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Manigault v. Housey

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Rock Hill Division

March 23, 2017

Richard Manigault, Plaintiff,
v.
Albert Housey, Lieutenant; Ryan Grant, Corporal Dustin Crosby, Officer; Gary Eichelberger, Major; Valerie Jackson, Captain Disciplinary Hearing Officer; and Levern Cohen, Warden, Defendants.

          ORDER

          Joseph F. Anderson, Jr. United States District Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Richard Manigault ("Plaintiff), a prisoner proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, brought this action against Lieutenant Albert Housey, Corporal Ryan Grant, and Officer Dustin Crosby (collectively "Defendants") claiming a violation of his constitutional rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.[1] ECF No. 1. This matter is before the Court on Defendants' motion for summary judgment. ECF No. 64.

         II. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         On or about November 16, 2015, Plaintiff filed this action alleging Defendants violated his rights under the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution.[2] ECF No. 1 at 2. In addition, Plaintiff moved for leave to proceed in forma pauperis under 28 U.S.C. § 1915, ECF No. 2, which was granted on December 4, 2015, by Magistrate Judge Paige J. Gossett, ECF No. 8.[3] On August 8, 2016, Defendants' filed a motion for summary judgment.[4] ECF No. 64. Because Plaintiff is proceeding pro se, the Magistrate Judge entered an order pursuant to Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975), advising him of the importance of the motion and of the need for him to file an adequate response. ECF No. 66. On or about August 29, 2016, Plaintiff filed a response in opposition to Defendants' motion for summary judgment. ECF No. 70.[5] On September 16, 2016, Defendants filed a reply.[6] ECF No. 76. On October 28, 2016, the Magistrate Judge issued a Report and Recommendation (the "Report"), recommending Defendants' motion for summary judgment be granted as to Defendants Grant and Crosby and denied as to Defendant Housey. ECF No. 91. The Report set forth in detail the relevant facts[7] and standards of law[8] on this matter, and this Court incorporates those facts and standards without a recitation.

         The parties were advised of their right to object to the Report, which was entered on the docket on October 28, 2016. ECF Nos. 91, 93. The Magistrate Judge gave the parties until November 17, 2016, to file objections. Id. Plaintiff and Defendant Housey timely submitted objections to the Report. ECF Nos. 96, 97. Defendants Grant and Crosby timely responded to Plaintiffs objections.[9] ECF No. 98. Thus, this matter is ripe for the Court's review.[10]

         III. DISCUSSION

         The Magistrate Judge makes only a recommendation to this Court. The recommendation has no presumptive weight, and the responsibility to make a final determination remains with the Court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261 (1976). The Court is charged with making a de novo determination of those portions of the Report to which specific objection is made, and the Court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the recommendation of the Magistrate Judge, or recommit the matter to the Magistrate Judge with instructions. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). In the absence of specific objections to the Report of the Magistrate Judge, this Court is not required to give an explanation for adopting the recommendation. See Camby v. Davis, 718 F.2d 198, 199 (4th Cir. 1983). Because multiple parties have raised objections to the Report, each party's objections will be addressed separately.

         A. Plaintiffs Objections

         Plaintiff objects to summary judgment in favor of Defendants Grant and Crosby because he feels that they "should be held responsible for their actions that took place on May 12, 2014, " because they "violated his 8th Constitution Rights and Laws of the United State[s]." ECF No. 96 at 1. Plaintiff did not object to the facts as stated by the Magistrate Judge in the Report.

         1. Defendant Grant

         As to Defendant Grant, Plaintiff contends that the headlock was illegal because it is not taught in the academy for the South Carolina Department of Corrections ("SCDC") or the headlock was unnecessarily prolonged because another officer was assisting to resolve the situation. Id. at 1-2.

         Defendant Grant responds that Plaintiff provides no support that headlocks are not taught at SCDC, which is insufficient to create an issue of fact, and "[a]ll uses of force are judged under the Whitley factors, so the Plaintiffs argument that a headlock is per se excessive force fails." ECF No. 98 at 1-2. With regard to the duration of the headlock, Defendant Grant responds that all evidence in the record supports the conclusion that he placed Plaintiff "in a headlock to gain control of a dangerous situation" and the factors under Whitley support his use of force. Id. at 2-4.

         Defendant Grant is correct that Plaintiff cannot rely on a bald assertion that the headlock was illegal. Thus, without admissible evidence for support, Plaintiff has failed to show a genuine dispute as to a material fact regarding his objection to the legal use of a headlock.

         In his verified complaint, Plaintiff alleged that "[s]econds" after he pushed Defendant Housey down, Defendant Grant grabbed him and placed him in a headlock. ECF No. 1 at 4. In addition, "[s]econds after that" Defendant Crosby arrived and grabbed Plaintiffs legs. Id. Then, "[a] matter of seconds after all of that, [Defendant] Housey stands over the plaintiff and commenced to punch Plaintiff." Id. Lastly, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Grant told Defendant Housey to stop punching Plaintiff and Defendant Housey "snapped back into Reality and gave Plaintiff one more punch to the back of the head." Id. at 4-5.

         Thus, Plaintiffs objection that the headlock was unnecessarily prolonged is unavailing as, in Plaintiffs own view, the encounter quickly progressed within seconds and is not alleged to have lasted long. The fact that Plaintiffs legs were being held by Defendant Crosby did not serve to automatically nullify the need to restrain Plaintiffs torso. Thus, the fact that another officer had arrived to assist in resolving "the situation" did not mean Defendant Grant was required to release his hold before Plaintiff was placed in restraints. Moreover, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Grant told Defendant Housey to stop his actions.

         Plaintiff failed to specifically object to the Report's walkthrough of the Whitley factors, [11]and, instead argues in a conclusory fashion that "[t]he headlock was not in good-faith to maintain or restore discipline. It was used maliciously and sadistically to cause physical harm." ECF No. 96 at 2. Due to the discussion above, and the correct analysis contained in the Report, Plaintiffs objection to the ...


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