United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Waycross Division
ORDER AND MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
STAN BAKER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 cause of action to contest
Defendant's alleged use of excessive force at Coffee
Correctional Facility in Nicholls, Georgia. (Doc. 1.)
Presently before the Court is Defendant's Motion for
Summary Judgment. (Doc. 28.) Plaintiff filed Responses,
(docs. 30, 37), to which Defendant did not Reply. For the
reasons set forth below, I RECOMMEND that
the Court DENY Defendant's Motion for
case concerns Defendant's alleged use of excessive force
against Plaintiff by discharging CS spray in the cafeteria
of Coffee Correctional Facility on April 7, 2016, at 5:32
p.m. (Doc. 30-2, p. 1.) At frivolity review I found Plaintiff
to have stated plausible Eighth Amendment excessive force and
state law claims against Defendant, but I denied
Plaintiff's claims for compensatory and punitive damages,
finding him to have alleged only de minimis injuries
stemming from Defendant's alleged use of CS spray. (Doc.
20, p. 7-9, 12.) However, the Court sustained in part
Plaintiff's Objections, (doc. 25), and reinstated his
claim for compensatory and punitive damages, (doc. 27, p.
In the Order amending and adopting my Report and
Recommendation as the opinion of the Court, District Judge
Lisa Godbey Wood found that Plaintiff's Objections
alleged “far more significant injuries than in his
original Complaint, ” including an abnormality on the
left side of his face, coughing up blood, and long lasting
symptoms from the CS spray. (Id. at pp. 3-5.)
excessive force at issue occurred when Defendant discharged
CS spray in the cafeteria without provocation. (Doc. 30-2,
pp. 1-2.) The cafeteria is approximately 2000 square feet and
contained four staff members when the use of force occurred:
Sergeant James Johnson was near the drink containers;
Sergeant Kasonya Johnson, Defendant's niece, was near a
window passing out food trays; Officer Carnegay was running
the scanner; and Defendant Jones was three or four tables
away from Plaintiff. (Id.) Defendant took Kasonya
Johnson's CS spray, discharged it into the cafeteria, and
then briefly locked Plaintiff along with twenty-five other
inmates in the contaminated cafeteria until Johnson opened
the back door to allow them to leave. (Id.) As a
result, Plaintiff suffered immediate physical injuries-an
impacted immune system, severe throat pain, lung and chest
pain, and coughing blood-which medical treated the same day.
(Id. at pp. 2-3; Doc. 25, p. 4.) Plaintiff continues
to cough up blood, has now developed an abnormality on the
left side of his face, and has since been seen by medical
again. (Doc. 25, pp. 4-5; Doc. 30-2, pp. 2-3.)
posits a wholly different set of facts. Defendant contends
the use of CS spray occurred in the hallway outside the
cafeteria and was discharged, not by him, but by Officers
Kasonya Johnson and Kristopher Anguiano. (Doc. 28, p. 5.)
Further, the CS spray was discharged on inmate Hicks, not
Plaintiff. (Id.) The altercation between Defendant
and inmate Hicks began when Hicks walked out of the cafeteria
and into the hallway with a second tray of food and refused
Defendant's orders. (Id. at pp. 14-15.) When
Defendant called for backup, Officers Johnson and Anguiano
arrived and eventually sprayed inmate Hicks with CS after he
threw his food tray and continued to disobey orders.
(Id.) Defendant argues this entire event occurred in
the hallway, not the cafeteria, and that Plaintiff could not
have been harmed because “CS spray is a topical agent .
. . that did not reach the inside of the chow hall.”
(Id.) Thus, according to Defendant, Plaintiff's
version of events “simply did not happen.”
judgment “shall” be granted if “the movant
shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material
fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter
of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). “A dispute about a
material fact is genuine and summary judgment is
inappropriate if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury
could return a verdict for the nonmoving party. However,
there must exist a conflict in substantial evidence to pose a
jury question.” Hall v. Sunjoy Indus. Grp.,
Inc., 764 F.Supp.2d 1297, 1301 (M.D. Fla. 2011) (citing
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
(1986), and Verbraeken v. Westinghouse Elec. Corp.,
881 F.2d 1041, 1045 (11th Cir. 1989)).
moving party bears the burden of establishing that there is
no genuine dispute as to any material fact and that he is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Williamson
Oil Co. v. Philip Morris USA, 346 F.3d 1287, 1298 (11th
Cir. 2003). Specifically, the moving party must identify the
portions of the record which establish that there are no
“genuine dispute[s] as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
See Moton v. Cowart, 631 F.3d 1337, 1341 (11th Cir.
