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Holleman v. Zatecky

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

September 19, 2016

ROBERT HOLLEMAN, Plaintiff,
v.
DUSHAN ZATECKY, individually and in his official capacity; TOM FRANCUM, individually and in his official capacity; ANDREW COLE, individually and in his official capacity; DUANE ALSIP, individually and in his official capacity; and KERI JOHNSON, individually and in her official capacity; Defendants.

          ENTRY GRANTING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT

          TANYA WALTON PRATT, JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on a Motion for Summary Judgment filed by the Defendants pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 (Filing No. 44). The parties to this civil rights action are pro se Plaintiff Robert Holleman (“Holleman”), an Indiana prisoner, and Defendants, Dushan Zatecky (“Zatecky”), Superintendent; Tom Francum (“Francum”), Internal Affairs Officer; Andrew Cole (“Cole”), Assistant Superintendent; Duane Alsip (“Alsip”), Superintendent of Re-entry; and Keri Johnson (“Johnson”), Classification Specialist. The Defendants are employees of the Indiana Department of Correction (“IDOC”) at the Pendleton Correctional Facility (“Pendleton). Holleman filed this action alleging that the Defendants violated his federally secured rights through their retaliation against him and their denial of his right to due process. Other claims were dismissed as legally insufficient in Holleman v. Zatecky, 2015 WL 4275804 (S.D. Ind. July 14, 2015). Holleman's remaining claim is that the Defendants retaliated against him. He seeks damages and equitable relief.

         Only two of the Defendants, Andrew Cole and Duane Alsip, seek resolution of Holleman's claim through the entry of summary judgment. Holleman has responded.

         For the reasons explained in this Entry, the Motion for Summary Judgment must be granted as to Defendants Cole and Alsip.

         I. CLAIM

         As noted, Holleman is an Indiana state prisoner serving a term of imprisonment. His original complaint was dismissed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b). Holleman v. Gilley, 2015 WL 1403144 (S.D. Ind. Mar. 26, 2015). The dismissal of the complaint, however, did not lead to the dismissal of the action, and the operative pleading at this point is the Supplemental Complaint Under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, filed by Holleman on September 18, 2014. (Filing No. 20.) The Supplemental Complaint was screened as required by 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b). Holleman v. Zatecky, 2015 WL 4275804 (S.D. Ind. July 14, 2015). As a result of that action, all claims except one were dismissed as legally insufficient.

         The surviving claim at issue here is the claim of retaliation, which is asserted against the Defendants in their individual capacities insofar as damages are sought, and against the Defendants in their official capacities insofar as equitable relief is sought. Defendants Cole and Alsip seek resolution of Holleman's claim through the entry of summary judgment. The other Defendants originally joined in that motion but have now withdrawn from it and that motion was denied as moot as to those other Defendants on September 14, 2016. (See Filing No. 85.)

         II. SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD

         “Summary judgment procedure is properly regarded not as a disfavored procedural shortcut, but rather as an integral part of the Federal Rules as a whole, which are designed ‘to secure the just, speedy and inexpensive determination of every action.'” Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 327 (1986) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 1).

         “The 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). A “material fact” is one that “might affect the outcome of the suit.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute over “material fact” is “genuine” if “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Id.

[A] party seeking summary judgment always bears the initial responsibility of informing the district court of the basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of ‘the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, ' which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.

Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 323.

         “A plaintiff may not defeat the defendant's properly supported motion for summary judgment without offering any significant probative evidence tending to support the complaint.” Tri-Gen Inc. v. Int'l Union of Operating Engineers, Local 150, AFL-CIO, 433 F.3d 1024, 1038 (7th Cir. 2006). The key inquiry is whether admissible evidence exists to support a plaintiff's claims, not the weight or credibility of that evidence, both of which are assessments reserved to the trier of fact. See Schacht v. Wis. Dep't of Corrections, 175 F.3d 497, 504 (7th Cir. 1999). In viewing the facts presented on a motion for summary judgment, a court must construe all facts in a light most favorable to the non-moving party and draw all legitimate inferences in favor of that party. NLFC, Inc. v. Devcom Mid-Am., Inc., 45 F.3d 231, 234 (7th Cir. 1995); Doe v. R.R. Donnelley & Sons Co., 42 F.3d 439, 443 (7th Cir. 1994).

         “The applicable substantive law will dictate which facts are material.” National Soffit & Escutcheons, Inc., v. Superior Systems, Inc.,98 F.3d 262, 265 (7th ...


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