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Mayhew v. Young

United States District Court, S.D. West Virginia, Beckley Division

March 12, 2018

DAVID C. MAYHEW, Plaintiff,
D. L. YOUNG and W. PISTORY, Defendants.



         The Court has reviewed the Plaintiff's pro se Verified Complaint for Damages and Injunctive Relief (Document 2), brought on the grounds that prison employees physically assaulted him by using physical force without just cause, and further proceeded to author a false incident report and place the Plaintiff in a Special Housing Unit. By Standing Order (Document 8) entered on May 2, 2017, this action was referred to the Honorable Omar J. Aboulhosn, United States Magistrate Judge, for submission to this Court of proposed findings of fact and recommendation, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636. On December 11, 2017, Magistrate Judge Aboulhosn submitted a Proposed Findings and Recommendation (PF&R) (Document 35), wherein it was recommended that this Court deny the Plaintiff's motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction, grant the Defendants' motion for summary judgment, dismiss the Plaintiff's complaint, and remove this matter from the Court's docket. On December 19 and December 26, 2017, the Plaintiff filed motions for reconsideration, arguing that he never received a copy of the Defendants' motion for summary judgment and requesting that the Court allow him to file a response and reconsider the Defendants' motion. In a January 2, 2018 Order (Document 38), Magistrate Judge Aboulhosn granted the Plaintiff's motion to reconsider and directed him to file his response to the Defendants' motion for summary judgment. On February 14, 2018, after receiving the Plaintiff's response, Magistrate Judge Aboulhosn submitted an Amended Proposed Findings and Recommendation (Amended PF&R) (Document 42), recommending that the Plaintiff's motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction be denied, the Defendants' motion for summary judgment be granted, and the case be dismissed from the Court's docket. The Plaintiff timely objected to the Amended PF&R. For the reasons stated herein, the Court finds that the Plaintiff's objections should be overruled.


         Magistrate Judge Aboulhosn's PF&R sets forth in great detail the procedural and factual history surrounding the Plaintiff's claims. The Court now incorporates by reference those facts and procedural history. In order to provide context for the ruling herein, the Court provides the following summary.

         Plaintiff David Mayhew filed his complaint on May 2, 2017. He named as Defendants D.L. Young and W. Pistory, both in their individual capacities. On that same date, Mr. Mayhew also filed a Motion Requesting a Temporary Restraining Order and a Preliminary Injunction Seeking Emergency Relief (Document 3). The Plaintiff originally filed this action as a motion for relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. However, on June 1, 2017, he filed two separate motions seeking to amend his complaint to be construed as a complaint against federal officers and employees under Bivens v. Six Unknown Federal Agents of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971). On June 5, 2017, Magistrate Judge Aboulhosn entered an Order (Document 17) granting said motion and amending the Plaintiff's complaint as such. On September 28, 2017, the Defendants filed their Motion for Summary Judgment (Document 31), Memorandum of Law in Support (Document 32), and supporting exhibits. As previously stated, the Plaintiff failed to respond to the Defendants' summary judgment motion. However, after Judge Aboulhosn granted his motion for reconsideration and a Motion to Request Extension (Document 39), the Plaintiff filed his Reply to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (Document 41) on February 5, 2018. Magistrate Judge Aboulhosn entered his Amended PF&R on February 14, 2018, and the Plaintiff filed his Reply to Court's Recommendation (Document 43)[1] on February 26, 2018.

         Mr. Mayhew was an inmate at FCI Beckley in Beaver, West Virginia. On March 21, 2017, the Plaintiff was walking past the chapel at FCI Beckley “to the FCI Beckley Education Department law library” when a fight allegedly broke out between other inmates. (D. Mayhew Declaration at ¶ 5) (Document 4.) The Plaintiff states that he was already “on the ground” when several officers ran out of the chapel and “one of them hit [Mr. Mayhew] and attempted to grab and tackle him.” (Id. at ¶ 3.) One of the correctional officers was Defendant Pistory, who continued to demand that the Plaintiff get on the ground, even though he “was already on the ground.” (Id. at ¶ 5.) Mr. Pistory “attempted to be demeaning, obnoxious, and us[e] ‘excessive force' when ordering [the Plaintiff] to ‘lay lower' on the ground” as the altercation continued. (Id. at ¶ 6.) As the altercation continued, another correctional officer “attempted to provoke a response from the Plaintiff, ” but the Plaintiff kept his composure during the incident. (Id. at ¶ 7.)

         Once Mr. Pistory and other officers got the Plaintiff to his feet, they escorted him to the Special Housing Unit (SHU). (Id.) In the SHU, he was placed inside “a filthy cell saturated with black mold, flies and inadequate air ventilation.” (Id. at ¶ 9.) He was denied telephone and email contact and given no access to his blood pressure medication, resulting in severe headaches. (Id. at ¶ 10-12.) Mr. Mayhew alleges that these actions violated his rights under the Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments, and that the Defendant Mr. Young was aware of these violations and failed to protect him. (Compl. at ¶ 21.) Mr. Mayhew filed an administrative complaint against Mr. Pistory on March 29, 2017, and initiated his administrative remedies process. While that process was still ongoing, the Plaintiff filed this complaint.


         A. Objections to PF&R

         This Court “shall make a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified proposed findings or recommendations to which objection is made.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C). However, the Court is not required to review, under a de novo or any other standard, the factual or legal conclusions of the magistrate judge as to those portions of the findings or recommendation to which no objections are addressed. Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 150 (1985). In addition, this Court need not conduct a de novo review when a party “makes general and conclusory objections that do not direct the Court to a specific error in the magistrate's proposed findings and recommendations.” Orpiano v. Johnson, 687 F.2d 44, 47 (4th Cir. 1982). When reviewing portions of the PF&R de novo, the Court will consider the fact that Petitioner is acting pro se, and his pleadings will be accorded liberal construction. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976); Loe v. Armistead, 582 F.2d 1291, 1295 (4th Cir. 1978).

         B. Summary Judgment

         The well-established standard for consideration of a motion for summary judgment is that summary judgment should be granted if the record, including the pleadings and other filings, discovery material, depositions, and affidavits, “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)- (c); see also Hunt v. Cromartie, 526 U.S. 541, 549 (1999); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247 (1986); Hoschar v. Appalachian Power Co., 739 F.3d 163, 169 (4th Cir. 2014). A “material fact” is a fact that could affect the outcome of the case. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248; News & Observer Publ'g Co. v. Raleigh-Durham Airport Auth., 597 F.3d 570, 576 (4th Cir. 2010). A “genuine issue” concerning a material fact exists when the evidence is sufficient to allow a reasonable jury to return a verdict in the nonmoving party's favor. FDIC v. Cashion, 720 F.3d 169, 180 (4th Cir. 2013).

         The moving party bears the burden of showing that there is no genuine issue of material fact, and that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 322-23. When determining whether summary judgment is appropriate, a court must view all of the factual evidence, and any reasonable inferences to be drawn therefrom, in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Hoschar, 739 F.3d at 169. However, the nonmoving party must satisfy its burden of showing a genuine factual dispute by offering more than “[m]ere speculation” or a “scintilla of evidence” in support of its position. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252; JKC Holding Co. v. Wash. Sports Ventures, Inc., 264 F.3d 459, 465 (4th Cir. 2001). If disputes over a material fact exist that “can be resolved only by a finder of fact because they may reasonably be resolved in favor of either party, ” summary judgment is inappropriate. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 250. On the other hand, if the nonmoving party “fails to make a showing sufficient to ...

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