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Radford v. Rabon

United States District Court, S.D. Alabama, Southern Division

February 1, 2018

TERRY RAYBON, et al., Defendants.



         Plaintiff Thomas Radford, a prison inmate proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed his seconded amended complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.[1] (See Doc. 57). This action was referred to the undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Rule 72(a)(2)(R), and is now before the undersigned on Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. After careful review of the pleadings, and for the reasons set out below, it is ordered that Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment be granted and that Plaintiff Radford's action against Defendants Terry Raybon, Chandra January, and Michael Hoffman be dismissed with prejudice.

         I. Factual Background.

         Plaintiff Radford is suing the Defendants[2] for acts of cruel and unusual punishment and deliberate indifference in violation of the Eighth Amendment. Radford claims that while incarcerated at Fountain Correctional Facility, [3]Defendants twice assigned him a job duty that required performing labor beyond the allowance of his medical profile. (Docs. 57; Doc. 90).

         In his complaint, Plaintiff Radford maintains that on January 24, 2014, Warden Raybon assigned him to work in the laundry room. (Doc. 57 at 3). Radford claims he informed Warden Raybon (at that time the assignment was delegated) that he suffered from back problems which restricted his ability to perform the physical requirements of the laundry job and that he possessed a medical profile excusing him from lifting or bending, to which Warden Raybon responded, “profile[s] don't work around here.” (Id.). Plaintiff Radford subsequently accepted the laundry room job assignment after Warden Raybon warned him that he would receive a disciplinary charge if he failed to comply with the work order. (Id. at 3-4). In February 2014, however, while working in the laundry room, Radford alleges in his complaint that he “hurt [his] spinal cord again, ” after picking up a bag of laundry that weighed approximately 200 pounds. (Id. at 4; Doc. 101 at 2).

         Additionally, Plaintiff Radford alleges Warden Raybon assigned him a job duty beyond the scope of his medical profile, in August of 2014, by ordering him to work in the bathroom(s). (Doc. 57 at 3-4). Again, Radford claims he informed Warden Raybon about his back injury and work profile limitations. (Id.). Nevertheless, Warden Raybon insisted Radford report to the assigned job to avoid disciplinary action. (Id. at 4). While on the job, Plaintiff Radford alleges he attempted to lift a 75 pound bucket of water and reinjured his back and spinal cord. (Id.).

         Plaintiff Radford also brings suit against Classification Officers Chandra January and Michael Hoffman, who he alleges were present at the Job Board hearing when Warden Raybon assigned him to the laundry room and bathroom work details in January and August 2014, respectively. (Id. at 7). Plaintiff Radford claims Classification Officers January and Hoffman were aware that Radford had a ”no lift” medical profile at the time the jobs were assigned, yet they failed “to defend him” and allowed him to be assigned work duty in the laundry room and bathroom. (Id.). Plaintiff seeks relief from the Defendants in the amount of $10, 000 compensatory and $15, 000 punitive damages. (Id. at 8).

         Defendants Raybon, Hoffman, and January have answered the suit, denied the allegations against them, asserted the defenses of sovereign and qualified immunity, [4] and filed a Special Report in support of their position. (Docs. 76, 77, 86, 87). The Court converted Defendants' Answers and Special Reports into a Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 89), and Plaintiff Radford has responded in opposition to the motion. (Docs. 78, 101-104). After a thorough review of the record before the Court, this motion is now ripe for consideration.

         II. Summary Judgment Standard.

         Summary Judgment is proper "if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a)[5]; see Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2510, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986); Garczynski v. Bradshaw, 573 F.3d 1158, 1165 (2009) ("[S]ummary judgment is appropriate even if 'some alleged factual dispute' between the parties remains, so long as there is 'no genuine issue of material fact.'"(emphasis omitted)).

         The party asking for summary judgment "always bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of the 'pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, ' which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact." Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. The movant can meet this burden by presenting evidence showing there is no dispute of material fact, or by showing, or pointing out to, the district court that the nonmoving party has failed to present evidence in support of some element of its case on which it bears the ultimate burden of proof. Id. at 322-24.

Once the moving party has met its burden, Rule 56(e) "requires the nonmoving party to go beyond the pleadings and by [its] own affidavits, or by the 'depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, ' designate 'specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.'" Id. at 324. To avoid summary judgment, the nonmoving party "must do more than show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986). On the other hand, the evidence of the nonmovant must be believed and all justifiable inferences must be drawn in its favor. See Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255.

ThyssenKrupp Steel USA, LLC v. United Forming, Inc., 926 F.Supp.2d 1286, 1289-90 (S.D. Ala. Jan. 29, 2013) (citations omitted).

         The requirement to view the facts in the nonmoving party's favor extends only to "genuine" disputes over material facts. A genuine dispute requires more than "some metaphysical doubt as to material facts." Garczynski, 573 F.3d at 1165 (internal citations omitted). A "mere scintilla" of evidence is insufficient; the nonmoving party must produce substantial evidence in order to defeat a motion for summary judgment. Id. In addition, "[t]here is no burden upon the district court to distill every potential argument that could be made based upon the materials before it on summary judgment." Resolution Trust Corp. v. DunmarCorp., 43 F.3d 587, 599 (11th Cir. 1995). More importantly, where "opposing parties tell two different stories, one of which is blatantly contradicted by the record, so that no reasonable jury could believe it, a court should not adopt that version of the facts for purposes of ruling on a motion for summary judgment." Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380, 127 S.Ct. 1769, 1776, 167 L.Ed.2d 686 (2007); see also Logan v. Smith, 439 Fed.Appx. 798, 800 (11th Cir. Aug. 29, 2011) ("In cases where opposing parties ...

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