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Davis v. Davis

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division, London

February 21, 2014

WILLIE DAVIS, Plaintiff,
v.
LIEUTENANT DAVIS, ET AL., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

GREGORY F. VAN TATENHOVE, District Judge.

Plaintiff Willie Davis is a federal inmate presently confined at the United States Penitentiary-Lewisburg in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, but formerly was confined at the United States Penitentiary-McCreary in Pine Knot, Kentucky. Davis filed this civil rights action against three staff members at USP-McCreary, in their individual capacities: Lieutenant Joseph Davis, Senior Officer Specialist John Best, and Correctional Officer Benjamin Cooper. [R. 18: Amended Complaint.] Davis brings this action pursuant to the doctrine announced in Bivens v. Six Unknown Fed. Narcotics Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), and claims that the defendants violated his Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment and his First Amendment right to be free from retaliation. [ Id. at 3.]

More particularly, Davis claims that on August 5, 2011, while being housed in the Special Housing Unit ("SHU") at USP-McCreary, the Defendants used excessive force in subduing him. [ Id. ] He claims that Defendants physically assaulted him, kicked him in the head until he lost consciousness, and continued to use physical violence to "wake [him] back up." Id. at 3. Davis claims that during the assault he was in handcuffs and that he was not resisting. [ Id. ] Plaintiff Davis also claims that the Defendants' actions were done in retaliation against him for using the Bureau of Prisons' (BOP) Administrative Remedy Program. [ Id. ] His Amended Complaint seeks $1.5 million in "punitive and compensatory damages from each defendant in his individual capacity."

This matter is before the Court on Defendants' motion to dismiss, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b), or in the alternative, for summary judgment. [R. 32] This motion is ripe for review. Because the record establishes that Davis's complaint should be dismissed for his failure to exhaust his administrative remedies relative to his Bivens claims, Defendants' motion to dismiss, or in the alternative, for summary judgment will be granted.

I

On August 5, 2011, Defendants Davis, Best and Cooper were all assigned to the SHU at USP-McCreary. [R.32-8; Declaration of Lieutenant Joseph Davis, ¶ 3; R, 32-9, Declaration of Senior Officer Specialist John Best, ¶ 3; R. 32-10, Declaration of Correctional Officer Benjamin Cooper, ¶ 3.] Davis was assigned as the SHU Lieutenant, Defendant Best was assigned as the SHU #5 Officer, and Defendant Cooper was assigned as SHU #3 Officer. [ Id. ] At approximately 8:30 a.m., Plaintiff broke the head of the fire suppression overhead sprinkler in his cell, causing the sprinkler head to spray water, and Plaintiff's cell floor became flooded. [ Id. ] Plaintiff began to push the water from his cell, which contained a mixture of urine and feces, under his cell door out onto the range floor. [ Id. ] To restore order to the range, and to clean the unsanitary and unsafe condition Plaintiff had created, Defendants Davis, Best and Cooper had to move Plaintiff to another cell. [ Id. ]

At approximately 9:14 a.m., as Defendants Davis, Best and Cooper were removing Plaintiff from his cell, he became verbally abusive and kicked the water contaminated with urine and feces onto the Defendants.[1] [R. 32-8, Declaration of Lieutenant Joseph Davis, ¶ 4; R. 32-9, Declaration of Senior Officer Specialist John Best, ¶ 4; R. 32-10, Declaration of Correctional Officer Benjamin Cooper, ¶ 4.] Plaintiff was given verbal orders to stop kicking the water, and he did, but he continued to make threats against staff. [ Id. ] Plaintiff then made a threat to Officer Coffman, who was standing at the end of the range. [ Id. ] Plaintiff attempted to break away from the Defendants, lunged at Officer Coffman and spit in Coffman's face. [R. 32-8, Declaration of Lieutenant Joseph Davis, ¶ 5; R. 32-9, Declaration of Senior Officer Specialist John Best, ¶ 5; R. 32-10, Declaration of Correctional Officer Benjamin Cooper, ¶ 5.] At that time the Defendants took Plaintiff to the ground, i.e., the floor, in order to regain control of the situation. [ Id. ]

While on the floor, Plaintiff continued to struggle and remained verbally abusive toward the Defendants. [R. 32-8, Declaration of Lieutenant Joseph Davis, ¶ 6; R. 32-9, Declaration of Senior Officer Specialist John Best, ¶ 6; R. 32-10, Declaration of Correctional Officer Benjamin Cooper, ¶ 6.] Plaintiff attempted to bite and spit on Defendant Best. [ Id. ] Defendant Davis summoned additional staff members and requested that staff bring leg restraints. [R. 32-8, Declaration of Lieutenant Joseph Davis, ¶ 5; R. 32-10, Declaration of Correctional Officer Benjamin Cooper, ¶ 5.] After the leg restraints were in place, Plaintiff was placed on his feet and escorted to an observation cell. [R. 32-8, Declaration of Lieutenant Joseph Davis, ¶7; R. 32-9, Declaration of Senior Officer Specialist John Best, ¶ 7; R. 32-10, Declaration of Correctional Officer Benjamin Cooper, ¶ 7.]

At approximately 11:20 a.m., Plaintiff was medically assessed. [R. 32-11, Declaration of Ronald Corriveau, ¶ 6; Attachment A: BOP Electronic Medical Record, August 5, 2011.] Plaintiff reported pain in the right side of his face, his left side and right ankle. [ Id. ] However, the medical assessor noted no visible signs or symptoms of acute distress and reported "No Injury Identified[.]" [ Id. ]

On January 24, 2012, the BOP's Office of Internal Affairs referred Plaintiff's allegations of excessive force to Ronald J. Corriveau, the Special Investigative Agent ("SIA") at USP-McCreary, for an investigation. [R. 32-11, Declaration of Ronald Corriveau, ¶ 4.] The investigation was initiated as a result of allegations Plaintiff made in the administrative remedy process. [ Id. ] During the course of the investigation, Plaintiff was interviewed and executed an affidavit on March 9, 2012. [ Id. ] In the affidavit, Plaintiff stated that the Defendants subdued him and proceeded to kick him in the head until he lost consciousness. [ Id. ] He also testified that the Defendants continued to beat him until he regained consciousness. [ Id. ]

Additionally, the Defendants and other staff members were interviewed and submitted sworn affidavits. [ Id. at ¶ 5]. The Defendants denied Davis' allegations that he was kicked or physically assaulted. [ Id. ] Rather, the Defendants indicated that they used appropriate force in response to his assaultive behavior. [ Id. ] SIA Corriveau also interviewed and obtained affidavits from other staff members who supported the Defendants' accounts of the incident. [ Id. ]

SIA Corriveau also reviewed the medical assessment completed at 11:20 a.m. on the morning of the incident. [R. 32-11, Declaration of Ronald Corriveau, ¶ 6; Attachment A.] According to the medical assessment, Plaintiff reported that the right side of his face, the left side of his body and his right ankle hurt. [ Id. ] However, the medical professional conducting the assessment noted that there were no visible signs of or symptoms of acute distress and there was "No Injury Identified[.]" [ Id. ]

At the conclusion of the investigation, SIA Corriveau determined that the testimony provided by the staff members was supported by the video and medical evidence. [R. 32-11, Declaration of Ronald Corriveau, ¶ 7.] He concluded that the staff members involved in the incident had acted in a professional manner during the use of force. [ Id. ] Accordingly, SIA Corriveau ...


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