United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division
XAVIA T. GOODWYN, Plaintiff,
ROOP, et al., Defendants.
K. Moon Senior United States District Judge
T. Goodwyn, a Virginia inmate proceeding pro se,
filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983,  naming ten defendants: Roop, R. Adams, J.
Roberts, J. Statzer, J.W. Kiser, Shannon K. Hayes, S.B.
Franklin, John Messer, Jordan Fleming, and Jerel Dickenson.
He asserts the following claims: (1) excessive force against
all ten defendants, which includes claims of “bystander
liability” based on some unidentified defendants'
failure to intervene to stop the use of force; (2) state-law
assault and battery claims against defendants Messer, Adams,
Roberts, and Statzer; (3) what he calls “assault by
agent” claims against defendants Roop, Hayes, and
Adams, based on their use of Oleoresin Capsicum
(“OC”) spray or K-9 dogs against him; and (4)
state-law claims of willful and wanton negligence against
defendants Franklin, Fleming, Messer, and Dickenson.
have filed a collective motion for summary judgment, which is
ripe for disposition and addressed herein. Upon review of the
record, I conclude that defendants' motion for summary
judgment should be granted in part and denied in part.
is a Virginia inmate housed at Red Onion State Prison
(“Red Onion”). On December 17, 2015, there was an
incident in the A-1 Pod at Red Onion in which multiple
offenders were reported to be fighting. Many staff responded
to this incident, including two K-9 officers, Roop and Hayes,
with their dogs. Goodwyn's claims all arise from events
on that date and can be grouped into three categories of
allegations by time period: (1) uses of force against Goodwyn
in the A-1 Pod itself, during the initial officer response to
the fights; (2) uses of force against Goodwyn while he was
being transported from the A-1 Pod to various places while
restrained; and (3) Goodwyn's placement in ambulatory
restraints in a segregated cell for approximately twenty-four
hours, without being permitted to decontaminate from the OC
spray used on him.
evidence includes numerous affidavits from defendants and
other Red Onion employees (some of which also include
exhibits, such as incident reports), as well as an affidavit
from Goodwyn and the statements in his verified amended
complaint. The record also includes a Rapid Eye video
and handheld video from the incident.
approximately 7:15 a.m. on December 17, 2015, forty-four
inmates were released from their cells in the bottom tier of
the A-1 Pod at Red Onion, so that they could eat breakfast.
Several offenders began fighting with other inmates, and
Goodwyn was among them. Goodwyn does not deny that he was
fighting with another inmate, and he admits that he had a
weapon (a sock filled with bar soap), but he alleges that he
complied with all orders immediately following the inmate
fights and before any force was used on him. (Am. Compl.
¶¶ 16-18, Dkt. No. 57.) Specifically, he asserts
that when ordered to do so, he immediately dropped his weapon
and got down on the floor in a prone position. He states that
he was being completely compliant and following orders when
Roop engaged his assigned dog, Canine Lojzo, on Goodwyn's
left leg. He also states that, at about the same time, and
while he continued to lie in the prone position and comply
with all commands, Adams sprayed him with OC spray.
(Id. ¶¶ 18-20.)
after Roop ordered Lojzo to disengage from Goodwyn, a number
of officers attempted to place Goodwyn in wrist and leg
restraints. They contend that he was not being compliant, and
several have testified that Goodwyn kicked repeatedly at one
of the officers, Officer Vanover. Goodwyn asserts, however,
that he did not kick Vanover at any time nor did he try to.
He states instead that he was being compliant with all orders
and commands. Goodwyn also claims that at or about the same
time, Messer stood on his back such that he could barely
breathe. (Id. ¶¶ 20-21;
Pl.'s Aff. ¶ 3, Dkt. No. 76-1.)
second time-period occurred while Goodwyn was being
transported to several locations, while in wrist and leg
restraints. According to him,  he was taken first to the A-4, 5
and 6 side of the building to be assessed by medical staff.
While he was there, it appears that Ms. Murphy, with the
Institutional Investigator's Office, talked to him. He
was then taken to A-3, where he was searched. (Am. Compl.
he was escorted to B-304, where he was placed in ambulatory
restraints per orders of Franklin. (Franklin Aff. ¶ 4,
Enclosure A.) Goodwyn was released from ambulatory restraints
at approximately 7:30 a.m. on December 18, 2015.
the course of the transport, Goodwyn alleges that, while he
was fully restrained and leaving A-1, Adams kicked or stomped
on him. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 22-23.) He further alleges
that after being searched in front of cell A-303 and as they
reached the exit to A building, either Roberts or Statzer
rammed his head into a steel doorframe, Statzer bent his left
wrist backwards closing the restraints tighter on him, and
Roberts “held his face aggressively on the right side
against the wall” while making racial remarks and
threats. (Id. ¶ 29.) He also alleges that, at
this same time, while he was fully restrained and while
Messer, Dickenson, Fleming, Roberts, and Statzer were
present, K-9 Officer Hayes engaged his dog on Goodwyn's
lower right leg and that they did nothing. (Id.
