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Babtunde v. Ward

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Florence Division

January 6, 2016

OLAYINKO AJAMU BABTUNDE, a/k/a Michael McCoy, a/k/a Olayinko Adama Babatunde, Plaintiff,
v.
ROBERT WARD, SCDC Director; WILLIE EAGLETON, Warden; R. CHAVIS, Associate Warden; LARRY CARTLEDGE, Warden; FLORENCE MAUNEY, Associate Warden; D. FILMORE, Classification; OGUNSILE, Classification; MRS. BUTTREY, Classification; MICHAEL MATTHEWS, Branch Chief of Classification; MICHAEL McCALL; and RICHARD BASSEL, Defendants.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

THOMAS E. ROGERS, III, Magistrate Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff, who is proceeding pro se, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that Defendants violated his constitutional rights by improperly placing him and keeping him in security detention. Presently before the court is Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (Document # 64). Because he is proceeding pro se, Plaintiff was warned pursuant to Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975), that a failure to respond to Defendants' motion for summary judgment could result in the motion being granted, resulting in dismissal of his claims. Plaintiff timely filed his Response (Document # 72). All pretrial proceedings in this case were referred to the undersigned pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(A) and (B) and Local Rule 73.02(B)(2)(d), DSC. This Report and Recommendation is entered for review by the district judge.

II. FACTS

Plaintiff alleges that his placement in security detention in 2004 was improper because it was not approved by State Classification. Defendants argue that Plaintiff's cause of action is barred by the statute of limitations.

Plaintiff is currently an inmate at the Perry Correctional Institution (Perry). On October 11, 2004, he was involved in an incident at Evans Correctional Institution (Evans), where he, along with two other inmates, were in possession of homemade knives and took an officer hostage. The Plaintiff and other inmates forced the officer to the gate at knife point and attempted to use him to escape from the institution, but were unsuccessful. As a result of this incident, Plaintiff was convicted of disciplinary offenses of Possession of a Weapon, Attempted Escape, and Assault and Battery of an Employee. According to SCDC policy in October of 2004, an inmate who attempted escape was automatically placed in security detention for a minimum of eighteen months. Matthews Aff. ¶ 8; Eagleton Aff. ¶ 3 (Exs. to Def. Motion). In addition, Plaintiff was convicted of criminal offenses for Assault and Battery with Intent to Kill and Assault and Battery of a High and Aggravated Nature in relation to this incident. Plaintiff received an additional five-year sentence for each of these criminal convictions. Matthews Aff. ¶ 3.[1]

Plaintiff was placed in security detention on October 18, 2004.[2] Matthews Aff. ¶ 6. His placement was recommended by ICC and approved by Associate Warden Chavis. McCall Aff. ¶ 2 (Ex. to Def. Motion); Eagleton Aff. ¶ 3. Michael Matthews, the Branch Chief of Institutional Classification, avers that in early 2004, SCDC policy was changed such that State Classification was no longer required to approve an inmate's initial placement in security detention. Rather, the Institutional Classification Committee (ICC) would make a recommendation concerning placement in security detention to the Warden or the Warden's designee, who would make the final decision. Matthews avers that the SCDC Form 19-30, which documented Plaintiff's placement in security detention, had not yet been revised at the time Plaintiff was initially placed in security detention and still indicated that placement in security detention required State Classification approval. Matthews Aff. ¶ 6. Indeed, the SCDC Form 19-30 that was used to document Plaintiff's placement into security detention on October 28, 2004, indicates that it was last revised in March of 1999. SCDC Form 19-30 (Ex. A to Complaint). However, Plaintiff attaches to his response a copy of the SCDC Form 19-30 that was revised in November of 2005. SCDC Form 19-30 (Ex. 2 to Pl. Resp.). Both of these forms include the note that "INITIAL Placement in Security Detention Requires State Classification Approval." Id . Plaintiff also attaches to his response another SCDC Form 19-30, which indicates that it was revised in December of 2013. SCDC Form 19-30 (Ex. 16 to Pl. Resp.). This form includes no requirement for State Classification approval. Rather, it states that the signature of the Warden or Duty Warden is required "only for placement and release from SD." Id.

