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Richards v. Sheltrown

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

April 17, 2015

MICHAEL RICHARDS, Plaintiff,
v.
DONALD SHELTROWN, GREGORY SAKO, CRAIG HANSELMAN, and GREG A. SMITH, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT[1] AND DISMISSING CASE

AVERN COHN, District Judge.

I. Introduction

This is a prisoner civil rights case under 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983. On June 11, 2012, plaintiff Michael Richards, proceeding pro se and without payment of fees, filed a complaint claiming that several defendants violated his constitutional rights while a pretrial detainee in the Oakland County Jail.[2] In essence, Richards alleges that he was placed in an overcrowded section of the jail (the "bullpen") and forced to sleep on a brick floor, where he was eventually assaulted by other inmates for being a "snitch" after coming to the aid of another younger inmate who was previously assaulted. Richards says he was severely injured as a result of the assault; he was hospitalized for several days before being returned to the jail. He also says he was not given adequate medical care for a tooth that was injured during the assault.

Before the Court is defendants' motion for summary judgment. For the reasons that follow, the motion will be granted.

II. Background

Shortly after the complaint was filed, the matter was referred to a magistrate judge for all pretrial proceedings. All of the defendants - Michael Bouchard, Brian Spiker, Donald Sheltrown, Gregory Sako, Craig J. Hanselman, and Greg A. Smith-filed a motion for summary judgment (Doc. 13). The magistrate judge properly construed the motion as a motion to dismiss inasmuch as it was directly solely to the allegations in the complaint and no other evidence was filed in support of the motion. On September 3, 2013, the magistrate judge issued a report and recommendation (MJRR), recommending that the that the motion be granted as to Michael Bouchard and Brian Spiker, and that they be dismissed with prejudice. The magistrate judge also recommended that the motion be denied as to Donald Sheltrown, Gregory Sako, Craig J. Hanselman, and Greg A. Smith. In other words, the magistrate judge found that Richards had plead plausible claims against these defendants. Neither party objected to the MJRR. The Court adopted the MJRR on October 31, 2013. (Doc. 30).

Following the adoption of the MJRR, the following defendants and claims became at issue:

Deliberate indifference to safety and retaliation claims against the following corrections officers:

- Donald Sheltrown
- Gregory Sako
- Craig Hanselman

Deliberate indifference to medical needs against

- Greg A. Smith, a jail nurse

After the Court adopted the MJRR, substantial efforts were made to find Richards counsel. This included issuance of a stay (Doc. 32). Those efforts were not successful. See Docs. 24, 25, 36. As such, in Pretrial Order No. 2 issued on September 18, 2014, the Court lifted the stay and directed Richards proceed pro se. (Doc. 41). In that order, the Court also directed Richards provide a narrative statement and list of witnesses and exhibits. Richards did so. See Doc. 42.

On October 30, 2014, the Court entered Pretrial Order No. 3 which directed defendants to file a narrative statement, witness and exhibit lists. Defendants did so. See Docs. 45, 46. In defendants' narrative, they stated that they "intend to file a motion for summary judgment as soon as possible." (Doc. 44 at p. 5, emphasis added).

On January 9, 2015, the Court held a status conference with the parties. The Court then entered a scheduling order for briefing of the impending summary judgment motion. (Doc. 50). On January 28, 2015, defendants filed the instant motion for summary judgment. (Doc. 51). Richards filed a response. (Doc. 53). The matter is now ready for decision.

III. Summary Judgment

"The court shall 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). A moving party may meet that burden "by showing' - that is, pointing out to the district court - that there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 325 (1986). Revised Rule 56 expressly provides that:

A party asserting that a fact cannot be or is genuinely disputed must support the assertion by:
(A) citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials; or
(B) showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1). The revised Rule also provides the consequences of failing to properly support or address a fact:

If a party fails to properly support an assertion of fact or fails to properly address another party's assertion of fact as required by Rule 56(c), the court may:
(1) give an opportunity to properly support or ...

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