United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Paducah
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
B. RUSSELL, SENIOR JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff Michael Cooper's
("Plaintiff) two Motions for Summary Judgment. [DN 83,
98.] Defendants Sonja Bower, Bruce Von Dwingelo, Jill
Robertson, Lucas Fraliex, Tami Darnel, Mitchell McLeod, Randy
White, Troy Belt, Joy Myers, Skyla Grief, Timothy Hawkins,
lessee Coombs, George Hennson, Cody Edmonds, Lisa Gibbs,
Marshall Peek, and James Beavers (collectively,
"Defendants"), have responded, [DN 107], and
Plaintiff has replied [DN 112.] This matter is now ripe for
adjudication. For the following reasons, Plaintiffs Motions
is an inmate currently incarcerated at the Kentucky State
Penitentiary. From December 2015 to September 2016, Plaintiff
filed a Complaint [DN 1] and six Amended Complaints [DN 10,
12, 32, 38, 39, 52.] In his initial Complaint, filed December
18, 2015, Plaintiff initiated *pro se 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 prisoner civil rights action. [DN 1.] Throughout
his additional filings, Plaintiff has also alleged that
various Defendants violated his right to bodily privacy,
contravening the Fourth Amendment; that Defendants engaged in
retaliatory conduct in violation of the First Amendment in
response to Plaintiffs alleged protected activities; that
Defendants utilized excessive force against Plaintiff and
subjected him to cruel and unusual punishment, thereby
violating Plaintiffs Eighth Amendment rights; that Defendants
unlawfully interfered with Plaintiffs legal mail at the
penitentiary; and that certain money Plaintiff had in his
personal prison account was unlawfully converted by
judgment is appropriate when the record, viewed in the light
most favorable to the nonmoving party, reveals "that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A genuine dispute of material fact exists
where "there is sufficient evidence favoring the
nonmoving party for a jury to return a verdict for that
party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., Ml
U.S. 242, 249 (1986). The Court "may not make
credibility determinations nor weigh the evidence when
determining whether an issue of fact remains for trial."
Laster v. City of Kalamazoo, 746 F.3d 714, 726 (6th
Cir. 2014) (citing Logan v. Denny's, Inc., 259
F.3d 558, 566 (6th Cir. 2001); Ahlers v. Schebil,
188 F.3d 365, 369 (6th Cir. 1999)). "The ultimate
question is 'whether the evidence presents a sufficient
disagreement to require submission to a jury or whether it is
so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of
law.' " Back v. Nestlé USA, Inc.,
694 F.3d 571, 575 (6th Cir. 2012) (quoting Anderson,
477 U.S. at 251-52).
moving party must shoulder the burden of showing the absence
of a genuine dispute of material fact as to at least one
essential element of the nonmovant's claim or defense.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); see also Laster, 746 F.3d at 726 (citing
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986)). Assuming
the moving party satisfies its burden of production, the
nonmovant "must-by deposition, answers to
interrogatories, affidavits, and admissions on file-show
specific facts that reveal a genuine issue for trial."
Laster, 746 F.3d at 726 (citing Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324).
"[N]ot every issue of fact or conflicting inference
presents a genuine issue of material fact." Street v.
J.C. Bradford & Co., 886 F.2d 1472, 1477 (6th Cir. 1989).
The test is "whether the party bearing the burden of
proof has presented a jury question as to each element in the
case." Hartsel v. Keys, 87 F.3d 795, 799 (6th Cir.
1996). Nor will mere speculation suffice to defeat a motion
for summary judgment: "[t]he mere existence of a
colorable factual dispute will not defeat a properly
supported motion for summary judgment." Hill v. White,
190 F.3d 427, 431 (6th Cir. 1999). Instead, there must be
"[a] genuine dispute between the parties on an issue of
material fact...to render summary judgment
inappropriate." Id. (citing Anderson, 477 U.S.
A. Plaintiffs First Motion for Snmmary
Plaintiffs first Motion for Summary Judgment, [DN 83], he
makes four principal assertions, the first of which is that
"Defendants] refuse to allow plaintiff a production of
documents requested." [DN 83-1.] It is axiomatic that
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 37 grants to courts the
authority to "sanction parties who fail to comply with
its orders in a variety of ways, including dismissal of the
lawsuit." Bass v. Jostens, Inc., 71 F.3d 237,
241 (6th Cir. 1995). Importantly though, "dismissal is
an appropriate sanction [only] where the party's failure
to cooperate with the court's discovery orders is due to
willfulness, " i.e., "a conscious and intentional
failure to comply with the court order." Id.
Even so, Plaintiff has filed a Motion for Summary Judgment,
and irrespective of Defendants' compliance with
Plaintiffs Requests for Production of Documents, a grant of
summary judgment is not a discovery sanction to be employed
by the courts. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 37; see
also Fed. R. Civ. P. 56; see also Tobey v.
Extel/JWP, Inc., 985 F.2d 330, 332 (7th Cir. 1993);
see also Brown v. City of Tuscon, 122 F.3d 1070,
1070 (9th Cir. 1997) ("summary judgment is not a
sanction.") Therefore, this Court declines to enter
summary judgment against Defendants on this issue.
second assertion Plaintiff makes is that "[a]ll facts of
the complaint Plaintiff has filed and are in possession of
the Court [sic]." [DN 83-1.] To be sure, Plaintiff has
made numerous filings with the Court throughout this lawsuit.
However, the fact that the allegations Plaintiff has made
against Defendants are documented with the Court is not
evidence, nor does it establish as fact the allegations
Plaintiff has made, especially because Defendants have
vehemently refuted these allegations. Thus, summary judgment
would be inappropriate on this count.
Plaintiff asserts that "Defendants continue to violate
Plaintiffs rights along with witnesses." [DN 83-1.]
Again, as noted above in Section II, Plaintiff has laid out
numerous claims against Defendants, including the violation
of his First, Fourth, and Eighth Amendment rights under the
United States Constitution. However, in support of these
claims, Plaintiff has not properly supported his contention
"that there is no genuine dispute as to any material
fact and [Plaintiff] is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law, " Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a), instead merely stating in
conclusory fashion that his rights have been violated.
Plaintiffs inability to establish a sufficient factual basis
for his claims in the face of Defendants' vehement
refutation of the allegations against them, [DN 107, 153],
leads the Court to conclude that there is "sufficient
disagreement" so as "to require submission to a
jury" on this issue. See Back, 694 F.3d at 575.
Plaintiff claims that "[t]he facts in this case are not
up for dispute." [DN 83-1.] Again, Plaintiff does not
provide any specific reason why this is the case.
Defendants' Response to Plaintiffs Motion for Summary
Judgment, [DN 107], makes plain that, in Defendants'
view, there remain a plethora of disputed facts concerning
most, if not all, of Plaintiffs allegations against them. The
conclusory nature of Plaintiffs statements, coupled with
Defendants' refutation of such statement, leads this
Court to conclude that Summary Judgment would be
inappropriate at this time.
Plaintiff's Second Motion ...