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Grissom v. Roberts

United States District Court, D. Kansas

July 24, 2017

Richard Grissom, Plaintiff,
Raymond Roberts, et al., Defendants.



         Plaintiff Richard Grissom is an inmate currently incarcerated at the El Dorado Correctional Facility (EDCF) in El Dorado, Kansas. He was housed in administrative segregation during the relevant time periods of this lawsuit. He is currently serving four consecutive life sentences and is not eligible for parole until 2093.

         Grissom instituted the present litigation seeking monetary damages and injunctive relief for his recent placement in segregation at EDCF. In addition to his original Complaint, the plaintiff has also filed an Amended Complaint in which he expanded on his original allegations. He later obtained leave to file a Supplemental Complaint, which ultimately appears to address separate claims against separate defendants.

         Grissom's Amended Complaint essentially advances three general claims - that he was denied his due process right to liberty by the segregation, that the defendants discriminated against him in placing or keeping him in segregation, and that the defendants engaged in an illegal conspiracy to coerce him into revealing the location of the bodies of his victims.

         Grissom's Supplemental Complaint has little in common with the Amended Complaint. The Supplemental Complaint focuses on Grissom's alleged treatment while in segregation, with the plaintiff contending that the Supplemental defendants imposed disciplinary measures in a retaliatory fashion and in violation of his Eight Amendment rights. Only one of the defendants named in the Amended Complaint (Maria Bos) is also named in the Supplemental Complaint, and vice versa. Grissom has also moved for injunctive relief, seeking an order precluding future segregation.

         As the defendants have been served with process, the defendants have moved for summary judgment as to Grissom's claims (Dkt. 35, 45, 75), asserting that they are protected by qualified or Eleventh Amendment immunity, that they did not personally participate in any given deprivation, and that no evidence of the claimed conspiracy exists. They also argue that plaintiff's request for injunctive relief is moot. The court finds that the defendants' motions should be granted.

         Uncontroverted Facts

         Summary judgment is proper where the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with affidavits, if any, show there is no genuine issue as to any material fact, and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). In considering a motion for summary judgment, the court must examine all evidence in a light most favorable to the opposing party. McKenzie v. Mercy Hospital, 854 F.2d 365, 367 (10th Cir. 1988). The party moving for summary judgment must demonstrate its entitlement to summary judgment beyond a reasonable doubt. Ellis v. El Paso Natural Gas Co., 754 F.2d 884, 885 (10th Cir. 1985). The moving party need not disprove plaintiff's claim; it need only establish that the factual allegations have no legal significance. Dayton Hudson Corp. v. Macerich Real Estate Co., 812 F.2d 1319, 1323 (10th Cir. 1987).

         In resisting a motion for summary judgment, the opposing party may not rely upon mere allegations or denials contained in its pleadings or briefs. Rather, the nonmoving party must come forward with specific facts showing the presence of a genuine issue of material fact for trial and significant probative evidence supporting the allegation. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 256 (1986). Once the moving party has carried its burden under Rule 56(c), the party opposing summary judgment must do more than simply show there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts. “In the language of the Rule, the nonmoving party must come forward with ‘specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.'” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)) (emphasis in Matsushita). One of the principal purposes of the summary judgment rule is to isolate and dispose of factually unsupported claims or defenses, and the rule should be interpreted in a way that allows it to accomplish this purpose. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317 (1986).

         The court excludes from the present findings any requested fact, or putative denial of facts otherwise established by the evidence, which are not grounded on admissible evidence or which are not supported by any concise citation to the evidentiary record. See D.Kan.R. 56.1. 56.1(b)(2); Sperry v. Werholtz, No. 04-3125-CM, 2008 WL 4216110, at *1 (D. Kan. Sept. 12, 2008) (Grissom I), aff'd, 321 F. App'x 775 (10th Cir. 2009) (Rule 56.1(d) requires denials based on personal knowledge of the affiant). Thus, the common rejoinder by the plaintiff to numerous facts established by the defendants, namely, that he does not personally believe the evidence offered by the defendants, is insufficient create a factual dispute.

         The defendants named in plaintiff's Amended Complaint include James Heimgartner (EDCF Warden from 2011 to the present), Ray Roberts (Warden of EDCF from 2003 to 2011, and the Secretary of Corrections for the Kansas Department of Corrections from 2011 to 2015), Johnnie Goddard (Deputy Secretary of Facilities Management and former Interim Secretary of Corrections), Fred Early (Deputy Warden at EDCF in charge of programs and operations), Mary Wilson (who holds a similar position), Dale Call (a Compliance Officer assisting the Warden and Deputy Warden on compliance issues), Deane Donley (originally a Reception Diagnostic Unit officer, later a Classification Administrator overseeing the Unit and Deputy Warden), Maria Bos (a unit team manager in a general population cell house, later a Compliance Officer, and eventually a Classification Administrator in charge of the classification staff), Paul Snyder (Deputy Warden), Brandon Walmsey (Corrections Manager II at the Reception Diagnostic Unit), Timothy Randa (a Lieutenant, and later Captain, in charge of segregation security officers), Roland Buchanan (another Lieutenant in segregation), and Matthew Moore (Corrections Counselor II).

