United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Paducah
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
B. Russell, Senior Judge
matter comes before the Court on Defendants', Lt. Hawkins
and Officer O'Dell, Second Motion for Summary Judgment
(R. 76). Proceeding pro se, Plaintiff, Eddie Vaughn,
has responded. (R. 81). Defendants have replied (R. 83), and
this matter is now ripe for adjudication. For the reasons
that follow, Defendants' Second Motion for Summary (R.
76) is DENIED.
Vaughn is an inmate at Kentucky State Penitentiary (KSP). (R.
1). He is suing Defendants Lt. Hawkins, Officer J.
Cureington, Officer O'Dell, and Officer John Doe-all KSP
prison officials-in their individual capacities. (R. 1). The
Court construes Vaughn as alleging an excessive force claim
under the Eighth Amendment's Cruel and Unusual Punishment
Clause and a retaliation claim under the First Amendment. (R.
1; R. 6). The relevant events are disputed.
alleges that on February 26, 2014, O'Dell and Doe woke
him between 4:00 and 5:00 AM so that they could shakedown his
cell. (R. 1 ID # 4). The Officers cuffed Vaughn's hands
behind his back and then, according to Vaughn, destroyed his
property. (R. 1 ID # 4). O'Dell and Doe then leave for
roughly ten minutes. (R. 1 ID # 4). O'Dell comes back and
tells Vaughn that he is going to the hole. (R. 1 ID # 4). At
this point Vaughn says he asked to talk to a lieutenant or
captain. Vaughn contends that Hawkins then comes to his cell
and curses at him while he was having his hands cuffed behind
his back. (R. 1 ID # 4). According to Vaughn, Hawkins and
O'Dell then twist his arms behind his neck, throw him on
the floor, and start kicking him in his right side. (R. 1 ID
# 4). By Vaughn's account, Officer Cureington then joins
Hawkins and O'Dell and the three of them start dragging
him away. (R. 1 ID # 4). As they are dragging him, the three
Officer's push Vaughn up against the wall, putting a
“hole in the left side of [his] head.” (R. 1 ID #
5). Cureington then allegedly jumps on Vaughn's back and
punches him. (R. 1 ID # 5). All three officers, as stated in
Vaughn's Complaint, then beat him and carry him away from
the other inmates so the inmates would not witness the
Defendants beat Vaughn further. (R. 1 ID # 5).
alleges in his verified Complaint that the beating continued
once away from the other prisoners. (R. 1 ID # 5). He states
that he was stripped down to his shorts and thrown back on
the concrete to be kicked and kneed again by the Officers.
Vaughn alleges this beating “cause[d] a big hole”
in his left knee, lip, and right toe. (R. 1 ID # 5).
here, Vaughn alleges that he is dragged to the hole and
placed in a restraint chair so tightly he can barely breath.
(R. 1 ID # 5). Once in the restraint chair, Vaughn states he
is tortured for having urinated and bled on himself while
onlookers laugh. (R. 1 ID # 5). Vaughn also alleges that
doctors placed sticks in the hole in his head and that from
the restraint chair he was dragged up multiple flights of
stairs and thrown in a naked cell for three days. (R. 1 ID #
5). Vaughn states that there were witnesses, the incident was
on camera, and that his body spoke for itself regarding the
beating. (R. 1 ID # 5).
the alleged beating, Vaughn claims that he wrote Warden White
a letter in which he complained about officers calling him
slave nicknames and harassing him. (R. 1 ID # 6). After the
beating, in March of 2014, Vaughn states that Hawkins came to
his cell and told him that he “should learn how to
spell his name correct[ly]” and that he did not care if
Vaughn filed a complaint against him because “that
would not be the first time an inmate filed on them for
beating on inmates and won[‘]t be the last time
either.” (R. 1 ID # 6). Vaughn alleges further that
since filling the instant lawsuit, Officer O'Dell has
harassed him and told lies that have resulted in him being
“thrown in the hole.” (R. 6 ID # 28). Vaughn also
alleges that Hawkins has “nigger tattooed on his
arm.” (R. 1 ID # 6).
account differs from Vaughn's dramatically. They admit
that force was used against Vaughn, but they contend that the
force was reasonable and in response to Vaughn's behavior
during a routine cell search. (R. 76-1 ID # 485). According
to the Defendants, they recovered some contraband after
searching Vaughn's cell. (R. 76-1 ID # 479). When Hawkins
ordered Vaughn to approach the cell door to be cuffed, Vaughn
replied with a disrespectful expletive. (R. 76-1 ID # 485).
After eventually being cuffed, Vaughn started yelling these
“white boys are killing me” while being escorted
down the walk to segregation. (R. 76-1 ID # 480). The yelling
woke other inmates on the walk. (R. 76-5 ID # 499). They too
began yelling. (R. 76-5 ID # 499). According to the
Defendants, Vaughn then started to resist the escort, pulling
away from the them. (R. 76-1 ID # 480). To regain control,
the Defendants placed Vaughn against the wall. (R. 76-1 ID #
488). While placing Vaughn against the wall, he hit his head
on the cell bars, sustaining a cut on his head. (R. ID 76-1 #
488). Vaughn continued to resist and refused to walk on his
own, causing Vaughn and the Defendants to fall to the ground
at least twice. (R. 76-5 ID # 499). Finally, Vaughn pulled
O'Dell's radio microphone off, at which point Hawkins
radioed for back up. (R. 76-5 ID # 499). When back up
arrived, the Defendants placed Vaughn on the ground. (R. 76-5
ID # 499). Hawkins told Vaughn if he continued to resist, he
would be carried to segregation. (R. 76-5 ID # 499). Vaughn
stopped resisting. (R. 76-5 ID # 499).
the Court is Defendant's Second Motion for Summary
Judgment. (R. 76). Their first was denied by the Honorable
Judge Stivers for the Defendants' failure to support
their argument with properly authenticated evidence. (R. 44
ID # 354-358). Judge Stivers was also reluctant to grant
summary judgment before viewing video evidence alleged by
Vaughn to have captured the events occurring on February 26,
2014. (R. 44 ID # 356).
that denial, Defendants have been ordered to produce
“any and all video footage pertaining to the claims
raised in the instant action, including video footage of
Plaintiff's cell extraction and the escort from his cell
to the segregation unit.” (R. 43). The Defendants have
complied. (R. 45; R 51). Two discs have been filed with the
Court. One disc contains video footage from a KSP security
camera (KSP Security Footage). The other contains hand-held
footage documenting Vaughn's placement in, and removal
from, the restraint chair (KSP Handheld Footage). The
Hand-Held Footage also documents Vaughn receiving medical
attention. Both Discs were filed under seal, and the Court
has viewed the video footage.
judgment is appropriate where “the movant shows 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). In determining whether summary judgment
is appropriate, a court must resolve all ambiguities and draw
all reasonable inferences against the moving party. See
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475
U.S. 574, 587, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986).
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).
The plaintiff must present more than a mere scintilla of
evidence in support of his position; the plaintiff must
present evidence on which the trier of fact could reasonably
find for the plaintiff. See Id. (citing Anderson
v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 252, 106 S.Ct.
2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986)). The plaintiff may accomplish
this by “citing to particular parts of materials in the
record” or by “showing that the materials cited
do not establish the absence . . . of a genuine dispute . . .
.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1). Mere speculation will not
suffice to defeat a motion for summary judgment; “the
mere existence of a colorable factual dispute will ...