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Brown v. McKay

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

April 9, 2019

ANDRE BROWN #270886, Plaintiff,
UNKNOWN MACKAY, et al., Defendants.

          Hon. Robert J. Jonker Judge



         This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment, (ECF No. 17), Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, (ECF No. 20), and Plaintiff's Amended Motion for Summary Judgment, (ECF No. 23). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B), the undersigned recommends that Plaintiff's motions be denied, Defendant's motion be granted, and this action terminated.


         Plaintiff initiated this action on August 31, 2018, alleging various constitutional violations against ten (10) individuals employed by the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC). On September 26, 2018, the Honorable Robert J. Jonker issued an Opinion and Order dismissing all of Plaintiff's claims, save a First Amendment retaliation claim against Defendant Terry Mackay.[1](ECF No. 6-7). With respect to this remaining claim, Plaintiff alleges the following.

         On May 25, 2017, Plaintiff filed a grievance against Corrections Officer Bruch, alleging that Bruch had threatened Plaintiff. On May 30, 2017, Defendant Mackay denied Plaintiff's grievance and, moreover, told Plaintiff, “I'm going to get you for this grievance.” The following day, Mackay charged Plaintiff with assault and battery on Bruch during the course of a May 15, 2017 incident. A hearing on this charge was subsequently held at which the hearing officer reviewed the video footage of the incident in question. The hearing officer concluded that while Plaintiff initiated physical contact with Bruch, the contact was incidental. Accordingly, Plaintiff was found not guilty of the charge. The sole remaining claim in this action is that Mackay charged Plaintiff with assault and battery as retaliation for Plaintiff filing a grievance against Bruch on May 25, 2017. Defendant Mackay now moves for summary judgment on the ground that Plaintiff has failed to properly exhaust this particular claim.


         Summary judgment “shall” be granted “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 party moving for summary judgment can satisfy its burden by demonstrating “that the respondent, having had sufficient opportunity for discovery, has no evidence to support an essential element of his or her case. Minadeo v. ICI Paints, 398 F.3d 751, 761 (6th Cir. 2005). Once the moving party demonstrates that “there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case, the non-moving party “must identify specific facts that can be established by admissible evidence, which demonstrate a genuine issue for trial. Amini v. Oberlin College, 440 F.3d 350, 357 (6th Cir. 2006).

         While the Court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, the party opposing the summary judgment motion “must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts. Amini, 440 F.3d at 357. The existence of a mere “scintilla of evidence in support of the non-moving party's position is insufficient. Daniels v. Woodside, 396 F.3d 730, 734-35 (6th Cir. 2005). The non-moving party “may not rest upon [his] mere allegations, but must instead present “significant probative evidence establishing that “there is a genuine issue for trial. Pack v. Damon Corp., 434 F.3d 810, 813-14 (6th Cir. 2006).

         Moreover, the non-moving party cannot defeat a properly supported motion for summary judgment by “simply arguing that it relies solely or in part upon credibility determinations. Fogerty v. MGM Group Holdings Corp., Inc., 379 F.3d 348, 353 (6th Cir. 2004). Rather, the non-moving party “must be able to point to some facts which may or will entitle him to judgment, or refute the proof of the moving party in some material portion, and. . .may not merely recite the incantation, 'Credibility,' and have a trial on the hope that a jury may disbelieve factually uncontested proof. Id. at 353-54. In sum, summary judgment is appropriate “against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial.” Daniels, 396 F.3d at 735.

         While a moving party without the burden of proof need only show that the opponent cannot sustain his burden at trial, a moving party with the burden of proof faces a “substantially higher hurdle. Arnett v. Myers, 281 F.3d 552, 561 (6th Cir. 2002). Where the moving party has the burden, Ahis showing must be sufficient for the court to hold that no reasonable trier of fact could find other than for the moving party. Calderone v. United States, 799 F.2d 254, 259 (6th Cir. 1986). The Sixth Circuit has emphasized that the party with the burden of proof “must show the record contains evidence satisfying the burden of persuasion and that the evidence is so powerful that no reasonable jury would be free to disbelieve it. Arnett, 281 F.3d at 561. Accordingly, summary judgment in favor of the party with the burden of persuasion “is inappropriate when the evidence is susceptible of different interpretations or inferences by the trier of fact. Hunt v. Cromartie, 526 U.S. 541, 553 (1999).


         I. Plaintiff's Motions for Summary Judgment

         A. Plaintiff's Motion for Summary ...

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