United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
L. WHITE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the court on Defendants' Motion for
Summary Judgment (ECF No. 111). This matter is fully briefed
and ready for disposition.
lawsuit arises from his confinement at the Medium Security
Institution ("MSI"), also known as the
"Workhouse." Burke brings claims against Defendants
in their individual capacities pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983 and 42 U.S.C. §2000cc. Plaintiffs Second Amended
Complaint contains eight separate counts: Count I "42
U.S.C. §1983"; Count II "First Amendment
Violations"; Count III "Fourth Amendment
Violations, " i.e., the strip search policy at
MSI was unconstitutional; Count IV "Due Process
Violation of the Fifth Amendment"; Count V
"Deliberate Indifference to Safety and Health";
Count VI "Custom and Usage"; Count VII
"Violation of Equal Protection and Due Process Under the
Fourteenth Amendment, " and Count VIII "42 USC
was incarcerated at MSI from November 6, 2014 through
September 14, 2015. (Defendants' Statement of
Uncontroverted Material Facts ("DSUMF"), ECF No. 11
l-l). Burke alleges that the accommodations at
MSI were unsatisfactory because MSI was unsanitary and the
heating system malfunctioned. Burke also complains about the
quality of the food service at MSI because it did not conform
to applicable and nutritional and caloric standards, and
defendants interfered with his access to kosher meals. Burke
alleges that inmates at MSI were encouraged to engage in
"gladiator style battles." Burke alleges that
Defendants' strip search policy is unconstitutional
because he was searched in the presence of "homosexuals,
sexual predators, and known sex offenders, " without
privacy partitions, and that the searches occurred on a floor
made wet from leaking toilets and urinals.
undisputed material facts, however, demonstrate that
Burke's claims are unfounded. During Burke's
incarceration, the boiler system would occasionally fail, but
was always repaired within an hour. (DSUMF, ¶2). Inmates
were not without heat or hot water for any significant amount
of time. (DSUMF, ¶3). While the plumbing fixtures
(sinks, toilets, urinals) at MSI occasionally leaked or
clogged, these problems were always promptly repaired.
Louis City Division of Corrections has an established policy
3.3.3, Inmate Grievances, which requires that inmates first
submit an Informal Resolution Request form, or
"IRR." (DSUMF, ¶¶6-7). The Policy further
provides that certain issues are "non-grievable, "
i.e., cannot be addressed within the inmate
grievance system; these include policies and procedures of
the Division of Corrections, conditions not affecting the
inmate personally, and frivolous or repetitive complaints.
(DSUMF, ¶8). If the inmate is dissatisfied with the
outcome of the IRR process, he is provided with a grievance
form and may submit that form within five business days.
Weber and Fields consistently responded to Burke's
complaints and requests submitted via IRR through the
grievance system. (DSUMF, ¶10)- Burke was denied
grievance forms for non-grievable issues only in accordance
with the grievance policy. (DSUMF, ¶ 11). During his
incarceration at MSI, Burke abused the grievance system by
repeatedly filing frivolous and repetitive grievances and by
sending a folded, full food tray to Weber. (DSUMF, ¶12).
December 17, 2014, Burke was approved to receive kosher
meals. (DSUMF, ¶13). This authorization was
revoked on February 17, 2015. (DSUMF, ¶14). Prior to
March 2015, Burke was re-approved for kosher meals. (DSUMF,
¶15). Burke received kosher-certified meals for the
remainder of his confinement at MSI. (DSUMF, ¶16).
Defendants Fields and Edwards were not responsible for
approval of special diet requests; rather, the Corizon
doctors or the chaplain were responsible for approving such
requests. (DSUMF, ¶40).
strip searches must be conducted "to locate and seize
contraband in order to ensure the safety and security of the
facility, the Correctional Officers, and the inmates. There
is no effective alternative to the strip search policy."
(DSUMF, ¶21). Privacy partitions or screens are not
provided for inmates during strip searches "to ensure
the safety and security of the Correctional Officers
conducting the searches." (DSUMF, ¶22). During the
strip searches "inmates were never made to stand in
human waste." (DSUMF, ¶23).
his incarceration, Burke received adequate nutrition and
medical care. (DSUMF, ¶25). Problems with the boilers
and plumbing were repaired within a reasonable amount of time
and insect extermination was regularly conducted. (DSUMF,
¶26). Burke suffered no significant harm to his health
while incarcerated at MSI. (DSUMF, ¶27).
was kept in administrative segregation for 34 days, from
December 17, 2014 until January 20, 2015. (DSUMF, ¶29).
Before being confined to Administrative Segregation, Burke
received a pre-deprivation hearing. (DSUMF, ¶28). The
disciplinary reports against Burke were substantiated and
Burke's punishment was determined after his hearing.
maintained his approximate weight during his incarceration.
(DSUMF, ¶31). Burke did not suffer any exacerbation of
vision problems during his confinement. (DSUMF, ¶32).
Burke suffered no significant harm as a result of a result of
the cleanliness or temperature at MSI, the condition of the
sinks, toilets, and urinals, and the light and noise,
presence of insects, etc. (DSUMF, ¶33). Burke never
sought medical attention related to other inmates smoking
near him. (DSUMF, ¶34). In fact, Burke was a drug and
tobacco user at the time of his confinement at MSI. (DSUMF,
whether an inmate receives out-of-cell exercise is dictated
by the administrative segregation and recreation policies.
(DSUMF, ¶36). Correctional officers working in the
administrative segregation area have the discretion to deny
out-of-cell exercise for inmates exhibiting disruptive
behavior. (DSUMF, ¶37).
MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
Standard of Review
Court may grant a motion for summary judgment if "the
pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and
admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any,
show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact
and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter
of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Celotex Corp. v.
Citrate, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Torgerson v. City
of Rochester, 643 F.3d 1031, 1042 (8th Cir. 2011). The
substantive law determines which facts are critical and which
are irrelevant. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 411
U.S. 242, 248 (1986). Only disputes over facts that might
affect the outcome will properly preclude summary judgment.
Id. Summary judgment is not proper if the evidence
is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the
nonmoving party. Id.
moving party always bears the burden of informing the Court
of the basis of its motion. Celotex Corp., 411 U.S.
at 323. Once the moving party discharges this burden, the
nonmoving party must set forth specific facts demonstrating
that there is a dispute as to a genuine issue of material
fact, not the "mere existence of some alleged factual
dispute." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e); Anderson, 477
U.S. at 248. The nonmoving party may not rest upon mere
allegations or denials of his pleading. Id.
passing on a motion for summary judgment, the Court must view
the facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party,
and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his favor.
Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 331. The Court's
function is not to weigh the evidence but to determine
whether there is a genuine issue for trial.
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249. '"Credibility
determinations, the weighing of the evidence, and the drawing
of legitimate inferences from the facts are jury functions,
not those of a judge.'" Torgerson, 643 F.3d
at 1042 (quoting Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Prods.,
Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 150 (2000)).
Count I: 42 U.S.C. §1983
alleges that Burke's constitutional rights were violated
by Defendants. "The two requisites for a § 1983
cause of action are: (1) an allegation that the conduct
complained of subjected the complainant to a deprivation of
rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution
and laws of the United States, and (2) an allegation that the
conduct complained of was done or caused to have been done by
a person acting under the color of law." Jennings v.
Davis,476 F.2d 1271, 1275 (8th Cir. 1973) (citing
Basista v. Weir,340 F.2d ...