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Manley v. Hughes

United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division

November 25, 2019




         This matter is before the Court upon defendants' objection (Doc. No. 34 [“Obj.”][1]) to Magistrate Judge Kathleen B. Burke's Report and Recommendation, (Doc. No. 32 [“R&R”]) recommending that defendants' motion for summary judgment (Doc. No. 31 [“Mot.”]) be granted in part and denied in part. Upon de novo review and for the reasons set forth below, the Court ADOPTS the R&R in full, with some clarification.

         I. BACKGROUND

         The facts surrounding this action have been set forth in the R&R.[2] Familiarity therewith is assumed. (See R&R at 747-49[3].) Briefly, plaintiff, Rammie Manley (“Manley”) alleges that defendants violated his constitutional right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment. (Doc. No. 1 [“Compl.”] at 6-8.) Manley, who is an inmate at the Ohio State Penitentiary (“OSP”), alleges that, while he was being escorted within the prison, an unknown OSP correctional officer (or officers) grabbed and dislocated[4] his left index finger while he was handcuffed behind his back. (Compl. at 7.) Manley brought suit against numerous OSP employees who were involved in, or present during, the incident but Manley admits that he does not know which defendant(s) actually caused his injury.[5] The record shows that only three officers-Williams, Shannon, and Filipowicz (sometimes referred to as the “Escort Officers”[6])- had physical contact with Manley during the escort. (Doc. No. 31-9 at ¶ 26; Doc. No. 3111 at ¶¶ 17-18; Doc. No. 31-17 at ¶¶ 14-15.)

         The undisputed facts are as follows: On December 21, 2017, Manley refused to allow OSP officers to handcuff him (“cuff-up”) to search his cell for razors. (Doc. No. 31-2 [“Manley Depo.”] at 604-05; Doc. No. 31-6 [“Hughes Decl.”] at ¶¶ 11-14.) Manley refused numerous requests to cuff-up. (Manley Depo. at 605; Hughes Decl. at ¶¶ 14-15.) OSP officers attempted to gain compliance by deploying OC spray into Manley's cell. (Manley Depo. at 605; Hughes Decl. at ¶ 16.) Manley still refused to cuff-up, so the OSP cell extraction team forcibly removed Manley from his cell. (Manley Depo. at 616; Hughes Decl. at ¶¶ 28-31.) Once Manley was extracted and handcuffed behind his back, the OSP extraction team escorted Manley to a decontamination cell located in the prison basement. (Manley Depo. at 621-22; Hughes Decl. at ¶ 33.) Manley's finger was dislocated upon arriving at the decontamination cell. (Manley Depo. at 622; Hughes Decl. at ¶¶ 35-37.)

         The parties disagree, however, about how and when the injury occurred. Manley claims that during the escort, an OSP officer “kept trying to grab [his] finger” and shortly before arriving to the decontamination cell, the “officer[] finally got ahold of [Manley's] finger and dislocated it.” (Manley Depo. at 623.) For their part, defendants assert that no OSP officer purposely dislocate Manley's finger and assume the injury must have been caused during the struggle in Manley's cell. (Mot. at 505-06.)

         The magistrate judge recommended granting summary judgment in favor of all defendants for any alleged “constitutional violation for the officers' conduct leading up to and including extracting [Manley] from his cell … because the force they used was necessary to maintain or restore discipline.” (R&R at 746.) The magistrate judge also recommended granting summary judgment in favor of all officers, except Williams, Shannon, and Filipowicz, as to Manley's allegation that an officer intentionally dislocated his finger during escort. (R&R at 764.) As to this allegation, the magistrate judge determined that there was a question of material fact regarding whether one or more of the Escorting Officers intentionally dislocated Manley's finger while escorting him. The Escort Officers-Williams, Shannon, and Filipowicz-object to this portion of the magistrate judge's recommendation


