United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division
RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAGISTRATE JUDGE
M. BORDEN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Shaquille Parker, an inmate of the Alabama Department of
Corrections, filed this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
raising the following claims:
(i) The defendants violated his due process rights by relying
on an offense committed during his incarceration in the
Madison County Jail as a basis for the close custody
determination; (ii) The classification hearing did not
comport with minimal due process; (iii) He was denied due
process during his confinement in close custody at Kilby
Correctional Facility, a term of confinement which lasted
over a year, because he did not receive periodic reviews of
his close custody status during this time; (iv) The
conditions in close custody, i.e., one hour out-of-cell time
while handcuffed and shackled, visitation only once every six
months, use of phone only once every 90 days, commissary
visits one time per month, no television privileges,
inadequate ventilation and heat, lack of required living
space (80 square feet), no chair or stool in the cell, lack
of emergency button and absence of a fire sprinkler, violated
his Eighth Amendment rights; and (v) The differential
treatment of inmates assigned to close custody from general
population inmates is violative of equal protection.
Doc. 44 at 1-2 (footnote omitted). Plaintiff names as
defendants Jefferson Dunn, Phyllis Billups, Timothy Logan,
and Michelle Ellington
(“Defendants”). Doc. 1. Plaintiff requests
compensatory damages. Doc. 44 at 1 n.1.
filed an answer, special report, supplemental special report,
and evidentiary materials addressing Plaintiff's claims
for relief. Docs. 23, 24, 42 & 48. Upon receipt of
Defendants' reports, the court directed Plaintiff to file
a response, including sworn affidavits and other evidentiary
materials, and specifically cautioning Plaintiff that
“at some time in the future the court may treat the
defendants' report[s] and the plaintiff's response[s]
as a dispositive motion and response.” Docs. 25 &
35. Plaintiff responded to Defendants' reports and
materials. Docs. 26, 43 & 50.
court now will treat Defendants' reports as a motion for
summary judgment. Upon consideration of the motion,
responses, and evidentiary materials filed in support and in
opposition to the motion, the court concludes that the motion
for summary judgment is due to be granted.
SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD
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.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). “Summary judgment is appropriate
‘if the pleadings, depositions, answers to
interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the
affidavits, if any, show there is no [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 omitted). 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 that there
is no dispute of material fact or by showing 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.
have met their evidentiary burden and demonstrated the
absence of any genuine dispute of material fact. Thus, the
burden shifts to Plaintiff to establish with appropriate
evidence beyond the pleadings that a genuine dispute material
to the case exists. 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
. . . .”); see also Caldwell v. Warden, FCI
Talladega, 748 F.3d 1090, 1098 (11th Cir. 2014) (holding
that court may consider facts pleaded in a plaintiff's
sworn complaint when considering his opposition to summary
judgment”). A genuine dispute of material fact exists
when the nonmoving party produces evidence that would allow a
reasonable fact- finder to return a verdict in its favor.
Greenberg, 498 F.3d at 1263. The evidence must be
admissible at trial, and if the nonmoving party's
evidence “is merely colorable . . . or is not
significantly probative . . . summary judgment may be
granted.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 249-50 (1986); Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e). But a
“mere ‘scintilla' of evidence supporting the
opposing party's position will not suffice.”
Walker v. Darby, 911 F.2d 1573, 1577 (11th Cir.
1990) (citing Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252). Only
disputes involving material facts are relevant, and what is
material is determined by the substantive law applicable to
the case. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. To demonstrate
a genuine dispute of material fact, the party opposing
summary judgment “must do more than simply show that
there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts. .
. . Where the record taken as a whole could not lead a
rational trier of fact to find for the nonmoving party, there
is no ‘genuine [dispute] for trial.'”
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp.,
475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986).
evidence of the non-movant is to be believed, and all
justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his favor.”
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255; Feliciano v. City of
Miami Beach, 707 F.3d 1244, 1253 (11th Cir. 2013)
(“To be sure, [plaintiff's] sworn statements are
self-serving, but that alone does not permit us to disregard
them at the summary judgment stage. . . . . ‘[c]ourts
routinely and properly deny summary judgment on the basis of
a party's sworn testimony even though it is
self-serving.'”) (citation omitted).
“Conclusory, uncorroborated allegations by a plaintiff
in an affidavit or deposition will not create an issue of
fact for trial sufficient to defeat a well supported summary
judgment motion.” Solliday v. Fed. Officers,
413 Fed.Appx. 206, 207 (11th Cir. 2011) (citing Earley v.
Champion Int'l Corp., 907 F.2d 1077, 1081 (11th Cir.