Inmates can be placed in security detention for several reasons, including if they present a threat to the safety and security of the institution. Once an inmate is placed in security detention, he is initially evaluated every seven days for the first thirty days, and thereafter he evaluated every thirty days. For each evaluation, the ICC will meet to determine if the inmate should remain in security detention. SCDC policy does not require inmates to attend the thirty-day ICC meetings. Matthews Aff. ¶ 9. In making their determination, the ICC will consider all available information concerning the inmate to make a determination whether he is a threat to the safety and security of the institution. As discussed above, Plaintiff took a staff member hostage at knife point while attempting to escape, had previously escaped from the North Carolina Department of Corrections, and was a fugitive from justice when he was arrested for the charges for which he is currently incarcerated in South Carolina. Members of the ICC will look at these factors along with other factors, including the demeanor or attitude of the inmate, in determining whether to maintain the inmate in Security Detention. Matthews Aff. ¶ 10. Several Classification Caseworkers aver that Plaintiff showed no remorse in relation to his attempted escape, and maintained that "I was merely trying to emancipate myself." Buttery Aff. ¶ 7; Filmore Aff. ¶ 6; Mauney Aff. ¶ 6 (Exs. to Def. Motion).

On February 4, 2013, Plaintiff sent a request to staff to Matthews requesting documentation showing that State Classification had approved his initial placement in security detention. Matthews informed Plaintiff that, at the time of his placement, State Classification was no longer required to approve placement in security detention and that the Warden or Warden's designee approved the recommendation from ICC that he be placed in security detention. Matthews Aff. ¶ 5 and Response to Inmate Correspondence.

On February 10, 2015, the ICC met and based on the totality of the circumstances recommended that Plaintiff be approved for release from Security Detention to the general population. As Plaintiff was not present at this hearing, he was provided with a 48 hour notice so that he could attend a subsequent hearing on the matter. The hearing was held on February 20, 2015, at which time the ICC formally advised Plaintiff that they had voted to remove him from Security Detention. Associate Warden Mauney approved the release as the Warden's designee, but Plaintiff stated at the hearing that he did not want to return to the general population. Once all documentation is completed and bed space is available, Plaintiff will be instructed to return to the general population and if he refuses, Plaintiff can be charged with a disciplinary offense for refusing to obey a direct order. Buttrey Aff. ¶ 8.

III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

The moving party bears the burden of showing that summary judgment is proper. Summary judgment is proper if there is no genuine dispute of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). Summary judgment is proper if the non-moving party fails to establish an essential element of any cause of action upon which the non-moving party has the burden of proof. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322. Once the moving party has brought into question whether there is a genuine dispute for trial on a material element of the non-moving party's claims, the non-moving party bears the burden of coming forward with specific facts which show a genuine dispute for trial. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e); Matsushita Electrical Industrial Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574 (1986). The non-moving party must come forward with enough evidence, beyond a mere scintilla, upon which the fact finder could reasonably find for it. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986). The facts and inferences to be drawn therefrom must be viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Shealy v. Winston, 929 F.2d 1009, 1011 (4th Cir. 1991). However, the non-moving party may not rely on beliefs, conjecture, speculation, or conclusory allegations to defeat a motion for summary judgment. Barber v. Hosp. Corp. of Am., 977 F.2d 872, 874-75 (4th Cir. 1992). The evidence relied on must meet "the substantive evidentiary standard of proof that would apply at a trial on the merits." Mitchell v. Data General Corp., 12 F.3d 1310, 1316 (4th Cir. 1993).

To show that a genuine dispute of material fact exists, a party may not rest upon the mere allegations or denials of his pleadings. See Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324. Rather, the party must present evidence supporting his or her position by "citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A); see also Cray Communications, ...


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