United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division, London
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
L. Bunning United States District Judge.
matter is before the Court upon the Report and Recommendation
(“R&R”) of United States Magistrate Judge
Edward B. Atkins (Doc. # 62), wherein he recommends that the
Court deny both Plaintiff's and Defendants' Motions
for Summary Judgment. (Docs. # 52 and 54). Defendants having
objected to the R&R (Doc. # 63), and Plaintiff having
responded to those objections (Doc. # 65), the R&R is now
ripe for the Court's review.
reasons that follow, the Court finds that the Defendants'
arguments are without merit, overrules the objections, and
adopts the R&R as the findings of fact and conclusions of
law of the Court.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
events giving rise to this action occurred on September 13,
2015. (Doc. # 62 at 1). During that time, Plaintiff was an
inmate at the Kentucky Department of Corrections at the
Eastern Kentucky Correctional Complex (“Complex”)
in West Liberty, Kentucky. Id. The incident began
when Defendant William Wells, a corrections officer, removed
a food tray from Plaintiff's possession. Id. at
2. A conversation ensued, during which Defendant Wells
applied force to Plaintiff's arm and pinned him against a
nearby structure. Id. Afterwards, Defendants
Jonathon Dingus and Ryan Stacy, two other corrections
officers, handcuffed Plaintiff and placed him in a
“chicken wing restraint.” Id.
Plaintiff was restrained, Defendants Dingus and Stacy removed
him from the cafeteria, where another officer, Defendant
Conner Hall placed leg restraints on him and took him to the
Segregation Area. Id. Once in the Segregation Area,
Plaintiff was rushed to an empty shower stall. Id.
What occurred inside the shower stall is contested.
Id. It is known, however, that Nurse Lewis observed
bruising around Plaintiff's wrists upon her entry into
the shower stall. Id. Plaintiff was then placed in a
restraint chair and taken to the entrance of the Segregation
Area, where he was surrounded by all Defendants, Nurse Lewis,
and an unidentified female nurse. Id. While
restrained in the chair, Lieutenant Kevin Dennis used
scissors to remove Plaintiff's clothing-leaving only his
boxer shorts. Id. Nurse Lewis noted a “deep
abrasion” to the top of Plaintiff's head.
Id. Plaintiff also appeared “drowsy”
with “eyes red, ” Plaintiff's pupils were
“pinpoint, ” and he exhibited a
“sluggish” reaction to light and slurred speech.
Id. at 2-3.
Plaintiff's head wound was addressed, he was taken to an
observation cell, where he remained for approximately one to
two hours. Id. at 3. Plaintiff was removed from the
restraint chair, but stayed in the Segregation Unit, where he
remained for nine days. Id. During this time,
Plaintiff was denied access to additional clothes beyond his
boxer shorts, soap, toothpaste, blankets, sockets, and was
forced to sleep on a metal rack. Id. Plaintiff was
removed from the Segregation Unit on November 25, 2015, and
was moved to another institution on January 5, 2016.
initiated the instant action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983 on May 27, 2016, alleging that Defendants violated his
rights under the Eighth Amendment of the United States
Constitution. (Doc. # 1). On July 26, 2016, a Memorandum
Opinion and Order was issued by this Court, dismissing
Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment claims against Defendant
Wells. (Doc. # 7). However, the Order permitted the Plaintiff
to pursue his Eighth Amendment claims against Defendants Ryan
Stacy, Conner Hall, Aaron Potter, and Jonathon Dingus.
Id. Plaintiff filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on
May 10, 2017 (Doc. # 52), which was referred to Magistrate
Judge Atkins for the preparation of an R&R. (Doc. # 33).
Later, Defendants Ryan Stacy, Johnathan Dingus, Conner Hall,
and Aaron Potter filed a Motion for Summary Judgment, which
was also referred to Magistrate Judge Atkins. (Doc. # 54). On
December 5, 2017, Magistrate Judge Atkins issued an R&R
recommending that the Court deny both the Plaintiff's and
Defendants' Motions for Summary Judgment. (Doc. # 62).
filed Objections to the R&R, alleging four specific
errors. (Doc. # 63). First, Defendants argue that
the Magistrate Judge should have considered whether
Plaintiff's injuries were de minimis when deciding
whether summary judgment was appropriate. Id. at
1-3. Second, Defendants argue that the Magistrate Judge
improperly considered “handcuffing” in denying
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. Id. at
3. Specifically, Defendants argue that none of the
allegations concerning handcuffing should be permitted to
proceed because Plaintiff never alleged that he complained
that his handcuffs were too tight. Id. Third,
Defendants argue that summary judgment should have been
granted in favor of Defendant Hall. (Doc. # 63 at 4).
Specifically, because Plaintiff could not have known
Defendants' state of mind, Defendants argue that the
Magistrate Judge should not have considered Plaintiff's
statement in the Complaint that “[o]n the way to
segregation, Stacy, Dingus, and Hall intentionally crashed
Browns head into every door and door frame between the
prison's basement A.K.A. ‘Phase 1 pill call'
and the segregation dorm.” Id. Lastly,
Defendants argue that because Plaintiff has not alleged any
resulting injury from Defendant Wells's conduct, he
should be absolved from liability. (Doc. # 63 at 5). Each
objection will be addressed in turn.
Standards of Review
Court reviews de novo portions of the R&R to which
specific objections have been raised. Mira v.
Marshall, 806 F.2d 636, 637 (6th Cir. 1986). Where no
objections are raised, or the objections are vague or
conclusory, the Court is not required to review under a de
novo, or any other, standard. Thomas v. Arn, 474
U.S. 140, 150 (1985); United States v. Jenkins, No.
6:12-cr-13-GFVT, 2017 WL 3431834, at *1 (E.D. Ky. Aug. 8,
judgment is appropriate when the record 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 … for a jury
to return a verdict for” the non-moving party.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249
(1986). The “moving party bears the burden of showing
the absence of any genuine issues of material fact.”
Sigler v. Am. Honda Motor Co., 532 F.3d 469, 483
(6th Cir. 2008). Once a party files a properly supported
motion for summary judgment, by either affirmatively negating
an essential element of the non- moving party's claim or
establishing an affirmative defense, “the adverse party
must set forth specific facts showing that ...