United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division
MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
G. CORNELIUS U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
plaintiff has filed a pro se second amended
complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violations of
his civil rights. (Doc. 21). The second amended complaint
names the following defendants: Warden Leon Bolling, Captain
Jeffery Baldwin, Lieutenant Deaundra Johnson, Correctional
Officer Rodney Smith, and Correctional Officer David Mason.
(Id. at 1). The plaintiff seeks injunctive and
monetary relief . (Id. at 9). In accordance with the
usual practices of this court and 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1),
the second amended complaint was referred to the undersigned
for a preliminary report and recommendation. See McCarthy
v. Bronson, 500 U.S. 136 (1991).
March 10, 2017, and May 22, 2017, the plaintiff filed motions
seeking orders requiring the defendants to: (1) separate him
from Raphael Landrum, an inmate the plaintiff alleges
assaulted him in June 2016; and (2) transfer the plaintiff to
another facility and refrain from retaliating against him.
(Docs. 22, 28). The undersigned ordered the defendants to
respond to the plaintiff's motions for preliminary
injunction. (Doc. 25). On August 8, 2017, the court accepted
the undersigned's recommendation-to which the plaintiff
did not object-and denied the plaintiff's motions for
preliminary injunction. (Doc. 35; see Docs. 32, 33).
August 17, 2017, the undersigned entered an Order for Special
Report directing the Clerk to forward copies of the second
amended complaint to each of the named defendants and
directing the defendants to file a Special Report addressing
the plaintiff's factual allegations. (Doc. 36). The order
advised the defendants the Special Report could be submitted
under oath or accompanied by affidavits and, if appropriate,
would be construed as a motion for summary judgment under
Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
(Id.). On August 30, 2017, the plaintiff filed a
response noting that the court had accurately interpreted his
claims. (Doc. 37).
November 15, 2017, the defendants filed a Special Report and
supporting evidence. (Doc. 45). On December 22, 2017, the
undersigned notified the parties the Special Report would be
construed as a motion for summary judgment and ordered the
plaintiff to respond by filing affidavits or other material
within twenty-one (21) days. (Doc. 51). The order also
advised the plaintiff of the consequences of any default or
failure to comply with Rule 56. (Id.). See
Griffith v. Wainwright, 772 F.2d 822, 825 (11th Cir.
1985). Although the plaintiff filed responses to the
defendants' Special Report on November 29, 2017 (Doc.
47), and December 4, 2017 (Doc. 48), he did not submit any
additional material after the court's December 22, 2017
order. Accordingly, the defendants' motion
for summary judgment is fully briefed and ripe for
STANDARD OF REVIEW
the court has construed the defendants' Special Report as
a motion for summary judgment, Rule 56 governs. Under Rule
56(a), summary judgment is proper "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."
In making that assessment, the court must view the evidence
in a light most favorable to the non-moving party and must
draw all reasonable inferences against the moving party.
Chapman v. AI Transport, 229 F.3d 1012, 1023 (11th
Cir. 2000). The moving party bears the burden to establish
prima facie entitlement to summary judgment by showing the
absence of genuine issues of material fact such that judgment
as a matter of law is due. See Clark v. Coats &
Clark, Inc., 929 F.2d 604, 608 (11th Cir. 1991). Unless
the plaintiff, who carries the ultimate burden of proving his
action, is able to show some evidence with respect to each
element of his claim, all other issues of fact become
immaterial, and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477
U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986); Bennett v. Parker, 898 F.2d
1530, 1532-33 (11th Cir. 1990). As the Eleventh Circuit has
Facts in dispute cease to be material facts when the
plaintiff fails to establish a prima facie case. In such a
situation, there can be no genuine issue as to any material
fact, since a complete failure of proof concerning an
essential element of the non-moving party's case
necessarily renders all other facts immaterial. Thus, under
such circumstances, the public official is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law, because the plaintiff has failed
to carry the burden of proof. This rule facilitates the
dismissal of factually unsupported claims prior to trial.
Bennett, 898 F.2d at 1532 (citations and quotation
"specific facts" pled in a pro se
plaintiff's sworn complaint must be considered in
opposition to summary judgment. See Caldwell v. Warden,
FCI Talladega, 748 F.3d 1090, 1098 (11th Cir.
2014) (citing Perry v. Thompson, 786 F.2d 1093, 1095
(11th Cir. 1986)). Additionally, because the plaintiff is
pro se, the court must construe the complaint more
liberally than it would pleadings drafted by lawyers.
Hughes v. Rowe, 449 U.S. 5, 9 (1980). "Pro
se pleading are held to a less stringent standard than
pleadings drafted by attorneys and will, therefore, be
liberally construed." Boxer X v. Harris, 437
F.3d 1107, 1110 (11th Cir. 2006).
SUMMARY JUDGMENT FACTS
2016, the plaintiff wrote a letter to defendant Johnson.
(Doc. 21 at 4). A few days later, Lieutenant Johnson
instructed an officer to escort the plaintiff to the West
Classification Offices where Johnson was waiting.
(Id.). Johnson told the plaintiff the letter was
"a slap in the face" and that she and the plaintiff
should be allies rather than enemies. (Id.). Johnson
also stated that if the plaintiff or "anybody else wrote
her it had better be correct." (Id.). About a
week later, the plaintiff wrote Lieutenant Johnson a second
3, 2016, the plaintiff was at Chapel, talking with inmates,
when two other inmates, Raphael Landrum and Anthony Jones,
approached. (Doc. 21 at 4). At another inmate's
request, the plaintiff agreed to go to B-Block to
"retrieve funds" from Landrum. (Id.).