         This Court's review of the magistrate judge's R&R is governed by Rule 72(b), which requires a de novo decision as to the portions of the R&R to which objections are made. Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b)(3). Williams, Shannon, and Filipowicz assert that the magistrate judge erred in denying them summary judgment because: (1) there is no record evidence indicating that the officers “intentionally, maliciously, and/or sadistically broke [Manley's] finger[, ]” (Obj. at 787) and (2) the Escort Officers are entitled to qualified immunity. (Id. at 775.) The Court has reviewed de novo those portions of the R&R to which objections have been made.

         a. Sufficiency of the Record Evidence

         There is sufficient record evidence for a reasonable jury to find in favor of Manley. Under Rule 56(a), “[t]he court shall grant summary judgment 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.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The moving party has the initial burden of establishing there is no genuine issue of material fact and is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). But all inferences to be drawn from the underlying facts must be viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 89 L.ED.2d 538 (1986). Once the moving party meets this burden, to survive summary judgment, the party opposing the motion must produce admissible evidence-not mere allegations-demonstrating that there is a genuine triable issue. Id. at 586 n.11. Summary judgment is appropriate when the “nonmoving party has failed to make a sufficient showing on an essential element of her case with respect to which she has the burden of proof.” Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 323.

         The Eighth Amendment protects prison inmates from excessive force by prison officials. See Perkins v. Alexander, No. 5:08-CV-2034, 2009 WL 3489908, at *4 (N.D. Ohio Oct. 22, 2009). But Eighth Amendment protection does not apply to de minimis uses of physical force; it is reserved for the sort of force that is “repugnant to the conscience of mankind.” Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 9-10, 112 S.Ct. 995, 117 L.Ed.2d 156 (1992) (quoting Whitley v. Albers, 475 U.S. 312, 318-19, 106 S.Ct. 1078, 89 L.Ed.2d 251 (1986)) (internal quotation marks omitted). When prison officials are accused of using excessive force, the court must determine whether the force used was applied in good-faith to restore order or whether the force was applied “maliciously and sadistically to cause harm.” Hudson, 503 U.S. at 7. Williams, Shannon, and Filipowicz assert that “there is absolutely no evidence that any officers acted maliciously and sadistically when Manley alleges his finger was broken.” (Obj. at 790.) The Court disagrees; there is sufficient record evidence for a reasonable jury to find that one or more of the Escort Officers acted maliciously and sadistically.

         As an initial matter, the Williams, Shannon, and Filipowicz stress that Manley did not file an opposition brief. (Obj. at 780, 784, 785.) That does not absolve defendants of meeting their initial burden to show the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. See Adickes v. S.H Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 160, 90 S.Ct. 1598, 26 L.Ed.2d 142 (1970). Defendants argue that because their summary judgment motion exhibited declarations in which the officers (including the Escort Officers) deny injuring Manley during the escort, “[p]laintiff was [then] obligated to proffer evidence to rebut this evidence.” (Obj. at 784.) This argument misses the point. The burden never shifted to Manley because defendants failed to meet their initial burden of showing the absence of a materially factual dispute.

         Williams, Shannon, and Filipowicz further assert, “[t]he [m]agistrate [j]udge erred because she assumed that [d]efendants acted maliciously and sadistically when no evidence was proffered by [p]laintiff [to] support this allegation.” (Obj. at 780.) While the Court agrees that the magistrate judge may have overstated the strength of the evidence, the fact remains that Williams, Shannon, and Filipowicz did not “meet their burden to show that there is an absence of a genuine issue of material fact as to whether Manley's finger was dislocated maliciously and sadistically” during the escort. (R&R at 760.) In so recommending, the magistrate judge considered only the evidence proffered by defendants in support of their motion, which included inter alia Manley's deposition testimony and a video recording of the incident. (R&R at 752-53; 758-60.) Both the deposition testimony and the video recording are record evidence that the Court must consider in deciding a motion for summary judgment. See Meyer v. AmeriSourceBergen Drug Corp., No. 3:04 CV 7301, 2006 WL 2164713, at *2 (N.D. Ohio July 31, 2006) (when ...

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