2011). When the nonmoving party would have the burden of
proof at trial, the moving party may discharge his burden by
showing that the record lacks evidence to support the
nonmoving party's case or that the nonmoving party would
be unable to prove his case at trial. See id.
(citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317,
322-23 (1986)). In determining whether a summary judgment
motion should be granted, a court must view the record and
all reasonable inferences that can be drawn from the record
in a light most favorable to the nonmoving party.
Peek-A-Boo Lounge of Bradenton, Inc. v. Manatee
County., 630 F.3d 1346, 1353 (11th Cir. 2011) (citing
Rodriguez v. Sec'y for Dep't of Corr., 508
F.3d 611, 616 (11th Cir. 2007)).
sets forth several grounds for summary judgment in his
Motion. First, Defendant asserts Plaintiff is not entitled to
injunctive relief on his excessive force claim because the
facts show Plaintiff was not present where the CS spray was
discharged and Defendant did not discharge it. (Id.
at pp. 6-7.) Second, Defendant asserts Plaintiff is not
entitled to injunctive relief on his state law battery claim
because no offensive touching occurred, even assuming
Plaintiff's version of events is true. (Id. at
pp. 7-8.) Similarly, Defendant argues Plaintiff's false
imprisonment claim fails because he was not arrested, and
Plaintiff's intentional infliction of emotional distress
claim fails because Defendant did nothing toward Plaintiff.
(Id. at pp. 8-9.)
Defendant contends Plaintiff has not met the standard for
injunctive relief in the prison context because
“nothing approaching this set of facts has ever
occurred.” (Id. at p. 10.)
Response, Plaintiff contends Defendant has conspired with
witnesses Johnson and Anguiano to “concoct” an
untrue story. (Doc. 30-1, p. 5.) Plaintiff states inmates
David Hicks and Jassen Reynold are credible witnesses that
can corroborate his version of events, but he has been unable
to access them for discovery. (Doc. 30.) Additionally,
Plaintiff argues video surveillance from the cafeteria on the
date in question will prove his version true. (Doc. 30-1, p.
2, 3.) Although both parties have provided competing
affidavits, neither has provided the Court with any other
evidence, whether it be surveillance video, medical records,
incident reports, or otherwise.
Eighth Amendment Claim
excessive force claim and Defendant's Motion require
analysis of the Eighth Amendment's proscription against
cruel and unusual punishment. That proscription governs the
amount of force that prison officials are entitled to use
against inmates. Campbell v. Sikes, 169 F.3d 1353,
1374 (11th Cir. 1999). An excessive force claim has two
requisite parts: an objective and a subjective component.
Sims v. Mashburn, 25 F.3d 980, 983 (11th Cir. 1994).
In order to satisfy the objective component, the inmate must
show that the prison official's conduct was
“sufficiently serious.” Farmer v.
Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994) (quoting Wilson v.
Seiter, 501 U.S. 294, 298 (1991)). The subjective
component requires a showing that the force was used
“maliciously and sadistically for the very purpose of
causing harm” rather than “a good faith effort to
maintain or restore discipline.” Whitley v.
Albers, 475 U.S. 312, 320-21 (1986). In order to
determine whether the force was used for the malicious and
sadistic purpose of causing harm or whether the force was
applied in good faith, courts consider the following factors:
the need for the exercise of force, the relationship between
the need for force and the force applied, the extent of
injury that the inmate suffered, the extent of the threat to
the safety of staff and other inmates, and any efforts taken
to temper the severity of a forceful response. Skelly v.
Okaloosa Cty. Bd. of Cty. Comm'rs, 456 Fed.Appx.
845, 848 (11th Cir. 2012) (quoting Fennell v.
Gilstrap, 559 F.3d 1212, 1217 (11th Cir. 2009)).
case and at this stage, there are too many controverted
material facts for the Court to find that Defendant did not
use excessive force against Plaintiff. As detailed above,
Plaintiff and Defendant posit entirely different versions of
the events in question. Defendant claims he never discharged
CS spray and that the use of CS spray by other officers on
April 7, 2016, took place in the hallway outside the
cafeteria rather than in the cafeteria where Plaintiff was
located. (Doc. 28, p. 14-15.) Defendant argues the use of CS
spray on inmate Hicks did not reach Plaintiff inside the
cafeteria. (Id.) Plaintiff disputes Defendant's
story at every point. Plaintiff contends Defendant
indiscriminately discharged CS spray in the cafeteria and
then forced him and other inmates to remain inside the
contaminated cafeteria. (Doc. 30-2, p. 1.) Plaintiff further
contends that Defendant's use of CS spray in the
cafeteria caused him physical harm requiring multiple visits
to medical. (Id. at pp. 2-3; Doc. 30-1, ...