United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION (GRANTING MOTION FOR SUMMARY
E.HUDSON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
James Brown, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se and
in forma pauperis, filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983
action. Brown's claims flow from the alleged
unconstitutional treatment Brown received from Lt. A. Banks
and Dr. Inder Gujral in the aftermath of Brown's hernia
surgery. Specifically, Brown contends that:
Claim 1 (a) Defendant Banks violated Brown's rights under
the Eighth Amendment when, on February 10, 2015, he ordered
Brown to move some heavy boxes and refused to allow anyone to
assist Brown in moving the boxes. (Compl. 6-7, ECF No. 1
.)(b) Defendant Banks violated Brown's
rights under the Eighth Amendment when he falsely charged
Brown with disobeying a direct order and had Brown locked in
segregation for thirty-six (36) days. (Id. at 6.)
Claim 2 Defendant Gujral failed to provide Brown with
adequate medical care following Brown's injury on
February 10, 2015. (Id. at 4.)
Defendant Banks has moved for summary judgment on the ground
that Brown has failed to exhaust his administrative remedies.
(ECF No. 20.) Brown has responded. For the reasons that
follow, the Motion for Summary Judgment will be
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)).
Banks asks the Court to dismiss Claim 1(b) because it lacks
merit and to dismiss Claim 1(a) because Brown failed to
exhaust his administrative remedies as required by 42 U.S.C.
§ 1997e(a). As exhaustion of administrative remedies is
an affirmative defense, Defendant Banks bears the burden of
pleading and proving lack of exhaustion. Jones v.
Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 216 (2007).
support of his Motion for Summary Judgment, Defendant Banks
submits: (1) an affidavit from A. James, the Institutional
Grievance Coordinator (Mem. Supp. Mot. Summ. J. Ex. 1
("James Aff."), ECF No. 21-1); (2) a copy of
Virginia Department of Corrections ("VDOC")
Operating Procedure § 866.1 (id. End. A.
("Operating Procedure § 866.1")); and, (3)
copies of grievances material submitted by Brown
(id. Ends. B-E). Brown responded to the Motion for
Summary Judgment by filing his own affidavit ("Brown
Affidavit, " ECF No. 29). Although there are a host of
other documents in the record, "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 v. Barr, 19 F.3d
1527, 1537 (5th Cir. 1994) (quoting Skotak v. Tenneco
Resins, Inc., 953 F.2d 909, 915 & n.7 (5th Cir. 1992)).
In light of the foregoing submissions, the following facts
are established for the Motion for Summary Judgment. The
Court draws all permissible inferences in favor of Brown.
Brown's Conviction of an Institutional
about January 10, 2015, Brown underwent hernia surgery.
(Brown Aff. ¶ 3.) Brown's surgeon ordered Brown not
to lift anything heavy for at least six weeks (Id.
(citation omitted).) On February 10, 2015, after Brown had
returned to prison, Defendant Banks ordered Brown to pack up
his personal possessions in some boxes and prepare to move to
a different housing unit. (Id. ¶ 4.) After
packing the boxes, Brown informed Banks that he was under
medical orders not to move anything heavy and Brown asked for
assistance in moving the boxes. (Id.) Defendant
Banks refused to provide assistance and told Brown that he
must move the boxes himself. (Id.) Brown repeated
that he was under a medical restriction not to lift heavy
items. (Id.) Defendant Banks then left Brown in his
thereafter, a sergeant appeared at Brown's cell and
informed Brown that Defendant Banks had ordered Brown
assigned to administrative segregation for refusing to lift
the boxes. (Id. ¶ 5.) Brown then moved his
boxes. (Id.) In the process of moving his boxes,
Brown felt a "snapping and pulling" in his groin
area, near where the surgery had occurred. (Id.
February 10, 2015, Brown received a disciplinary charge filed
by Defendant Banks. (Id. ¶ 6.) Defendant Banks
charged Banks with refusing to move to another cell.
(Id.) On or about February 18, 2015, Brown was found
guilty of the above charge and sentenced to serve eleven (11)
days in isolation. (Id. ¶ 7.) The Warden of
Sussex II State Prison, however, overturned the finding of
guilty and had the matter expunged from Brown's record.
(Id. ¶ 8.)