1990)); see also Holifield v. Reno, 115 F.3d 1555,
1564 n.6 (11th Cir. 1997) (per curiam) (holding that
conclusory allegations based on subjective beliefs are
likewise insufficient to create a genuine dispute of material
fact). Although factual inferences must be viewed in a light
most favorable to the nonmoving party and pro se
complaints are entitled to liberal interpretation by the
court, a pro se litigant does not escape the burden
of sufficiently establishing a genuine dispute of material
fact. Brown v. Crawford, 906 F.2d 667, 670 (11th
Cir. 1990). Thus, a plaintiff's pro se status
alone does not mandate that this court disregard elementary
principles of production and proof in a civil case. Here,
Plaintiff fails to demonstrate a genuine dispute of material
fact so as to preclude summary judgment on his claims.
See Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 587.
SUMMARY OF MATERIAL FACTS
court views the facts in the light most favorable to
Plaintiff, the nonmoving party. During the time relevant to
the complaint, Plaintiff was an inmate at the Kilby
Correctional Facility (“Kilby”). Defendant Dunn
was the Alabama Department of Corrections
(“ADOC”) Commissioner, and the other defendants
were employed by the ADOC at Kilby. Billups was a warden, and
Defendants Logan and Ellington were Captains. Doc. 24 at 1.
arrived at Kilby from the Madison County Jail (“the
jail”) on October 17, 2014, to serve a life sentence
for robbery and burglary. Doc. 42-2 at 1. At the time,
Plaintiff also had charges pending against him for assaulting
a correctional officer at the jail on August 23, 2014. Docs.
42-11 at 5 & 48-1 at 1-2. In 2015, Plaintiff was
convicted and sentenced to ten years in prison for the
assault at the jail. Doc. 48-1 at 2.
October 24, 2014, Plaintiff received a “24 Hour Advance
Notification of Pending Reclassification.” Doc. 48-1 at
7. The notice advised Plaintiff that on October 27, 2014 he
would meet with a reclassification team to be moved to close
custody because of the jail assault:
While in Madison County jail on 8/23/2014, Inmate Parker
assaulted a correctional officer by striking the correctional
officer in the head numerous times causing injury (cuts and
contusions to head). At the time of assault it is believed
that Parker was armed with a blunt object which was used
during the attack. Assault II DC 14-5509 is pending as a
result of this attack. In keeping with Classification
guidelines a custody increase up to Close is being
Doc. 48-1 at 7. Plaintiff signed an acknowledgement of the
notice and the opportunity to call witnesses on his behalf,
and he waived his right to 24-hour notice. Doc. 48-1 at 7.
written “Due Process Hearing Minutes” from the
classification hearing on October 24, 2014 indicate that
Plaintiff was informed that the jail assault was the basis
for recommending a reclassification to close custody, and the
evidence in support of the classification included the
assault charges. Doc. 48-1 at 14. Plaintiff was allowed to
make a statement on his behalf and ask questions. He asserted
that he had not been convicted of anything and that punishing
him for the incident at the jail was “like double
jeopardy.” Doc. 48-1 at 14. He also asked why he had
to stay in lockup for such a long time. Doc. 48-1 at 14.
Plaintiff signed a form to acknowledge that he was advised of
the decision for him to be placed in close custody. Doc. 48-1
at 14. Plaintiff asserts that he was told that he would
remain in close custody for one year. Doc. 1 at 4.
written “Classification Summary, ” signed by
Plaintiff and Alicia White, the Classification Specialist who
represented the state at the hearing, repeats the
justification for recommending close custody. Doc. 48-1 at 8.
Six days later, Angela Lawson approved the summary on behalf
of the Central Review Board “due to assaulting officer
in county jail.” Doc. 48-1 at 8.
in close custody, Classification Specialist White, on behalf
of the Institutional Segregation Review Board, issued
memoranda relating to concerns of inmates in segregation.
Doc. 48-3. The memoranda indicate that White answered
Plaintiff's concerns on five dates during his close
custody. Doc. 48-3 at 1-6. On December 23, 2014, Plaintiff
asked about his hearing date. Doc. 48-3 at 1. On April 29,
2015, Plaintiff asked for a copy of his “PR.”
Doc. 48-3 at 3. On May 6, 2015, Plaintiff again asked for a
copy of his PR. Doc. 48-3 at 4. On September 9, ...