United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Ocala Division
a state inmate acting pro se, initiated this case by
filing a civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983. (Doc. 1.) Defendants Vivian Mesa and the Secretary of
the Florida Department of Corrections previously moved to
dismiss the case against them, and the motions were granted
December 28, 2016. (Docs. 21, 22, 35.) The only remaining
defendant, Daniel Lawrie, has moved for summary judgment.
(Doc. 39; Doc. 40, Summary Judgment Notice to Plaintiff.)
Plaintiff has filed a response and affidavit in opposition.
(Doc. 43.) The motion is due to be granted.
alleges that on July 14, 2014, he was assigned to work as a
cook at Lake Correctional Institution. Plaintiff immediately
reported to Defendant Lawrie, Food Services Director, that
the grill was damaged, but no action was taken. Plaintiff
states that the grill “had its top surface bent in the
center, which allowed grease to puddle up and stand on the
top-center surface of the grill creating a hazard. Not
allowing the grease to drain off into a drain pain . .
.” (Doc. 1, p. 5.) Plaintiff continued to cook on the
grill approximately 16 hours per week until April 6, 2015,
when he sustained a second-degree burn to his two left
fingers as result of the grease pooling on the grill.
According to Plaintiff, “[t]he physical injury caused
permanent skin loss to the plaintiff's lefthand finger
next to his thumb, which is in the shape of an image of a
devil. The plaintiff occasionally hears voices coming from
the skin loss (devil) telling plaintiff to kill the food
service director Mr. D. Lawrie, and those who makes fun of
his existence.” Plaintiff states he is receiving mental
health treatment for these issues but was denied cosmetic
surgery. (Id. at pp. 6-7.)
alleges that his Eighth Amendment rights were violated
because he was forced to work in a hazardous environment and
did not receive adequate medical care. (Id. at p.
4.) For relief, he seeks $15, 000 in damages. (Id.
at p. 8.)
to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, summary judgment is
appropriate “if the pleadings, depositions, answers to
interrogatories and admissions on file, together with the
affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to
any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a
judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). A
genuine issue of material fact exists where the evidence is
such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the
nonmoving party. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, 477
U.S. 242, 248 (1986). In applying the standard for summary
judgment, the Court must review all of the evidence “in
the light most favorable to the nonmoving party.”
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23
(1986). The nonmoving party must go “beyond the
pleadings, [and show] that there exist genuine issues of
material fact.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249.
Motion for Summary Judgment
Lawrie moves for summary judgment, arguing that even viewing
the facts in the light most favorable to Plaintiff: (1)
Plaintiff has failed to establish a claim of deliberate
indifference; (2) Defendant Lawrie is entitled to qualified
immunity; (3) Plaintiff's injury is de minimus
and therefore he is not entitled to damages; and, (4) the
extent Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief for medical
treatment against a non-party, such relief is not authorized.
(Doc. 39.) In support of his motion, Defendant Lawrie has
presented the following exhibits:
Affidavit of Defendant Daniel Lawrie
Lawrie attests that he has been Food Service Director at Lake
C.I. since April 11, 2014. When he began his position, he
inspected and examined all equipment, and based on his
recommendations, the Florida Department of Corrections (FDOC)
purchased nearly $130, 000 in new equipment. There are two
flat top grills in the Lake C.I. kitchen. One was replaced,
and the one Plaintiff refers to in his complaint was not
because it was not dangerous and functioned properly. He
never received any complaints from inmates regarding the
grill. There was a minor depression on the top of the grill
that did not pose a safety concern to inmates assigned to
cook on the grill. State and local inspectors never noted any
problems with the grill. Defendant Lawrie implemented a
training policy to prevent injuries on the job. (Doc. 39,
reports from the Lake County Health Department (January and
August 2015) and the FDOC (August 2015) show no remarks
concerning any problem with a grill. (Id., Comp.
Inmate Training Packet
checklists and procedures used in food services.
(Id., Exh. C.)
Affidavit of Emma Holmes
Holmes, Assistant Supervisor in Food Service at Lake C.I.,
attests that she has been in that position since 2010 and
never received any complaints about the grill until Plaintiff
brought the present lawsuit. She does not recall any
interactions with Plaintiff concerning the grill.
(Id. at Exh. D.)
Deposition Transcript Excerpt - ...