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Washington v. State

United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Northern Division

June 21, 2019

KARTELL WASHINGTON, Plaintiff,
v.
STATE OF ALABAMA, DEP'T OF CORRECTIONS, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORDANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          EMILY C. MARKS CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This cause comes before the Court on the motion of Defendants Alabama Department of Corrections (“ADOC”), Assistant Commissioner Gwendolyn Mosley, and Warden Cynthia Stewart (collectively, “the Defendants”)[1] for summary judgment. (Doc. 38). Plaintiff has filed a Response in opposition to the motion (Doc. 43). Having reviewed the motion, the parties' briefs[2], and the relevant legal authority, and for the reasons that follow, the Court finds that Defendants' motion for summary judgment is due to be GRANTED.

         I. JURISDICTION AND VENUE

         Subject matter jurisdiction is conferred by 28 U.S.C. § 1331 as to Plaintiff's federal causes of action, and the Court may exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiff's state law claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367. The parties do not contest personal jurisdiction or venue, and there are adequate allegations to support both. See 28 U.S.C. § 1391.

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Summary judgment is appropriate when 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). The Court views the evidence, and all reasonable inferences drawn therefrom, in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Jean-Baptiste v. Gutierrez, 627 F.3d 816, 820 (11th Cir. 2010).

         The party moving for summary judgment “always bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for the motion.” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). This responsibility includes identifying the portions of the record illustrating the absence of a genuine dispute of material fact. Id. Alternatively, a movant who does not have a trial burden of production can assert, without citing the record, that the nonmoving party “cannot produce admissible evidence to support” a material fact. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(B); see also Fed. R. Civ. P. 56 advisory committee's note (“Subdivision (c)(1)(B) recognizes that a party need not always point to specific record materials.... [A] party who does not have the trial burden of production may rely on a showing that a party who does have the trial burden cannot produce admissible evidence to carry its burden as to the fact.”).

         If the movants meet their burden, the burden shifts to the nonmoving party to establish - with evidence beyond the pleadings - that a genuine dispute material to each of its claims for relief exists. Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 324. A genuine dispute of material fact exists when the nonmoving party produces evidence allowing a reasonable fact finder to return a verdict in its favor. Waddell v. Valley Forge Dental Assocs., 276 F.3d 1275, 1279 (11th Cir. 2001).

         III. BACKGROUND

         The Plaintiff was an inmate at Fountain Correctional Facility in “E-Dorm, ” the segregation dormitory. (Doc. 39-1 at 1). On November 7, 2015, inmates in the E-Dorm engaged in a riot. Id. “Several inmates had their faces wrapped with T-shirts in the dorm and [were] observed with inmate-made knives and broken broom handles for weapons.” Id. The Southern Correctional Emergency Response Team (“CERT”) was deployed to end the riot. The CERT used “chemical agents” and extracted 61 inmates from the E-Dorm in “flex cuff” restraints.

         On November 7, 2017, the Plaintiff filed a Complaint in this Court against the ADOC, Mosley, Stewart, and McKenzie.[3] In his Complaint, the Plaintiff alleged that Defendant McKenzie “wrongfully accused the Plaintiff of starting the riot.” (Doc. 1 at ¶ 8). The Plaintiff claimed that during the riot, he suffered injuries when “a number of the guards including most of the Riot Squad pushed him to the floor and started hitting the Plaintiff in the head, back and legs.” (Doc. 1 at ¶ 10). It is undisputed that following the riot, ADOC moved the Plaintiff to a different correctional facility. (Doc. 1 at ¶ 12; Doc. 39-1 at 2). The Plaintiff has not alleged or offered evidence that Mosley or Stewart were in any manner involved in the alleged beating.

         In his four-count Complaint, the Plaintiff alleges as follows:

         1. The Plaintiff claims that he was

denied both substantive and procedural due process rights granted by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 USC Sections 1983, 1981, 2000e along with the guarantees of the U.S. Constitution - 14th and 1st Amendments, related to wrongfully accusing the Plaintiff of instigating the November, 2015 riot, when he did not have anything to do with starting said riot. The Plaintiff objects to not being given any opportunity to defend himself or claim and prove his innocence or have DOC to better investigate the events…
2. The Plaintiff claims that he was “subjected to ‘cruel and unusual treatment & Punishment' by the named Defendant guard(s) and their supervisors in violation of 42 USC Sections [sic] 1983…”
3. The Plaintiff purports to seek personal injury damages from a list of state court claims including:
1. Multiple acts of Harassment;
2. Multiple Acts of ...

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