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Riddick v. Willett

United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division

June 9, 2016

CRYSTAL WILLETT, et al., Defendants.


          James R. Spencer, Senior U.S. District Judge.

         Rashad Matthew Riddick, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action.[1] The matter proceeds on Riddick's Particularized Complaint. (ECF No. 9.) Riddick's Particularized Complaint challenges his placement in administrative segregation at the Meherrin River Regional Jail ("MRRJ") when Riddick was both a pretrial detainee and a convicted inmate. As a pretrial detainee, Riddick's claim is governed by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.[2] See Shanklin v. Seals, No. 3:07CV319, 2010 WL 2942649, at *18 (E.D. Va. July 27, 2010) (citations omitted). As a convicted inmate, Riddick's claim is governed by the Eighth Amendment.[3] See Williams v. Benjamin, 77 F.3d 756, 768 (4th Cir. 1996) (quoting Whitley v. Alters, 475 U.S. 312, 327 (1986)).

         The Court construes Riddick's Particularized Complaint to assert the following claims:

Claim One: By continuously keeping Riddick in administrative segregation at the MRRJ, Defendants[4] violated Riddick's right under the Fourteenth Amendment, as a pretrial detainee, to not be subjected to punishment.
Claim Two: By continuously keeping Riddick in administrative segregation at MRRJ, Defendants violated Riddick's rights, as a convicted inmate, to (a) due process under the Fourteenth Amendment and (b) to be free from cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment.

(Part. Compl. at 2-3.) The matter is now before the Court on Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECFNo. 15.) Although Defendants provided Riddick with appropriate Roseboro[5] notice, Riddick has not responded. The matter is ripe for disposition. For the reasons stated below, Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment will be GRANTED.


         Summary judgment must be rendered "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). The party seeking summary judgment bears the responsibility to inform the court of the basis for the motion, and to identify the parts of the record which demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). "[W]here the nonmoving party will bear the burden of proof at trial on a dispositive issue, a summary judgment motion may properly be made in reliance solely on the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file." Id. at 324 (internal quotation marks omitted). When the motion is properly supported, the nonmoving party must go beyond the pleadings and, by citing affidavits or '"depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, ' designate 'specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.'" Id. (quoting former Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c) and 56(e) (1986)).

         In reviewing a summary judgment motion, the court "must draw all justifiable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party." United States v. Carolina Transformer Co., 978 F.2d 832, 835 (4th Cir. 1992) (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986)). However, a mere scintilla of evidence will not preclude summary judgment. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 251 (citing Improvement Co. v. Munson, 81 U.S. (14 Wall.) 442, 448 (1871)). '"[T]here is a preliminary question for the judge, not whether there is literally no evidence, but whether there is any upon which a jury could properly proceed to find a verdict for the party ... upon whom the onus of proof is imposed.'" Id. (quoting Munson, 81 U.S. at 448). Additionally, '"Rule 56 does not impose upon the district court a duty to sift through the record in search of evidence to support a party's opposition to summary judgment.'" Forsyth, 19 F.3d at 1537 (quoting Skotak v. Tenneco Resins, Inc., 953 F.2d 909, 915 n.7 (5th Cir. 1992)); see Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(3) ("The court need consider only the cited materials ....").

         In support of their Motion for Summary Judgment, Defendants submit: (1) an affidavit from Defendant Wright (Mem. Supp. Mot. Summ. J. Ex. 1 ("Wright Aff"), ECF No. 16-1); (2) an affidavit from James Flynn, an officer at MRRJ (id. Ex. 2 ("Flynn Aff"), ECF No. 16-2); and, (3) an affidavit from Roy Green, a licensed professional counselor employed by Armor Correctional Health Services Inc., which provides health services for MRRJ (id. Ex. 3 ("Green Aff"), ECF No. 16-3).

         As Riddick failed to respond, Riddick fails to cite the Court to any evidence that he wishes the Court to consider in opposition to the Motion for Summary Judgment. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(3) (emphasizing that "[t]he court need consider only the cited materials" in deciding a motion for summary judgment).[6] Riddick's complete failure to present any evidence to counter Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment permits the Court to rely solely on Defendants' submissions in deciding the Motion for Summary Judgment. See Forsyth, 19 F.3d at 1537 (quoting Skotak, 953 F.2d at 915 & n.7)).