Between 1:15-1:30 p.m., the plaintiff, Landrum, and Jones
left Chapel and walked together to A/B Unit. (Doc. 21 at 4).
Defendant Mason was standing at the entrance on the main
hall. (Id.). Although Mason knew the plaintiff was
not assigned to A/B Unit, he allowed the plaintiff to enter
with Landrum and Jones. (Id. at 4-5). When the
inmates walked down the corridor, the door to B-Block was
locked. (Id. at 5). Landrum asked defendant Smith,
the cubicle operator, to open the door to B-Block.
(Id.). Smith observed the inmates standing at the
door. (Id.). Smith also knew the plaintiff was not
assigned to A/B Unit. (Doc. 21 at 5). However, Smith unlocked
the door and allowed the inmates through. (Id.). As
the inmates entered, Smith called the plaintiff's name,
shook an ink pen, and stated he was about "to get the
plaintiff entered a cell with Jones and Landrum, and after
Landrum locked the door, he and Jones immediately began
assaulting the plaintiff. (Doc. 21 at 5). During the assault,
Jones kept repeating, "Write Lt. Johnson another
letter." (Id.). After the inmates beat and
"stomped" on the plaintiff, Landrum began hitting
the plaintiff's hands with a stick and asking which hand
he wrote with. (Id.). While Landrum hit the
plaintiff's hands, Jones said, "She want that
b[**]ch broke, break that b[**]ch." (Id.).
the assault was finished, Landrum told the plaintiff to leave
the cell and go to the exit door of the cell block. (Doc. 21
at 5). When the plaintiff reached the exit door, Landrum got
defendant Smith's attention and pointed to the plaintiff;
Smith then opened the door for the plaintiff to leave.
(Id.). Defendant Mason was still at the front door,
and when he noticed the plaintiff's bruised and swollen
face, he told the plaintiff he had to stay in the corridor
for two hours before he could leave. (Id.). However,
after looking down the hall and seeing it was empty, Mason
told the plaintiff to leave. (Id.).
plaintiff went to his assigned unit and returned to the
Chapel when Moorish Science Service was called. (Doc. 21 at
5-6). At approximately 4:30 p.m., Correctional Officer Robert
Williams, a non-party, called for a supervisor to report to
the Chapel. (Doc. 45-6 at 1). Sergeant William Bradford, also
a non-party, responded to the Chapel, and Williams said he
thought the plaintiff had been beaten and was about to pass
out. (Id.). Inmates assisted the plaintiff to the
infirmary. (Doc. 21 at 6).
Bolling and Baldwin visited the plaintiff in the infirmary
and inquired who assaulted him. (Doc. 21 at 6). The plaintiff
said he did not know. (Id.). The plaintiff did not
respond when Baldwin again asked the assailants'
identities. (Doc. 45-2). Sgt. Bradford notified Correctional
Investigator Charles Hedrick of the Investigations &
Intelligence Division ("I&I") that the
plaintiff had been assaulted. (Doc. 45-6 at 1, 9-10). The
plaintiff sustained multiple contusions to his head, face,
arms, and left knee; he was transported to Brookwood Hospital
for treatment. (Id. at 1, 7). The plaintiff returned
to prison with arm braces and a splint on his left pinky
finger. (Id. at 8).
November 16, 2016, during a Segregation Review Board, Landrum
stated someone had placed two black gloves and a threatening
note underneath his cell door. (See Doc. 45-6 at 1).
Landrum stated his belief that the note was from the
plaintiff. (Id.). When asked why he thought the
plaintiff was responsible, Landrum admitted he had attacked
the plaintiff on orders from inmate Earl
Manassa. According to Landrum, Manassa wanted the
plaintiff's hand broken because he was writing letters to
Lieutenant Johnson and masturbating while looking at female
November 17, 2016, Warden Errol Pickens, a non-party,
interviewed the plaintiff; the plaintiff stated Landrum and
Jones assaulted him "because of Lieutenant
Johnson." (Doc. 45-6 at 1; Doc. 48 at 4). Specifically,
the plaintiff stated Landrum and Jones informed him they were
going to break his hands because Lieutenant Johnson wanted
them broken. (Doc. 45-6 at 1). On the same day, the plaintiff
submitted a written statement detailing the assault. (Doc.
45-6 at 4). The plaintiff claimed that, during the assault,
Landrum and Jones stated Johnson wanted his wrists broken.
(Id.). The plaintiff claimed someone later warned
him Johnson did not believe the first assault was sufficient
and that she would send inmates to complete the
(Id.). The plaintiff further claimed an unknown
inmate told him Johnson entered B-Block with "some big
dude," announcing the plaintiff was an
"example" and if other inmates were caught
"gunning," she would have their wrists broken as
November 17, 2016, Landrum submitted a written statement
claiming someone had placed a pair of black gloves and a
threatening note in his cell. (Doc. 45-6 at 5). Landrum
expressed his belief that an inmate who had his hands broken
was responsible. (Id.). Landrum claimed the inmate
believed Lieutenant Johnson "put a hit out on him and
that [he] took the hit." (Id.). Landrum claimed