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Holloway v. Lt. Taylor

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

August 14, 2017

Michael Holloway, Plaintiff,
v.
Lt. Taylor and Officer Bradley, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          LEONIE M. BRINKEMA UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Michael Holloway, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se, has filed a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that defendants Lieutenant C. Taylor and Officer R. Bradley used excessive force by applying metal handcuffs during plaintiffs transportation to a medical appointment at the Medical College of Virginia ("MCV). Defendants have filed a joint Motion for Summary Judgment with a supporting memorandum of law and exhibits and provided plaintiff with the notice required by Roseboro v. Garrison. 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975) and Local Rule 7(K). Plaintiff has filed a Motion in Limine, Dkt. No. 31, to exclude from evidence the affidavits of officers A. Boone and L. Smallwood, which defendants included as exhibits in support of their memorandum of law, Dkt, No. 27, and he has submitted a "Brief, " which will be taken as his memorandum in opposition to defendants' joint Motion for Summary Judgment. After consideration of these submissions, the Motion for Summary Judgment will be granted, judgment will be entered in favor of the defendants, and plaintiffs Motion in Limine and Motion for Evidentiary Hearing will be denied.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff alleges that on July 10, 2015, he was an inmate at Indian Creek Correctional Center ("ICCC") when he was escorted from his cell to a room in the back of the medical department to change clothes for an appointment with his cardiologist at MCV. Compl. § IV. Plaintiffs face sheet and gate pass, which ordinarily would include any relevant medical restrictions, did not contain information concerning a metal cuff restriction. Smallwood Aff. ¶ 4. Such a restriction, however, was noted in plaintiffs medical records for the period from October 3, 2014 to October 3, 2015. Dkt. No. 40, Ex. 1 at 37. Plaintiff advised the defendants that if they required him to wear metal handcuffs during his transportation to MCV, he would refuse to go. Compl. § IV. At that point, Taylor grabbed plaintiff by the collar and upper right arm and forced plaintiff against a brick wall. Id., To maintain control over plaintiff. Officer Bradley grabbed plaintiffs left arm, twisted it behind his back, and the defendants held plaintiff in that position while Taylor asked plaintiff if he was going to change his mind regarding the metal handcuffs. Id. Plaintiff eventually agreed to wear the metal handcuffs. Id.

         Defendants have submitted affidavits which contain the following additional facts. On the morning of July 10, 2015, plaintiff acted aggressively and belligerently towards Bradley, used foul language, and, in an "aggressive manner, " refused to be searched or wear metal cuffs. Bradley Aff. ¶ 4; Taylor Aff. ¶ 5. Plaintiff was also upset because the jumpsuit provided for his appointment was too large, and he threw the jumpsuit back onto a shelf. Bradley Aff. ¶ 4. Taylor attempted to talk plaintiff into turning around to be searched, but he remained "aggressive, argumentative, and belligerent" and again refused to be searched. Taylor Aff. ¶ 5. Plaintiff began walking away from Taylor when 'fay lor grabbed the collar of plaintiff s shirt and advised plaintiff that he needed to change for his medical run. Bradley Aff. ¶ 5; Taylor Aff. ¶ 6. When plaintiff "struggled" and attempted to "pull away" from Taylor, the defendants "placed [plaintiff] up against the back wall of the intake area." Bradley Aff. ¶ 5; Taylor Aff. ¶ 6. Because plaintiff continued to "act aggressively, " Bradley pinned plaintiffs arm behind his back "to obtain, and maintain, control of him, " and Taylor advised plaintiff that "he could either get dressed for the appointment or [defendants] would do it for him." Bradley Aff. ¶ 5. At that point, plaintiff calmed down, complied with the strip search, and put on the jumpsuit. Id. According to Bradley, the force used on plaintiff was necessary "to bring the situation under control, " and had plaintiff "obeyed orders to be searched in preparation for his transport, no force would have been necessary." Id. ¶ 7.

         Plaintiff does not expressly deny that he yelled at the defendants or acted aggressively towards them. See Dkt. Nos. 24, 31. Instead, in his Brief he states:

[I]t is not a good strategy for [the defendants] to insinuate [that plaintiff] came into the medical intake unit in a rage. Every inmate welcomes the chance to [sic] Richmond. But, to prevail the defendants know they must risk perjury or its equivalent. The defendants [sic] version of events uses an interpretation of my frame of mind, unfortunately that elaborate and graphic fabrication is inconsistent with the frame of mind 1 had.
But, for reasons beyond what the defendants and their witnesses claim, [sic] It was decided right before my eyes to disregard duty, procedures, rules, rights, and my medical condition. And I was helpless, in fear for my safty [sic] I tryed [sic] to place myself beyond harms [sic] way. But it became an exercise in cruel and unusual punishment. And whether they thought they could get away with the unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain and injury, is evident in the (1) unrealistic story, the (2) inconsistent statements, (3) contradictions and (4) lies in their defense.

