United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division
MEMORANDUM & RECOMMENDATION
T. NUMBERS, II UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Plaintiff Jesse Lee Karrick and Defendants Applewhite,
Rivers, Schankweiler, and Hunt request that the court enter
summary judgment in their favor as to Karrick's excessive
force claim. D.E. 44, 49. The parties' submissions
establish that there are no genuine issues of material fact
and that the Defendants' actions on May 14, 2015, did not
violate the Eighth Amendment's prohibition on the use of
excessive force. The Defendants' actions were
constitutionally permissible in light of their perception
that Karrick threatened to harm himself and his attempt to
assault correctional officers. Therefore, the undersigned
recommends that the District Court deny Plaintiff's
Motion for Summary Judgment and grant the Defendants'
Motion for Summary Judgment.
March 3, 2015, Karrick, proceeding pro se, filed an
unverified Complaint against several employees of the Warren
Correctional Institution (“Warren C.I.”),
alleging the use of excessive force in violation of the
Eighth Amendment. D.E. 1. Karrick named Deputy Warden
Washington and Warren Correctional Officers Applewhite,
Rivers, Schankweiler,  and Hunt as defendants. On the same day,
Karrick filed a motion seeking appointed counsel. D.E. 3.
conducting a preliminary review pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1915A, the court allowed Karrick's individual capacity
claims against Defendants Applewhite, Rivers, Schankweiler,
and Hunt to proceed; denied Karrick's motion to appoint
counsel; dismissed the claims against Washington in their
entirety; and dismissed the claims against the defendants in
their official capacities. D.E. 13, 14. The remaining
Defendants filed an answer that denied the material
allegations in the Complaint and raised a number of
affirmative defenses. D.E. 27. After conducting discovery,
both parties filed motions seeking summary judgment in their
favor. D.E. 44, 49. Karrick's motion is neither verified,
nor accompanied by supporting affidavits. Neither party
responded to the opposing party's summary judgment
considering the parties' arguments and the relevant law,
Karrick has not demonstrated that he is entitled to the
relief he seeks and the undersigned recommends that his
motion for summary judgment be denied. On the other hand, the
Defendants have shown that they are entitled to summary
judgment on Karrick's claim against them and the
undersigned recommends that the district court enter a
judgment in their favor.
14, 2014, at approximately 12:00 Noon, Correctional Officer
Dionne Garrett was working in her office when Karrick arrived
to complete some paperwork. Garrett Aff. ¶ 4, D.E. 52-5.
After he arrived, Karrick became loud and argumentative about
his work assignment in the kitchen. Id. He ignored
orders from Garrett and Correctional Officer Sandra Smith to
be quiet. Id. Karrick continued to be argumentative,
but eventually left Garrett's office. Id.
Fifteen minutes later, Karrick returned, threw his hands in
the air, and screamed out “Mrs. Smith, I'll be back
to talk to you after her ass is gone.” Id.
his disruptive behavior, an unspecified staff member
handcuffed Karrick and began to escort him to the restrictive
housing unit. Id.; see also Rivers's Resp. to
Req. for Admis. ¶ 7, D.E. 44-1 at 66. The restrictive
housing unit is designated for those inmates deemed to be
repeatedly disruptive of the orderly operations of the
facility, are threats to the safety of staff or other
inmates, or who threaten the security or operational
integrity of the facility. Applewhite Aff. ¶ 9, D.E.
57-1. Prior to this incident, Karrick had been found guilty
of numerous facility infractions, including two instances of
threatening to harm/injure staff and nine instances of
refusing to obey an order. Id. ¶ 8.
minutes later, Schankweiler saw Karrick struggling to pull
away from Correctional Officer Patton's grip.
Schankweiler Aff. ¶ 5, D.E. 52-6. Schankweiler assisted
Patton in securing Karrick by grasping Karrick's upper
left arm. Karrick yelled, “The kitchen trapped me! That
dumb bitch. Now I know how they do new workers. Fuck this
place!” See Schankweiler Aff. ¶ 5, D.E.
