 1. For purposes of the law-library-access, forced-labor, and retaliation claims, the co-defendants adopted the reasoning, arguments, and exhibits provided in the earlier Courville motion. Again, the court adopted a separate recommendation to grant dismissal as to the law-library-access and forced labor claims, grant ...


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