Dkt. No. 35 at 11, 15. In addition, plaintiff states "[i]t is also hinted that the plaintiff was animated and belligerant [sic] by the words loud and aggressive. That sounds like the behavior of a man out of his mind and intimidating. I don't think I could intimidate Lieuenant [sic] Taylor and certainly not Officer Bradley." Dkt. No. 24 at 15.

         Defendants deny any knowledge of a medical restriction requiring plaintiff to be restrained using plastic cuffs. Bradley Aff. ¶ 8. More specifically, Bradley states that he did not have access to any of plaintiff s medical records or medical orders. Id. Taylor states that, had plaintiff advised Taylor of any medical restrictions, he would have verified those restrictions with institutional medical staff before preparing plaintiff for transport. Taylor Aff. ¶ 7. Plaintiff alleges that he advised Taylor that he could not wear metal cuffs because he was taking blood thinners that caused "bruising and swelling at almost the simplest contact/' and an exemption order to that effect could be found in plaintiffs medical file.[1] Compl. § IV; Dkt. No. 31 at 2.

         Plaintiff contends that, when provided this information, Taylor laughed at plaintiff, advised plaintiff that he did not have time to check plaintiffs medical file, and stated that plaintiff "would be wearing [metal handcuffs] that day." Dkt. No. 31 at 2. According to plaintiff, when he told the defendants that he would refuse to go to his medical appointment if they required him to wear metal handcuffs, Taylor grabbed plaintiff by the collar, twisted his right arm behind his back, and pinned him against a cement wall; Bradley grabbed plaintiffs left arm and pinned it behind his back. Id. Plaintiff alleges that he was held with his arms behind his back, and he only agreed to wear metal cuffs because of the pain he was suffering and his fear "for his life" due to his medical condition. Dkt. No. 31 at 2; Dkt. No. 35 at 2.

         Plaintiff alleges that he had bruising and swelling on his shoulders, arms, hands, ankles, legs, and knees and could not walk for weeks following this incident. Dkt. No. 31 at 3; Dkt. No. 35 at 2; however, the medical records from July 10, 2015 contradict most of those allegations by not mentioning any swelling or complaints of pain in plaintiffs arms or legs. Dkt. No. 40, Ex. 1 at 17. A treatment note from July 11, 2015, only mentions "a large dark blue/black bruise to [his] L bicep and swelling (soft) to [his] R elbow." There is also a reference to "a small soft nodule to [the] top of [his] R foot, " but plaintiff reported having had the nodule for seven days, which means it was unrelated to the incident at issue. Dkt. No. 1, Ex. 1.

         Plaintiffs medical records also belie his contention that he was unable to walk for weeks following the incident. See Dkt. No. 40, Ex. 1. Although the July 11, 2015 treatment notes reflect that plaintiff reported having swollen feet, his feet did "not appear swollen at [that] time." Dkt. No. 1, Ex. 1. Treatment notes dated July 17, 2015 reflect that plaintiff was "agitated" and "cursing" because he had been advised that "his condition was stable" and he did not need to be in the medical unit, notwithstanding plaintiffs opinion that he should "have his meals and meds served to him" in the medical unit. Dkt. No. 1, Ex. 1. September 9, 2015 medical records document that plaintiff complained of leg and arm swelling along with bruising from wearing cuffs, but the nurse noted "no edema on exam today" and plaintiff stated that the "bruising is better." Id. at 13. Moreover, no leg or arm injuries were noted in the medical history portion of plaintiffs September 9, 2015 records. Id. at 14.

         Finally, plaintiff contends that several statements in the affidavits provided by defendants are contradictory. Dkt. No. 31 at 5. More specifically, plaintiff appears to allege that if the defendants and other officers acknowledged that plaintiff was yelling and talking loudly, then they cannot simultaneously assert that plaintiff did not inform them of his metal cuff restriction. Id. at 7. Plaintiff further alleges, without any elaboration, that defendants advance an unrealistic story, rife with inconsistencies, contradictions, and lies. Dkt. No. 35 at 15. Moreover, plaintiff contends, ...


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