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Stokes v. Johnson

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

January 5, 2018

K. JOHNSON, et al., Defendants.



         THIS MATTER comes before the Court on the following motions: a Motion for Summary Judgment by Defendants Kurt Johnson, Thomas Plummer, and Felicia McAdon, (Doc. No. 32), and Plaintiff's Motion for Order Overruling Objections to Production and Compelling Discovery, (Doc. No. 57).


         A. Procedural Background

         Pro se Plaintiff George Victor Stokes is a North Carolina inmate currently incarcerated at the Cherokee County Detention Center in Murphy, North Carolina. Plaintiff filed this action on March 11, 2016, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that his First Amendment rights were violated when he was placed in disciplinary detention in retaliation for filing grievances against supervisory officials while Plaintiff was incarcerated as a pre-trial detainee at the Mecklenburg County Jail (“the jail”). (Doc. Nos. 1, 24-1). On July 19, 2016, this Court conducted a frivolity review and allowed the claim to proceed against all Defendants.[1] (Doc. No. 7).

         On June 28, 2017, Defendants Johnson, McAdon, and Plummer filed the pending summary judgment motion. (Doc. No. 32). Attached to summary judgment materials are the Declaration of jail Captain Kristie Graham attesting to the grievances submitted by Plaintiff; the jail's handbook regarding grievance forms; Plaintiff's grievances from January 16 and January 23, 2015; the Declaration of Defendant Kurt Johnson; Johnson's incident report; the Notice of Disciplinary Hearing; and Plaintiff's Waiver/Disciplinary Hearing Disposition. See (Doc. No. 32-1).

         On July 18, 2017, 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 summary judgment motion and of the manner in which evidence could be submitted to the Court. (Doc. No. 36). After receiving an extension of time, Plaintiff has filed a response to the summary judgment motion, which includes his own Declaration sworn under penalty of perjury, a “statement of disputed factual issues, ” his grievances, Defendants' responses to Plaintiff's request for production of documents, and Plaintiff's attachment to his Complaint. See (Doc. No. 50).

         Furthermore, on October 3, 2017, Plaintiff filed the pending “Motion for Order Overruling Objections to Production and Compelling Disclosure, ” in which he seeks an order from the Court overruling the objections filed by Defendants in response to various requests for production of documents submitted by Plaintiff. Plaintiff's motion will be denied for the reasons stated in Defendants' brief in response to the motion to compel. That is, Defendants have shown that Defendants have produced documents responsive to Plaintiff's requests, except for those that are overbroad, unduly burdensome, or not relevant to Plaintiff's claim.

         B. Factual Background

         The evidence on summary judgment shows the following:

         Plaintiff was a pretrial detainee at the Mecklenburg County Jail in 2014 and 2015. (Doc. No. 1 at p. 3). According to Plaintiff, he filed several grievances against “supervisory officials” at the jail. (Id.). Jail records reflect that Plaintiff filed fourteen total grievances from 2014 to 2015, and nine grievances before January 15, 2015. (Doc. No. 32-2 at ¶ 5: Graham Dec.; Attachment B to Graham Dec.). The only grievances Plaintiff filed against “supervisory officials” before January 15, 2015, were on September 5, 2014, against “Captain Gooding” for placing Plaintiff in “full restraints, ” and on September 8, 2014, against “the County and its officials” for removing Plaintiff from “DDU” and placing him in “full restraints” in “retaliation for filing complaints and grievances against staff and its administration.”[2] (Doc. No. 32-4 at 3, 4: Attachment 1B to Graham Dec.). According to Plaintiff, Defendant Johnson, a detention officer at the jail, told Plaintiff that “since you like filing grievances against my boss, I'm going to teach you a lesson, and make sure you're kept in lock-up for a long time.” (Doc. No. 1 at 3).

         According to Defendants' evidence on summary judgment, on January 15, 2015, Johnson was the Pod supervisor in Pod 5600, and Plaintiff asked Johnson if he could speak with a supervisor concerning pod shakedowns. (Doc. No. 32-6 at ¶ 3: Johnson Dec.). Johnson asked his supervisor, Sergeant Currin, if Currin would speak with Plaintiff. (Id.). Currin replied that he couldn't speak with Plaintiff immediately, but would speak with him as soon as he could. (Id.). Johnson informed Plaintiff that Currin would talk with Plaintiff later in the day. (Id. at ¶ 4). According to Johnson, Plaintiff then warned him that Plaintiff would kill officers if they conducted shakedowns again. (Id.). Johnson submitted an incident report on January 15, 2015, informing Sergeants Currin and Nesbitt about Plaintiff's threat. (Doc. No. 32-7). The incident report stated as follows:

I was assigned the duties of pod supervisor in Pod 5600 on 15 January 2015. At approximately 0855 Inmate Stokes, George #440161 asked to speak with a Supervisor. I notified Sergeant Currin that Inmate Stokes was requesting to speak with the Sergeant. Sergeant Currin indicated that he would speak with Inmate Stokes in due time but was currently busy with staff breaks. I went to Inmate Stokes' cell to inform him that Sergeant Currin was currently unavailable but was notified and would be in to talk to him later in the day. At that time Inmate Stokes asked me to pass along the following information:
‘If ya'll come in her harassing me again I'm going to get my Bloods involved. I can orchestrate hits without using the mail. I can get in touch with my Bloods through the toilet and have anyone of y'all killed just like the CO I had dealt with in prison. I will have my Bloods from the street follow y'all home and have them dealt with. This is fucking harassment and I'm fucking tired of the shit. The next time ya'll come in here harassing me, shaking me down day in and day out without judge cause, shit is going down. I'm not playin' anymore.'
Sergeant Currin and Sergeant Nesbitt were both notified of the threats made towards the staff. It was determined that Inmate Stokes would be placed on DDU status due to the serious threats mace towards the staff. Again I went over to explain to him his new status and he had the following to say:
‘Look J, I don't give a fuck about none of the shit you're talking about. Right now they're winning but in the end I will win. It doesn't matter what status I'm on or what they put in the paper. They can't stop me from doing what I'm gonna do. J, I understand that ya'll have jobs to do and that these fucking shakedowns aren't under yall's control. I don't want the Sergeants, Captaisn or Cos, I want the fucking Major. He's the mother fucker that has ya'll coming in here on day shift shaking us down, then against on night shift and then again the next fucking morning. Imma put a stop to that mother fucker. I want the fucking major, that's who I want. I don't know his name or ...

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