Jeffrey Servidio v. Sgt. Pittman


UNPUBLISHED PER CURIAM OPINION filed. Originating case number: 5:13-ct-03072-D. Copies to all parties and the district court. [999719198]. Mailed to: Jeffrey Servidio. [15-7036]

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Appeal: 15-7036 Doc: 10 Filed: 12/16/2015 Pg: 1 of 6 UNPUBLISHED UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT No. 15-7036 JEFFREY SERVIDIO, Plaintiff - Appellant, v. SGT. PITTMAN; SGT. PRICE, Defendants - Appellees. Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina, at Raleigh. James C. Dever III, Chief District Judge. (5:13-ct-03072-D) Submitted: November 30, 2015 Decided: December 16, 2015 Before DUNCAN, AGEE, and KEENAN, Circuit Judges. Vacated and remanded by unpublished per curiam opinion. Jeffrey Servidio, Appellant Pro Se. Peter Andrew Regulski, Assistant Attorney General, Donna Elizabeth Tanner, NORTH CAROLINA DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, Raleigh, North Carolina, for Appellees. Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit. Appeal: 15-7036 Doc: 10 Filed: 12/16/2015 Pg: 2 of 6 PER CURIAM: Jeffrey district Servidio, court’s entry a North of Carolina summary inmate, judgment in appeals favor of the the Defendants in his 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (2012) action arising out of an altercation that occurred on March 24, 2011. Servidio’s verified complaints, he and According to Correctional Officer Sharpe had a disagreement in the gym, and Sharpe was instructed to bring Servidio back to the main building, which she did. Servidio was then subjected to a strip search and handcuffed behind his back. Correctional Officer Williams told Servidio that she needed to take him to the medical unit, and he declined medical treatment. Servidio alleges that Sergeant Pittman then appeared, informed Servidio that he was going to medical and, without provocation, pepper sprayed Servidio in the face and then grabbed him and threw him head first into a wall. Servidio alleged that Sergeant Price arrived and that Pittman and Price continued to unconscious. assault him, causing Servidio to become Servidio asserts that he suffered a hematoma on the top of his head, scratches and bruises, permanent partial vision loss in his left eye, and partial loss of the use of his right arm. According to affidavits submitted with their motion for summary judgment, the Defendants assert that, as Sergeant Price entered the area where Servidio was waiting with Correctional 2 Appeal: 15-7036 Doc: 10 Filed: 12/16/2015 Pg: 3 of 6 Officer Williams, Servidio attempted to exit the area. Pittman reached for Servidio’s shoulder to stop him, but Servidio turned around, lowered his head, and attempted to head butt Pittman. At this point, Pittman sprayed the chemical agent in Servidio’s face. Servidio fell backward into a wall-mounted shelf and then onto the floor. Servidio began kicking at Pittman and Price, but the Defendants applied no force, other than the single burst of pepper spray. Servidio remove the was taken chemical to agent. medical He and was allowed then seen to by shower a to nurse. According to his medical records, Servidio had swelling on the back of his head and an abrasion on his left leg. The nurse cleaned the abrasion and applied ice to Servidio’s injuries. Based on this evidence, the district court concluded that the Defendants applied force in a good faith effort to maintain or restore discipline after Servidio declined medical treatment and that the single burst of pepper spray did not violate the Eighth Amendment. the evidence in The court also determined that, even viewing the light most favorable to Servidio, no reasonable jury could find that the Defendants’ actions violated the Eighth Amendment, and therefore granted summary judgment in favor of the Defendants. “Summary judgment is appropriate where there are no genuine issues of material fact and the moving party is entitled to 3 Appeal: 15-7036 Doc: 10 Filed: 12/16/2015 judgment as a matter of law.” Pg: 4 of 6 Hoschar v. Appalachian Power Co., 739 F.3d 163, 169 (4th Cir. 2014). summary judgment determination We review a district court’s de novo, drawing reasonable inferences from the evidence viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Cir. 2012). Servidio Webster v. USDA, 685 F.3d 411, 421 (4th We find, based on our review of the record, that presented sufficient evidence to preclude summary judgment and, therefore, we vacate the district court’s order. The Eighth Amendment prohibits “the unnecessary and wanton infliction (1986). of pain.” Whitley v. Albers, 475 U.S. 312, 319 “When prison officials maliciously and sadistically use force to cause harm, contemporary standards of decency always are violated.” Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 9 (1992). In considering a claim of an Eighth Amendment violation, we must determine “whether the prison official acted with a sufficiently culpable state of mind (subjective component) and whether the deprivation sufficiently suffered serious or injury inflicted (objective on component).” the inmate was Williams v. Benjamin, 77 F.3d 756, 761 (4th Cir. 1996); see Iko v. Shreve, 535 F.3d 225, 238 (4th Cir. 2008). In a case in which an inmate claims that a prison official used excessive force against him, the subjective component demands that the inmate demonstrate that officials applied force wantonly; that is, “maliciously and sadistically for the very 4 Appeal: 15-7036 Doc: 10 Filed: 12/16/2015 Pg: 5 of 6 purpose of causing harm,” rather than as part of “a good-faith effort to maintain or restore discipline.” 503 U.S. 1, 7 (1992) (internal Hudson v. McMillian, quotation marks omitted). Factors relevant to this determination include “the need for the application of force, the relationship between that need and the amount of force used, the threat ‘reasonably perceived by the responsible official,’ and ‘any efforts severity of a forceful response.’” made to temper the Id. (quoting Whitley, 475 U.S. at 320-21). Here, Servidio admits that he declined to go to medical as directed, but asserts that he was merely exercising his right to refuse treatment. He attests that he was calmly waiting to be moved back to his cell block when Sergeant Pittman arrived, told Servidio sprayed he him was in going the to face medical, with and, pepper without spray and provocation, continued to physically assault him. Satisfying the objective component in the context of an excessive force “nontrivial.” claim demands Wilkins v. only Gaddy, that 559 the U.S. force 34, 39 used be (2010). According to the version of events sworn to by Servidio and supported at least in part by his medical records, and viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to Servidio, see Webster, 685 F.3d at 421, we conclude that the force used was not trivial. Rather, Servidio attested that Defendants applied 5 Appeal: 15-7036 Doc: 10 Filed: 12/16/2015 Pg: 6 of 6 sufficient force to render him unconscious and to cause partial permanent loss of vision in one eye and limited range of motion in his right arm. We conclude that the evidence, construed in the light most favorable to Servidio, see Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S. 372, 378 (2007), could support a jury finding that the officers wantonly administered significant force to Servidio in retaliation for his conduct rather than for the purpose of bringing him under control. Therefore, we conclude that the district court erred in granting summary judgment in favor of the Defendants, and we vacate its judgment and remand for further proceedings. We express no opinion on the ultimate disposition of Servidio’s claims. legal before We dispense with oral argument because the facts and contentions this court are adequately and argument presented would not in aid the the materials decisional process. VACATED AND REMANDED 6

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