Headrick v. Waate

Decision Date30 November 2020
Docket NumberCase No. 4:18-CV-1669 SEP
PartiesTIMOTHY HEADRICK, Plaintiff, v. KINGSLEY WAATE, et al., Defendants.
CourtU.S. District Court — Eastern District of Missouri
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

This matter comes before the Court on the motion for summary judgment filed by Defendants Kingsley Waate ("Waate"), Paul Hopgood ("Hopgood"), and Javan Fowlkes ("Fowlkes"), (collectively, "Defendants"). Doc. [39]. Pro se Plaintiff Timothy Headrick ("Plaintiff") brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, asserting a claim of deliberate indifference to his safety and security in violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Plaintiff also brings a retaliation claim against Defendants, alleging that they mistreated him in retaliation for his use of the inmate grievance process. Both claims arise out of events that occurred on May 11, 2018, when Plaintiff was left handcuffed in his cell for several hours. For the following reasons, the Court will grant Defendants' motion for summary judgment.

I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

In setting forth the facts relevant to this motion, the Court notes that Plaintiff has not complied with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c)(1) or Local Rule 4.01(E) governing summary judgment motions. Specifically, although Defendants, in support of their motion for summary judgment, properly submitted a Statement of Uncontroverted Material Facts ("SUMF"), Doc. [41], Plaintiff failed to respond to or controvert anything in Defendants' SUMF. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c)(1) provides in pertinent part that "[a] party asserting that a fact cannot be or is genuinely disputed must support the assertion by (A) citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulation (including those made for purposes of the motion only), admission, interrogatory answers or other materials." Upon the failure to properly controvert a movant's statement of material fact, such statement "will be deemed admitted for the purposes of the motion." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1). Likewise, under the Local Rules of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, all matters set forth in the statement of the movant shall be deemed admitted for purposes of summary judgment unless specifically controverted by the opposing party. See E.D. Mo. L.R. 4.01(E).

The Court is mindful that Plaintiff does not have an attorney. Notwithstanding his pro se status, however, Plaintiff must still follow the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and of this Court. See Meehan v. United Consumers Club Franchising Corp., 312 F.3d 909, 914 (8th Cir. 2002) ("All civil litigants are required to follow applicable procedural rules."); Lindstedt v. City of Granby, 238 F.3d 933, 937 (8th Cir. 2000) (per curiam) ("A pro se litigant is bound by the litigation rules as is a lawyer . . .."); Silberstein v. Internal Revenue Serv., 16 F.3d 585, 860 (8th Cir. 1994) ("local rules . . . are binding on the parties."). Plaintiff's response to Defendants' SUMF does not satisfy Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1) or Local Rule 4.01, as Plaintiff does not attempt to controvert any of Defendants' facts with appropriate material from the record. Because Plaintiff has not controverted the facts set forth in Defendant's SUMF, the Court finds that Defendants' SUMF is deemed admitted in its entirety by Plaintiff. See Jones v. United Parcel Serv., Inc., 461 F.3d 982, 991 (8th Cir. 2006) (district court properly deemed facts admitted that were not properly controverted; Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e)(2) ("If a party fails to properly support an assertion of fact or fails to properly address another party's assertion of fact as required by Rule 56(c), the court may (2) consider the fact undisputed for purposes of the motion.'). Bearing Plaintiff's admissions and the summary judgment standard in mind, the Court has reviewed the record and accepts the following facts as true.

At the time of the events giving rise to his complaint, Plaintiff was a pretrial detainee at the St. Louis City Justice Center ("Justice Center"), where he was housed in "Five Bravo," a disciplinary and segregation unit. Doc. [41] ¶¶ 1-2. Defendants were employed at the Justice Center as correctional officers. Doc. [41] ¶ 4. Inmates housed in Five Bravo receive one hour of recreation time per day, Monday through Friday. Doc. [41] ¶ 3. On May 11, 2018, DefendantsWaate and Hopgood arrived at Plaintiff's cell at approximately 5:00 p.m. to escort Plaintiff and his cellmate, D'Marco Reynolds ("Reynolds") to the day room of Five Bravo for their recreation time. Doc. [41] ¶ 4. Plaintiff, due to an incident unrelated to the claims at issue here, had a cast on his right leg and was using crutches. Doc. [41] ¶ 5. Pursuant to a Justice Center policy requiring inmates to remain in handcuffs during their recreation hour, Defendant Hopgood placed handcuffs on Plaintiff when he arrived at the day room. Doc. [41] ¶ 7; Doc. [39-3] at 1. At his deposition, Plaintiff alleged that he believed Defendant Fowlkes had instructed Defendant Hopgood to handcuff him, but he later testified that he had no knowledge of any such order, and was merely assuming such to be true. Doc. [39-1] at 47.

