United States District Court, M.D. Louisiana
Please take notice that the attached Magistrate Judge's Report has been filed with the Clerk of the United States District Court.
In accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), you have fourteen (14) days after being served with the attached Report to file written objections to the proposed findings of fact, conclusions of law and recommendations therein. Failure to file written objections to the proposed findings, conclusions, and recommendations within 14 days after being served will bar you, except upon grounds of plain error, from attacking on appeal the unobjected-to proposed factual findings and legal conclusions of the Magistrate Judge which have been accepted by the District Court.
ABSOLUTELY NO EXTENSION OF TIME SHALL BE GRANTED TO FILE WRITTEN OBJECTIONS TO THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT.
MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
RICHARD L. BOURGEOIS, Jr., Magistrate Judge.
This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment on the Issue of Liability (R. Doc. 31) and Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (R. Doc. 35). The parties have filed oppositions to the respective motions. (R. Docs. 34, 41). For the following reasons, the Court should deny both of these motions.
I. Background and Procedural History
Danny McCadney ("Plaintiff") is an inmate at Elayn Hunt Correctional Center in St. Gabriel, Louisiana. He alleges that on July 15, 2013 he was subjected to cruel and unusual punishment at the hands of a Louisiana Department of Public Safety & Corrections ("DOC") correctional officer, Sgt. Louis Hamilton ("Defendant"). Plaintiff alleges that as Defendant escorted Plaintiff's cell mate back into the cell after using the phone, Plaintiff, who was confined in restraints, attempted to exit the cell to use the phone himself. (R. Doc. 1 at 2). He then alleges that Defendant "kicked the door closed and the cell door struck [Plaintiff] on his left shoulder and slammed his head between the door and door frame rendering [him] unconscious." (R. Doc. 1 at 2). Plaintiff alleges that the "use of force was unnecessary and excessive" and "it was not objectively reasonable to use force on an inmate who was restrained and not resisting." (R. Doc. 1 at 4-5). Plaintiff brings a claim under 42 USC § 1983 for violation of his "Eighth Amendment Right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment." (R. Doc. 1, ¶ 25). Plaintiff also alleges a state law negligence claim. (R. Doc. 1 at 6).
On November 21, 2014, Plaintiff moved for partial summary judgment on the issue of liability. (R. Doc. 31). Plaintiff relies upon his verified complaint (R. Docs. 1, 31-11); his Statement of Undisputed Facts (R. Doc. 31-2); affidavits, declarations, and other statements from other inmates (R. Docs. 31-4 to 31-9); and Defendant's deposition testimony (R. Doc. 31-10). Plaintiff argues that there are no genuine issues of material fact regarding whether Defendant caused his injuries with "callous indifference" in violation of the Eighth Amendment, and, accordingly, the only issue that should remain for trial is the amount of recoverable damages.
On December 8, 2014, Defendant moved for summary judgment on the basis that he is entitled to qualified immunity, Plaintiff's alleged failure to exhaust his administrative remedies prior to bringing suit, and Plaintiff's alleged failure to allege sufficient facts supporting the use of excessive force. (R. Doc. 35). Defendant relies upon the pleadings; his Statement of Undisputed Facts (R. Doc. 35-2); his affidavit (R. Doc. 35-3); the affidavits of other DOC employees (R. Doc. 35-4, 35-5, 35-6, 35-9, 35-10, 35-11); phone records (R. Doc. 35-7); Plaintiff's deposition transcript (R. Doc. 35-8); Defendant's interrogatory responses (R. Doc. 35-12); a photograph of Plaintiff's cell (R. Doc. 35-13); and the administrative proceedings records (R. Doc. 35-14). Defendant seeks dismissal of the action in its entirety.
II. Law and Analysis
A. Summary Judgment Standard
Pursuant to well-established legal principles, summary judgment is appropriate where there is no genuine disputed issue as to any material fact, and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56; Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317 (1986); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242 (1986). A party moving for summary judgment must inform the Court of the basis for the motion and identify those portions of the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories and admissions on file, together with affidavits, if any, that show that there is no such genuine issue of material fact. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. If the moving party carries its burden of proof under Rule 56, the opposing party must direct the Court's attention to specific evidence in the record which demonstrates that the non-moving party can satisfy a reasonable jury that it is entitled to a verdict in its favor. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. This burden is not satisfied by some metaphysical doubt as to alleged material facts, by unsworn and unsubstantiated assertions, by conclusory allegations, or by a mere scintilla of evidence. Little v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994). Rather, Rule 56 mandates that summary judgment be entered 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 proof at trial. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. Summary judgment is appropriate in any case where the evidence is so weak or tenuous on essential facts that the evidence could not support a ...