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Clark v. Anderson

United States District Court, D. Kansas

October 2, 2014

ENOCH CLARK, JR., Plaintiff,


KATHRYN H. VRATIL, District Judge.

Enoch Clark, Jr. brings suit pro se against Daniel Anderson, a deputy at the Wyandotte County Sheriff's Office, for excessive force in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. Plaintiff also asserts claims for assault and battery under Kansas law. This matter is before the Court on Defendant's Motion For Summary Judgment (Doc. #68) filed February 14, 2014. For reasons stated below, the Court sustains defendant's motion.

Summary Judgment Standards

Summary judgment is appropriate if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc. , 477 U.S. 242, 247 (1986); Vitkus v. Beatrice Co. , 11 F.3d 1535, 1538-39 (10th Cir. 1993). A "genuine" factual dispute is one "on which the jury could reasonably find for the plaintiff, " and requires more than a mere scintilla of evidence. Liberty Lobby , 477 U.S. at 252. A factual dispute is "material" only if it "might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law." Id. at 248.

The moving party bears the initial burden of showing that there are no genuine issues of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett , 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986); Justice v. Crown Cork & Seal Co. , 527 F.3d 1080, 1085 (10th Cir. 2008). Once the moving party meets the initial burden, the burden shifts to the nonmoving party to show that a genuine issue remains for trial with respect to the dispositive matters for which the nonmoving party carries the burden of proof. Nat'l Am. Ins. Co. v. Am. Re-Ins. Co. , 358 F.3d 736, 739 (10th Cir. 2004); see Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp. , 475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986). As to these matters, the nonmoving party may not rest on the pleadings but must set forth specific facts. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)(2); Matsushita , 475 U.S. at 586-87; Justice , 527 F.3d at 1085. Conclusory allegations not supported by evidence are insufficient to establish a genuine issue of material fact. Jarvis v. Potter , 500 F.3d 1113, 1120 (10th Cir. 2007); see Kidd v. Taos Ski Valley, Inc. , 88 F.3d 848, 853 (10th Cir. 1996).

When applying this standard, the Court must view the factual record in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion for summary judgment. Duvall v. Ga.-Pac. Consumer Prods., L.P. , 607 F.3d 1255, 1260 (10th Cir. 2010); see Ricci v. DeStefano , 557 U.S. 557, 586 (2009). Summary judgment may be granted if the nonmoving party's evidence is merely colorable or is not significantly probative. Liberty Lobby , 477 U.S. at 250-51. Essentially, the inquiry is "whether the evidence presents a sufficient disagreement to require submission to the jury or whether it is so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of law." Id. at 251-52.

Although the Court holds pro se filings to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers, it does not assume the role of advocate for a pro se litigant; he must follow the same rules that govern all other litigants. See Ogden v. San Juan Cnty. , 32 F.3d 452, 455 (10th Cir. 1994); Hall v. Bellmon , 935 F.2d 1106, 1110 (10th Cir. 1991).

Factual Background

The following material facts are uncontroverted, deemed admitted or where controverted, construed in a light most favorable to plaintiff.

From July 1 through October 11, 2007, Enoch Clark, Jr. was an inmate at the Wyandotte County Detention Center in Kansas City, Kansas. Daniel Anderson, a deputy in the Wyandotte County Sheriffs Office, worked there as a detention deputy.

Deputy Anderson used force with plaintiff on one occasion, July 11, 2007. On that day, Deputy Anderson saw Clark arguing with two other inmates while sitting on top of a table. The other inmates were getting agitated because Clark had been up all night banging on his cell and yelling. Clark began yelling and threatening to spit on the other inmates. For the safety and security of Clark, the other inmates and staff, Deputy Anderson twice ordered Clark to get off the table. Clark refused. Deputy Anderson then ordered Clark, several times, to go back to his cell and lock down. Clark again refused.

Clark told Deputy Anderson that he was not going to lock down and threatened to hurt Deputy Anderson if he put his hands on him. Deputy Anderson grabbed Clark by his arm to escort him back to his cell. Although Clark tried to resist, Deputy Anderson was able to escort him back to his cell without further incident. Deputy Anderson used the minimal amount of force necessary to secure Clark's arm and he did not shove Clark against any surface or object. Both men remained standing the entire time. Under county procedure, when a deputy has to place hands on an inmate, he must call medical staff as a precaution. Deputy Anderson called medical staff and they evaluated Clark and confirmed that he was not injured.

Tammy Kieffer, a Registered Nurse, is the Health Service Administrator for Correct Care Solutions, which provides health care services for inmates at the Detention Center. Kieffer was working at the Detention Center between July 1 and October 13, 2007, and is familiar with Clark. Kieffer does not recall Clark complaining about a torn bicep, neck or throat trauma, head trauma or a two-inch gash above his eyebrow, nor does she recall seeing any such injuries on Clark. Kieffer could not find any documentation in support of plaintiff's alleged injuries.

From July 1 through October 13, 2007, Major James Eickhoff was the Administrative Captain at the Detention Center. Major Eickhoff was in charge of maintaining records of all reports created at the Detention Center. As a matter of course, if Clark had received injuries on July 11, 2007, facility staff would have conducted investigations and prepared numerous reports. Major Eickhoff reviewed all available records and found no records of the incidents ...

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