United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division
WILLIAM T. LAWRENCE, JUDGE.
Granting Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment And
Directing Entry of Final Judgment
reasons explained in this Entry, defendants' motion for
summary judgment, Dkt. No. 69, is granted.
Abdul-Aziz Rashid Muhammad is an inmate in the federal Bureau
of Prisons (BOP). On October 16, 2015, he commenced this
action against BOP employees Gehrke, Parker, Fortune, and
Scully alleging they retaliated against him for filing
grievances or requests for medical treatment. Dkt. No. 1, p.
3 (Claim 4). He contends that he was threatened with physical
assault, 24-hour single-cell detention, and transfer to
another facility if he persisted in filing grievances or
medical requests. He also contends that defendants cancelled
a medical work duty exemption and moved him into a cell with
an inmate who had a history of violent assaults on other
inmates. Id. Mr. Muhammad's action is brought
pursuant to the theory recognized in Bivens v. Six
Unknown Named Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). The action
was screened on December 11, 2015, and allowed to proceed
against defendants as a Bivens action.
four defendants seek summary judgment. Mr. Muhammad filed a
response in opposition that is fifty-five pages long and has
one-hundred and twenty pages of attachments. Defendants have
replied, and Mr. Muhammad has surreplied.
Summary Judgment Standard
judgment is appropriate “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 movant bears the initial
responsibility of informing the district court of the basis
of its motion, and identifying those portions of designated
evidence that demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of
material fact. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477
U.S. 317, 323 (1986). After “a properly supported
motion for summary judgment is made, the adverse party must
set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine
issue for trial.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250 (1986) (quotation marks and
factual issue is material only if resolving the factual issue
might change the outcome of the case under the governing law.
See Clifton v. Schafer, 969 F.2d 278, 281 (7th Cir.
1992). A factual issue is genuine only if there is sufficient
evidence for a reasonable jury to return a verdict in favor
of the non-moving party on the evidence presented. See
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. In deciding a motion for
summary judgment, the court “may not ‘assess the
credibility of witnesses, choose between competing reasonable
inferences, or balance the relative weight of conflicting
evidence.'” Bassett v. I.C. Sys., Inc.,
715 F.Supp.2d 803, 808 (N.D. Ill. 2010) (quoting Stokes
v. Bd. of Educ. of the City of Chi., 599 F.3d 617, 619
(7th Cir. 2010)). Instead, it must view all the evidence in
the record in the light most favorable to the non-moving
party and resolve all factual disputes in favor of the
non-moving party. See Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255.
Four” of a complaint filed by Mr. Muhammad is the
operative complaint. It reads:
Defendants Counselor Gehrke, Operations Lieutenant Parker,
Unit Manager Fortune, and RN Scully are liable to the
Plaintiff under the 1st Amendment because they retaliated
against Plaintiff for exercise of his right to file
grievances or request for medical treatment. Plaintiff filed
informal inmate request to staff and formal administrative
remedies complaints allowed by BOP Policy in order to
petition for redress of grievances about the denial of
medical treatment. The Defendants threatened to physically
assault the Plaintiff, place him in 24 hour single cell
detention and transfer him if he persisted in exercise of 1st
Amendment rights. Defendants also cancelled Plaintiff's
medical exemption from work duty and moved him into a cell
with an inmate who had a history of violent assaults against
other inmates . . . But for Plaintiffs exercise of 1st
Amendment rights, the Defendants would not have retaliated
against him, and these retaliatory threats and acts were
sufficient to deter a person of ordinary firmness from
exercising 1st Amendment rights.
No. 1, p. 3.
Muhammad's asserted First Amendment activity was, as
noted above, filing grievances and requesting medical
treatment. He asserts that the actions taken against him
would deter future First Amendment Activity, and that the