         Accordingly, the following facts are established for the Motion for Summary Judgment. The Court draws all permissible inferences in favor of Riddick.


         Prior to 2015, "Riddick was found not guilty by reason of insanity for a triple murder and [was] committed to Central State Hospital." (Wright Aff. ¶ 7.) While at Central State, Riddick was charged for maliciously wounding a staff member. (Id.) He was booked into MRRJ for that charge on January 8, 2015. (Id. ¶¶ 2, 7.) Riddick was uncooperative during the booking process. (Flynn Aff. ¶ 2.) He "urinated on himself and engaged in combative behavior requiring [Officer Flynn] and other officers to place him in a restraint chair." (Id.) The docket for the Circuit Court of Dinwiddie County, Virginia, shows that Riddick was convicted of the malicious wounding charge on September 29, 2015.[7]

         At MRRJ, inmates are assigned housing based upon their classification. (Wright Aff. ¶ 3.) MRRJ uses a points-based classification system, which "assigns points to an inmate based on severity of current charges, serious offense history, escape history, institutional disciplinary history, prior felony convictions, alcohol/drug abuse and stability factors, i.e., whether an inmate is age 26 or over." (Id.) Inmates who are "classified as maximum and considered high risk, " as well as inmates who require protective custody, are placed in administrative segregation. (Id.) Riddick was assigned to administrative segregation because he was "classified as maximum, and placed on high risk status." (Id. ¶ 8.) Riddick's classification was "based on his behavior at booking, his history, and the points assigned to him by the points-based classification system." (Id.)

         "The classification of inmates placed in administrative segregation is reviewed every seven days for the first two months." (Id. ¶ 3.) Afterwards, reviews are conducted every thirty days. (Id.) The named Defendants "do not conduct these reviews"; they are conducted by a classification officer. (Id.) Riddick's "classification was reviewed every seven days for the first two months and was reviewed every thirty days thereafter, pursuant to Jail policies and procedures." (Id. ¶ 9.) Riddick was also "evaluated every week by a licensed professional counselor." (Green Aff. ¶ 2.) Riddick remained in administrative segregation until he was transferred to the Newport News City Jail on December 21, 2015. (Wright Aff. ¶ 2.)

         An inmate at MRRJ who is assigned to administrative segregation is housed in a single cell that contains a metal bunk, toilet, sink, and shower. (Id. ¶ 4.) The cells in administrative segregation "do not have windows to the outside, but they do have windows in the door." (Id.) An "outside recreation yard ... with concrete block walls that open[] to the sky [is] attached to the segregation unit." (Id.) However, no recreation equipment is available in the segregation recreation yard. (Id.) Inmates assigned to segregation "can make telephone calls upon request." (Id.) These inmates also "receive their meals on trays delivered through a slot in the door and they eat their meals in their cells." (Id. ¶ 6.)

         Conversely, inmates assigned to general population at MRRJ "are either housed in double bunk inmate cells ... or quad six bunk cells" (Id. ¶ 5.) Both "adjoin a larger common area." (Id.) Inmates in general population are permitted to socialize in their cells and the common area "for five hours each day unless they are on lockdown or restriction." (Id.) During this time, inmates "can shower, recreate, and use the telephone." (Id.) All general population housing units have a recreation yard attached; some general population units have a basketball hoop inside them. (Id.) Inmates in general population "may eat their meals at dining tables located in their housing unit common area, unless the unit is on lockdown. In that case, they eat their meals in their cells." (Id. ¶ 6.)

         All inmates at MRRJ, regardless of classification, "can participate in Jail programs upon request." (Id.) All inmates can receive visits from family and friends twice per week; "[t]he only difference between inmates in administrative segregation and general population are the days and times upon which they can receive family and friend visitors." (Id.) All inmates may request to go to the law library or "receive requested materials from the library cart." (Id.) Furthermore, all inmates "typically receive outside recreation time five times per week (Monday through Friday) for one hour unless they refuse, the jail or housing area is on lock-down, or the weather does not permit it." (Id.) Inmates will receive, at a minimum, recreation time once per week for one hour. (Id.) If the outdoor recreation yards cannot be used, "the Jail has two indoor recreation yards with basketball goals for use by all inmates, regardless of housing assignment, but at different days and times." (Id.) ...

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