United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division
PROPOSED FINDINGS OF FACT AND RECOMMENDATION
H. WALKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Scooter Lynn Robinson, proceeding pro se and in
forma pauperis, filed a prisoner civil rights complaint
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations of his
constitutional rights while incarcerated at East Mississippi
Correctional Facility (EMCF). Doc. . Plaintiff later
amended his complaint. Doc. . The undersigned conducted a
screening hearing on December 5, 2016. See Minute
Entry (12/5/2016); Doc. [115-1]. Near the conclusion of the
screening hearing, Plaintiff indicated that the “main
points” of his lawsuit are the RVR he received without
due process, his personal property and paperwork that went
missing, and the denial of his requests for transfer to a
different facility. Doc. [115-1] at 28-29.
17, 2014, Plaintiff got into a fight with another inmate in
the law library at EMCF. Captain Matthew Naidow broke up the
fight. Following the altercation, Plaintiff was returned to
his unit. Shortly thereafter, Lt. Joshua Roberts delivered a
rule violation report (RVR) to Plaintiff based on his assault
of inmate Austin McKennsey. Roberts reviewed the RVR with
Plaintiff at his cell door. Roberts then took Plaintiff to
administrative segregation. Plaintiff testified that he
remained in administrative segregation for 15 days before
being returned to his normal housing unit. Plaintiff denies
that he ever received a disciplinary hearing.
to the RVR records, Disciplinary Investigator Rosemary Cotton
attempted to interview Plaintiff regarding the incident, but
Plaintiff told her he would make a statement at his
disciplinary hearing. Doc. [115-3] at 3. Lt. Jones conducted
the disciplinary hearing on June 26, 2014, but Plaintiff
refused to participate. Id. at 1. Sgt. Cotton
witnessed Plaintiff's refusal. Id. Lt. Jones
found Plaintiff guilty of the RVR based on review of security
camera footage and staff witness statements. Id. She
imposed reclassification as punishment. Id.
Plaintiff alleges that Lt. Jones and Sgt. Cotton failed to
conduct a proper investigation and disciplinary hearing on
the charges against him, thereby violating his due process
rights. He also claims that his classification status was
changed from B custody to C custody because of the RVR
conviction. Plaintiff further claims that on July 22, 2014,
Captain Christopher Dykes and Sgt. Rosalyn Delaine denied him
access to the law library because of the prior altercation at
the law library. Plaintiff generally alleges that he did not
receive proper assistance from the law library staff.
Plaintiff testified that he was working on post-conviction
relief efforts at the time he was denied access and
assistance. However, Plaintiff testified that ILAP staff
eventually came to Plaintiff's housing unit to provide
services, and he was able to file his post-conviction
pleadings. The ILAP records indicate that Plaintiff received
ILAP and legal mail services on a frequent basis during the
relevant time period.
November 5, 2014, Plaintiff got into a fight with several
inmates in his housing unit, which resulted in severe
injuries and treatment at a local hospital. The fight began
because Plaintiff complained about getting sick from food
passed out by inmates on his zone. During the fight,
Plaintiff was stabbed repeatedly. He was taken to a hospital
for treatment and also spent time in the medical unit after
returning from the hospital. When Plaintiff returned to EMCF
from the hospital on November 12, 2014, he discovered that
his personal property, including legal paperwork, was
missing. Plaintiff spoke with several of the named Defendants
about the missing property. He claims that the Defendants
failed to secure his property after he was taken to the
hospital and later failed to properly investigate the
disappearance of his property.
December 5, 2914, Plaintiff was transferred to Central
Mississippi Correctional Facility (CMCF). He claims that
before being transferred, a case manager and classification
asked him if he wanted “red tags” for anyone as a
result of the November 5, 2014 incident. Plaintiff alleges he
did not know the identity of the inmates who assaulted him
because Defendants failed to conduct an adequate
investigation. The record reveals that Defendant Ricks
conducted an investigation of the incident, obtained
statements, and completed a report. See Doc.
[115-7]. In the report, Ricks identified Plaintiff, Don
Williams, Michael Corder, Harold Jones, and Kendarius
Fortenberry as the individuals involved in the November 5,
2014, incident. Id.
testified that he sued Deputy Warden Hogans and Psychologist
Amy Hodgson because they never answered his requests to be
transferred to another facility. Plaintiff also claims that
Administrative Remedy Program Coordinator Mary Dempsey failed
to properly assess his administrative grievances regarding
the investigation of the November 5, 2014, altercation and
his missing personal property.
before the Court is Defendant Vernell Thomas' motion for
summary judgment. Doc. . Defendants Anderson, Bender,
Birdtail, Braxton, Cotton, Dempsey, Dukes, Dykes, Hodgson,
Hogans, Jones, Jaidow, Rice, Ricks, Roberts, and Steele have
filed a joint motion for summary judgment. Doc. .
Plaintiff also has filed two motions for summary judgment.
Doc.  & . Liberally construed, Plaintiff's
pleadings raise the following claims: (1) Defendants violated
Plaintiff's due process rights because they failed to
conduct a disciplinary hearing stemming from the June 17,
2014, RVR; (2) Defendants failed to properly investigate the
November 5, 2014, altercation; (3) Defendants failed to
secure Plaintiff's personal property while he was in the
hospital and medical unit; (4) Defendants failed to properly
investigate the disappearance of Plaintiff's personal
property; (5) Plaintiff was denied of access to legal
services and the law library; (6) Defendants failed to
transfer Plaintiff to a different facility; and (7)
Defendants did not handle Plaintiff's administrative
provides that “[t]he 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); Sierra Club,
Inc. v. Sandy Creek Energy Assocs., L.P., 627 F.3d 134,
138 (5th Cir. 2010). Where the summary judgment evidence
establishes that one of the essential elements of the
plaintiff's cause of action does not exist as a matter of
law, all other contested issues of fact are rendered
immaterial. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317,
323 (1986); Topalin v. Ehrman, 954 F.2d 1125, 1138
(5th Cir. 1992). In making its determinations of fact on a
motion for summary judgment, the court must view the evidence
submitted by the parties in a light most favorable to the
non-moving party. McPherson v. Rankin, 736 F.2d 175,
178 (5th Cir. 1984).
moving party has the duty to demonstrate the lack of a
genuine issue of a material fact and the appropriateness of
judgment as a matter of law to prevail on its motion.
Union Planters Nat'l Leasing v. Woods, 687 F.2d
117 (5th Cir. 1982). The movant accomplishes this by
informing the court of the basis of its motion, and by
identifying portions of the record which highlight the
absence of genuine factual issues. Topalian, 954
F.2d at 1131. “Rule 56 contemplates a shifting burden:
the nonmovant is under no obligation to respond unless the
movant discharges [its] initial burden of demonstrating
[entitlement to summary judgment].” John v. State
of Louisiana, 757 F.3d 698, 708 (5th Cir.
1985). Once a properly supported motion for summary judgment
is presented, the nonmoving party must rebut with
“significant probative” evidence. Ferguson v.
Nat'l Broad. Co., Inc., 584 F.2d 111, 114 (5th Cir.
17, 2014, Law Library Altercation
alleges that Defendants violated his due process rights in
the course of investigating and conducting a disciplinary
hearing related to the November 5, 2014, altercation at the
law library. He complains that he received 15 days of
administrative segregation without a disciplinary hearing.
Plaintiff further alleges that the ...