United States District Court, D. Maine
RECOMMENDED DECISION ON DEFENDANT HORTON'S MOTION
FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
C. Nivison, U.S. Magistrate Judge.
action, Plaintiff, an inmate at the Maine State Prison,
alleges that Defendant Charles Horton, a former guard at the
prison, used excessive force against him during an incident
at the prison on July 7, 2018. (Complaint, ECF No. 1;
Amendments to Complaint, ECF No. 12.) The matter is before
the Court on Defendant's motion for summary judgment.
(Motion, ECF No. 39.)
a review of the summary judgment record and after
consideration of the parties' arguments, I recommend the
Court grant Defendant's motion.
29, 2018, Plaintiff filed a complaint against more than
twenty defendants alleging cruel and unusual punishment,
violations of procedural due process, and unlawful search and
seizure. (Complaint, ECF No. 1.) On July 19, 2018, Plaintiff
amended his complaint to add claims based on an alleged use
of excessive force and retaliation. (Amendments to Complaint,
ECF No. 12; Order, ECF No. 13.)
October 12, 2018, the Court dismissed most of the claims
against most of the named defendants. (Order, ECF No. 17.)
The Court determined, however, that Plaintiff's
allegations against Defendants Harold Abbott, Joseph
Theriault, Eric Bueno, Shane Blakely, and Troy Ross regarding
the imposition of a $100 fine following a disciplinary
proceeding could proceed. (Id.) The Court also
permitted Plaintiff to proceed on his excessive force claim
against Defendant Horton and on his retaliation claim against
Defendants Horton and Casey Chadwick. (Id.) The
Court ordered Plaintiff to provide information regarding his
efforts to exhaust the available administrative remedies.
November 20, 2018, Plaintiff filed documentation of his
efforts regarding the prison grievance process. (Grievance
Records, ECF No. 18-1.) On November 27, 2018, the Court
concluded that Plaintiff could pursue his claims based on the
$100 fine and excessive force, but the Court dismissed the
retaliation claim because Plaintiff did not produce evidence
that he exhausted the available remedies for that claim.
(Order, ECF No. 19.)
Horton, Ross, Abbott, Blakely, Bueno, and Theriault filed a
motion for summary judgment. Defendant Horton argued that
Plaintiff had failed to exhaust his administrative remedies
with respect to his excessive force claim; the remaining
defendants argued that Plaintiff's due process claim
regarding the imposition of the fine was not supported by the
factual record. (Motion, ECF No. 24.) The Court granted
summary judgment to Defendants on Plaintiff's due process
claim, but the Court denied Defendant Horton's motion on
the excessive force claim because material issues of fact
existed regarding whether Plaintiff had exhausted his
administrative remedies. (Recommended Decision, ECF No. 29;
Order Affirming Recommended Decision, ECF No. 30.)
Horton subsequently filed the instant motion for summary
judgment on the merits of Plaintiff's excessive force
claim. (ECF No. 39.)
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)).
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 his 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).
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. 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.
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.
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
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
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