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Adams v. Landry

United States District Court, D. Maine

March 27, 2019

JON ROBERT ADAMS, Plaintiff
v.
SCOTT R. LANDRY, et al. Defendant

          RECOMMENDED DECISION ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          JOHN C. NIVISON U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         In this action, Plaintiff claims Defendants violated his constitutional right to protection against a serious threat posed by another prisoner while he was confined at the Maine Correctional Center. The matter is before the Court on Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 52.) Plaintiff did not file a response to the motion.

         Following a review of the record and after consideration of Defendants' arguments, I recommend the Court grant the motion.

         Summary Judgment Standard

         “The court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that 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). “After the moving party has presented evidence in support of its motion for summary judgment, ‘the burden shifts to the nonmoving party, with respect to each issue on which he has the burden of proof, to demonstrate that a trier of fact reasonably could find in his favor.'” Woodward v. Emulex Corp., 714 F.3d 632, 637 (1st Cir. 2013) (quoting Hodgens v. Gen. Dynamics Corp., 144 F.3d 151, 158 (1st Cir. 1998)).

         A court reviews the factual record in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, resolving evidentiary conflicts and drawing reasonable inferences in the non-movant's favor. Perry v. Roy, 782 F.3d 73, 77 (1st Cir. 2015). If a court's review of the record reveals evidence sufficient to support findings in favor of the non-moving party on one or more of the plaintiff's claims, a trial-worthy controversy exists, and summary judgment must be denied as to any supported claim. Id. (“The district court's role is limited to assessing whether there exists evidence such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” (internal quotation marks omitted)). Unsupported claims are properly dismissed. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-24 (1986).

         Summary Judgment Record

         When presented with a summary judgment motion, a court ordinarily considers only the facts included in the parties' statements of material facts, which statements must be supported by citations to evidence of record. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c) and District of Maine Local Rule 56(b) - (d) require the specific citation to record evidence. In addition, Local Rule 56 establishes the manner by which parties must present their factual statements and the evidence on which the statements depend. A party's pro se status does not relieve the party of the obligation to comply with the court's procedural rules.[1] Ruiz Rivera v. Riley, 209 F.3d 24, 27 - 28 & n. 2 (1st Cir. 2000); Marcello v. Maine, 489 F.Supp.2d 70, 77 (D. Me. 2007).

         By rule, a party seeking summary judgment must file, in addition to its summary judgment motion, a supporting statement of material facts setting forth each fact in a separately numbered paragraph, with each factual statement followed by a citation to evidence of record that supports the factual statement. D. Me. Loc. R. 56(b). A party opposing a motion for summary judgment must file an opposing statement in which it admits, denies, or qualifies the moving party's statements by reference to each numbered paragraph, with citations to supporting evidence, and in which it may set forth additional facts, in separately numbered paragraphs, with citation to supporting evidence. D. Me. Loc. R. 56(c). If an additional statement is introduced by the non-moving party, the moving party must file a reply statement in which it admits, denies, or qualifies the non-moving party's additional statements by reference to each numbered paragraph, with citations to supporting evidence. D. Me. Loc. R. 56(d).

         “Facts contained in a supporting or opposing statement of material facts, if supported by record citations as required by this rule, shall be deemed admitted unless properly controverted.” D. Me. Loc. R. 56(f). Additionally, “[t]he court may disregard any statement of fact not supported by a specific citation to record material properly considered on summary judgment.” Id. Finally, “[t]he court shall have no independent duty to search or consider any part of the record not specifically referenced in the parties' separate statement of facts.” Id.

         Nevertheless, the factual assertions contained in the verified pleadings and affidavits filed by a pro se litigant generally will be considered in the review of a summary judgment motion. That is, where a pro se litigant has failed to comply strictly with the summary judgment rules, this Court has considered the sworn assertions of record. See Clarke v. Blais, 473 F.Supp.2d 124, 128 - 30 (D. Me. 2007) (“The First Circuit has not addressed this notice debate directly, but has said, in the summary judgment context, that unrepresented plaintiffs' opposing affidavits and opposition papers are to be read ‘liberally.'” (citing Posadas de Puerto Rico, Inc. v. Radin, 856 F.2d 399, 401 (1st Cir. 1988), and Mas Marques v. Digital Equip. Corp., 637 F.2d 24, 27 (1st Cir. 1980)); Demmons v. Tritch, 484 F.Supp.2d 177, 182 - 83 (D. Me. 2007). Plaintiff filed a verified complaint in this matter. (Complaint, ECF No. 1.)

         Factual and Procedural Background[2]

         A. Arrival and Dormitory Six

         On March 11, 2014, Plaintiff began serving a two-year sentence at the Maine Correctional Center (MCC). (Complaint § IV ¶ 1, ECF No. 1; Defendant's second Statement of Material Fact ¶ 1, ECF No. 53, hereinafter DSSMF.) For intake and classification purposes, Plaintiff was assigned to the Multi-Purpose Unit (MPU). (Id. ¶ 4.) At the end of March 2014, Plaintiff was moved to Dormitory Six. (Id. ¶ 5.) Because this incarceration was not the first time Plaintiff had been incarcerated at MCC, he was well-known within the prison population. (Complaint § IV ¶ 2.) Plaintiff had a reputation within the prisoner population as an “informant.” (Id. ¶ 3.) At MCC, other prisoners insulted Plaintiff and Plaintiff considered some of the comments to be threats of bodily harm because of his reputation of being an informant. (Id.)

         B. The Correctional Recovery Academy in Unit One

         On May 5, 2014, Plaintiff was moved from Dormitory Six to Unit One. (Id. ¶ 6; DSSMF ¶ 4.) Unit One contains several general population living areas, including the structured living unit (SLU) and the Correctional Recovery Academy (CRA), which is a substance abuse treatment unit. (DSSMF ¶ 3.) Plaintiff participated in the CRA program, which is a nine-month program. (Complaint § IV ¶ 6.)

         Plaintiff had some difficulties in the CRA program and was briefly suspended from the program for throwing a milk crate filled with cleaning supplies. (DSSMF ¶ 5.) Plaintiff was later indefinitely suspended and moved to the segregation unit because he failed to follow staff directives as he was out of place on three occasions and he refused a staff order to lock up. (Id. ¶ 6.)

         Defendant Bailey, the Unit Manager for Unit One at MCC, received reports that Plaintiff might have threatened other prisoners in the CRA. (Id. ¶ 7.) Defendant Bailey met with Plaintiff to discuss the issues that had arisen in the CRA. (Id. ¶ 8.) Plaintiff admitted to making statements such as “I'm gonna stick you” to the other prisoners. (Id.) Defendant Bailey and the Unit Team decided to let Plaintiff stay in the program. (Id.)

         Shortly after starting the CRA program, other prisoners insulted and threatened Plaintiff, called him a “rat” and other names, and said, “you will get [expletive] up if you start ratting!” (Complaint § IV ¶ 7.) Plaintiff reported this treatment, which he characterized as harassment and as threats, to correctional sergeants and Defendant Bailey. (Id. ΒΆ 8.) Plaintiff asked to leave the CRA program because of the alleged harassment, but Defendant Bailey advised Plaintiff that he should ignore the prisoners who made ...


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