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Douglas v. Reeves

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Terre Haute Division

July 2, 2018

MONWELL DOUGLAS, Plaintiff,
v.
FAITH REEVES work Manager (CWM), Defendant.

          ENTRY GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT

          HON. JANE MAGNUS-STINSON, CHIEF JUDGE.

         For the reasons explained in this Entry, the motion for summary judgment filed by defendant Faith Reeves, dkt. [99], is granted.

         I. Background

         Plaintiff Monwell Douglas was at all times relevant to this action incarcerated at the Wabash Valley Correctional Facility (“Wabash Valley”). After the Court screened the amended complaint, the only remaining defendant is Casework Manager Faith Reeves. See Screening Entry dkt. 38. The Screening Entry described Mr. Douglas' claim as follows:

The plaintiff alleges that Casework Manager Reeves has denied him “entitlements.” He alleges that Ms. Reeves refused to hire him for high paying jobs for which he was qualified. He filed grievances complaining about Ms. Reeves' actions. The plaintiff alleges that as a result of a disciplinary charge brought against him, he was found guilty and lost his housing assignment, lost his job, credit class, earned credit time, housing position, and future job positioning. The finding of guilt was later reversed, so when he was returned to his housing unit he made requests of Ms. Reeves which she denied. The plaintiff then filed classification appeals which were granted. He alleges that Ms. Reeves “took offence [sic] to my reversal and she began a chain of retaliatory acts that are all in connection to the initial false imprisonment sanction.” [Dkt. 37, p. 14.]. After his appeal was granted, he requested that Ms. Reeves grant him his previous job or a high level position, his previous cell, full payment for the 45 days he was housed in a different unit, and a work benefit grade payment for every day he was not given a replacement position. Ms. Reeves granted him $15.00 and a remedial position at the same pay. The plaintiff appealed this decision to the classification director and the refusal to reclassify him to a different status was reversed. To the extent the plaintiff alleges that Ms. Reeves refused to give him a better job and denied him other benefits because of his complaints against her, this claim of retaliation under the First Amendment shall proceed.

Dkt. 38 at 6.

         Ms. Reeves seeks resolution of Mr. Douglas' claim of retaliation through the entry of summary judgment. Dkt. 99. Mr. Douglas has opposed the motion, dkts. 112-116, Ms. Reeves replied, dkts. 117-118, and Mr. Douglas filed a surreply, dkt. 119.

         II. Summary Judgment Standard

         The purpose of summary judgment is to “pierce the pleadings and to assess the proof in order to see whether there is a genuine need for trial.” Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). Summary judgment is appropriate when the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and that 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). To survive a motion for summary judgment, the non-moving party must set forth specific, admissible evidence showing that there is a material issue for trial. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). The Court views the record in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and draws all reasonable inferences in that party's favor. Darst v. Interstate Brands Corp., 512 F.3d 903, 907 (7th Cir. 2008). It cannot weigh evidence or make credibility determinations on summary judgment because those tasks are left to the fact-finder. O'Leary v. Accretive Health, Inc., 657 F.3d 625, 630 (7th Cir. 2011).

         A dispute about a material fact is genuine only “if 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). If no reasonable jury could find for the non-moving party, then there is no “genuine” dispute. Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 380 (2007).

         III. Discussion

         A. Undisputed Facts

         The following statement of facts was evaluated pursuant to the standards set forth above. That is, this statement of facts is not necessarily objectively true, but as the summary judgment standard requires, the undisputed facts and the disputed evidence are presented in the light reasonably most favorable to Mr. Douglas as the non-moving party with respect to the motion for summary judgment. See Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Products, Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 150 (2000).

         Ms. Reeves was the case worker for the offenders on the right wing of P Unit at Wabash Valley at all times relevant to the claims asserted by Mr. Douglas. P Unit is divided into a right wing and a left wing. As the case worker for the right wing of P Unit, Ms. Reeves is responsible for the daily affairs of approximately 100 offenders. Her duties ...


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