Defendants Hopgood and Waate supervised Plaintiff's recreation time, and when the hour was over, they escorted Plaintiff and Reynolds back to their cell. Doc. [39-3] at 1-2. Once Plaintiff and Reynolds were in their cell with the door secured, Defendant Waate removed the handcuffs from Reynolds through the chuckhole door. Doc. [39-1] at 22. However, Plaintiff's handcuffs were not removed at that time. Doc. [41] ¶ 13. Because Defendant Waate was not the officer who initially placed the handcuffs on Plaintiff, and the handcuffs on Plaintiff did not belong to him, Defendant Waate believed another officer would remove Plaintiff's handcuffs. Doc. [41] ¶ 14. Meanwhile, Defendant Hopgood, distracted by his duties preparing other inmates for their recreation time, and believing that Plaintiff's handcuffs would be removed by another officer, left Plaintiff's cell to continue facilitating inmate recreation time. Doc. [41] ¶ 15; Doc. [39-3] ¶¶ 13-14. When Defendants' shift ended at 11:00 p.m. on May 11, 2018, none of the Defendants was aware that Plaintiff remained handcuffed in his cell. Doc. [41] ¶¶ 29-30.

As Defendants Waate and Hopgood left his cell, Plaintiff heard one of them say that he would "be back," and Plaintiff sat on his bunk waiting for someone to return and remove his cuffs. Doc. [39-1] at 25. Plaintiff did not alert Defendants to the fact that his handcuffs had been left on, either by verbally informing them, or by pressing the panic call button located in his cell. Doc. [41] ¶¶ 16, 21. Eventually, Plaintiff lay down on his bunk and fell asleep while still cuffed. Doc. [41] ¶ 18. After sleeping for approximately seven and a half hours, Plaintiff awoke and went to use the bathroom, at which point he fell. Doc. [41] ¶¶ 19, 27. His cellmate, Reynolds, pressed their cell's panic call button to summon help. Doc. [41] ¶ 20. Justice Center medical personnel responded to Plaintiff's cell in response to the panic call alert, at which time Plaintiff was placed in a wheelchair and his handcuffs removed. Doc. [41] ¶¶ 24-25. Defendants werenot among the personnel who responded to Plaintiff's cell, as their shifts had ended and they had gone home. Doc. [41] ¶ 29.

A nurse examined Plaintiff and found that his wrists were slightly discolored and cool to the touch. Doc. [41] ¶ 31. Plaintiff required no treatment for injury to his wrists from the handcuffs, or for any injury resulting from the fall. Doc. [39-1] at 41. After being examined in the Justice Center medical unit, Plaintiff was returned to his cell with Reynolds. Doc. [41] ¶ 33.

During the time that Plaintiff was cuffed in their shared cell, Reynolds did not harm, attempt to harm, or threaten to harm Plaintiff. Doc. [41] ¶¶ 34-36. Plaintiff testified that he first met Reynolds on May 4, 2018, only a few days before the incident that is the subject of this lawsuit, and he further testified that they had never had a disagreement or been involved in an altercation. Doc. [39-1] at 29-30. Plaintiff also testified that he never felt he was in danger of being harmed by anyone, including Reynolds, while he was handcuffed in their shared cell. Id.

As of May 11, 2018, Plaintiff had filed only three inmate grievances at the Justice Center. Doc. [41] ¶ 39. None of the Defendants were the subject of any of those grievances, and the grievances were not filed with Defendants, but rather through the Justice Center's Constituency Services Unit. Doc. [41] ¶ 40. Defendants had no knowledge of the grievances filed by Plaintiff prior to May 11, 2018. Doc. [39-2] ¶ 17; Doc. [39-3] ¶ 21; Doc. [39-4] ¶ 20. Nonetheless, Plaintiff contends that he was left handcuffed in his cell on the night in question as retaliation for filing those three grievances. See Doc. [1] at 3; Doc. [39-1] at 77; Doc. [41] ¶ 37. Plaintiff further asserts that his cellmate, Reynolds, informed him that an "Officer Tillery"1 had concocted a scheme with Reynolds, whereby he would leave Plaintiff handcuffed so that Reynolds could attack Plaintiff—again, all in retaliation for filing grievances. Id. at 2. Plaintiff filed an affidavit by Reynolds in which he largely repeats these same claims. Doc. [42] at 10-11. Reynolds attests that he did not agree to participate in the scheme. Id. Notably, Reynolds does not mention any of the Defendants in his affidavit but focuses solely on Officer Tillery's alleged statement that Plaintiff's use of the grievance process had made him a target of "the Administration." Id. at 10. Additionally, Plaintiff testified that he had no direct knowledge of any plan to retaliate againsthim, and he merely assumed that officers were not happy when grievances were filed and would tend to...

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