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Thomas v. FNU Triplett

United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division

February 6, 2017

FNU TRIPLETT, et al., Defendants.


          Frank D. Whitney Chief United States District Judge.

         THIS MATTER comes before the Court on a Motion for Summary Judgment by Defendants Johnathon Holder, Oscar Martinez, Anthony Snipes, Tahjia Chapman, and Sally Triplett.[1] (Doc. No. 50). Also pending before the Court is Defendants' Motion for Protective Order and Objection to Discovery Request, (Doc. No. 41).

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Procedural Background

         On August 31, 2015, Plaintiff William Thomas, a North Carolina prisoner currently incarcerated at Alexander Correctional Institution, filed a Complaint against Defendants pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that he was subjected to an excessive use of force on June 9, 2014, while he was incarcerated at Lanesboro Correctional Institution. (Doc. No. 1). On October 22, 2015, this Court ruled that the allegations in Plaintiff's Complaint were sufficient to satisfy the Court's frivolity determination against Defendants Triplett, Russell, Holder, Martinez, Chapman, and Snipe. (Doc. No. 10). Plaintiff's claims against the other defendants were dismissed. (Id. at 5).

         On November 18, 2016, Defendants Triplett, Holder, Martinez, Chapman, and Snipe filed the pending motion for summary judgment.[2] (Doc. No. 50). On November 29, 2016, this Court entered an order in accordance with Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975), advising Plaintiff of the requirements for filing a response to the motion for summary judgment and of the manner in which evidence could be submitted to the Court. (Doc. No. 53). On December 1, 2016, Plaintiff filed a three-page response to the summary judgment motion, in which he did not present any evidence to rebut Defendants' evidence on summary judgment. (Doc. No. 54). Instead, he complained only that Defendants had not responded in full to his discovery requests. On, December 7, 2016, Defendants filed a Reply, in which they state that Defendants provided Plaintiff with objections and discovery responses on November 1, 2016. (Doc. No. 56).

         B. Factual Background

         1. The Alleged Excessive Force Incident and the Summary Judgment Evidence

         a. Plaintiff's Allegations

         In support of his excessive force claims, Plaintiff alleges the following in his verified Complaint:

[O]n . . . 6-9-14 at approximately 12:30 pm [Plaintiff] was being escorted to lower richmond from upper richmond E pod. Defendants Sgt. Triplett, c/o Martinez, c/o Snipe, and c/o Holder initiated the use of excessive force upon him.
While walking Plaintiff alleges he informed Sgt. Triplette and c/o Snipe, and c/o Martinez, and c/o Holder that the handcuffs were too tight and he also had prior shoulder injury which was in pain and needed relief. And [Plaintiff] was ignored and then attempted to adjust his arm/shoulder position to relieve his pain.
Plaintiff alleges that then said defendants threw him on the floor in the hallway and began to knee him, elbow him, kick him, and stomp on him. C/o Holder knee-dropped him in his side multiple times and the side of his face and head-c/o Martinez was also elbowing him while jacking the handcuffs in a position that would cause pain to plaintiff's wrist and arms as his hands were behind his back. C/o Snipe was kneeling into [Plaintiff's] chest and [Plaintiff] complained of not being able to breathe. C/o Chapman and Sgt. Triplett kicked and stomped [Plaintiff] while the others used this malicious force. Then put ankle shackles on [Plaintiff's] ankles so tight that they tore into his flesh and to assure that it would tear his skin. They took [Plaintiff's] socks and forced inmate to walk bare-footed down the hallway toward anson unit.
[Plaintiff] . . . was stripped in the anson hallway booth and was beaten in arson hallway and inside the nurse's station. Then taken to the rec cages on lower Richmond outside and beaten again (Sgt. Triplett, Sgt. Russell, c/o Holder & c.o Chapman physically attempting to strip inmate while cuffed and assaulted inmate).
While held on Richmond [Plaintiff] complained of injury and was ignored not being adequately examined his emergency request denied.

(Doc. No. 1 at 2-3). Based on the above factual allegations, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants Triplett, Russell, Holder, Martinez, Chapman, and Snipe used excessive force against him in violation of his Eighth Amendment rights. (Id. at 4). Plaintiff further alleges that these Defendants are also liable for failing to intervene and protect Plaintiff from the excessive force while each of the other officers used excessive force against him. Plaintiff seeks declaratory and injunctive relief, as well as compensatory and punitive damages.[3] (Id. at 4-5).

         b. Defendants' Summary ...

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