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Stees v. Guard

United States District Court, D. Maine

January 26, 2015

WILLIAM MCBROOM STEES, Plaintiff,
v.
GUARD, MAINE STATE PRISON, et als., Defendants.

ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S OBJECTION TO SCHEDULING ORDER AND RECOMMENDED DECISION ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS AND MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

JOHN C. NIVISON, Magistrate Judge.

In this action, Plaintiff William McBroom Stees, an inmate at the Maine State Prison proceeding pro se, maintains that he was wrongly placed in maximum security for a period of three months. (ECF No. 1.) The sole Defendant is David Allen of the Maine State Prison.[1]

The matter is before the Court on Defendant Allen's Motion to Dismiss and Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 33).[2] Plaintiff did not file a formal opposition to Defendant's motion, but requested that the Court amend its Scheduling Order to permit him to prosecute his claim after his release from prison. Plaintiff's request, captioned a Motion to Amend the Scheduling Order (ECF No. 30), is also pending.

As explained below, following a review of the pleadings, and after consideration of Defendant's Motion and Plaintiff's request, I deny Plaintiff's Motion to Amend Scheduling Order, and recommend that the Court deny Defendant's Motion to Dismiss and Motion for Summary Judgment.

THE PLEADINGS

In his initial filing, entered on the docket on March 31, 2014, Plaintiff asserted a claim for wrongful placement in maximum security, 24-hour lock down for a period of three months. (Complaint, ECF No. 1.) In a later filing, entered June 25, 2014, Plaintiff stated that more recently he had been housed in B-wing and C-wing, and was subsequently transferred to the Cumberland County Jail. According to Plaintiff, he also spent time in "IMHU" (presumably a mental health placement) after cutting himself.[3] (To Whom It May Concern Letter, ECF No. 16.)

On July 17, 2014, Plaintiff filed additional correspondence (ECF No. 21) in response to the Court's Show Cause Order of July 7, 2014 (ECF No. 20). In that filing, Plaintiff represented that he wanted to amend his complaint to specify that his claim against Defendant Allen is for excessive cell searches and strip searches, which allegedly occurred every time he left his cell for a shower or for court. (ECF No. 21.)

Following the Court's issuance of its Scheduling Order (ECF No. 29) in October, Plaintiff wrote that he could not obtain discovery, certain consent forms[4] or counsel while in jail, and thus he requested that the dates in the scheduling order "be pushed back" until after his release from prison.[5] Plaintiff's filing was entered on the docket as Plaintiff's Motion to Amend the Scheduling Order (ECF No. 30). In his opposition to Plaintiff's motion, Defendant argued that the delay would be unduly long, and that there was no basis from which to conclude that discovery would not be possible while Plaintiff was incarcerated. (ECF No. 35.)

On October 27, 2014, Defendant filed his Motion to Dismiss and Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 33). In the motion, Defendant argues that dismissal is warranted because Plaintiff complains of emotional injury, but has not alleged any physical injury as required by 42 U.S.C. ยง 1997e(e). Defendant also contends that he is entitled to summary judgment based on Plaintiff's failure to exhaust administrative remedies.

Plaintiff failed to file a response within the standard deadline for responding to a dispositive motion. In a filing that was entered on the docket on November 17, 2014, however, Plaintiff suggested that the timing of his receipt of mail did not permit him to timely file a response. He also asserted that he was never told about the grievance process, was never before in prison, and never received any materials related to the grievance process. Additionally, Plaintiff stated that he attempted suicide by cutting his arm through the veins due to the stress of the prolonged lock down, that he has severe back damage from his military service in Afghanistan, and that he has experienced physical pain due to the quality of the bedding provided at the Maine State Prison. Finally, Plaintiff stated that a corrections officer injured his elbow by overextending Plaintiff's arms while he was handcuffed. (ECF No. 36.)

SUMMARY JUDGMENT FACTS

The following facts are derived from Defendant's Local Rule 56 statement of material facts (ECF No. 34) and are supported by citation to the Affidavit of Wendell Atkinson (ECF No. 34-1) and a copy of the Maine Department of Corrections Prisoner Grievance Policy (ECF No. 34-2).

1. Plaintiff was incarcerated at the Maine State Prison from December 12, 2013, to May 27, 2014. Plaintiff was a pre-trial detainee transferred from the Knox County Jail as a safe keeper due to his being a security risk that the jail could not deal with.

2. The Department of Corrections has a grievance policy (Policy 29.1) that covers prisoner grievances having to do with claims arising from the conditions of confinement. This grievance policy was in effect ...


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