United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, New Albany Division
WAYMON D. THOMAS, JR., Plaintiff,
CHARLES S. MURPHY, et al. Defendants.
ORDER GRANTING MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND
DIRECTING ENTRY OF FINAL JUDGMENT
EVANS BARKER, JUDGE
Waymon D. Thomas, Jr., an inmate at Miami Correctional
Facility, brought this civil rights action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations of his Eighth and
Fourteenth Amendment rights while he was an inmate at the
Jackson County Jail. The defendant moved for summary
judgment. Mr. Thomas has not responded and the time to do so
has passed. The motion is now ripe for review. For the
reasons explained in this Order, the defendant is entitled to
summary judgment on all of Mr. Thomas's claims.
Summary Judgment Standard
motion for summary judgment asks the Court to find that a
trial is unnecessary because there is no genuine dispute as
to any material fact and, instead, the movant is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
56(a). As the current version of Rule 56 makes clear, whether
a party asserts that a fact is undisputed or genuinely
disputed, the party must support the asserted fact by citing
to particular parts of the record, including depositions,
documents, or affidavits. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A). A party
can also support a fact by showing that the materials cited
do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute
or that the adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence
to support the fact. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(B). Affidavits or
declarations must be made on personal knowledge, set out
facts that would be admissible in evidence, and show that the
affiant is competent to testify on matters stated.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(4). Failure to properly support a fact in
opposition to a movant's factual assertion can result in
the movant's fact being considered undisputed, and
potentially in the grant of summary judgment. Fed.R.Civ.P.
deciding a motion for summary judgment, the Court need only
consider disputed facts that are material to the decision. A
disputed fact is material if it might affect the outcome of
the suit under the governing law. Williams v.
Brooks, 809 F.3d 936, 941-42 (7th Cir. 2016). “A
genuine dispute as to any material fact exists ‘if the
evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the nonmoving party.'” Daugherty v.
Page, 906 F.3d 606, 609-10 (7th Cir. 2018) (quoting
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
summary judgment, a party must show the Court what evidence
it has that would convince a trier of fact to accept its
version of the events. Gekas v. Vasilades, 814 F.3d
890, 896 (7th Cir. 2016). The moving party is entitled to
summary judgment if no reasonable fact-finder could return a
verdict for the non-moving party. Nelson v. Miller,
570 F.3d 868, 875 (7th Cir. 2009). 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.
Skiba v. Illinois Cent. R.R. Co., 884 F.3d 708, 717
(7th Cir. 2018). It cannot weigh evidence or make credibility
determinations on summary judgment because those tasks are
left to the fact-finder. Miller v. Gonzalez, 761
F.3d 822, 827 (7th Cir. 2014). The Court need only consider
the cited materials, Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(3), and the Seventh
Circuit Court of Appeals has repeatedly assured the district
courts that they are not required to “scour every inch
of the record” for evidence that is potentially
relevant to the summary judgment motion before them.
Grant v. Trustees of Indiana University, 870 F.3d
562, 573-74 (7th Cir. 2017). Any doubt as to the existence of
a genuine issue for trial is resolved against the moving
party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255.
consequence of Mr. Thomas's failure to respond to the
motion for summary judgment is that he has conceded the
defendant's version of the facts. Smith v. Lamz,
321 F.3d 680, 683 (7th Cir. 2003) (“[F]ailure to
respond by the nonmovant as mandated by the local rules
results in an admission.”); see S.D. Ind.
Local Rule 56-1(b) (“A party opposing a summary
judgment motion must . . . file and serve a response brief
and any evidence . . . that the party relies on to oppose the
motion. The response must . . . identif[y] the potentially
determinative facts and factual disputes that the party
contends demonstrate a dispute of fact precluding summary
judgment.”). This does not alter the standard for
assessing a Rule 56(a) motion but does “reduc[e] the
pool” from which the facts and inferences relative to
such a motion may be drawn. Smith v. Severn, 129
F.3d 419, 426 (7th Cir. 1997).
March 19, 2018, the Jackson County Jail Commander, Charles
Murphy, ordered that Mr. Thomas be placed in segregation for
violating jail rules. Defendant Brad Freeman escorted Mr.
Thomas into the Jail's property room so that Mr. Thomas
could change into a red jumpsuit which was the required
uniform for segregated inmates. Dkt. 28-3. Mr. Thomas and Mr.
Freeman were in the property room for a little over two
minutes. The incident was recorded on video. The defendant
provided the video to the Court and the Court has reviewed
it. Dkt. 30.
video, Mr. Thomas removes his striped jumpsuit and places it
in his property tote. He then asks, “you're saying
I can't have whites?” Mr. Freeman responds,
“no, he said no whites.” Mr. Thomas then removes
his boxer shorts and socks and Mr. Freeman hands him the red
jumpsuit to put on. While putting on the jumpsuit, Mr. Thomas
asks again, “you're sure he said no whites?”
Mr. Freeman responds that Mr. Thomas cannot have whites,
meaning his boxer shorts. Mr. Freeman fills out an
identification tag to place with Mr. Thomas's property.
Mr. Thomas places his tennis shoes into the property tote and
both men leave the property room.
defendant recognizes that Mr. Thomas was a pretrial detainee
at the time of the incident. Therefore, the claim of whether
Mr. Freeman subjected Mr. Thomas to cruel and unusual
punishment is analyzed under the Fourteenth Amendment.
“[A] pretrial detainee can prevail by providing
objective evidence that the challenged governmental action is
not rationally related to a legitimate governmental objective
or that it is excessive in relation to that purpose.”
Kingsley v. Hendrickson, 135 S.Ct. 2466, 2475
(2015); see also King v. McCarty, 781 F.3d 889, 897
(7th Cir. 2015) (discussing strip search under Eighth
Amendment and finding that authorities violate the
constitution when they treat convicted prisoners in a way
that is “motivated by a desire to harass or
humiliate” or “intended to humiliate and cause
psychological pain.”) (quoting Mays v.
Springborn, 575 F.3d 643, 649 (7th Cir. 2009)).
nonmoving party, Mr. Thomas is entitled to all reasonable
inferences in his favor drawn from the admissible evidence
and otherwise undisputed facts. See Premcor USA, Inc. v.
American Home Assurance Co., 400 F.3d 523, 526-27 (7th
Cir. 2005). However, the Court must also “view the
facts in the light depicted by the videotape.”
Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 381 (2007). Here, the
video evidence demonstrates that during the short time in
which Mr. Thomas was nude in the property room Mr. Freeman
glanced at Mr. Thomas twice, once to hand him the red
jumpsuit and once when Mr. Thomas asked him a question.
Freeman's sworn affidavit states that he did not stay in
the property room while Mr. Thomas changed for the purpose of
humiliating Mr. Thomas or for Mr. Freeman's own
gratification. Instead, Mr. Freeman stayed in the property
room to ensure that Mr. Freeman did not access items in the
property room which he was not authorized to access. Dkt.
28-3. Mr. Freeman's conduct was rationally related to the
legitimate government objective of maintaining safety and
security at the Jail. The video demonstrates ...