United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Jacksonville Division
MORALES HOWARD UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Jonathan Kyle Lewis, a former inmate of the Florida penal
system, initiated this action on August 15, 2011, by filing a
Civil Rights Complaint (Doc. 1) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983. He filed an Amended Complaint (Doc. 26) on September
26, 2011; a Second Amended Complaint (Doc. 35) on December
15, 2011; a Third Amended Complaint (Doc. 41) on February 17,
2012; a Fourth Amended Complaint (Doc. 47) on May 16, 2012; a
Fifth Amended Complaint (Doc. 54) on July 12, 2012; a Sixth
Amended Complaint (Doc. 197) on October 11, 2013; and a
Seventh Amended Complaint (Doc. 244) on September 29, 2014.
The Court appointed counsel for Lewis on February 25, 2016.
See Order Appointing Counsel for Plaintiff (Doc.
260). With the benefit of counsel, Lewis filed an Eighth
Amended Complaint (Complaint; Doc. 273) on July 29, 2016. In
the Complaint, Lewis names Christopher McFarland, a
corrections officer employed at Union Correctional
Institution (UCI), as the sole Defendant. Lewis asserts that
McFarland violated his federal constitutional rights when he
assaulted Lewis on February 24, 2011. As relief, Lewis
requests compensatory and punitive damages.
matter is before the Court on Defendant McFarland's
Partial Motion for Summary Judgment (Motion; Doc. 294). In
the Motion, Defendant McFarland asserts that Lewis is barred
from recovering compensatory and punitive damages pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1997e(e), and therefore the Court should
grant summary judgment in his favor as to Lewis's request
for emotional, compensatory, and punitive damages. In support
of the Motion, McFarland filed his February 24, 2011 Incident
Report (Def. Ex. A), excerpts of Antuquoin Byrd's
deposition (Def. Ex. B), and a Declaration of Albert Carl
Maier, M.D. (Def. Ex. C) with Lewis's medical records
from February 2011 through August 2011.
responded to the Motion on May 30, 2017. See
Plaintiff's Response in Opposition to Defendant's
Partial Motion for Summary Judgment (Response; Doc. 305). In
the Response, he asserts that § 1997e(e) does not bar
his recovery of compensatory and punitive damages, especially
given that he asserts he was sexually battered, and
therefore, Defendant's Motion should be denied. In
support of the Response, Lewis filed Anthony Batie's
deposition (Batie Dep.; P. Ex. A), Byrd's deposition
(Byrd Dep.; P. Ex. B), and his own deposition (Lewis Dep.; P.
Ex. C). Defendant's Motion is ripe for judicial review.
asserts that Defendant McFarland violated his Eighth and
Fourteenth Amendment rights when he "engaged in a
deliberate and outrageous invasion of Lewis's bodily
integrity that shocks the conscience." Complaint at 4,
¶18 (count one). He states that McFarland's
"intentional physical contact with Lewis was malicious
and designed to injure Lewis." Id. at 5,
¶24 (count two). He also asserts that McFarland
"engaged in extreme and outrageous conduct that was
intended to, and did, result in severe emotional distress
suffered by Lewis." Id. at 5, ¶27 (count
three). According to Lewis, while incarcerated at UCI, he
often complained about how corrections officers mistreated
him, and on several occasions, he filed grievances against
those officers, see id. at 2, ¶6, and on at
least one occasion, McFarland "took issue with
Lewis's complaints" and described him as a
"writ writer, " id. at ¶7.
February 24, 2011, McFarland escorted Lewis, who was in full
restraints, back from the Test of Adult Basic Education
(TABE) testing area to S dormitory. Id. at 2-3,
¶8. During the escort, McFarland sexually harassed Lewis
when he "repeatedly hiked Lewis's pants well above
his waist line to an uncomfortable level" and stated
"you have a fat a--." Id. at 3, ¶9.
