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Harris v. Cannon

United States District Court, N.D. Mississippi, Greenville Division

November 27, 2018

WILLIE J. HARRIS PLAINTIFF
v.
JACQUELINE CANNON DEFENDANT

          ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          MICHAEL P. MILLS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court is Defendant Jacqueline Cannon's motion for summary judgment and Plaintiff Willie J. Harris' response thereto. See Docs. #80 & #87. For the reasons set forth below, Defendant's motion will be granted and summary judgment entered in favor of Defendant Cannon.

         I

         Plaintiff's Relevant Allegations

         On February 1, 2017, Harris, an inmate housed in Unit 30 at the Mississippi State Penitentiary, filed a grievance against Deputy Warden Lee Simon. According to Harris, Simon[1], assisted by Defendant Jacqueline Cannon, began retaliating against him.

         Harris contends that Cannon's involvement in the retaliation concerns two false RVRs against him that were written at Simon's instruction: RVR #01725266 and RVR #01732159. Both RVRs were for the possession of contraband (tobacco). Harris claims that the first RVR was destroyed and replaced with the second RVR in order to omit any reference to the RVR being written upon Simon's orders. Harris was found guilty of RVR #01732159.

         Harris subsequently initiated this lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. He requests that the Court remove RVR #01732159 from his record, and that he be awarded with court costs and monetary damages for mental anguish and suffering.

         II

         Summary Judgment Standard

         Summary judgment is proper only when the pleadings and evidence, viewed in a light most favorable to the nonmoving party, illustrate that no genuine issue of material fact exists and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a), (c); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). A fact is deemed “material if its resolution in favor of one party might affect the outcome of the lawsuit under governing law.” Sossamon v. Lone Star State of Texas, 560 F.3d 316, 326 (5th Cir. 2009) (citation and internal quotation mark omitted). “The moving party must show that if the evidentiary material of record were reduced to admissible evidence in court, it would be insufficient to permit the nonmoving party to carry its burden.” Beck v. Texas State Bd. of Dental Examiners, 204 F.3d 629, 633 (5th Cir. 2000) (citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317 (1986), cert. denied, 484 U.S. 1066 (1988)).

         Once the motion is properly supported with competent evidence, the nonmovant must show that summary judgment is inappropriate. Morris v. Covan World Wide Moving, Inc., 144 F.3d 377, 380 (5th Cir. 1998); see also Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. That is, the non-movant must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986); Beck, 204 F.3d at 633. The nonmovant cannot rely upon “conclusory allegations, speculation, and unsubstantiated assertions” to satisfy his burden, but rather, must set forth specific facts showing the existence of a genuine issue as to every essential element of his claim. Ramsey v. Henderson, 286 F.3d 264, 269 (5th Cir. 2002) (citation omitted); Morris, 144 F.3d at 380. If the “evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party, ” then there is a genuine dispute as to a material fact. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). If no proof is presented, however, the Court does not assume that the nonmovant “could or would prove the necessary facts.” Little v. Liquid Air Corp., 37 F.3d 1069, 1075 (5th Cir. 1994).

         The plaintiff cannot meet this burden with “some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts, ” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986), “conclusory allegations, ” Lujan v. Nat'l Wildlife Fed'n, 497 U.S. 871, 871-73 (1990), “unsubstantiated assertions, ” Hopper v. Frank, 16 F.3d 92 (5th Cir. 1994), or by a mere “scintilla” of evidence, Davis v. Chevron U.S.A., Inc., 14 F.3d 1082 (5th Cir. 1994). Therefore, in considering a motion for summary judgment, a court must determine whether the non-moving party's allegations are plausible. Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586. (emphasis added). “[D]etermining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief. . . [is] context-specific[, ] . . . requir[ing] the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009) (discussing plausibility of claim as a requirement to survive a motion to dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6)).

         III

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