52-6. Karrick stated, “I get out in a year and my
apartment is going to be paid for. The state is gonna pay for
my apartment.” Id. ¶ 6. Schankweiler gave
Karrick a direct order to state his name, but Karrick refused
to answer. Id. ¶ 7. As Patton and Schankweiler
attempted to escort Karrick to restrictive housing, Karrick
continued to struggle and pull away from them, ignoring
several orders to stop resisting, and instead pulling and
twisting in attempt to escape. Id. ¶ 6; Rivers
Aff. ¶ 5, D.E. 52-5. Rivers observed that Schankweiler
and Patton were having difficulty controlling Karrick and
went to assist them. Id. Karrick refused several
direct orders to stop resisting and to calm down. Rivers
asked Karrick his name, and Karrick responded, “Fuck
were eventually able to escort Karrick to a holding cell
where he would remain until he was assigned a cell in the
restrictive housing area. Schankweiler Aff. ¶ 7; Rivers
Aff. ¶ 6. As they entered the holding cell, Schankweiler
took control of Karrick's left upper arm. Rivers Aff.
¶ 6. At the same time, Rivers took control of Karrick by
the handcuffs with his left hand and placed his right hand on
the back of Karrick's right shoulder. Id.
Despite Karrick's resistance, the officers moved him to
the back wall of the holding cell. Rivers Aff. ¶ 6.
Rivers and Schankweiler ordered Karrick to stop resisting and
to remain facing the wall several times. Id. Karrick
refused to obey the orders and, instead, walked in an
aggressive manner toward Schankweiler and Rivers as they were
exiting the cell. Id.; Schankweiler Aff. ¶ 7.
Karrick told Rivers, “old man, you can't do nothing
with this.” Rivers Aff. ¶ 7.
thereafter, Sergeant Applewhite joined Hunt, Schankweiler,
and Rivers outside of the holding cell. Applewhite Aff.
¶ 9. The officers informed the Sergeant that that they
were attempting to escort Karrick to a restrictive housing
cell, but he was refusing to cooperate. Id.
Applewhite entered the holding cell and ordered Karrick to
accompany him to cell # 149 in the restrictive housing
section. Karrick obeyed the order. Applewhite and the
correctional officers escorted him to a cell in the
restrictive housing section. Applewhite Aff. ¶ 9;
Schankweiler Aff. ¶ 8.
the staff secured Karrick in his cell, Applewhite ordered
Karrick to step to the cell door, place his hands through the
food passage window, allow his handcuffs to be removed, and
then remove his clothes and hand them to Applewhite through
the food passage window. Applewhite Aff. ¶ 10;
Schankweiler Aff. ¶ 9; Rivers ¶ 8. Applewhite
requested that Karrick remove his clothes because all inmates
sent to restrictive housing at Warren C.I. are to strip
searched to ensure that the inmate is not concealing weapons
or other contraband. Applewhite Aff. ¶¶ 10, 11.
However, Karrick refused to comply with Applewhite's
orders. Applewhite Aff. ¶ 10; Schankweiler Aff. ¶
9; Rivers ¶ 8. Applewhite gave the orders a second time
and, again, Karrick refused to comply.
then stated, “You better call mental health because
I'm going to be in C.P. tonight.” Schankweiler Aff.
¶ 9; Applewhite Aff. ¶ 10; Rivers Aff. ¶ 8.
The officers understood C.P. to be a reference to Central
Prison, the main hospital for adult inmates in the custody of
the State of North Carolina. Schankweiler Aff. ¶ 9;
Applewhite Aff. ¶ 10; Rivers Aff. ¶ 8. The
Defendants interpreted this statement to mean that Karrick
intended to injure himself. Schankweiler Aff. ¶ 9;
Applewhite Aff. ¶ 11; Rivers Aff. ¶ 8.
Karrick was handcuffed, Applewhite knew that Karrick could
still seriously harm himself by hitting his head on the
concrete block walls, the steel bars, the steel bed, or other
hard surface. Applewhite Aff. ¶ 11. In fact, Karrick had
been hospitalized in the mental health unit at Central Prison
just six weeks earlier when he intentionally injured himself
by “head pounding.” Schwartz Aff. ¶ 6.
Applewhite also knew that it was possible that Karrick was
concealing contraband that he could use to injure himself.
Applewhite Aff. ¶ 11.
directed Schankweiler, Rivers and Hunt to strip search
Karrick. Schankweiler Aff. ¶ 9; Applewhite Aff. ¶
11. Karrick was combative as the officers entered his cell.
Hunt Aff. ¶ 5. Applewhite ordered Karrick to remove his
boots twice, and both times Karrick refused. Applewhite Aff.
¶ 11; Rivers Aff. ¶ 9. Schankweiler then attempted
to unlace Karrick's boots. Karrick drew his leg back in
what officers perceived as an ...