Although Lewis asked McFarland to leave him alone, see
id. at ¶10, McFarland called Lewis a
"snitch" and told him to "shut up, "
id. at ¶11. According to Lewis, McFarland
escalated the confrontation when he groped Lewis's
posterior and threatened to "beat the sh--" out of
Lewis, "f--- [him] up, " and "stick a finger
in [his] a--." Id. During the incident,
McFarland pulled Lewis to the ground, slammed his head on the
concrete multiple times, and smeared Lewis's head against
the concrete. See id. at ¶12. McFarland also
called another corrections officer to "hold [the] n
----- 's legs" down to make it appear as if Lewis
was resisting McFarland. Id. at ¶13. While
another corrections officer "pinned" down
Lewis's legs, McFarland started strangling Lewis and then
stopped when Lewis "was on the brink of
unconsciousness." Id. at ¶14. Lewis
alleges that as he attempted to recover while still on the
ground, he "felt a finger penetrate his anus."
Id. McFarland then took Lewis to the infirmary,
where Dr. Nazareno evaluated him and documented injuries to
Lewis's face, neck, legs and arm. Id. at
¶15. Lewis suffered bruised ribs, chest and neck pains,
and severe headaches for nearly one month. Id. at
3-4, ¶16. He also suffered emotional distress and
anxiety and remained fearful of further assaults throughout
the remainder of his UCI stay. See id. at 4,
Summary Judgment Standard
Eleventh Circuit set forth the summary judgment standard.
Summary judgment is proper when "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
substantive law controls which facts are material and which
are irrelevant. Raney v. Vinson Guard Service, Inc.,
120 F.3d 1192, 1196 (11th Cir. 1997). Typically, the
nonmoving party may not rest upon only the allegations of his
pleadings, but must set forth specific facts showing there is
a genuine issue for trial. Eberhardt v. Waters, 901
F.2d 1578, 1580 (11th Cir. 1990). A pro se
plaintiff's complaint, however, if verified under 28
U.S.C. § 1746, is equivalent to an affidavit, and thus
may be viewed as evidence. See Murrell v. Bennett,
615 F.2d 306, 310 n.5 (5th Cir. 1980). Nevertheless,
"[a]n affidavit or declaration used to support or oppose
a motion must be made on personal knowledge."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(4). "[A]ffidavits based, in part,
upon information and belief, rather than personal knowledge,
are insufficient to withstand a motion for summary
judgment." Ellis v. England, 432 F.3d 1321,
1327 (11th Cir. 2005).
As we've emphasized, "[w]hen the moving party has
carried its burden under Rule 56, its opponent 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
non-moving party, there is no 'genuine issue for
trial.'" Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith
Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 89
L.Ed.2d 538 (1986). "[T]he mere existence of
some alleged factual dispute between the parties
will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for
summary judgment; the requirement is that there be no
genuine issue of material fact."
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242,
247-48, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). Unsupported,
conclusory allegations that a plaintiff suffered a
constitutionally cognizant injury are insufficient to
withstand a motion for summary judgment. See Bennett v.
Parker, 898 F.2d 1530, 1532-34 (11th Cir. 1990)
(discounting inmate's claim as a conclusory allegation of
serious injury that was unsupported by any physical evidence,
medical records, or the corroborating testimony of
witnesses). Moreover, "[w]hen opposing parties tell two
different stories, one of which is blatantly contradicted by
the record, so that no reasonable jury could believe it, a
court should not adopt that version of the facts for purposes
of ruling on a motion for summary judgment." Scott
v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380, 127 S.Ct. 1769, 167
L.Ed.2d 686 (2007).
Howard v. Memnon, 572 Fed.Appx. 692, 694-95 (11th
Cir. 2014) (per curiam) (footnote omitted); Hinkle v.
Midland Credit Mgmt., Inc., 827 F.3d 1295, 1300 (11th
summary judgment stage, the Court views all facts in the
light most favorable to Plaintiff, as the non-moving party,
and draws all inferences in Plaintiff's favor. See
McKinney v. Sheriff, 520 Fed.Appx. 903, 905 (11th Cir.
2013) (per curiam). "[T]he dispute about a material fact
is genuine . . . if the evidence is such that a reasonable
jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party."
Hinkle, 827 F.3d at 1300 (internal quotations and
citation omitted). Summary judgment should be granted
"against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient
to establish the existence of an element essential to that
party's case, and on which that party will bear the
burden of proof at trial." Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). Thus, summary
judgment is appropriate only when, under Lewis's version
of the facts, "there is no genuine dispute as to any
material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law." Felio v. Hyatt, 639 Fed.Appx.
604, 606 (11th Cir. 2016) (per curiam) ...