United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division
ROBERT J. CONRAD, Jr., District Judge.
THIS MATTER comes before the Court on a Motion for Summary Judgment by Defendants Evans, Kiker, and Lambert, (Doc. No. 33); and on Plaintiff's Motion to Compel, Motion for Sanctions, (Doc. No. 29).
A. Procedural Background
Pro se Plaintiff Lloyd Donnell Washington is a state court inmate currently incarcerated at Lumberton Correctional Institution. Plaintiff filed this action on May 2, 2012, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, naming as Defendants Lanesboro Correctional Officer Kristopher Kiker, Lanesboro Correctional Officer Larnell Evans, and Lanesboro Sergeant Albert Lambert. (Doc. No. 1). Plaintiff claims that Defendants used excessive force against him during an incident occurring on February 14, 2012, while he was incarcerated at Lanesboro Correctional Institution.
Plaintiff originally filed this action in the Eastern District of North Carolina, but on May 8, 2012, the Eastern District of North Carolina transferred the action to this Court. (Doc. No. 2). On November 8, 2012, Plaintiff filed an amended complaint. (Doc. No. 17). On July 3, 2013, the Court issued a Scheduling Order requiring that discovery in this matter be concluded by October 26, 2013, and that dispositive motions in this matter be filed by November 26, 2013. (Doc. No. 25). Upon the motion by Defendants, the Court granted the parties until January 17, 2014, to file dispositive motions. (Doc. No. 32). On November 8, 2013, after discovery had ended, Plaintiff filed the pending motion to compel and motion for sanctions. (Doc. No. 29).
On January 17, 2014, Defendants filed the pending summary judgment motion. (Doc. No. 33). On January 24, 2014, this Court entered an Order pursuant to Roseboro v. Garrison , 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975), granting Petitioner fourteen days to respond to the summary judgment motion. (Doc. No. 35). On February 4, 2014, Petitioner filed a memorandum in opposition to the summary judgment motion. (Doc. No. 36).
B. Factual Background
1. Plaintiff's Allegations
Plaintiff alleges that while he was housed at Lanesboro Correctional Institution on February 14, 2012, Defendant Lambert stepped in his face and challenged Plaintiff to a fight. (Doc. No. 1 at 4). Defendant Lambert then went on to threaten Plaintiff and demanded that Plaintiff submit to handcuffs. (Id.). Plaintiff did not immediately comply with Lambert's orders because other officers were putting their weight on Plaintiff. Lambert then twisted Plaintiff's arm and forced him to submit to handcuffs. (Id.). Lambert then told Defendants Evans and Kiker to get Plaintiff out of his face. (Id.). Sometime during the altercation, Defendant Evans hit Plaintiff in the face with Evans' handcuffs. (Id. at 5). During the incident Defendant Kiker deployed his pepper spray against Plaintiff "for no reason at all." Plaintiff "was not showing any kind of resisting" during the entire incident. (Id.).
In his amended complaint, Plaintiff alleges that both Defendants Lambert and Evans challenged him to fight. (Doc. No. 17 at 3). The three Defendants took him down from behind, for no reason, and twisted his arms and legs while applying handcuffs. (Id. at 4). Defendant Evans hit him in the head with handcuffs, causing a gash. (Id.).
2. Defendants' Contentions
Defendants respond that the use of force against Plaintiff was not excessive, was conducted in accordance with the policies of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, and was an appropriate amount of force to restrain Plaintiff, given his resistance and assault on the officers. (Doc. No. 33-1 at ¶¶ 16-18; 19: Affidavit of Larry Miller).
In support of their summary judgment motion, Defendants have submitted the affidavit of Larry Miller, the former Correctional Lieutenant at Lanesboro Correctional Institution who investigated Plaintiff's complaint of excessive force; videotape footage of the incident from February 14, 2012; a copy of the prison's policies and procedures for use of excessive force; the incident report of the altercation; and various witness statements. See (Doc. No. 33-1: Miller Aff. & Exs. A, B, and C). Defendants' summary judgment materials show that on February 14, 2012, while Plaintiff was housed at Lanesboro, he engaged officers and was subjected to a use ...