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Hardison v. Murphy

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

February 17, 2015



DAVID R. GRAND, Magistrate Judge.

Before the Court is the Motion for Summary Judgment filed on September 15, 2014, by Defendants Cyndi Murphy, Karen Horton, and Richard Cady (collectively the "MDOC Defendants"). (Doc. #15). Pro se plaintiff Anthony Hardison ("Hardison"), an incarcerated person, submitted two documents in response to this motion. (Docs. #17, 19). No reply was filed. An Order of Reference was entered on July 15, 2014, referring all pretrial matters to the undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §636(b). (Doc. #8).

Generally, the Court will not hold a hearing on a motion in a civil case in which a party is in custody. See L.R. 7.1(f). Here, the Court finds that the facts and legal issues are adequately presented in the briefs and on the record, and it declines to order a hearing at this time.


For the reasons set forth below, IT IS RECOMMENDED that the MDOC Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment [15] be GRANTED.


A. Background

Hardison is a State of Michigan prisoner who, at all relevant times, was confined at the G. Robert Cotton Correctional Facility in Jackson, Michigan ("JCF").[1] (Doc. #1 at ¶ 1). He brings this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against three individuals[2] employed by the Michigan Department of Corrections ("MDOC"). Specifically, Hardison alleges that Registered Nurse Cyndi Murphy ("RN Murphy") and Corrections Officer Karen Horton ("CO Horton") violated his Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment when they were deliberately indifferent to a serious medical need. And, Hardison alleges that Resident Unit Manager Richard Cady ("RUM Cady") violated his First Amendment right to free speech when he transferred him to the Lakeland Correctional Facility ("LCF") in retaliation for his filing of grievances. Hardison sues the MDOC Defendants in their personal and official capacities, seeking compensatory and punitive damages and declaratory and injunctive relief.

B. Standard of Review

Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, the Court will grant summary judgment if "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); see also Pittman v. Cuyahoga County Dep't of Children & Family Servs., 640 F.3d 716, 723 (6th Cir. 2011). A fact is material if it might affect the outcome of the case under governing law. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). In determining whether a genuine issue of material fact exists, the Court assumes the truth of the non-moving party's evidence and construes all reasonable inferences from that evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. See Ciminillo v. Streicher, 434 F.3d 461, 464 (6th Cir. 2006).

The party seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of informing the Court of the basis for its motion, and must identify particular portions of the record that demonstrate the absence of a genuine dispute as to any material fact. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 325 (1986); Alexander v. CareSource, 576 F.3d 551, 558 (6th Cir. 2009). "Once the moving party satisfies its burden, the burden shifts to the nonmoving party to set forth specific facts showing a triable issue.'" Wrench LLC v. Taco Bell Corp., 256 F.3d 446, 453 (6th Cir. 2001) (quoting Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986)). In response to a summary judgment motion, the opposing party may not rest on its pleadings, nor "rely on the hope that the trier of fact will disbelieve the movant's denial of a disputed fact' but must make an affirmative showing with proper evidence in order to defeat the motion." Alexander, 576 F.3d at 558 (internal quotations omitted).

C. Analysis

In their motion, the MDOC Defendants argue that summary judgment is appropriate on Hardison's Eighth Amendment claims against RN Murphy and CO Horton because the evidence establishes that they were not deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs. (Doc. #15). They further argue that Hardison's First Amendment claim against RUM Cady fails because his transfer from JCF to LCF was not an "adverse action" within the meaning of the law; and, even if it was, there is no evidence that this transfer was motivated by Hardison's protected activity. ( Id. ). Hardison filed two documents in response to the MDOC ...

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