United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division
R. Spencer Senior U.S. District Judge.
Dalga Anbessa, a Virginia inmate, brings this 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 action alleging that
Defendants violated his due process rights under the
Fourteenth Amendment. By Memorandum Opinion and Order entered on
May 2, 2016, the Court dismissed all of Anbessa's claims
except Claim Two. Anbessa v. Riddick, No. 3:15CV212,
2016 WL 1755872, at *5 (E.D. Va. May 2, 2016). The action
proceeds on Claim Two of Anbessa's Second Amended
Complaint ("Complaint, " ECF No. 24-1).
Specifically, Anbessa asserts:
Claim Two: Defendants violated Anbessa's due process
rights by failing to afford him adequate process in the
institutional hearing before taking away his good time
credits. Specifically, Defendants:
(a) offered perjured, unsworn testimony against him;
(b) denied him an independent and impartial hearing officer;
(c) failed to allow him to put on a defense and rushing the
(d) failed to define or prove the elements of "lewd and
obscene" and found him guilty of a lesser-included
seeks declaratory, injunctive, and monetary relief. (Compl.
¶¶ 38-44.) The matter is now before the Court on
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 34.)
For the reasons stated below, Defendants' Motion for
Summary Judgment will be GRANTED.
STANDARD FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
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). It is the responsibility of the party
seeking summary judgment 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
(quoting Improvement co. v. Munson, 81 U.S. (14
Wall.) 442, 448 (1872)).
support of their Motion for Summary Judgment, Defendants have
submitted: (1) Defendant Mabrey's affidavit (Mem. Supp.
Mot. Summ. J. Ex. 1 ("Mabrey Aff."), ECF No. 35-1);
(2) a copy of Virginia Department of Corrections
("VDOC") Operating Procedure § 861.1
(id. Encl. A ("Operating Procedure §
861.1")); (3) copies of the paperwork from Anbessa's
institutional conviction proceedings (id. Encl. B);
(4) an affidavit from R.L. Tuell, a Unit Manager at Sussex I
State Prison ("SISP") (Mem. Supp. Mot. Summ. J. Ex.
2 ("Tuell Aff"), ECF No. 35-2); (5) a copy of VDOC
Operating Procedure § 830.1 (id. Encl. A
("Operating Procedure § 830.1")); and, (6)
copies of the paperwork from Anbessa's institutional
classification review in August and September 2014
(id. Ends. B-F). In response, Anbessa has submitted
his own declaration ("Anbessa Decl., " ECF No. 44),
and his own affidavit ("Anbessa Aff., " ECF No.
46-1). Additionally, Anbessa swore to the contents of his
Complaint under penalty of perjury.
light of the foregoing submissions, the following facts are
established for purposes of the Motion for Summary Judgment.
SUMMARY OF PERTINENT FACTS
was transferred to SISP from Wallens Ridge State Prison
("WRSP") on November 25, 2013. (Mabrey Aff. ¶
4; see also Anbessa Aff. ¶ 1.) At that time,
Anbessa was assigned to Class Level 2 for purposes of
receiving earned sentence credit ("ESC"). (Tuell
Aff. ¶ 7 & n.1.) At Level 2, Anbessa earned three
days of ECF for every thirty days served. (Id.
12, 2014, Anbessa "was masturbating off of Ofc Riddick
inside [his] cell... while the pod was gone to outside
recreation." (Compl. ¶ 10; see also Mabrey
Aff. ¶ 6; Anbessa Decl. ¶ 6.) Anbessa admits that
he had engaged in such behavior "for 6-7 months
prior." (Compl. ¶ 10.) However, on July 12, 2014,
with respect to Anbessa, Officer Riddick wrote "an
institutional charge of Lewd or Obscene Acts Directed Toward
or in the Presence of Another (Offense Code 137A)."
(Mabrey Aff. ¶ 6; see also Compl. ¶ 10;
Anbessa Decl. ...