United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Macon Division
ORDER AND RECOMMENDATION
Stephen Hyles, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
pending before the Court is Defendants' motion for
summary judgment (ECF No. 50). The Court recommends that
Defendants' motion be granted. Additionally pending is
Plaintiff's “Dispositive Motion for Judgment in His
Favor” (ECF No. 49). The Court recommends that
Plaintiff's motion be denied. Also pending are
Plaintiff's motions to compel (ECF Nos. 45, 57). Those
motions are denied.
filed claims for relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
against multiple prison officials at Hancock State Prison
(“HSP”) in Sparta, Georgia, arising from an
alleged slamming of Plaintiff's hand in the tray slot on
the door of Plaintiff's cell. See generally
Compl., ECF No. 1. Plaintiff's claims for excessive force
against Defendant Jones and for deliberate indifference
against Defendant Pleas remain.
generally alleges that while incarcerated at HSP on May 26,
2014 at approximately 5:35 pm, Plaintiff was in his cell
awaiting delivery of his evening food tray from prison
officials through the tray slot on his cell door. Compl. 2.
Plaintiff contends that he did not receive his vegan food
tray, and requested that Defendant Jones bring him his tray.
While making this request, Plaintiff's right hand was
positioned in the tray flap. Id. Plaintiff avers
that Defendant Jones “then became very hostile and
started slamming the tray flap close[d] on [Plaintiff's]
hand.” Id. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant
Jones slammed the try flap on Plaintiff's fingers four
times, locked the tray flap closed with Plaintiff's pinky
finger still trapped in the flap, and walked away.
contends that Plaintiff spoke to other officers about the
incident who then called Defendant Pleas to Plaintiff's
cell. Id. at 3. Plaintiff avers that he showed his
injured pinky to Defendant Pleas, informing Defendant Pleas
that he was experiencing “a lot of pain and [Plaintiff]
needed to see medical right away.” Id.
Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Pleas then “became
deliberately indifferent” and refused to send Plaintiff
for a medical evaluation. Id. Plaintiff contends
that he was taken to medical the next day, May 27, 2014, and
was eventually diagnosed with a fractured right pinky.
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment
Summary Judgment Standard
judgment may be granted only “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). In determining whether a genuine
dispute of material fact exists to defeat a motion
for summary judgment, the evidence is viewed in the light
most favorable to the party opposing summary judgment,
drawing all justifiable inferences in the opposing
party's favor. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). A fact is material if it
is relevant or necessary to the outcome of the suit.
Id. at 248. A factual dispute is genuine if
the evidence would allow a reasonable jury to return a
verdict for the nonmoving party. Id.
Undisputed Material Facts
Jones was employed as an HSP officer from August 2013 to June
2014 and was on duty on May 26, 2014. Jones Aff. ¶ 5,
ECF No. 50-5. Plaintiff was incarcerated at HSP in cell 217
of building G1 as a Tier II inmate posing “a threat to
the safe and secure operation of the facility.” Jones
Aff. ¶¶ 4-5; Kelly Dep. 27:23-25, ECF No. 50-6. The
door to Plaintiff's cell has a rectangular, heavy, steel
flap through which inmates are delivered their meal trays.
Id. at ¶ 6; Kelly Dep. 36:03-15. The flap may
only be opened by officers from the outside, and the flap
must remain closed unless an officer has opened the flap to
pass an inmate a tray or to handcuff an inmate. Jones Aff.
Defendant Jones passed Plaintiff's cell on the afternoon
of May 26, 2014, Plaintiff was propping the flap on his cell
door open with his hand. Jones Aff. ¶ 8; Kelly Dep.
29:03-13, 31:06-19. Inmates are forbidden from “bucking
the flap” by propping open a flap and placing hands
through the flap without permission. Jones Aff. ¶ 8;
Kelly Dep. 32:01-05, 41:16-42:02. Plaintiff was propping open
the flap in an attempt to get an officer's attention to
request service of his vegan meal tray. Jones Aff. ¶ 9;
Kelly Dep. 31:06-25, 33:01-08. Defendant Jones ordered
Plaintiff to remove his hand and cease propping open the
flap. Jones Aff. ¶ 9; Kelly Dep. 27:13-20, 32:13-23.
Plaintiff's hand was struck by the flap. Kelly Dep.
30:16-31:05, 34:16-35:02, 36:19-37:04, 38:13-39:01. Defendant
Jones locked Plaintiff's flap so that Plaintiff could not
open the flap from inside the cell. Jones Aff. ¶ 11;
Kelly Dep. 31:03-05, 34:25-35:02. Defendant Jones then walked
away from Plaintiff's cell. Jones Aff. ¶ 13; Kelly
Dep. 31:03-05, 38:16, 42:21-43:02. Defendant Pleas was also
an officer on duty at HSP on the afternoon of May 26, 2014.
Pleas Aff. ¶ 6 & Ex. A, ECF No. 50-4.
C.Excessive Force Claim Against ...