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Pritchett v. Wallace

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division

February 23, 2015

ERIC PRITCHETT, Plaintiff,
v.
IAN WALLACE, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

STEPHEN N. LIMBAUGH, Jr., District Judge.

This matter is before the Court the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment (#73) and the remaining defendants' motion for summary judgment (#86).

I. Factual Background

The following facts are undisputed. Plaintiff Eric Pritchett has been incarcerated at Southeast Correctional Center ("SECC") in Charleston, Missouri since October 16, 2012. Defendants are SECC employees Defendants Ian Wallace, Donna Wigfall, Clifton Cossey, Steven Buhs, Cheryl Thompson, Ryan Moss, Anthony Parker, Jessie May, Bryan Hoskins, Kevin McKay, Cortney Bailey, Richard Lincoln, Stephen Bergeron, James Hack, Bobby Cantrell, Lorene Armstrong, Brandi Merideth, Richard Trout, Brett Hays, Jared Kline, and William Petty.

Plaintiff's allegations may be categorized into the following five categories - (1) Denial of Access to Legal Materials, (2) Retaliation, (3) Denial of Medical Care, (4) Denial of Due Process, and (5) Prison Conditions.

(1) Denial of Access to Legal Materials. Plaintiff states that his legal materials were taken from him on October 16, 2012 and not returned. He states that he was in the process of appealing his criminal convictions and that losing his materials was detrimental to his case. At his deposition, he stated that his conviction was for statutory rape and tampering with a witness and that he ultimately had an opportunity to speak with witnesses regarding his appeal but that those witnesses were not helpful. He also stated that the did not miss any deadlines.

(2) Retaliation. Plaintiff says he sought Informal Resolution Request ("IRR") and other forms to grieve on the matters cited in his complaint but that he was refused.[1] He states that his requests for forms caused the staff to become hostile and retaliate against him by telling other inmates he was a snitch and threatening conduct violations, isolation, and physical harm. Plaintiff states that certain defendants issued conduct violations in retaliation for his complaints; the conduct violations resulted in his losing phone privileges and money from his account, which deprived him of the ability to make hygiene item purchases. Plaintiff states defendants Wallace, Cossey, Buhs, Thompson, Moss, Parker, Kline, May, Hayes, Hoskins, McKay, Bailey, Lincoln, Bergeron, Hack, Cantrell, Petty, [2] Armstrong, and Merideth were responsible for those wrongs. Plaintiff also says he was left without clothing in a suicide watch cell where he was viewed every fifteen minutes by a female employee, and, when he complained, he was issued a sexual misconduct violation. Similarly, plaintiff said he was spied on by a female nurse while he was in the shower and, when he complained, he was issued a conduct violation and placed on "meal loaf" as punishment.

Plaintiff also states that on January 8, 2013, he was placed in full restraints on a chair and pepper sprayed. He states he was left to suffer, covered in pepper spray, for two hours. He states that conduct violated his Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights and that defendants Lincoln and McKay were responsible.

(3) Medical treatment. Plaintiff also states that he has requested treatment for ailments such as cracking and bleeding skin, severe back pain, bumps on his face due to lack of shaving razors, and hemorrhoids. At his deposition, plaintiff testified that defendants Bergeron, Wallace, and McKay were responsible for the acts underlying this claim.

(4) Denial of Due Process. Plaintiff says that he had a "hearing" on the abovementioned violations but that he did not receive due process. He complains that although he asked for MDOC employees to view video footage of the events, his request was denied. He complains that the statements of corrections officers were believed over his own, and that his request for witness statements from other inmates were denied. He states defendants Wallace, Cossey, Buhs, Thompson, Armstrong, and Merideth were responsible for those wrongs. Plaintiff also alleges that he was issued a conduct violation for "damage to property" and accused of putting a hole in the "rubber room" door. He denies causing the hole and requested that the video footage from the camera in the room be reviewed. He says the prison destroyed the evidence and that defendant Merideth found him guilty and fined him over $1, 100 in violation of his Seventh Amendment right to trial by jury. He also states that defendant #18 was responsible.

(5) Prison conditions. Plaintiff also complains that he has not had any recreation in the eight months since arriving at the prison in violation of his Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. He also states he has been deprived of shaving razors and subjected to a rat and bug infestation and has been bitten by them. Plaintiff also states he has been wrongly denied protective custody, despite threats made by other inmates to his safety. In addition, he states he has not been permitted to make a phone call since August 27, 2012 despite having been allegedly earned the privilege of a phone call on February 10, 2013 by having been conduct violation-free for 30 days. He also states that his limited funds (caused by the allegedly improper fines) cause him to choose between hygiene items and stationery.

Plaintiff filed this lawsuit on July 10, 2013.

II. Legal Standard

Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a), a district court may grant a motion for summary judgment if all of the information before the court demonstrates that "there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). The burden is on the moving party. City of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa v. Associated Elec. Co-op. Inc., 838 F.2d 268, 273 (8th Cir.1988). After the moving party discharges this burden, the nonmoving party must do more than show that there is some doubt as to the facts. Matsushita Elec. Industrial Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). Instead, the nonmoving party bears the burden of setting forth affirmative evidence and specific facts by affidavit and other evidence showing that there is a genuine dispute of a material fact. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986); Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324. "A dispute about a material fact is genuine' only if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.'" Herring v. Canada Life Assur. Co., 207 F.3d 1026, 1030 (8th Cir. 2000) (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248). A party resisting summary judgment has the burden to ...


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