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Harrell v. County of Hardin County and Allen

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky at Louisville

October 22, 2014

CHARLES KENNETH HARRELL aka CHARLES KENNETH CLARK, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
COUNTY OF HARDIN COUNTY and GARY ALLEN, JAILER and WALTER HINOTE, CAPTAIN and JODY PERRY, MAIL DEPUTY, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

JOHN G. HEYBURN, II, Senior District Judge.

Defendants, County of Hardin, Danny Allen, Jailer, Walter Hinote, Captain and Jody Perry, Mail Deputy, have moved for summary judgment on the claims against them. Plaintiff has not responded to the motion. The Court agrees that the remaining claim cannot be maintained.

I.

Plaintiff, Charles Kenneth Harrell, filed a pro se complaint on or about September 16, 2013. This Court issued a Memorandum Opinion and Order on March 4, 2014, dismissing all of Plaintiff's claims except one, that being that the Defendants violated Plaintiff's First Amendment rights by opening his legal mail outside of his presence.

Plaintiff has alleged that Perry opened his legal mail at the direction of Hinote and Allen. Plaintiff identifies those particular pieces of mail as August 1, 2013, August 29, 2013, August 30, 2013, and September 11, 2013. According to the records of the Hardin County Detention Center (the "Detention Center"), he received mail on August 2, 2013; August 30, 2013 from the U.S. District Court; and September 11, 2013 from the U.S. District Court.

Perry has submitted an affidavit stating that part of his duties as Deputy Jailer is the handling of inmate mail and that he is familiar with the mail that was delivered to Plaintiff. Specifically, he received the following mail in August and September 2013: August 2, 2013 from the U.S. District Court (the "Court"); August 30, 2013, from the Court; September 3, 2013 from the Dept. of Public Advocacy; September 6, 2013 from the Dept. of Public Advocacy; September 11, 2013 from the Court; September 24, 2013 from the Court; and September 30, 2013 from the Court. Perry stated that he was not directed to open and/or read any of Plaintiff's mail by anyone, including Hinote or Allen. Additionally, he did not open and/or read any of Plaintiff's mail.

Similarly, Hinote has submitted an affidavit stating that he was not involved in the receipt of Plaintiff's mail, nor was he involved in the receipt and/or delivery of his mail. He also was not directed to open and/or read any of Plaintiff's mail. Likewise, he did not open and/or read any of Plaintiff's mail. Moreover, he testified that he did not direct any person, including Perry, or any other Deputy Jailer, to open Plaintiff's mail.

Finally, Allen has submitted an affidavit stating that while he oversees the day-to-day operations of the detention center, he is not directly involved in many of those operations. Specifically, he was not involved in the receipt of Plaintiff's mail, nor was he involved in the receipt and/or delivery of his mail. He did not direct any person, including Perry, Hinote, or any other deputy jailer, to open Plaintiff's mail other than in those situations permitted by the Detention Center's Policy and Procedures.

All three stated that Plaintiff, during his incarceration at the Detention Center, never filed a grievance asserting that his mail was being opened and/or read. Plaintiff did file a number of Grievances [August 29, 2013; September 3, 2013; September 16, 2013; September 17, 2013] and/or Inmate Request Forms [August 22, 2013; August 27, 2013; September 17, 2013; September 19, 2013; September 20, 2013; September 25, 2013] that he was not receiving his mail; however, all mail that was received by the Detention Center was delivered to him.

II.

Summary judgment is proper where "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). "One of the principal purposes of the summary judgment rule is to isolate and dispose of factually unsupported claims or defenses, and we think it should be interpreted in a way that allows it to accomplish this purpose." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-24 (1986).

The "mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment; the requirement is that there be no genuine issue of material fact." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986). The Sixth Circuit has stated, "[a] dispute is genuine' only if based on evidence upon which a reasonably jury could return a verdict in favor of the non-moving party." Niemi v. NHK Spring Co., Ltd., 543 F.3d 294, 298 (6th Cir. 2008). Summary judgment is appropriate even when there are factual disputes so long as the disputes do not affect the outcome. See Longaberger Co. v. Kolt, 586 F.3d 459 (6th Cir. 2009). The Sixth Circuit has also stated, "when opposing parties tell two different stories, one of which is blatantly contradicted by the record, so that no reasonable jury could believe it, a court should not adopt that version of the facts for purposes of ruling on a motion for summary judgment." Marvin v. City of Taylor, 509 F.3d 234, 239 (6th Cir. 2007) quoting Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380 (2007).

The nonmoving party is not entitled to a trial merely on the basis of allegations, but must come forward with some significant probative evidence to support its claim. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324, (1986). If the nonmoving party fails to make a sufficient showing on an essential element of its case with respect to which it has the burden of proof, the moving party is entitled to summary judgment. Id. at 323. Moreover, to support its ...


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