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Castillo v. Brantley

United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Statesboro Division

August 26, 2019

WILLIAM NAVARRO CASTILLO, Plaintiff,
v.
OFFICER BRANTLEY, Defendant.

          ORDER AND MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          BENJAMIN W. CHEESBRO UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 Complaint contesting certain events occurring during his incarceration at Georgia State Prison in Reidsville, Georgia. Doc. 1. This matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment, doc. 65, to which Defendant has filed a Response, doc. 67. For the following reasons, I RECOMMEND the Court DENY Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment.

         BACKGROUND [1]

         On April 28, 2016, Plaintiff filed a Complaint containing allegations against multiple Defendants, including Officer Brantley.[2] Doc. 1. Plaintiff contends Defendant Brantley, a correctional officer at Georgia State Prison, was assigned to administrative segregation on May 1, 2014 and was picking up food trays. Id. at 5. Plaintiff asserts that he had previously notified Defendant Brantley's supervisor that Defendant Brantley had not given ice to prisoners in segregation even though it was May and approximately 100 degrees in Plaintiff's cell. Id. Plaintiff claims that, when he put his cup out to get ice, Defendant Brantley intentionally closed the box door on Plaintiff's hand, resulting in the destruction of the middle finger on Plaintiff's right hand. Id. Plaintiff further claims that Defendant Brantley walked away after injuring Plaintiff, and once Plaintiff notified another officer of his injury, Defendant Brantley was dismissive and unconcerned and did not provide Plaintiff medical treatment. Id. at 8. Another officer then took Plaintiff to the infirmary. Id. Plaintiff claims that as a result of Defendant Brantley's actions, he was in pain for 12 days and no longer has any feeling or sensation in his injured finger. Id. at 13.

         On August 8, 2016, the Magistrate Judge recommended the Court dismiss Plaintiff's claims against all Defendants except for Defendant Brantley and Nurse Strickland and that the Court dismiss all of Plaintiff's claims for monetary damages against Defendants in their official capacities. Doc. 7. The Court adopted those recommendations on October 25, 2016. Doc. 13. Plaintiff was allowed to proceed on deliberate indifference claims against Defendants Brantley and Strickland, as well as an excessive force claim against Defendant Brantley. Defendant Strickland subsequently filed a motion to dismiss. Doc. 10. The Magistrate Judge recommended that the Court grant that motion and dismiss Defendant Strickland based on Plaintiff's failure to exhaust administrative remedies. Doc. 59. The Court adopted that recommendation on March 9, 2018 and dismissed Defendant Strickland from this case. Doc. 61.

         Defendant Brantley is the sole remaining Defendant in this case. The United States Marshal personally served Defendant Brantley's wife at Defendant Brantley's residence on August 21, 2017. Doc. 45. Defendant Brantley then filed an Answer on September 11, 2017, and the parties engaged in discovery. Doc. 49. Discovery closed on March 29, 2018, and the deadline for pretrial motions was set for April 28, 2018. Doc. 64. On April 16, 2018, Plaintiff filed the Motion for Summary Judgment now before the Court, and on May 7, 2018, Defendant filed a Response. Docs. 65, 67.

         DISCUSSION

         Plaintiff moves for summary judgment. As explained below, a genuine dispute of material fact remains. I, therefore, RECOMMEND the Court DENY Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment.

         I. Standard of Review

         Summary 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)).

         The 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)).

         II. Plaintiff's Remaining Claims

         Plaintiff has two remaining claims against Defendant Brantley, a claim for deliberate indifference to medical needs and a claim for excessive force. Doc. 7. Plaintiff must prove the essential elements of these claims in order to prevail. In the context of deliberate indifference, Plaintiff must show: (1) an objective, serious risk of physical harm; (2) a subjective, deliberate indifference by defendant to that risk; and (3) causation. Smalls v. Berrios, No. 3:06cv95, 2007 WL 1827465 at *4 (N.D. Fla. June 25, 2007); Alexander v. Barefield, No. 5:06cv22, 2007 WL 1655383 at*3-4 (N.D. Fla. June 7, 2007). In the context of excessive force, Plaintiff must show that “force was applied . . . maliciously and sadistically for the very purpose of causing harm.” Whitley v. Albers, 475 U.S. 312, 320-21 (1986) (citations omitted). Plaintiff has not demonstrated that there is no genuine dispute of material fact as to these elements.

         Plaintiff's Motion consists of 10 pages of argument and is not accompanied by any evidence or exhibits. Doc. 65. The first three pages of Plaintiff's Motion consist primarily of a recitation of the allegations contained in his Complaint. Id. at 1-3. The next three pages are difficult to follow but appear to identify alleged discrepancies in Defendant's discovery responses. Id. at 4-6. Plaintiff references his interrogatories and requests for production but does not attach any of the requests or Defendant's responses to his Motion. Id. The remainder of Plaintiff's Motion consists of assertions that Plaintiff properly exhausted his administrative remedies and appears to suggest that his Complaint should not be dismissed.[3]Id. at 8 (“Defendant must produce more than a ‘mere scintilla' of evidence to ...


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