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Thompson v. Clarke

United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division

March 30, 2019

PAUL C. THOMPSON, Plaintiff,
v.
H. W. CLARKE, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          NORMAN K. MOON SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Paul C. Thompson, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se, filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging retaliation and Eighth Amendment claims against various officials employed by the Virginia Department of Corrections. Defendants filed a joint motion for summary judgment. Thompson responded, making this matter ripe for disposition. Several Defendants also filed a motion for entry of partial final judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 54(b). Upon review of the record, I will grant in part and deny in part Defendants' motion for summary judgment, and I will grant the Rule 54(b) Motion.

         I. Factual Background

         In my previous opinions, I dismissed several defendants and summarized Plaintiff's remaining claims. Thus, I offer only a brief overview here.

(1) Defendants Booker, Evans, Whitt, Jones, Thompson, Doss, and Shaffner unnecessarily prolonged seizure of his legal materials after he was removed from suicide watch, which adversely affected his ability to litigate his cases;
(2) Defendants Doss, Shaffner, Wright, Booker, Mullins, Miller, Evans, and Whitt, prevented Plaintiff from obtaining cold weather clothing for two winter months in retaliation because they knew Plaintiff helped other inmates litigate claims against the Commonwealth of Virginia and the VDOC;
(3) Doss and Booker retaliated against Plaintiff's grievances by arbitrarily increasing Plaintiff's security level, removing him from protective custody, and facilitating Plaintiff's transfer to ROSP;
(4) Defendant King did not award sentence credit for time he spent in pre-hearing segregation for the “212 charge, ” which unduly increased the time Plaintiff was kept separate from his legal materials while his litigation continued;
(5) At least two Defendants conspired to retaliate against Plaintiff; and
(6) Doss was deliberately indifferent to an excessive risk of harm regarding the razor retention policy in the shower area.

See Am. Mem. Op. 28, ECF No. 148; Am. Mem. Op. 8-12, ECF No. 149. I will reference the claims as numbered above.

         II. Legal Standards

         Defendants move for summary judgment as to Claims 1 through 5. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a) provides that a court should grant summary judgment “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.” “As to materiality, . . . [o]nly disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). The dispute over a material fact must be genuine, “such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Id.; see also JKC Holding Co. v. Wash. Sports Ventures, Inc., 264 F.3d 459, 465 (4th Cir. 2001). As such, the moving party is entitled to summary judgment if the evidence supporting a genuine issue of material fact “is merely colorable or is not significantly probative.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 250.

         The moving party bears the burden of proving that judgment on the pleadings is appropriate. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). If the moving party meets this burden, then the nonmoving party must set forth specific, admissible facts to demonstrate a genuine issue of fact for trial. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). In considering a motion for summary judgment, the court must view the record as a whole and draw all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322-324; Shaw v. Stroud, 13 F.3d 791, 798 (4th Cir. 1994). However, the nonmoving party may not rely on beliefs, conjecture, speculation, or conclusory allegations to defeat a motion for summary judgment. Baber v. Hosp. Corp. of Am., 977 F.2d 872, 874-75 ...


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