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Abraham v. Brayboy

United States District Court, D. South Carolina

September 20, 2016

Frenchis Gerald Abraham, Plaintiff,
Lt. Brayboy, Lt. Cedric June, Ofc. Xavier Burroughs, Cpl. Frank Hickman, Ofc. J. Remond, Ofc. J. Barr, Sgt. Keith McBride, Ofc. Jennifer Macaulay, Ofc. K. King, Ofc. Finnley, LPN Courtney Dixon, Sgt. Martha Ramsay, Lt. Francis Bowman, Ofc. R. Cain, Ofc. Gerline Johnson, Cpl. P. Bells, Ofc. Atkinson, and Sgt. Daniel Cain, Defendant.


          Richard Mark Gergel, United States District Court Judge.

         This matter comes before the Court on the Report and Recommendation ("R & R") of the Magistrate Judge. (Dkt. No. 79). For the reasons below, this Court adopts the R & R and grants in part and denies in part Defendants' motion for summary judgment. (Dkt. No. 62).

         Background Plaintiff-then an inmate at Lee Correctional Institute-alleges that on May 25, 2012, at approximately 5:00 p.m., he refused a directive from Defendants Brayboy, June, Burroughs, Jenkins, and Davis to back up to the food flap in his cell so that he could be restrained for a cell search. (Dkt. No. 1 at 4-5). Defendant Brayboy sprayed Plaintiff with chemical munitions, and Defendant Burroughs urged Plaintiff to comply with their instructions because Defendant Burroughs knew Plaintiff "was sick." (Id. at 5). When Defendant Brayboy asked what Defendant Burroughs meant, Defendant Burroughs notified him that Plaintiff had recently returned from surgery, had sutures in his abdomen, and was experiencing physical difficulties. (Id.). Defendant Brayboy sprayed Plaintiff several additional times with chemical munitions, and Defendants Brayboy, June, and D. Cain, and unnamed others entered into his cell, handcuffed him, and kicked and stomped him from several directions while he was handcuffed. (Id.).

         Plaintiff further alleges that Defendant Brayboy directed the other Defendants to drag him from his cell to an outside recreation area, where he was stripped, searched, and returned to his cell naked, (Id. at 5-6). Plaintiff alleged that Defendant June clubbed him in the groin, and that Defendant Brayboy directed other Defendants to leave him in a puddle of chemical munitions that was on the cell floor. (Id. at 6).

         Plaintiff claims that he was unable to move or cry out for help while he lay on the cell floor with the chemical munitions burning his body. He alleges that Defendants Dixon, Brayboy, June, D. Cain, Hickman, McBride, Barr, Redmond, Finnley, Macaulay, King, Bowman, Bells, Atkinson, and Burroughs observed him while he was unresponsive and unmoving, but did nothing to ensure that he received medical attention for about an hour and a half. (Id. at 8)

         At approximately 6:25 p.m., Plaintiff was placed in a wheelchair, seen by LCI medical staff, and then transported to the emergency room. (Id. at 7). When he was released from the emergency room, Plaintiff received discharge papers that stated that he had been treated for physical assault and was informed that he would be sore for several days. (Id.)

         When Plaintiff returned to this cell around 3:30 a.m., he discovered that his mattress had been removed from his cell. Plaintiff asked Defendant Ramsey to provide him with a mattress and allow him to take a shower to wash off the chemical munitions. Defendant Ramsey refused both requests. Over the next few days, Defendants Bowman, R. Cain, and Johnson also allegedly refused Plaintiffs requests for a mattress and a shower.

         Plaintiff filed this pro se action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that Defendants (1) used excessive force on Plaintiff by kicking, dragging, and clubbing him while he was in restraints; (2) were deliberately indifferent to Plaintiffs medical needs; and (3) subjected Plaintiff to unconstitutional conditions of confinement when they refused to provide him with a mattress and a shower.

         Defendants filed a motion to dismiss (Dkt, No. 62), and the Magistrate Judge issued a R & R recommending that the Court grant the motion for summary judgment in part and deny it in part. Defendants filed timely objections regarding the excessive force, deliberate indifference, and conditions of confinement claims (Dkt. No. 84), and Plaintiff did not object to the R & R.

         Legal Standard

         A. Report and Reccomendation

         The Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court. The recommendation has no presumptive weight, and the responsibility for making a final determination remains with this Court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270-71 (1976). This Court is charged with making a de novo determination of those portions of the R & R to which specific objection is made. Additionally, the Court may "accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations made by the magistrate judge." 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). This Court may also "receive further evidence or recommit the matter to the magistrate judge with instructions." Id.

         B. Summary Judgment

         Summary judgment is appropriate if a party "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). In other words, summary judgment should be granted "only when it is clear that there is no dispute concerning either the facts of the controversy or the inferences to be drawn from those facts." Pulliam Inv. Co. v. Cameo Props.,810 F.2d 1282, 1286 (4th Cir. 1987). "In determining whether a genuine issue has been raised, the court must construe all inferences and ambiguities in favor of the nonmoving party." HealthSouth Rehab. Hosp. v. Am. Nat'l Red Cross,101 F.3d 1005, 1008 (4th Cir. 1996). The party seeking summary judgment ...

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