United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Jacksonville Division
J. DAVIS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Corey Milledge initiated this action by filing a pro se civil
rights complaint in the United States District Court for the
Northern District of Florida (Doc. 1). The Northern District
transferred the action to this Court on April 24, 2017,
because a vast majority of Defendants were employed by
Suwannee Correctional Institution (SCI) at the relevant time.
See Order (Doc. 33). Plaintiff is proceeding on an
Amended Complaint (Doc. 27; Am. Compl.) against ten
individuals for two alleged use-of-force incidents that
occurred on June 22, 2012, at SCI. See Am. Compl. at
10. He asserts claims under the First and Eighth Amendments.
As relief, he seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
Id. at 19.
the Court is Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment
(Doc. 128; Def. Motion) with exhibits (Docs. 128-1 through
128- 14, 139-1 through 139-3). Plaintiff responded to the Motion
(Doc. 136; Response) with exhibits (Docs. 135-1 through
135-17).Accordingly, the motion is ripe for this
Summary Judgment Standard
Rule 56, “[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). An issue is genuine
when the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return
a verdict in favor of the nonmovant. Mize v. Jefferson
City Bd. of Educ., 93 F.3d 739, 742 (11th Cir. 1996)
(quoting Hairston v. Gainesville Sun Publ'g Co.,
9 F.3d 913, 919 (11th Cir. 1993)). “[A] mere scintilla
of evidence in support of the non-moving party's position
is insufficient to defeat a motion for summary
judgment.” Kesinger ex rel. Estate of Kesinger v.
Herrington, 381 F.3d 1243, 1247 (11th Cir. 2004) (citing
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S.
242, 252 (1986)).
party seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of
demonstrating to the court, by reference to the record, that
there are no genuine issues of material fact to be determined
at trial. See Clark v. Coats & Clark, Inc., 929
F.2d 604, 608 (11th Cir. 1991). The record to be considered
on a motion for summary judgment may include
“depositions, documents, electronically stored
information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations
(including those made for purposes of the motion only),
admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials.”
a moving party has discharged its burden, the non-moving
party must then go beyond the pleadings, and by its own
affidavits, or by depositions, answers to interrogatories,
and admissions on file, designate specific facts showing that
there is a genuine issue for trial.” Jeffery v.
Sarasota White Sox, Inc., 64 F.3d 590, 593-94 (11th Cir.
1995) (internal citations and quotation marks omitted).
summary judgment, a party opposing the motion must point to
evidence in the record to demonstrate a genuine dispute of
material fact. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1). A party may not rely on
conclusory assertions or speculative argument.
“[U]nsupported conclusions and unsupported factual
allegations, as well as affidavits based, in part, upon
information and belief, rather than personal knowledge, are
insufficient to withstand a motion for summary
judgment.” Mazzola v. Davis, No. 17-14662
(11th Cir. June 11, 2019) (quoting Ellis v. England,
432 F.3d 1321, 1327 (11th Cir. 2005)) (internal quotation
marks omitted). See also Cordoba v. Dillard's,
Inc., 419 F.3d 1169, 1181 (11th Cir. 2005)
(“[U]nsupported speculation does not meet a party's
burden of producing some defense to a summary judgment
motion.”) (quoting Hedberg v. Ind. Bell
Tel. Co., 47 F.3d 928, 931-32 (7th Cir. 1995))
law determines the materiality of facts, and “[o]nly
disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit
under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of
summary judgment.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248.
In determining whether summary judgment is appropriate, a
court “must view all evidence and make all reasonable
inferences in favor of the party opposing summary
judgment.” Haves v. City of Miami, 52 F.3d
918, 921 (11th Cir. 1995) (citing Dibrell Bros.
Int'l, S.A. v. Banca Nazionale Del Lavoro, 38 F.3d
1571, 1578 (11th Cir. 1994)).
