United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division
C. DEVER III CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
October 7, 2015, Ronald McClary ("McClary" or
"plaintiff'), a state inmate proceeding pro se who
is serving a life sentence for murder, filed this action
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 [D.E. 1]. On June 28, 2017,
Magistrate Judge Numbers issued a Memorandum and
Recommendation ("M&R") [D.E. 68] recommending that
the court grant defendants' motion for summary judgment
[D.E. 55] and dismiss McClary's complaint. On July 10,
2017, McClary objected to the M&R [D.E. 71].
Federal Magistrates Act requires a district court to make a
de novo determination of those portions of the magistrate
judge's report or specified proposed findings or
recommendations to which objection is made." Diamond
v. Colonial Life & Accident Ins. Co.. 416 F.3d 310, 315
(4th Cir. 2005) (emphasis, alteration, and quotation
omitted); see 28 U.S.C. § 636(b). Absent a timely
objection, "a district court need not conduct a de novo
review, but instead must only satisfy itself that there is no
clear error on the face of the record in order to accept the
recommendation." Diamond. 416 F .3d at 315 (quotation
those portions of the M&R to which McClary did not object,
the court has reviewed the M&R and the record. There is no
clear error on the face of the record. Accordingly, the court
adopts the conclusions in the M&R to which there was no
McClary's objections, McClary contends that defendants
used excessive force on him on December 12, 2014.
Magistrate Judge Numbers recommended granting defendants'
motion for summary judgment because, even viewing the record
in the light most favorable to McClary, no rational jury
could find that defendants used excessive force against
McClary on December 12, 2014. See M&R at 5-8.
that a prison official violated his Eighth Amendment rights
by using excessive force, a prisoner must establish
"more than indifference, deliberate or otherwise. The
claimant must show that officials applied force maliciously
and sadistically for the very purpose of causing harm."
Farmer v. Brennan. 511 U.S. 825, 835 (1994)
(quotation omitted). To succeed, the claimant must show that
"the officials acted with a sufficiently culpable state
of mind" and that "the alleged wrongdoing was
objectively harmful enough to establish a constitutional
violation." Hudson v. McMillian. 503 U.S. 1, 8
(1992) (quotations and alteration omitted); see, e.g..
Farmer. 511 U.S. at 834-36.
core judicial inquiry ... [is] not whether a certain quantum
of injury was sustained, but rather whether force was applied
in a good-faith effort to maintain or restore discipline, or
maliciously and sadistically to cause harm." Wilkins
v. Gaddy. 559 U.S. 34, 37 (2010) (per curiam)
(quotations omitted); see United States v. Gore. 592
F.3d 489, 494 (4th Cir. 2010). Factors relevant to
determining the prison official's state of mind include
"(1) the necessity for the application of force; (2) the
relationship between the need for force and the amount of
force used; (3) the extent of the threat to the safety of
staff and inmates, as reasonably perceived by the responsible
officials on the basis of the facts known to them at the
time; and (4) the efforts made to temper the severity of the
force applied." Tedder v. Johnson. 527
F.App'x 269, 272 (4th Cir. 2013) (unpublished)
(quotations omitted): see Whitley v. Albers. 475
U.S. 312, 321 (1986).
has an extensive history of disciplinary infractions. Thus,
the Department of Public Safety ("DPS") decided to
transfer McClary from Polk Correctional Institution
("Polk") to Lanesboro Correctional Institution
("Lanesboro") and designate McClary to maximum
control status. See Medlin Aff. [D.E. 58-1] ¶¶ 6-7
& Ex. A. The transfer occurred on December 12, 2104. During
the transfer, McClary was in full restraints and on a
security alert because he had recently assaulted staff. See
Crosson Aff. [D.E. 58-3] ¶ 11. During the transfer,
correctional officers initially placed McClary in a car for
transport. Id. ¶¶ 10-11. The correctional
officers then decided to place him in a van with another
prisoner for transport. Id. ¶¶ 12-14.
McClary became agitated and refused to exit the car and enter
the van. Id. ¶¶ 15-16. McClary contends
that defendants dragged him from the car, threw him into the
van, and beat him up. See Compl. [D.E. 1] 4; Am. Compl. [D.E.
13] 5. Defendants deny McClary's allegations. See,
e.g.. Crosson Aff. [D.E. 58-3] ¶¶ 20-22.
