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Smith v. Unit Manager Oates

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

June 27, 2017

KYLE SMITH, Plaintiff,
v.
UNIT MANAGER OATES, et ai, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION (DENYING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT)

          HENRY E. HUDSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Kyle Smith, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action.[1] Smith's claims flow from the alleged unconstitutional treatment Smith received from Unit Manager Oates, Lieutenant Colson, Sergeant Tucker, and Correctional Officer Wilson ("Defendants")[2] in the course of Smith's confinement at Sussex I State Prison.[3] Smith contends that:

Claim 1 Defendant Oates violated Smith's rights under the Eighth Amendment[4] and Virginia tort law when he failed to properly file Smith's enemy statement with the investigation unit in violation of Operating Procedure 830.6. (Compl. 3, ECF No. 1.)
Claim 2 Defendant Colson violated Smith's rights under the Eighth Amendment and Virginia tort law when he failed to properly inform the investigation unit of Smith's enemy concerns in violation of Operating Procedure 830.6. (Id. at 4.)
Claim 3 Defendant Tucker violated Smith's rights under the Eighth Amendment and Virginia tort law when he failed to properly inform the investigation unit of Smith's enemy concerns in violation of Operating Procedure 830.6. (Id.)
Claim 4 Defendant Wilson violated Smith's rights under the Eighth Amendment and Virginia tort law when, on November 25, 2013, he failed to timely intervene in an attack on Smith at Sussex I State Prison. (Id.)
Claim 5 Defendant Carr violated Smith's rights under the Eighth Amendment and Virginia tort law when, on November 25, 2013, he failed to timely intervene in an attack on Smith at Sussex I State Prison. (Id.)

         This matter is before the Court on the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendants (ECF No. 14), and on the Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Smith (ECF No. 17). Defendants move to dismiss on the grounds that Smith's claims are barred by the applicable statute of limitations. However, because there is a genuine issue of material fact as to when Smith placed his Complaint in the prison mailing system, Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 14) will be denied. Furthermore, Smith's Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 17) will also be denied due to its conclusory nature.

         I. STANDARD FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

         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). 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 Schuylkill & Dauphin Improvement Co. v. Munson, 81 U.S. 442, 448 (1871)).

         In support of their Motion for Summary Judgment, Defendants submitted an affidavit from F. Stanley, Mailroom Assistant at Red Onion State Prison. (Mem. Supp. Mot. Summ. J. Ex. 1 ("Stanley Aff."), ECF No. 15-1.) Smith responded to the Motion for Summary Judgment by submitting his own affidavit. (Resp. ("Smith Aff."), ECF No. 17.)

         II. FACTS GIVING RISE TO SMITH'S COMPLAINT

         In his Complaint, Smith asserts that on October 17, 2013, he was placed in 4-A Pod at Sussex I State Prison and that he "immediately alerted Defendants that [he] had enemies in that pod." (Compl. 2.)[5] Because 4-A Pod was on lockdown, Smith alleges Defendants Tucker, Colson, and Wilson told him that he "was going to be moved before the end." (Id. at 3.)

         On October 21, 2013, Smith was moved to Segregation 3-C Pod because of his previous statement identifying enemies in the 4-A Pod. (Id.) Also on October 21, 2013, Defendant Oates "authorized" Smith's statement identifying enemies in the 4-A Pod "but did not register it with the investigation unit to have the enemy forms filled out in violation of Operating Procedure 830.6" and "failed [to] validate [Smith's] claim by checking on the situation and ... ...


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