United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Western Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
ZOUHARY U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
pro se Ronald Johnson brings this lawsuit under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 against Defendants Ohio Department of
Rehabilitation and Correction (ORDC), Warden C. Coleman, M.
Elder, Investigator Jamison, Corrections Officer Logan,
Lieutenant Good, and Captain Pattaway in their individual and
official capacities (Doc. 1). He seeks declaratory and
injunctive relief, as well as compensatory and punitive
damages (id. at 10). This Court referred the case to
Magistrate Judge James Knepp for general pretrial supervision
(Doc. 13). Following discovery, Defendants filed a Motion for
Summary Judgment (Doc. 25), to which Johnson has not
responded. This Court terminated the referral (see
July 2, 2018 docket entry) and now grants the Motion.
raises two claims regarding events during his confinement at
the Toledo Correctional Institution (TCI), one involving
visitation rights and the other involving cell conditions.
August 2016, Johnson's brother (Deandre), wife (Tanya),
and nine-year-old son attempted to visit him at TCI (Doc. 1
at 3; Doc. 17-1 at 1-4). Prison officials received a tip from
confidential informants that Tanya planned to deliver
marijuana to Johnson during the visit (Doc. 17-1 at 10). When
he arrived, Deandre smelled like marijuana and appeared to be
under the influence (id.). Investigators Elder and Jamison
informed Deandre and Tanya that they were suspected of
attempting to convey marijuana into the facility and would be
required to undergo strip searches before proceeding to
visitation (Doc. 1 at 3-4; Doc. 17-1 at 10-12). Deandre
consented to the search, which revealed no contraband. Tanya
refused the search, and both Deandre and Tanya were removed
from Johnson's visitation list (id.). Johnson claims that
while Tanya was “detained, ” his son was
kidnapped, questioned, and threatened by Jamison and Elder
(Doc. 1 at 3-4).
this incident, Johnson submitted three Informal Complaint
Resolution (ICR) forms objecting to his visitors being turned
away and removed from his visitation list (Doc. 1-1 at 3-5).
In September 2016, Deandre's visitation restriction was
lifted, and Tanya's restriction was reduced from a
permanent prohibition to a six-month limitation (id. at 5).
Johnson was charged and convicted of violating Rule 40 of the
Inmate Rules of Conduct, Ohio Administrative Code §
5120-9-06, which prohibits “[p]rocuring or attempting
to procure, unauthorized drugs; aiding, soliciting, or
collaborating with another to procure unauthorized drugs or
to introduce unauthorized drugs into a correctional
facility” (Doc. 17-1 at 29). The decision was upheld by
Warden Coleman (id. at 36) and ODRC Director Mohr (id. at
40). Johnson does not challenge this disciplinary proceeding
in the Complaint.
asserts he went on a hunger strike after the visitation
incident in an effort to obtain an explanation for TCI's
actions (Doc. 1, at 5-6). At some point after the hunger
strike, Johnson was moved to segregation (id. at 6). He
claims that he was placed in a cell “with urine and
feces in [the] toilet for days with no way to flush the
toilet” (id.). He asserts he brought this to the
attention of prison officials, but he was ignored (id. at
6-7). ODRC grievance records reflect no documentation of
Johnson's complaints about the toilet conditions in his
cell (Doc. 25-1 at 3).
judgment is appropriate where there is “no genuine
issue as to any material fact, ” such that “the
moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law.” Federal Civil Rule 56(a). This Court must draw
all inferences from the record in the light most favorable to
the nonmoving party. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v.
Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). This Court
does not weigh the evidence or determine the truth of any
matter in dispute; rather, it evaluates only whether the
record contains sufficient evidence from which a jury could
reasonably find for the non-moving party. Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248-49
plaintiff is deemed to have abandoned a claim when a
plaintiff fails to address it in response to a motion for
summary judgment.” Brown v. VHS of Michigan,
Inc.,545 Fed.Appx. 368, 372 (6th Cir. 2013). This Court
“cannot grant summary judgment in favor of a movant
simply because the adverse party has not responded, ”
for the moving party “always bears the burden of
demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue as to a material
fact.” Sough v. Mayville Cmty. Sch., 138 F.3d
612, 614 (6th Cir. 1998) (citation omitted). But this Court
is not obligated to “sua sponte comb the record from
the partisan perspective of an advocate for the non-moving
party.” Guarino v. Brookfield Twp. Trs., 980
F.2d 399, 410 (6th Cir. 1992). Rather, this Court “may
rely on the moving ...