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Force v. Pettit

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Paducah Division

April 14, 2014

MICHAEL FORCE, Plaintiff,
v.
DUKE PETTIT, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

THOMAS B. RUSSELL, Senior District Judge.

Presently pending before the Court are the following Motions:

(1) Plaintiff Michael Force's Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction, (Docket No. 3);
(2) Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration, (Docket No. 14);
(3) Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File an Amended Complaint, (Docket No. 15);
(4) Defendants Duke Pettit, Virgil K. Hughes, and Gary Peters' Motion for Summary Judgment, (Docket No. 16); and
(5) Defendants' Motion to Hold in Abeyance Deadline for Response to Plaintiff's Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction, (Docket No. 17).

These matters now are ripe for adjudication. For the reasons that follow, the Court will GRANT Defendant's Motion for Summary, (Docket No. 16), DENY Plaintiff's Motion for Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction, (Docket No. 3), and DENY as moot all other pending Motions, (Docket Nos. 14; 15; 17).

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, an inmate at Kentucky State Penitentiary (KSP), filed this action on January 13, 2014, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against three defendants: (1) Duke Pettit, Deputy Warden at KSP; (2) Virgil Hughes, a correctional officer at KSP; and (3) Gary Peters, also a correctional officer at KSP. ( See Docket No. 1.) According to his Complaint, Plaintiff was removed from his cell by Defendants Hughes and Peters on October 25, 2013, so that maintenance could be performed on a light in the cell. (Docket No. 1, at 5.) Plaintiff was handcuffed and shackled and then asked to stand "against the wall on the walkway straight across from his cell." (Docket No. 1, at 5.) Plaintiff says that while he was standing against the wall, he "tried to ask defendant Peters a question, but defendant Peters told plaintiff to shut up." (Docket No. 1, at 5.) Plaintiff states that Defendant Hughes then started calling Plaintiff an "inmate Rat" and telling Plaintiff "he got him' and thats why plaintiff got his ass kicked." (Docket No. 1, at 5.) According to Plaintiff, Defendant Hughes continued to put Plaintiff down, so Plaintiff finally told Defendant Hughes that his wife "looks like she has Down Syndrome." (Docket No. 1, at 6.) Plaintiff states that Defendant Hughes again made references to Plaintiff being a "Fat rat" and told Defendant Peters "to take plaintiff down." (Docket No. 1, at 6.) Thereafter, Plaintiff says a physical altercation occurred between him and Defendants Hughes and Peters. Plaintiff states that these two Defendants jumped on him and "took him to the ground." (Docket No. 1, at 6.) Defendant Peters, according to Plaintiff, put him in a choke hold and started twisting his neck causing him not to be able to breathe. Plaintiff states that Defendant Hughes "muged and shoved his hand in plaintiffs mouth and busted plaintiffs lip, " and that he "started bending plaintiffs rest trying to brake it." (Docket No. 1, at 6.) Plaintiff says that "Defendant Peters continued to choke [him] and twisted his next until Sgt. McGehee came on the walk." (Docket No. 1, at 6.) Plaintiff states that Sgt. McGehee then ordered Defendants Peters and Hughes to get off of Plaintiff and to walk away.

According to Plaintiff, he "walked to the walk shower, " and once secured in the shower area, he was seen by the nurse for his injuries. (Docket No. 1, at 6.) Plaintiff states that he had "blood on his hand and mouth." (Docket No. 1, at 6.) Plaintiff alleges that as a result of this physical altercation, he sustained neck and back injuries and still suffers from pain in those areas. Plaintiff also states that weeks prior to the abovedescribed incident, he had told Defendant Pettit "that he was having problems with defendant Hughes and that defendant Hughes has threatened him numerous times." (Docket No. 1, at 6-7.) He claims that he further informed Defendant Pettit that "it was his belief that defendant Hughes is out to get me.'" (Docket No. 1, at 7.)

Plaintiff alleges that "[t]he physical abuse of the plaintiff by defendants Hughes and Peters violated the plaintiff's rights under the Eighth Amendment to the united states consitution." (Docket No. 1, at 7.) As for Defendant Pettit, Plaintiff alleges that his "failure to take action to curb the physical abuse of prisoner violated the plaintiffs rights under the Eighth Amendment to the united states consitution." (Docket No. 1, at 7.)

Upon initial review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A and McGore v. Wrigglesworth, 114 F.3d 601 (6th Cir. 1997), the Court dismissed Plaintiff's official-capacity claims for monetary damages but permitted the following claims to proceed: (1) the officialcapacity claims for declaratory relief and injunctive relief seeking an order directing Defendants Hughes and Peters to keep away from Plaintiff; (2) the individual-capacity claims against Defendants Hughes and Peters alleging the use of excessive force in violation of the Eighth Amendment; and (3) the individual-capacity claim against Defendant Pettit alleging failure to protect. (Docket No. 10, at 10.) The Court further allowed Plaintiff 30 days to amend his Complaint to include details in support of an Eighth Amendment claim for deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs and to include any defendants he contends are responsible for that alleged constitutional violation. (Docket No. 10, at 10.) Plaintiff timely filed a Motion for Leave to File an Amended Complaint on February 24, 2014. (Docket No. 15.) In his Proposed Amended Complaint, however, Plaintiff did not elaborate on his Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claim; instead, he merely affirmed that he sought monetary damages relative to his surviving individual-capacity claims. (Docket No. 15-1.) Along with his Motion for Leave to File an Amended Complaint, Plaintiff also filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the Court's Order on initial review, apparently misconstruing that Order as dismissing all of his claims for monetary damages. ( See Docket Nos. 14; 14-1.)

In relation to his allegations against Defendants Hughes and Peters and the events of October 25, 2013, Plaintiff submitted Grievance No. 13-10-052-R, in which he claimed that Defendants Hughes and Peters used unnecessary force against him. (Docket No. 19-2, at 2.) That grievance was rejected on November 1, 2013, on the basis that the issue raised was nongrievable "due to disciplinary" because a disciplinary hearing concerning the matter was pending. (Docket No. 19-2, at 2, 4.) In rejecting his ...


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