Complaint, which is verified under penalty of perjury,
Plaintiff asserts Defendants violated his
rights under the First and Eighth Amendments in connection
with two uses of force that occurred on June 22, 2012. See
Am. Compl. at 16-18. On the day of the incidents, Plaintiff
was housed in a “transit care unit for inmates with
mental health issues.” Id. at 12. Plaintiff
alleges Defendants Parrish, Sodrel, Greene, Box, and Polanco
gratuitously beat him inside the medical room in a manner
Plaintiff describes as a planned attack (“medical room
incident”). Id. at 13.
alleges he sought help from Defendant Perry before the
medical room incident. Plaintiff told Defendant Perry he
thought his life was in danger because Defendants Parrish and
Greene threatened to harm him. Plaintiff asserts Defendant
Parrish threatened to punish him for lying about Defendant
Parrish in a grievance, and Defendant Greene told Plaintiff
he and other guards planned to “whoop [his] ass . . .
for throwing [feces] on an officer.” Id. at
12. Plaintiff asserts Defendant Perry told Plaintiff,
“[there's] nothing I can do for you.”
second incident occurred later in the day inside
Plaintiff's cell (“cell incident”).
Id. at 14. Plaintiff asserts Defendants Nieves and
Howell ordered Plaintiff to put his arms through the flap to
be cuffed. When Plaintiff complied, Defendants Nieves and
Howell pulled his right arm through the flap, and Howell
“placed handcuffs around his knuckles like brass
knuckles and punched [Plaintiff] repeatedly in the
hand.” Id. Defendants Box, Polanco, and Greene
came to his cell. Id. The cell door was opened, and
Defendant Box “leaned in the cell and punched
[Plaintiff] in the face and head, ” while Defendant
Nieves continued to hold his arm. Id. at 15.
Defendants Polanco, Howell, and Greene watched. Id.
asserts a claim under the First Amendment (retaliation)
against Defendant Parrish; a claim under the Eighth Amendment
(deliberate indifference) against Defendants Woodall, Tucker,
and Perry; and a claim under the Eighth Amendment (excessive
force or failure to intervene) against Defendants Box,
Greene, Howell, Nieves, Polanco, Parrish, and Sodrel.
Id. at 16-18.
Summary of the Arguments
move to dismiss any claims for damages against them in their
official capacities and argue Plaintiff is not entitled to
recover compensatory and punitive damages under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1997e(e). See Def. Motion at 7, 13.
Defendants Woodall, Tucker, and Perry seek dismissal of the
claims against them for Plaintiff's failure to state a
claim. Id. at 8, 11. Defendants Woodall and Tucker
argue Plaintiff's claims against them are based on
supervisory liability, and Plaintiff offers no facts
demonstrating the requisite causal connection between their
conduct and the alleged constitutional violations.
Id. at 8-11. Defendant Perry asserts he cannot be
liable for failing to intervene because he was not present
during either force incident and therefore, was not in a
position to have intervened. Id. at 13.
response, Plaintiff clarifies he sues Defendants in their
individual capacities only. See Response at 2, 6. As to the
claims against Defendants Woodall and Tucker, Plaintiff
argues the facts support an inference that these supervisory
Defendants knew he faced a substantial risk of harm from
“subordinates, ” and they failed to reasonably
respond to the risk. Id. at 7.
respect to Defendant Perry, Plaintiff states Defendants
misunderstand his claim. Plaintiff asserts a
deliberate-indifference-failure-to-protect claim against
Defendant Perry, not a failure-to-intervene claim.
Id. at 16. Plaintiff argues he states a claim
against Defendant Perry because he told Defendant Perry
before the medical room incident that Defendants Greene and
Parrish threatened to physically assault him, and he asked
for protection, which Defendant Perry declined to provide.
Id. at 17.
his injuries, Plaintiff contends Defendants beat him while he
was fully restrained until he was unconscious, he had a
bruised left eye with swelling, and he sustained injuries to
his right shoulder and back. Id. at 23-24. He claims
he sought medical treatment after the incidents. Id.
Legal Analysis & Conclusions of Law
Eleventh Amendment Immunity
assert they are entitled to Eleventh Amendment immunity as to
any claims against them for damages in their official
capacities. See Def. Motion at 7-8. Plaintiff does not seek
damages from Defendants in their official capacities.
See Response at 2, 6. As such, Defendants'
motion is due to be denied as moot to the extent they assert
Eleventh Amendment immunity.
Claims Against Defendants ...