United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
L. Litkovitz United States Magistrate Judge.
pro se, plaintiff brings this prisoner civil rights action
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against several prison employees
alleging violations of his constitutional rights. (Doc. 3).
This matter is before the Court on defendants' motion for
judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(c) (Doc. 52) and plaintiffs memorandum in
opposition (Doc. 55).
filed his initial complaint in this action on February 25,
2016. (Doc. 3). In his complaint, plaintiff alleges that
defendant Officer Steve Harris harassed him and placed him in
isolation based on a "false disciplinary report" in
April 2014. (Id. at 5). Plaintiff alleges that after
his release from isolation, defendant Harris threatened to
lock him up again and conducted a body search, during which
he claims Harris "grab[bed] [his] testicle and
squeeze[d] hard enough to cause swelling."
(Id.). Plaintiff claims that he reported the
incident by calling the Prison Rape Elimination Act
O'PREA") hotline and defendants Miller and Smith
investigated the incident, but they did not take his
complaint seriously when he requested separation from
defendant Harris. (See Id. at 5-7). Plaintiff
alleges that for a month and a half, he was "force[d] to
remain in the same location [as] Harris." (Id.
this time, plaintiff claims that Harris continued the
harassment. (Id.). On June 4, 2014, plaintiff claims
that defendant Harris ordered him to "get on [the]
wall" so that he could perform a rectal exam.
(Id. at 8). While handcuffed against the wall,
plaintiff alleges that Harris told other guards to "kick
his ass." (Id. at 8). According to plaintiff,
defendant Dillow tripped him, defendant Bauer slapped him on
the back of the head with his PR stick, and defendant Cooper
punched him in the ribs, stomach, and upper body.
(Id.). Defendants Dillow and Bauer proceeded to take
plaintiff to the J2 strip cage, where plaintiff alleges Bauer
sprayed him with mace and slammed his face into the wall.
(Id. at 9).
complaint lists several other allegations against defendants.
Plaintiff alleges that on July 14, 2015, defendants Cooper
and Faye entered his cell and destroyed his personal items.
(Id. at 11). Plaintiff also claims that on December
17, 2015 he received a false threat report and was placed in
isolation by defendants Clark and Rogers in retaliation for
his PREA complaint. (Id. at 11-12). According to
plaintiff, he received a 4B security increase based on the
false threat by defendants Sammons and Felts of the
disciplinary board. (Id. at 12). Plaintiff also
claims that defendant Felts wrote a second false report
indicating that he was disruptive in the disciplinary
hearing. (Id. at 13). Plaintiff further claims that
defendant Greene refused to reverse the disciplinary
board's ruling because he holds a grudge against
plaintiff stemming from a writ of mandamus lawsuit in 2012.
April 19, 2016, this Court conducted a sua sponte
review of plaintiff s complaint and concluded by Report and
Recommendation that a number of plaintiff s claims could
proceed against defendants Cooper, Bauer, Ison, Dillow,
Felts, Davis, Sammons, Harris, Smith, Greene, Rogers, Clark,
and Miller. (See Doc. 4 at 12). Plaintiff then filed
a motion for leave to amend his complaint, which this Court
denied on August 17, 2016. (Doc. 27). Construing plaintiffs
motion for leave to amend liberally, however, the Court
granted plaintiffs motion for clarification on August 17,
2016 and clarified that plaintiff could proceed with the
following claims: (1) Eighth Amendment excessive force,
conspiracy, and First Amendment retaliation claims against
defendants Harris, Dillow, Bauer, Cooper, and Ison; (2)
deliberate indifference to serious medical needs claims
against defendants Miller, Ison, and Bauer; (3) failure to
protect claims against defendants Smith, Miller, and Davis;
and (4) First Amendment retaliation claims against defendants
Clark, Rogers, Felts, Sammons, and Greene. (Id.).
The Court set a discovery deadline of July 31, 2017 and
stayed the October 2, 2017 dispositive motion deadline
pending the resolution of this present motion for judgment on
the pleadings. (Docs. 47, 58).
apply the same analysis to motions for judgment on the
pleadings under Rule 12(c) as they apply to motions to
dismiss under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). See Warrior Sports,
Inc. v. Nat 7 Collegiate Athletic Ass % 623
F.3d 281, 284 (6th Cir. 2010). "For purposes of a motion
for judgment on the pleadings, all well-pleaded material
allegations of the pleadings of the opposing party must be
taken as true, and the motion may be granted only if the
moving party is nevertheless clearly entitled to
judgment." JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. v. Winget,
510 F.3d 577, 582 (6th Cir. 2007) (internal citation and
quotation marks omitted). However, the Court need not accept
as true legal conclusions or unwarranted factual inferences.
Id. (citing Mixon v. Ohio, 193 F.3d 389,
400 (6th Cir. 1999)).
withstand a Rule 12(c) motion for judgment on the pleadings,
"a complaint must contain direct or inferential
allegations respecting all the material elements under some
viable legal theory." Commercial Money Ctr., Inc. v.
III. Union Ins. Co., 508 F.3d 327, 336 (6th Cir. 2007).
"The factual allegations in the complaint need to be
sufficient to give notice to the defendant as to what claims
are alleged, and the plaintiff must plead 'sufficient
factual matter' to render the legal claim plausible,
i.e., more than merely possible." Fritz v. Charter
Twp, of Comstock, 592 F.3d 718, 722 (6th Cir. 2010)
(citing Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 677-78
(2009)). A "legal conclusion couched as a factual
allegation" need not be accepted as true, nor are
recitations of the elements of a cause of action sufficient.
Hens ley Mfg. v. ProPride, Inc., 579 F.3d 603, 609
(6th Cir. 2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)).
Defendants' motion for judgment on the pleadings should
be granted and plaintiffs complaint should be dismissed