         The Supplemental Complaint names as defendants Tammy Martin (Unit Team Manager at EDCF), Allison Austin (also a Unit Team Manager), Billie Grey (an employee of EDCF), Charles Miller (another employee), Susan Gibreal, as well as Maria Bos. Other than Bos, none of the original defendants in Amended Complaint are implicated in the Supplemental Complaint.

         As indicated earlier, the Amended Complaint generally focuses on the placement, and ultimate removal, of Grissom in segregation. In contrast, the Supplemental Complaint presents various grievances regarding Grissom's experiences while in segregation, and is largely unconnected to the facts asserted in the earlier complaint.

         The prison's Administrative Segregation Review Board (ASRB) conducts monthly hearings to determine whether to recommend the release of an inmate from administrative segregation to general population. The ASRB is comprised of a Unit Team Manager, head security officer of the specific cell house, and a member of the Mental Health Staff. Randa and Buchanan are (or were) members of the ASRB.

         These reviews require ASRB members to consider a questionnaire filled out by the inmate on the day prior to the hearing. The panel then holds a hearing, with or without the participation of the inmate. A request for participation is solicited from each inmate. After the review, the staff comments are summarized and printed in a report. Not every comment made at a hearing is incorporated into these reports.

         Recommendations by the ASRB are then reviewed by the prison's Program Management Committee (PMC). The ASRB comprises the Warden (or designee), and administrative representatives from the Programs and Security divisions of the facility. The PMC formulates its own recommendation to the Warden. Heimgartner, Early, Call, Wilson, Donley, and Bos are PMC members.

         Other than Heimgartner, none of the defendants has the autonomous authority to release any inmate from administrative segregation. Only the Warden has the final authority to grant or deny a release.

         In the past, Grissom has been able to procure a cell phone and other contraband while housed in administrative segregation. He did so by influencing and compromising staff and other inmates who supplied him with contraband.

         Security cameras were installed in Grissom's cell to monitor his interactions with prison staff.

         In October 2015, Grissom again attempted to commence an improper relationship with prison security staff, passing a note to COI Jaymee Cook which contained sexually suggestive content which indicated his intent to engage in an impermissible sexual relationship. Grissom was issued, and convicted of, a disciplinary report in violation of K.A.R. 44-12-328 (Undue familiarity).

         From August 20, 2014 through August 17, 2015 Grissom was offered monthly reviews of his administrative segregation. The ASRB never recommended his release from segregation.

         Grissom claims that Defendant Moore informed another inmate that he would not be released from administrative segregation because he was black. However, Moore denies making any such comment, and in any event Moore is unable to release an inmate from administrative segregation.

         From August 2013 through the present, State Defendants are unaware of any outside law enforcement officials who have attempted to solicit information from Grissom regarding any investigation outside of the Department of Corrections facilities.

         Grissom alleges that Austin placed a disciplinary segregation sign above his door, would not allow him to make a telephone call while he was serving a segregation term, destroyed his legal papers; refused to advance him to level II incentive status, and failed to submit a canteen bubble sheet, and (together with Martin) required him to wear boxers for two hours a day before going out to the yard. He alleges that Martin confiscated his personal property and would not return it until after his disciplinary report hearing. He alleges that Grey forged her supervisor's signature on a grievance, and that Bos and Miller gave the wrong reasons that his property was held in storage. He also alleges that various items were missing from his legal file. During 2015, Grissom advanced numerous grievances against the Supplemental Complaint defendants - on April 30 (Raymond Roberts, et al); September 14 (Grey and Austin); September 18 (Grey); October 20 (Martin); November 4 (Martin); and December 20 (Austin).

         On October 8, 2015, Grissom was moved from C cellhouse to B cellhouse after receiving a charge for a disciplinary report, based on a sexually explicit note he passed to an officer while he was in the Behavior Modification Program while in segregation in C cellhouse. The only cell available in B cellhouse when Grissom was moved there was an observation cell, which includes no hard property except for a mattress that is on the floor.

         Grissom stayed in the observation cell for five days. On October 13, he was moved to a regular cell once one opened up in B cellhouse.

         Martin was informed when Grissom was moved to B cellhouse that his property was in storage so that Enforcement, Investigations, and Apprehensions (EAI) or Special Security Team (SST) could search it for any letters indicating further undue familiarity, which was the basis for his pending disciplinary charge, or contraband. SST did, in fact, search his property on October 25, 2015, after Grissom received his property back from storage.

         In addition, because only an observation cell was available in any of the segregation living units, he was temporarily without his property while in the observation cell. This is because inmates are not ...

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