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Human v. Hurley

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

December 6, 2016

DANIEL HUMAN, Plaintiff,
JAMES HURLEY, et al., Defendants.



         This matter comes before the Court on Defendant James Hurley, Terri Chenoweth, Daniel Wombles, Roxane Speagle, Timothy Wood, and Ronald Crum's Motion for Summary Judgement [ECF No. 70].

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Daniel Human ("Plaintiff) initiated this lawsuit by filing a complaint on July 3, 2014 [ECF No. 1]. On March 12, 2015, pro bono counsel was appointed [ECF No. 27]. On May 1, 2015, Plaintiff filed an amended complaint [ECF No. 33]. On February 3, 2016, Plaintiff filed his Second Amended Complaint ("Complaint") [ECF No. 59]. In this Complaint, Plaintiffs asserts two counts against Defendants James Hurley ("Hurley"), Terri Chenoweth ("Chenoweth"), Daniel Wombles ("Wombles"), Susan Kattleman ("Kattleman"), Timothy Truelove ("Truelove"), Stephen Burgett ("Burgett"), Roxane Speagle ("Speagle"), Timothy Wood ("Wood"), and Ronald Crum ("Crum"). In Count I, Plaintiff alleges Defendants conducted malicious and cruel acts intended to cause him physical and emotional pain and distress which deprived him of his constitutional rights to be secure in his person and free from the imposition of "cruel and unusual punishment." In Count II, Plaintiff alleges Defendants, individually and in concert with each other, conducted sadistic and malicious actions meant to harm him, in conscious disregard of his constitutional right to have his medical restrictions recognized, with the intent to deprive Plaintiff of his constitutional right to adequate medical treatment for known risks to his health.

         On August 30, 2016, Defendants Hurley, Chenoweth, Wombles, Kattleman, Truelove, Burgett, Speagle, Wood, and Crum filed this Motion for Summary Judgment [ECF No. 70]. Defendants seek summary judgment on both counts of Plaintiff s Complaint on the basis Plaintiff had not exhausted his administrative remedies with regard to any of his complaints in violation of the Prison Litigation Reform Act and Plaintiff cannot prove a genuine issue of material fact supporting any constitutional violation. Alternatively, Defendants assert qualified immunity prohibits the suit.

         On October 18, 2016, Plaintiff filed a Motion to Voluntarily Dismiss Defendants Truelove, Kattelman, and Burgette, which the Court granted.

         A. Uncontroverted Facts

         Plaintiff is an inmate at Northeast Correctional Center ("NECC") in Bowling Green, Missouri, and has been since November 12, 2013. On March 13, 2014, Plaintiff was assigned to work on the "Captain's Crew" ("Crew"). On April 11, 2014, Dr. Deborah Harrell, APRN FNP-C, examined Plaintiff and issued work restrictions stating Plaintiff was restricted from "repetitive bending, stooping, or squatting" for work assignments. On April 26, 2014, when Plaintiff reported to the Crew and showed Defendant Chenoweth and Wombles his medical restriction, both of them told him to work.

         On April 30, 2014, Plaintiff filed an Informal Resolution Request ("IRR") form asserting working on the Crew violated his medical restrictions. Prison officials did not respond to Plaintiffs IRR within forty days and the form was marked "exceeding time limit" and "grievance given 6-23-14" according to the Missouri Department of Corrections ("MDOC") offender grievance procedure.

         On June 24, 2014, Plaintiff filed an Offender Grievance regarding the Crew work. On July 3, 2014, Plaintiff filed his initial complaint, in this Court, alleging his work on the Crew violated his medical restrictions. On July 22, 2014, the Warden's office denied Plaintiffs Offender Grievance, because an investigation showed Plaintiff was told to work within those restrictions, and was told he could clean tables and benches. On August 23, 2014, prison authorities denied Plaintiffs appeal of the Offender's Grievance.

         In December 2014, Plaintiff requested a cell move. Defendant Wood moved Plaintiff from a cell in 4 House to a cell in 5 House containing two offenders who smoke, which allegedly bothered Plaintiffs allergies. On December 11, 2014, Plaintiff filed an Offender Grievance Appeal, marked "Reprisal, " regarding the cell move. In January 2015, the Reprisal Offender Grievance Appeal was denied because no evidence of reprisal was found. The appeal was returned to Plaintiff and a normal grievance process was suggested to Plaintiff, according to MDOC Offender Grievance Procedure. A normal grievance process begins by filing an IRR but Plaintiff did not file any IRR regarding a retaliatory cell move.

         In February 2015, Defendant Crum, a sergeant currently in charge of Plaintiff s housing unit, assigned Plaintiff to clean showers which required Plaintiff to climb stairs. On February 13, 2015, Plaintiff filed an IRR stating the shower cleaning work violates his medical work restrictions. The IRR was denied on the basis his job duties were within his medical restrictions. On March 5, 2015, Plaintiff filed an Offender Grievance regarding the shower cleaning. On March 9, 2015, Hurley informed Plaintiff, Crum was aware of his medical restrictions in his Warden's response to Plaintiffs Offender Grievance. On March 27, 2015, Plaintiff filed an Offender Grievance Appeal regarding cleaning the showers on the second floor. On May 27, 2015, prison officials denied the appeal.

         In May 2015, Crum assigned Plaintiff to front yard mow crew. Plaintiff did not push a lawn mower. Plaintiff did not file an IRR grieving an assignment to push a reel lawnmower.

         II. ...

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