Rather, they assert that McClary refused to enter a van for
transport to Lanesboro and that Officers Wall and Williams
used a "soft hand escort" to remove McClary from
the car and then carry him to the van because he refused to
walk. See Id. ¶¶ 18-22; Wall Aff. [D.E.
58-4] ¶¶ 10-19; Williams Aff. [D.E. 58-5]
¶¶ 10-18; Hicks Aff. [D.E. 58-6] ¶¶
the alleged assault, Polk medical staff examined McClary. The
medical examination reflected an abrasion on McClary's
left wrist and a bump on his head. See [D.E. 58-7] 1-14;
[D.E. 58-8] 1-10. After the medical examination, DPS
transported McClary to Lanesboro. M&R at 4. McClary received
a second medical evaluation at Lanesboro. See [D.E. 58-7]
1-14; [D.E. 58-8] 1-10. During this medical examination,
McClary reported no complaints. Id. McClary's
vital signs were normal, and no further medical treatment was
officials investigated the alleged use-of-force incident. M&R
at 4. The investigator found that the amount and type of
force that McClary claimed was used on him
conflicted with the two medical examinations and the
evidence, and that McClary's abrasion and bump were
self-inflicted. Id. The investigator also found that
the use of force did not exceed the force necessary to move
McClary from the car to the van. Id.
reviewing the M&R, the record, and McClary's objections,
the court agrees with the legal conclusions in the M&R. See
Id. at 5-8. In response to defendants' motion
for summary judgment, McClary failed to cite competent
evidence from which a reasonable jury could find that
defendants used excessive force against him in
violation of the Eighth Amendment. Although McClary contends
he was dragged from the vehicle, thrown into the van, and
beaten up, he cites no competent evidence to support these
assertions. McClary's only verified statement concerning
the incident is his initial verified complaint, which
contains the conclusory assertion that McClary was
"thrown in the van and beaten." Compl. at
Nor does McClary cite any competent evidence rebutting the
competent evidence that defendants submitted that the
abrasion on his wrist and bump on his head did not result
from the alleged use of force. See [D.E. 58-1] 1-4; [D.E.
58-2] 1-6; [D.E. 58-3] 1-5; [D.E. 58-4] 1-4; [D.E. 58-5] 1-4
[D.E. 58-6] 1-4; [D.E. 58-7] 1-14; [D.E. 58-8] 1-10. In fact,
the evidence in the contemporaneous medical records belie
McClary's contention that defendants dragged him
and beat him. [D.E. 58-7] 1-14; [D.E. 58-8] 1-10. Even
viewing the record in the light most favorable to McClary, no
reasonable jury could find that defendants failed to apply
reasonable force proportional to the situation. See,
e.g.. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby. Lac. 477 U.S.
242, 252 (1986); Goldberg v. B. Green & Co.. 836
F.2d 845, 848 (4th Cir. 1988); May v. Vanlandingham.
No. 5:06-CT-3124-D, 2008 WL 2278501, at *5 (E.D. N.C. June 3,
2008) (unpublished), affd, 293 F.App'x 983 (4th Cir.
2008) (per curiam) (unpublished); Jackson v. Hart.
No. 5:13-CT-3202-D, 2015 WL 6873596, at *6 (E.D. N.C. Nov. 9,
2015) (unpublished); Wesley v. Oakes. No.
5:12-CT-3128-D, 2014 WL 11996386, at *3 (E.D. N.C. Feb. 25,
2014) (unpublished); Galeas v. Home. No.
3:11-CV-220-RJC, 2013 WL 1181600, at *7 (W.D. N.C. Mar. 21,
2013) (unpublished). Likewise, no reasonable jury could find
that defendants used force against McClary maliciously and
sadistically for the very purpose of causing harm, rather
than in a good-faith effort to maintain and restore
discipline following McClary's acknowledged refusal to
comply with an order. See, e.g., Jackson. 2015 WL
6873596, at *6; Wesley. 2014 WL 11996386, at *3;
Galeas. 2013 WL 1181600, at *7. Thus, the court
grants defendants' motion for summary judgment.
McClary's objections [D.E. 71] are OVERRULED. The court
adopts the conclusions in the M&R [D.E. 68]. Defendants'
motion for summary judgment [D.E. 55] is GRANTED, and
McClary's claims are DISMISSED. The clerk shall close the