United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division
WILLIAM E. IRVING, Plaintiff,
DANIELLE WELLS, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. BODENHAUSEN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the Court on defendants' motion for
summary judgment. Plaintiff, who proceeds pro se,
has filed a motion for continuance pursuant to Rule 56(f),
Fed.R.Civ.P. The parties have consented to the jurisdiction
of the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 636(c).
events giving rise to this dispute occurred in January and
February 2018 while plaintiff was an inmate at the Southeast
Correctional Center (SECC). He alleges that defendant
Correctional Officer Danielle Wells conspired with prisoners
and gang members who threatened plaintiff's life.
Plaintiff also alleges that defendant Functional Unit Manager
Lorene Armstrong recommended against plaintiff's request
for protective custody and that defendants Shift Captains
Travis Wilhite and Alex Clinton attempted to move him to a
housing unit where he would be assaulted. Plaintiff filed
suit pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, seeking declaratory
and injunctive relief and $300 in compensatory damages and
$300 in punitive damages from each defendant.Defendants move
for summary judgment, arguing that plaintiff suffered no
physical injury and thus is not entitled to damages. They
further argue that his claim for injunctive relief became
moot when he was transferred to SCCC and that his request for
declaratory judgment should be denied.
alleges that in January and early February 2018, he submitted
complaints “in relation to” defendant Wells and
gang members in Housing Unit 5 who were threatening him.
Amended Complaint § VI(a) [Doc. # 6]. On February 5,
2018, he was again threatened and “declared protective
custody. Id. § VI(b); Lorene Armstrong
Affidavit ¶ 6(a) [Doc. # 51-12]. On February 8, 2018,
plaintiff appeared for an initial classification hearing,
chaired by defendant Armstrong. Classification Hearing Form
dated Feb. 8, 2018 [Doc. # 51-4]. According to the hearing
form, which he signed, plaintiff stated that he did not need
protective custody but needed to move from Housing Unit 5
before he got into a fight over “a game [his] celly was
trying to run with an Officer.” Armstrong Aff. ¶
6(b). Plaintiff also signed a waiver form, stating that he
did not believe he needed protective custody, was not aware
of any enemies among the inmates, and did not believe he was
in danger. The form was witnessed by defendant Armstrong.
Protective Custody Needs Assess/Waiver Form dated Feb. 9,
2018 [Doc. # 51-3].
testified at deposition that he was released to the general
population on February 15, 2018. Plaintiff Deposition at 58
[Doc. # 51-1]. That same day, he had several encounters with
groups of prisoners who threatened him. Amended Complaint
§§ VI(e)-(h). In his first encounter, he was told
that defendant Wells said that plaintiff had “ratted on
them” and caused their cells to be searched.
Plaintiff's Dep. at 20. Later in the day, he was
threatened with stabbing unless he transferred out of the
housing unit. He declared protective custody and was moved to
Temporary Administrative Segregation. Id. at 22. On
February 21, 2018, plaintiff was assigned to administrative
segregation, where he was placed in a single-man cell.
Classification Hearing Form dated Feb. 21, 2018 [Doc. #
51-5]; Armstrong Aff. ¶ 6(c); Plaintiff's Dep. at
74. His protective custody status was continued on March 16,
2018, April 11, 2018, May 9, 2018, and June 6, 2018.
Classification Hearing Forms [Docs. ## 51-6 through 51-9]. At
the hearing on June 6, 2018, SECC staff recommended that
plaintiff be transferred to another facility due to the
presence of “unwaived enemies” at SECC.
Classification Hearing Form dated June 6, 2018. He remained
on protective custody status until he was transferred to
South Central Correctional Center on October 2, 2018.
Plaintiff's Dep. at 23. He was never assaulted or
physically injured while at SECC. Id. at 43.
judgment is appropriate where “there is no genuine
dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). Under
Rule 56, a party moving for summary judgment bears the burden
of demonstrating that no genuine issue exists as to any
material fact. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477
U.S. 317, 323 (1986). A dispute is genuine “if the
evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the nonmoving party, ” and a fact is
material if it “might affect the outcome of the suit
under the governing law.” Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).
the moving party discharges this burden, the non-moving 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.”
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247. The non-moving party may
not rest upon mere allegations or denials in the pleadings.
Id. at 256. “Factual disputes that are
irrelevant or unnecessary” will not preclude summary
judgment. Id. at 248. The Court must construe all
facts and evidence in the light most favorable to the
non-movant, must refrain from making credibility
determinations and weighing the evidence, and must draw all
legitimate inferences in favor of the non-movant.
Id. at 255.
here did not file a response to defendants' motion for
summary judgment and statement of uncontroverted material
facts. In this district, the movant's facts are deemed
admitted if not specifically controverted by the party
opposing the motion. E.D. Mo. L.R. 4.01(E). Nonetheless,
where a plaintiff fails to respond to a motion for summary
judgment, the Court should not treat this nonresponse as
sufficient to dispose of the motion. Roland v.
Wallace, No. 1:14CV166 ACL, 2017 WL 1196426, at *2 (E.D.
Mo. Mar. 31, 2017) (citing Lowry v. Powerscreen USB,
Inc., 72 F.Supp.2d 1061, 1064 (E.D. Mo. 1999)).
“Courts should proceed to examine those portions of the
record properly before them and decide for themselves whether
the motion is well taken.” Id. “In so
ruling, even on an unopposed motion for summary judgment, the
court should review the facts in a light most favorable to
the party who would be opposing the motion.”
Plaintiff's Rule 56(f) Motion
filed their motion for summary judgment on May 3, 2019.
Plaintiff filed several motions to compel defendants to
provide him with access to his legal documents that he
contended he needed in order to prepare his response. Counsel
for defendants informed the Court that plaintiff had been
provided the opportunity to review his documents and, on July
8, 2019, plaintiff's motions were denied as moot.
Plaintiff was thereafter given several extensions of time to
file his response to defendants' summary judgment motion.
Finally, on September 30, 2019, the Court gave plaintiff one
final extension of time until November 1, 2019.
December 2, 2019, plaintiff filed a motion for continuance
pursuant to Rule 56(f), in which he asserts that he is unable
to respond to defendants' summary judgment motion without
further discovery, specifically “I.R.R, /Grievance
complaints, ” “misconduct reports against
defendants, ” and “assaultive histories of”