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Wagner v. Gober

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

July 13, 2017

BENJAMIN WILLIAM WAGNER, Plaintiff,
v.
JAMES GOBER, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          CHARLES A. HAW, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on remaining defendant Robert Warner's Motion for Summary Judgment.[1] Plaintiff Benjamin William Wagner opposes the motion and it is fully briefed. Warner moves for summary judgment on the merits and on the basis of qualified immunity. For the following reasons, the motion will be granted.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff, a prisoner at Farmington Correctional Center in Farmington, Missouri, filed this suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Warner, a Farmington functional unit manager. Plaintiff alleges that when he was being moved to administrative segregation on October 15, 2014, defendant Warner did not allow him to take his legal materials along to administrative segregation and instead had the materials placed in storage, which caused plaintiff to miss a court deadline. On review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), the Court found that plaintiff stated a claim for denial of access to the courts.

         II. Legal Standard

         The standards applicable to summary judgment motions are well settled. Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a), a court may grant a motion for summary judgment if all of the information before the court shows “there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986).

         The initial burden is placed on the moving party. City of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa v. Associated Elec. Co-op., Inc., 838 F.2d 268, 273 (8th Cir. 1988) (the moving party has the burden of clearly establishing the non-existence of any genuine issue of fact that is material to a judgment in its favor). Once this burden is discharged, if the record shows that no genuine dispute exists, the burden then shifts to the non-moving party who must set forth affirmative evidence and specific facts showing there is a genuine dispute on a material factual issue. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986).

         Once the burden shifts, the non-moving party may not rest on the allegations in his pleadings, but by affidavit and other evidence must set forth specific facts showing that a genuine issue of material fact exists. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Herring v. Canada Life Assur. Co., 207 F.3d 1026, 1029 (8th Cir. 2000); Allen v. Entergy Corp., 181 F.3d 902, 904 (8th Cir. 1999). The non-moving party “must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). 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, 207 F.3d at 1029 (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)). A party resisting summary judgment has the burden to designate the specific facts that create a triable question of fact, see Crossley v. Georgia-Pacific Corp., 355 F.3d 1112, 1114 (8th Cir. 2004), and “must substantiate allegations with sufficient probative evidence that would permit a finding in the plaintiff's favor.” Davidson & Assocs. v. Jung, 422 F.3d 630, 638 (8th Cir. 2005).

         III. Facts[2]

         The Court finds the following facts for purposes of summary judgment.

         1. At all times relevant to this action, defendant Warner was employed by the Missouri Department of Corrections as the Functional Unit Manager (“FUM”) of Housing Unit 7 at Farmington Correctional Center (“FCC”) in Farmington Missouri. (Compl., p. 8; Warner Aff., Ex. A ¶ 1; Pl. Dep., Ex. B, 12:22-24.)

         2. At all times relevant to this action, plaintiff Benjamin Wagner (“plaintiff”) was an inmate incarcerated at FCC. (Pl. Dep.10:18-24.)

         3. On October 15, 2014, plaintiff was relocated from Housing Unit 7 and placed in administrative segregation in Housing Unit 5. (Ex. A ¶ 2.)

         4. During this relocation, plaintiff's property was packed by Correctional Officer II Jesse McFall and plaintiff's cellmate at the time, offender Randy Reagan. (Pl. Dep. 14:3-21; Ex. C.)

         5. After plaintiff's property was searched, it was then either taken to storage or to plaintiff's new cell in administrative segregation. (Ex. A ¶ 4.)

         6. Defendant Warner was not a property officer. (Pl. Dep. 27:18-19.)

         7. Defendant did not pack plaintiff's property. (Pl. Dep. 14:3-21; Ex. A ¶ 5.)

         8. Defendant Warner did not search, pack, or handle in any way plaintiff's property during his move from Housing Unit 7 to Housing Unit 5. (Ex. A ¶ 5.)

         9. Defendant Warner did not give any orders to any staff regarding the disposition or storage of plaintiff's property. (Ex. A ¶ 6.)[3]

         10. As the FUM of Housing Unit 7, defendant Warner has no possession, custody, or control over any property from offenders housed in Housing Unit 5, such as the ...


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