United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Northern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
CATHERINE D. PERRY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
state prisoner Darrell Woods brings this civil rights action
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claiming that defendant Jonathan
Lewis, a correctional officer at Northeast Correctional
Center, violated his Eighth Amendment rights when Lewis
watched him in the shower for sexually motivated reasons and
blew kisses at him in his cell. Woods also claims that Lewis
violated his First Amendment rights when he issued a conduct
violation in retaliation for Woods' stated intention to
file a complaint. Woods also brings supplemental state law
claims of negligence and negligent infliction of emotional
distress. Because there are no genuine issues of material
fact and the undisputed evidence shows no violation of
Woods' constitutional rights, I will grant Lewis's
motion for summary judgment on Woods' constitutional
claims. I decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over
his state law claims.
times relevant to his complaint, Woods was incarcerated at
Northeast Correctional Center (NECC). He currently is
incarcerated at Jefferson City Correctional Center.
complaint, Woods claims that on June 24, 2015, Lewis watched
him in the shower, which constitutes sexual abuse under
prison policy. He also claims that when he told Lewis that he
was going to file a complaint against him under the Prison
Rape Elimination Act (PREA),  Lewis issued him a conduct
violation. Finally, Woods contends that a week later, Lewis
blew kisses to him from outside Woods' cell.
claims that Lewis's conduct toward him was sexually
motivated, and that Lewis issued the conduct violation in
retaliation for Woods' threatened complaint. Lewis moves
for summary judgment, arguing that the undisputed evidence
shows that the conduct alleged by Woods does not rise to the
level of constitutional violations. Lewis further argues that
he is entitled to qualified immunity on Woods' claims.
considering a motion for summary judgment, I must view the
facts and inferences from the facts in the light most
favorable to the nonmoving party. Matsushita Elec. Indus.
Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587
(1986). As the moving party, defendant must establish that
there is no genuine issue of material fact and that he is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c);
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247
(1986); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322
(1986). Once the moving party has met this burden, the
nonmoving party may not rest on the allegations in his
pleadings, but by affidavit or other evidence must set forth
specific facts showing that a genuine issue of material fact
exists. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e). A verified complaint is
equivalent to an affidavit for summary judgment purposes.
Hanks v. Prachar, 457 F.3d 774, 775 (8th Cir. 2006)
summary judgment stage, courts do not weigh the evidence and
decide the truth of the matter, but rather determine if there
is a genuine issue for trial. Anderson, 477 U.S. at
249. However, summary judgment may be appropriate
“[w]hen opposing parties tell two different stories,
one of which is blatantly contradicted by the record, so that
no reasonable jury could believe it[.]” Scott v.
Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380 (2007). In such circumstances,
the mere existence of some alleged factual dispute will not
serve to defeat summary judgment; instead, the factual
dispute must be “genuine.” Id.
§ 1983 actions, qualified immunity shields government
officials from suit unless their conduct violated a clearly
established right of which a reasonable official would have
known. Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 818
(1982). “The contours of the right must be sufficiently
clear that a reasonable official would understand that what
he is doing violates that right.” Anderson v.
Creighton, 483 U.S. 635, 640 (1987). For a plaintiff to
overcome qualified immunity, existing precedent must have
placed the constitutional question “‘beyond
debate.'” City & Cnty. of S.F., Calif. v.
Sheehan, 135 S.Ct. 1765, 1774 (2015) (quoting
Ashcroft v. al-Kidd, 563 U.S. 731, 741 (2011)).
“When properly applied, [qualified immunity] protects
all but the plainly incompetent or those who knowingly
violate the law.” Ashcroft, 563 U.S. at 743
(alteration added) (internal quotation marks and citation
evidence before the Court, including Woods' verified
complaint, shows that Lewis's alleged conduct did not
amount to constitutional violations, and no genuine issue of
material fact exists for trial. For the following reasons,
Lewis has shown that he is entitled to judgment as a matter
of law on Woods' constitutional claims, and I will grant
his motion for summary judgment.
Before the Court on the Motion
or July 2015, Lewis was a utility corrections officer at NECC
assigned to shower duty. His duties included escorting
inmates to the shower and removing their restraints so they
could shower. Inmates are allowed ten minutes to
shower. Inmates are escorted from the shower when
they are observed standing at the shower door.
24, Lewis escorted Woods to the shower. Lewis believed that
Woods exceeded his ten-minute allotment in the shower, so he
looked in to check on Woods' well-being and to tell him
to finish. Woods told Lewis that he had no business
watching him in the shower and told Lewis to leave. Woods
also told Lewis that he would be filing a PREA
complaint. Lewis said nothing nor made any facial
expressions indicating that he looked into the shower for
sexual gratification. Nor did Lewis have any physical contact
Missouri Department of Corrections' policy, sexual abuse
of an offender includes voyeurism by a staff member of an
offender for reasons unrelated to official
Lewis went to Woods' shower on June 24 to tell him to
hurry up, he observed Woods masturbating. Woods denies
this conduct. Lewis issued a conduct violation to
Woods that same date for sexual misconduct, creating a
disturbance, and ...