United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division
DAVID A. CAWTHON, Plaintiff,
MELISSA HEMINGWAY, et al., Defendants.
RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE
WALLACE CAPEL, JR. CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
A. Cawthon (“Cawthon”) is before the court on his
complaint under Bivens v. Six Unknown Federal Narcotics
Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), and the Administrative
Procedures Act (“APA”), 5 U.S.C. §§ 701
et seq. Doc. No. 1. Cawthon claims a denial of
his right of meaningful access to the courts resulting from
the alleged inadequacy of materials in the law library at the
Federal Prison Camp in Montgomery, Alabama (“FPC
Montgomery”), stemming in particular from (1) the
removal of the printed set of American Jurisprudence
2d (“ A m . J u r . 2 d ”) from the library
and (2) the replacement of two electronic typewriters in the
library with three manual typewriters. Defendants named by
Cawthon are Melissa Hemingway (former Supervisor of Education
at FPC Montgomery); Dennis W. Stamper (Warden at the prison);
Martha Underwood (Assistant Warden at the prison); and E.
Baskins (Supervisor of Education at the
prison). Doc. No. 1 at 2, ¶¶
5-6; Doc. No. 38. Cawthon seeks compensatory and
punitive damages as well as declaratory and injunctive
filed a special report and supporting evidentiary materials
addressing Cawthon's claims and arguing that he fails to
demonstrate a denial of his right of access to the courts or
any other right. Doc. No. 43. Pursuant to orders
entered in this case, the court deems it appropriate to treat
the report as a motion for summary judgment. See Doc. No.
44 at 3. Thus, this case is pending on Defendants'
motion for summary judgment. Upon consideration of this
motion, the relevant documents, and other materials in the
record, the court concludes that Defendants' motion for
summary judgment should be granted.
SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD
judgment is appropriate ‘if the pleadings, depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together
with the affidavits, if any, show there is no genuine
[dispute] as to any material fact and that the moving party
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.'”
Greenberg v. BellSouth Telecomm., Inc., 498 F.3d
1258, 1263 (11th Cir. 2007) (per curiam) (citation to former
rule omitted); Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a) (“The court shall
grant summary judgment 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.”). The party moving 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 [record, including
pleadings, discovery materials, and affidavits], which it
believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine [dispute] of
material fact.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477
U.S. 317, 323 (1986). The movant may meet this burden by
presenting evidence indicating there is no dispute of
material fact or by showing that the nonmoving party has
failed to present evidence to support some element of its
case on which it bears the ultimate burden of proof.
Id. at 322-24.
this initial burden is met, and the moving party has
demonstrated the absence of a genuine dispute of material
fact on the claims, the other party must “go beyond the
pleadings, and by its own affidavits, or by depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, designate
specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for
trial.” Jeffery v. Sarasota White Sox, Inc.,
64 F.3d 590, 593-94 (11th Cir. 1995); see also Clark v.
Coats & Clark, Inc., 929 F.2d 604, 608 (11th Cir.
1991); Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324; Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(e)(3) (“If a party fails to properly support an
assertion of fact or fails to properly address another
party's assertion of fact by [citing to materials in the
record including affidavits, relevant documents or other
materials] the court may . . . grant summary judgment if the
motion and supporting materials-including the facts
considered undisputed-show that the movant is entitled to
it.”). A genuine dispute of material fact exists when
the nonmoving party produces evidence that would allow a
reasonable factfinder to return a verdict in its favor.
See Greenberg, 498 F.3d at 1263.
civil actions filed by inmates, federal courts
must distinguish between evidence of disputed facts and
disputed matters of professional judgment. In respect to the
latter, our inferences must accord deference to the views of
prison authorities. Unless a prisoner can point to sufficient
evidence regarding such issues of judgment to allow him to
prevail on the merits, he cannot prevail at the summary
Beard v. Banks, 548 U.S. 521, 530 (2006) (internal
citation omitted). Consequently, to survive a properly
supported motion for summary judgment, the nonmoving party
must produce “sufficient [favorable] evidence”
that would be admissible at trial supporting his claims of
constitutional violations. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986); Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e).
“If the evidence [on which the nonmoving party relies]
is merely colorable . . . or is not significantly probative .
. . summary judgment may be granted.”
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249-50. “A mere
‘scintilla' of evidence supporting the opposing
party's position will not suffice; there must be enough
of a showing that the [trier of fact] could reasonably find
for that party.” Walker v. Darby, 911 F.2d
1573, 1576-77 (11th Cir. 1990).
factual inferences must be viewed in a light most favorable
to the nonmoving party and pro se complaints are
entitled to liberal interpretation, a pro se
litigant does not escape the burden of establishing by
sufficient evidence a genuine dispute of material fact.
Beard, 548 U.S. at 525; Brown v. Crawford,
906 F.2d 667, 670 (11th Cir. 1990). Consequently,
Cawthon's pro se status does not allow this
court to disregard elementary principles of production and
proof in a civil case. See Mitchell v. Rouse, 2015
WL 893262, at *3 (M.D. Ala. 2015).
states that on or about May 14, 2014, while he was confined
at FPC Montgomery, Defendant Hemingway, acting in her
capacity as Supervisor of Education at the prison, removed
the printed set of Am. Jur. 2d, a multivolume encyclopedia of
the United States law, from the prison law library. Doc.
No. 1 at 3. Cawthon maintains that the removal of Am.
Jur. 2d from the prison law library denied him the right of
access to the courts by hampering his ability to
“perform meaningful legal research” and also
violated Federal Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”)
Program Statement 1315.07, which lists the complete set of
Am. Jur. 2d among “required main law library
materials.” See Id. at 9-11. Cawthon further
states that on or about ...