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Hurick v. McKee

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

March 24, 2017

v.
v.
KEN McKEE, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          PAUL L. MALONEY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This is a civil rights action brought by a pro se state prisoner under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff is an inmate at the Oaks Correctional Facility. This lawsuit arises out of conditions of his confinement on December 28, 2013, at the Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility (IBC). Plaintiff named two employees of the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) as defendants: Warden Kenneth McKee and Resident Unit Manager (RUM) Robert Mote. Plaintiff alleges that on December 28, 2013, defendants violated his Eighth Amendment rights by deliberate indifference to the risk that plaintiff would be assaulted by another inmate. Plaintiff asks the Court, in its discretion, to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over negligence claims against defendants under state law. Plaintiff seeks declaratory relief and an award of damages against defendants in their individual capacities.

         The matter is before the Court on defendants' motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 16). Plaintiff opposes the motion. (ECF No. 21). For the reasons set forth herein, defendants' motion for summary judgment will be granted and judgment will be entered in defendants' favor on all plaintiff's federal claims. The Court, in its discretion, declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over plaintiff's purported state law claims.

         Summary Judgment Standard

         Summary judgment is appropriate when the record reveals that there are no genuine issues as to any material fact in dispute and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); McKay v. Federspiel, 823 F.3d 862, 866 (6th Cir. 2016). The standard for determining whether summary judgment is appropriate is “whether ‘the evidence presents a sufficient disagreement to require submission to a jury or whether it is so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of law.' ” Rocheleau v. Elder Living Const., LLC, 814 F.3d 398, 400 (6th Cir. 2016) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 251-52 (1986)). The Court must consider all pleadings, depositions, affidavits, and admissions on file, and draw all justifiable inferences in favor of the party opposing the motion. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986); France v. Lucas, 836 F.3d 612, 624 (6th Cir. 2016).

         When the party without the burden of proof seeks summary judgment, that party bears the initial burden of pointing out to the district court an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case, but need not support its motion with affidavits or other materials “negating” the opponent's claim. See Morris v. Oldham County Fiscal Court, 201 F.3d 784, 787 (6th Cir. 2000); see also Minadeo v. ICI Paints, 398 F.3d 751, 761 (6th Cir. 2005). Once the movant shows that “there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case, ” the nonmoving party has the burden of coming forward with evidence raising a triable issue of fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). To sustain this burden, the nonmoving party may not rest on the mere allegations of his pleadings. See Ellington v. City of E. Cleveland, 689 F.3d 549, 552 (6th Cir. 2012); see also Scadden v. Warner, No. 16-1876, ___ F. App'x ___, 2017 WL 384874, at * 4 (6th Cir. Jan. 27, 2017). The motion for summary judgment forces the nonmoving party to present evidence sufficient to create a genuine issue of fact for trial. Street v. J.C. Bradford & Co., 886 F.2d 1472, 1478 (6th Cir. 1990); see Newell Rubbermaid, Inc. v. Raymond Corp., 676 F.3d 521, 533 (6th Cir. 2012). “A mere scintilla of evidence is insufficient; ‘there must be evidence on which a jury could reasonably find for the [non-movant].' ” Dominguez v. Correctional Med. Servs., 555 F.3d 543, 549 (6th Cir. 2009) (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252); see Brown v. Battle Creek Police Dep't, 844 F.3d 556, 565 (6th Cir. 2016).

         Facts

         The following facts are beyond genuine issue.[1] Plaintiff is an inmate held in the custody of the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) on criminal convictions. The defendants are employed by the MDOC at the Bellamy Creek Correctional Facility (IBC). Kenneth McKee is the warden. (McKee Aff. ¶¶ 1-2, ECF No. 17-4, PageID.113). Robert Mote is a Resident Unit Manager (RUM). (Mote Aff. ¶ 1-2, ECF No. 17-2, PageID.64).

         On September 30, 2013, plaintiff was charged with misconduct for fighting with prisoner Jones. (ECF No. 17-2, PageID.84). On October 9, 2013, a hearing officer conducted a hearing on this misconduct charge. Plaintiff denied that there had been any fight. He characterized it as mere “horseplay.” Prisoner Jones, the other participant, said that it was a fight. The hearing officer found plaintiff guilty of the misconduct of fighting and sentenced plaintiff to 15 days of detention. (ECF No. 17-2, PageID.83; ECF No. 21-1, PageID.138-39). In October Prisoner Jones was transferred to another prison. (Mote Aff. ¶ 6, ECF No. 17-2, PageID.65).

         Pursuant to Policy Directive 04.05.120 and as a result of his misconduct conviction, IBC's Security Classification Committee (SCC) placed plaintiff in administrative segregation. The SCC conducted periodic reviews of plaintiff's status. (ECF No. 17-2, PageID.68-81, 85-91).

         On December 11, 2013, plaintiff filed a grievance in which he disavowed all his earlier statements claiming that his interaction with prisoner Jones on September 30, 2013, had been mere horseplay. Now plaintiff claimed that prisoner Jones was a “gangster” and that plaintiff had received “numerous death threats by gangbangers.” (ECF No. 17-2, PageID.93). RUM Mote provided the Step I response to this grievance. Mote noted that plaintiff's allegations had been investigated and it was determined that there was no credible, verifiable evidence supporting plaintiff's allegations. (ECF No. 17-2, PageID.94; Mote Aff. ¶¶ 11-12, PageID.65).

         Plaintiff received no misconducts while he was held in administrative segregation. Therefore, he was eligible to return to the prison's general population. (Mote Aff. ¶ 13, ECF No. 17-2, PageID.65). During the December 27, 2013, SCC review, RUM Mote asked plaintiff if he was willing to return to IBC's general population. Plaintiff responded that he was willing to reenter the prison's general population. At no time during the SCC review did plaintiff make a protection request. (Mote Aff. ¶ 14, ECF No. 17-2, PageID.65). On December 28, 2013, the SCC released plaintiff back into IBC's general population. (ECF No. 17-2, PageID.91; Mote Aff. ¶ 16, ECF No. 17-2, PageID.66).

         Warden McKee and RUM Mote did not have any reason to believe that plaintiff was exposed to a substantial risk of serious harm. (McKee Aff. ¶¶ 7-10, ECF No. 17-4, ...


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