¶ 30.) He also complains that, during this transport, he
asked for decontamination repeatedly, because his eyes and
face were burning from the OC spray, and that he was
repeatedly denied decontamination. (Id. ¶¶
25, 28, 32.) Lastly, he was transported to B-3, where he was
placed in ambulatory restraints. On the way there, he alleges
that Statzer and Roberts were bending his arms and wrist to
cause intentional pain. (Id. ¶ 31.)
third time period involves his time in ambulatory restraints
in a segregation cell, in which he repeatedly requested that
he be allowed decontamination because his eyes and face were
burning, but he was instead held for 24 hours in a cell
without soap, water, or toilet paper. While held in that
room, a nurse came to change his dressings at 3:00 p.m., and
noted that he had additional puncture wounds on his right leg
that were bleeding that she had not seen before. Franklin was
the person who approved the use of ambulatory restraints on
Goodwyn. As discussed in more detail below, Goodwyn alleges
that he complained to Kiser several times while being held in
the cell about the effects of the OC spray, and that one of
those times Kiser said he would help him, but Kiser never
took any action.
have provided affidavits painting a different picture, and
they dispute much of Goodwyn's account. As to events in
the A-1 Pod, Roop states that he ordered Goodwyn to stop
fighting with offender J. Sheldon and he issued several
warnings for them to stop. According to Roop, Goodwyn failed
to comply and so Roop engaged his canine on Goodwyn's
left calf. It was at that point that Goodwyn complied with
orders to stop fighting and got on the ground. Roop therefore
commanded Lojzo to disengage Goodwyn, which the canine
promptly did. (Roop Aff. ¶¶ 5-6, Dkt. No. 39-1.)
alleges that he was commanding Goodwyn to stop fighting, but
Goodwyn was non-compliant and, due to that non-compliance and
“with the sole purpose of ending the offender
altercations for the safety of both staff and offenders,
” he utilized the OC spray on Goodwyn. (Adams Aff.
¶ 6, Dkt. No. 39-2.)
number of the officers also testified that Goodwyn was
kicking at Officer Vanover as others were trying to place
restraints on Goodwyn. (See, e.g., Adams Aff. ¶
5; Messer Aff. ¶ 4, Dkt. No. 64-4; Roberts Aff. ¶
4, Dkt. No. 50-1.) Adams began restraining Goodwyn's
hands, while Officer Vanover attempted to place leg
restraints on him. They assert that Goodwyn continued to be
combative, rolled over on his back, and kicked Officer
Vanover several times. Messer then came to assist with
restraints. Messer denies standing on Goodwyn's back, but
states that he kneeled on Goodwyn's back while the
officers were attempting to restrain him. (Messer Aff. ¶
4.) He claims that he did so only to gain control of Goodwyn
so he could be restrained. (Id. ¶ 4.) Roberts
and Statzer assisted in controlling Goodwyn while the other
officers placed him in restraints.
to the events during transport, Messer states that Goodwyn
became combative again while being transported and so he was
placed on the ground outside of A-303 until control could be
regained. (Id.) Roberts states that he assisted in
holding Goodwyn against the wall for a period while he was
searched, but did not slam his head against the wall or
threaten him. (Roberts Aff. ¶ 4.)
rest of the alleged misconduct is flatly denied by
defendants. Specifically, they deny trying to kick or
stomp Goodwyn, slamming his head against a doorframe, and
Hayes denies engaging his canine on Goodwyn at any point.
They also argue that the uses of force they admit to were
justified by Goodwyn's repeated noncompliance.
regard to the decontamination, defendants' affidavits are
inconsistent on this issue. At least one says Goodwyn was
offered and refused decontamination. (Adams Aff. ¶ 5.)
Another said that Goodwyn continued to be non-compliant and
combative and suggests that he could not be decontaminated.
(Messer Aff. ¶ 5 (explaining that the priority for an
offender who is combative and resisting staff is to get the
offender to a secure area).)
medical records reflect that when Goodwyn was first evaluated
in the vestibule area of the housing unit, he stated,
“I can't breathe, ” but the nurse noted that
he had no respiratory distress. The nurse noted a small
amount of blood on his lip and a dog bite to the lower left
leg, which was treated and dressed. At 3:00 p.m. the same
day, medical staff was called to change the dressing on
Goodwyn's left leg. While doing so, she saw blood on his
right leg and noted three puncture wounds to the right leg.
The nurse notified the watch office. (Bledsoe Aff.
¶¶ 4-5.) On December 18, 2015, he received x-rays
on both his left wrist and his right ankle. The x-rays did
not reveal any fractures or dislocation in either location,
although the reports stated that his right ankle was swollen.
(Med. Records 8-9, Dkt. No. 76-1.)
noted above, there are videos of some of the relevant
time-frame, consisting of Rapid-Eye video footage before,
during, and after the fighting in A-pod, and handheld video
footage taken for a portion of the time Goodwyn was being
transported and afterward. Both Goodwyn and defendants
generally assert that these videos support their versions of
events. I find, however, that the videos are generally
inconclusive as to the main disputes of fact in the case.
of all, the Rapid Eye video is not a continuous recording of
events; instead, by its very nature, it contains gaps.
Moreover, the events during the altercation in the pod
unfolded relatively quickly. Only two of the three views
available contain portions of the relevant events.
first, the view labeled “PTZ, ” has big gaps as
to what is happening to Goodwyn because it was being manually
controlled for much of the relevant time period. Nonetheless,
for the time that the camera shows him or portions of him,
the view is inconclusive as to whether Goodwyn is complying
with orders before Roop engaged Lojzo on Goodwyn's leg or
before Adams used OC spray on him. That view is also
inconclusive as to whether Goodwyn was compliant after the
dog disengaged. At one point, it appears that the top half of
Goodwyn's body looks like it is going into (or coming out
of) a push-up type-stance, so he might be attempting
to get up. At another point, there is one frame where an
officer appears to be kneeling on Goodwyn's legs and it
does appear that Goodwyn's left foot is off the ...