United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Stephanie K. Bowman, United States Magistrate Judge
an inmate currently incarcerated at Ohio State Penitentiary
(“OSP”) brings this action against defendants
Thomas Schweitzer, Major Spurlock, Lt. Husbard, Lt. Couch,
Lt. Shankin, and Sgt. Mrs. Hilis. This matter is now before
the Court on Defendants motion for summary judgment (Doc. 35)
and the parties' responsive memoranda.
Background and Facts
initiated this action on October 30, 2017. (Doc 1).
Plaintiff's Complaint was ultimately sua sponte dismissed
by this Court because he “failed to state a viable
claim under § 1983” (Doc. 5 at PageID 24).
Plaintiff then filed an amended complaint (Doc. 12), laying
out his claims against the Defendants. Plaintiff's claims
revolve around an incident involving Plaintiff and another
inmate, Marcus Arnold (Doc. 12 at Page ID 55). Plaintiff was
assaulted by Arnold on December 23, 2016. Plaintiff asserts
that Arnold assaulted him because Sergeant Melissa Hillis
paid Arnold to do so. Plaintiff further asserts that Hillis
informed inmates who were members of the Bloods gang that
Plaintiff was informing on them, and that Plaintiff
threatened to start a gang war. (Doc 12). Based on the
foregoing, Plaintiff's amended complaint asserts claims
under section 1983 for alleged violation of his
Constitutional rights under the Eighth Amendment. Plaintiff
also asserts a claim for negligence under state law.
now move for summary judgment asserting that they are
entitled to judgment as a matter of law. For the reasons that
follow, the undersigned finds that Defendants' motion is
Standard of Review
Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a) provides that summary judgment
is proper “if the movant shows that there is no genuine
dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law.” A dispute is
“genuine” when “the evidence is such that a
reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving
party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A court must view the evidence and draw
all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving
party. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). The moving party has
the burden of showing an absence of evidence to support the
non-moving party's case. Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 325 (1986).
the moving party has met its burden of production, the
non-moving party cannot rest on his pleadings, but must
present significant probative evidence in support of his
complaint to defeat the motion for summary judgment.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. at 248-49.
The mere existence of a scintilla of evidence to support the
non-moving party's position will be insufficient; the
evidence must be sufficient for a jury to reasonably find in
favor of the nonmoving party. Id. at 252.
initial matter, Defendants asserts that Plaintiff's
claims against them in their official capacities are barred
by the Eleventh Amendment. Where a state has not waived its
immunity, the Eleventh Amendment acts as a jurisdictional bar
to a federal court lawsuit against a state. Wolfel v.
Morris, 972 F.2d 712, 718 (6th Cir. 1992);
Wilson-Jones v. Caviness, 107 F.3d 358, 358 (6th
Cir. 1997). Ohio has not waived its sovereign immunity, and
Congress did not disturb the states' Eleventh Amendment
immunity when it passed 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Wolfel, 972 F.2d at 718; Mackey v. Cleveland
State Univ., 837 F.Supp. 1396, 1403 (N.D. Ohio 1993).
The Eleventh Amendment thus precludes all suits, whether for
injunctive or monetary relief, against the state and its
departments. Cox v. Kentucky Dep't of Transp.,
53 F.3d 146, 152 n.2 (6th Cir. 1995) (citing Pennhurst
State School & Hospital v. Halderman, 465 U.S. 89,
100-01, 79 L.Ed.2d 67 (1984)). Moreover, a suit against a
state official in his or her official capacity is deemed a
suit against the official's office. Will v. Mich.
Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71 (1989).
Accordingly, a suit against a state official in his or her
official capacity is no different from a suit against the
state itself, and is also barred by the Eleventh Amendment.
Id.; see also Hall v. Medical College of Ohio at
Toledo, 742 F.2d 299 (6th Cir. 1984) (holding that the
Eleventh Amendment barred suit against university officers
sued in their official capacities). To the extent
Plaintiff's complaint seeks to hold Defendants liable in
their official capacities, the undersigned agrees that
Eleventh Amendment bars that claim for monetary relief.
Will, 491 U.S. at 65.
next contends that Plaintiff failed to properly exhaust his