United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Northern Division
Gordon J. Quist U.S. District Judge
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
MAARTEN VERMAAT U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
a civil rights action brought by state prisoner Sampson Lee
Smith pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff asserts an
excessive-force Eighth Amendment claim against Defendants D.
Kurth, Unknown Vandershake and Unknown Party
#1.Defendants Kurth and Vadershake have filed
a motion for summary judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a)
and argue that they are entitled to qualified immunity. (ECF
No. 15.) Plaintiff has responded. (ECF No. 23.) Because
Defendants have not met their burden of showing that they are
entitled to judgment as a matter of law, the undersigned
respectfully recommends that the Court deny Defendant's
events alleged in the complaint occurred while Plaintiff was
incarcerated at the Alger Correctional Facility (LMF). In the
morning of May 3, 2017, Plaintiff was “exhibiting
disruptive behavior.” He admits to kicking and pounding
on his cell door. He refused to comply with staff
instructions to stop. Thus, the deputy warden authorized a
“move team” to enter Plaintiff's cell and put
him in soft restraints. After the restraints were put on
Plaintiff, a registered nurse checked and approved the
tightness of the restraints. Plaintiff remained in the soft
restraints the entire day.
next morning, at a little after 7:00 a.m., Plaintiff states
that Defendants Kurth, Vandershake, and an unknown
lieutenant, ordered Plaintiff out of his cell, forced him to
the ground, and tightened the restraints causing him severe
pain. Plaintiff claims that Defendants sole purpose for
tightening the restraints was to cause pain. Plaintiff
further states that he remained in the restraints until a
nurse removed them at 7:00 p.m. Plaintiff claims that the
restraints caused a subdural hematoma that will require
surgery to remove.
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; Kocak v. Comty. Health Partners of Ohio,
Inc., 400 F.3d 466, 468 (6th Cir. 2005); Thomas v.
City of Chattanooga, 398 F.3d 426, 429 (6th Cir. 2005).
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.” State Farm Fire & Cas. Co. v.
McGowan, 421 F.3d 433, 436 (6th Cir. 2005) (quoting
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242,
251-52 (1986)); Tucker v. Union of Needletrades Indus.
& Textile Employees, 407 F.3d 784, 787 (6th Cir.
2005). 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.
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986); Twin City Fire Ins.
Co. v. Adkins, 400 F.3d 293, 296 (6th Cir. 2005).
asserts an excessive-force Eighth Amendment claim against
Defendants. Defendants argue that they are entitled to
qualified immunity on Plaintiff's claim.
officials, performing discretionary functions, generally are
shielded from liability for civil damages insofar as their
conduct does not violate clearly established statutory or
constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have
known. Dietrich v. Burrows, 167 F.3d 1007, 1012 (6th
Cir. 1999); Turner v. Scott, 119 F.3d 425, 429 (6th
Cir. 1997); Noble v. Schmitt, 87 F.3d 157, 160 (6th
Cir. 1996); Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 818
(1982). An “objective reasonableness” test is
used to determine whether the official could reasonably have
believed his conduct was lawful. Dietrich, 167 F.3d at
1012; Anderson v. Creighton, 483 U.S. 635, 641
immunity balances two important interests-the need to hold
public officials accountable when they exercise power
irresponsibly and the need to shield officials from
harassment, distraction, and liability when they perform
their duties reasonably.” Pearson v. Callahan,
555 U.S. 223, 231 (2009). In making a qualified immunity
determination, the court must decide whether the facts as
alleged or shown make out a constitutional violation or
whether the right that was allegedly violated was a clearly
established right at the time of the alleged misconduct.
Id. at 232. If the court can conclude that either no