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Thome v. Bevin

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

January 18, 2019




         This matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (DN 11). The motion is ripe for adjudication. For the reasons outlined below, the motion is granted.


         Thomas Thome (“Thome”) does not dispute Defendants' account of the facts and does not offer any additional evidence in his response. Plaintiff was a prisoner at the Kentucky State Reformatory (“KSR”) as a result of a guilty plea to crimes that are not relevant to this litigation. (Defs.' Mot. Summ. J. Ex. B, DN 11-3 [hereinafter Judgment of Conviction & Sentence]).

         Plaintiff was discharged from KSR on April 29, 2016, and the method of discharge was Sex Offender Conditional Release (“SOCD”). (Defs.' Mot. Summ. J. Ex. A, DN 11-2). Plaintiff was conditionally discharged in accordance with the orders of the sentencing court. (Judgment of Conviction & Sentence). Because of his SOCD status, Plaintiff was moved to Transitions Halfway House in Newport, Kentucky, rather than receiving a full release. (Compl. 9-10, DN 1).

         On April 28, 2016, one day before discharging Plaintiff, Department of Corrections officials reviewed Plaintiff's file and noted that “[p]er crime committed dates there should not be an SOCD requirement. KSR staff will send a Judge's letter advising Judge of the discrepancy, but we will abide by the SOCD requirement per order.” (Defs.' Mot. Summ. J. Ex. C, DN 11-4). Defendants have provided a copy of an email confirming that Wendy Walrod, the official who discovered the discrepancy and noted it in Plaintiff's file, sent an email the same day alerting other officials and again requesting that a letter be sent to the judge. (Defs.' Mot. Summ. J. Ex. D, DN 11-5).

         It is unclear from the record what happened for the next month and a half, but on June 15, Defendants received an email from the Jefferson Circuit Court containing an amended judgment without the SOCD designation. (Defs.' Mot. Summ. J. Ex. E, DN 11-6; Defs.' Mot. Summ. J. Ex. F, DN 11-7). Defendants aver, and Plaintiff does not dispute, that the email and accompanying amended judgment were not initially emailed to Department of Corrections officials. When officials received the information, however, an email was immediately sent directing that Plaintiff be released. (Defs.' Mot. Summ. J. Ex. G, DN 11-8). Plaintiff was discharged the following day. (Defs.' Mot. Summ. J. Ex. H, DN 11-9).

         Plaintiff filed this case as a pro se inmate alleging violations of his rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Compl., DN 1). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915, the Court conducted a review of the complaint, dismissing some claims and Defendants and allowing others to move forward. (Mem. Op. & Order, DN 5). Two claims remain: (1) a claim that Defendants Runyell Shirley and Jodi Williams knew or should have known that Plaintiff was due to be fully released from custody; and (2) a claim that Defendants Hilary Rucker, Kimberly Thompson, Ben Mitchell, Josephine Jacovino, Robert Bearden, Cassandra West, and Nicole Wilder failed to ensure that Plaintiff was released without additional supervision. (Mem. Op. & Order 6-8). The Court construed these as claims brought under the Fourteenth and Eighth Amendments. (Mem. Op. & Order 8).


         The Court has subject matter jurisdiction over this matter because Plaintiff's Section 1983 claim presents a federal question. 28 U.S.C. § 1331.


         In ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the Court must determine whether there is any genuine issue of material fact that would preclude entry of judgment for the moving party as a matter of law. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The moving party bears the initial burden of stating the basis for the motion and identifying evidence in the record that demonstrates an absence of a genuine dispute of material fact. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). If the moving party satisfies its burden, the non-moving party must then produce specific evidence proving the existence of a genuine dispute of fact for trial. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986).

         While the Court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, the non-moving party must do more than merely show the existence of some “metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986) (citation omitted). Rather, the non-moving party must present specific facts proving that a genuine factual dispute exists by “citing to particular parts of the 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). “The mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support of the [non-moving party's] position will be insufficient” to overcome summary judgment. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252.

         IV. ...

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