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Smith v. White

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

June 24, 2019

RANDY WHITE, et al., Defendant


          Thomas B. Russell, Senior Judge.

         This matter is before the Court upon Defendant Charles Aaron Davis's Motion for Summary Judgment. (R. 68). Fully briefed, this matter is ripe for adjudication. For the reasons that follow, the Defendants' Motion to for Summary Judgment, (R. 68), is HEREBY GRANTED.


         Pro se Plaintiff and inmate, Rodney Smith, alleges that on April 18, 2017, prison officials at Kentucky State Penitentiary (KSP) subjected him to an unlawful cavity search after an iPod allegedly went missing from his cell. (R. 1). On April 25, [1] 2017, Smith was taken to see Nurse Charles Aaron Davis in response to rectal pain allegedly resulting therefrom. (Id.). Smith claims that Nurse Davis “immediately began to question him” about who had conducted the cavity search. According to Smith, Nurse Davis was “more concerned of the incident and/or activity than [Smith's] well-being and safety.” (Id.). Finally, Smith alleges that Nurse Davis prematurely terminated Smith's medical visit “out of machination and to protect the integrity or lack thereof Respondent Rodriguez [the KSP official who allegedly performed the damaging cavity search].” (Id.).

         On May 12, 2017, Smith filed Grievance No. 17-05-113-G against Nurse Davis for Nurse Davis's alleged refusal to treat Smith after the illegal cavity search. (R. 68, Ex. 3). Pursuant to Kentucky Corrections Policies and procedures (CPP) § 14.6(J)(1)(a)(2), Grievance No. 17-05-113-G was rejected as untimely because it was filed more than five days after Nurse Davis allegedly denied Smith treatment. (See Id.).

         On September 11, 2017, Smith sued, among other defendants, Nurse Davis in Franklin County Circuit Court. (R. 1). Smith alleged that Nurse Davis's failure to treat Smith after the cavity search violated his Eight Amendment rights. (R. 1). On October 9, 2017, the Defendants removed the case to this Court. On March 14, 2018, this Court conducted its initial screening pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915 A, and allowed Smith's Eighth Amendment claim against Davis to proceed. Nurse Davis now moves for Summary Judgment. (R. 68).


         Summary 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).

         “[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). 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 not defeat a properly supported motion for summary judgment. A genuine dispute between the parties on an issue of material fact must exist to render summary judgment inappropriate.” Monette v. Electronic Data Sys. Corp., 90 F.3d 1173, 1177 (6th Cir. 1996).


         Nurse Davis argues that he is entitled to summary judgment for two reasons: First, Smith failed to exhaust his administrative remedies pursuant to the PLRA, and KSP Policy, and second, Smith failed to plead sufficient factual allegations to establish an Eighth Amendment claim against Nurse Davis. The Court will address each argument in turn.

         A. Smith's Failure to Exhaust Administrative Remedies

         Nurse Davis argues that Smith failed to exhaust his administrative remedies because Grievance No. 17-05-113-G, the only grievance produced by either Party concerning Nurse Davis, was rejected by grievance coordinator Danial Smith as untimely. (See R. 68, Ex. 3). Defendant Smith does not dispute that Grievance No. 17-05-113-G is the only grievance that he filed against Nurse Davis. Nor in the 210 pages that Smith attached to his Response did he include any grievance concerning Nurse Davis, other than Grievance No. 17-05-113-G. (See R. 73, Ex. 1-7). Smith also does not dispute that Grievance No. 17-05-113-G was rejected pursuant CPP § 14.6(J)(1)(a)(2) as untimely.

         Instead, Smith responds that “several of [his] grievances weren't allowed the privilege of complete exhaustion due to machination, manipulation, and/or thwart, ” and that “Danial Smith rejected several submitted grievance[s] with no just cause.” Thus, the only issue before the Court is whether Smith's failure to exhaust should be excused ...

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