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UNPUBLISHED PER CURIAM OPINION filed.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. . Mailed to: Jeffrey Servidio. [15-7036]
Pg: 1 of 6
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT
Plaintiff - Appellant,
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)
November 30, 2015
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Vacated and remanded by unpublished per curiam opinion.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
Unpublished opinions are not binding precedent in this circuit.
Pg: 2 of 6
Defendants in his 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (2012) action arising out of
an altercation that occurred on March 24, 2011.
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
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.
alleged that Sergeant Price arrived and that Pittman and Price
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
summary judgment, the Defendants assert that, as Sergeant Price
entered the area where Servidio was waiting with Correctional
Pg: 3 of 6
Officer Williams, Servidio attempted to exit the area.
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
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.
According to his medical records, Servidio had swelling on the
back of his head and an abrasion on his left leg.
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
The court also determined that, even viewing
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
judgment as a matter of law.”
Pg: 4 of 6
Hoschar v. Appalachian Power Co.,
739 F.3d 163, 169 (4th Cir. 2014).
We review a district court’s
inferences from the evidence viewed in the light most favorable
to the nonmoving party.
Webster v. USDA, 685 F.3d 411, 421 (4th
We find, based on our review of the record, that
judgment and, therefore, we vacate the district court’s order.
The Eighth Amendment prohibits “the unnecessary and wanton
“When prison officials maliciously and sadistically use
force to cause harm, contemporary standards of decency always
Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 1, 9 (1992).
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
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
demands that the inmate demonstrate that officials applied force
wantonly; that is, “maliciously and sadistically for the very
Pg: 5 of 6
purpose of causing harm,” rather than as part of “a good-faith
effort to maintain or restore discipline.”
Hudson v. McMillian,
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
severity of a forceful response.’”
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
He attests that he was calmly waiting to be
moved back to his cell block when Sergeant Pittman arrived, told
physically assault him.
Satisfying the objective component in the context of an
According to the version of events sworn to by Servidio and
supported at least in part by his medical records, and viewing
Webster, 685 F.3d at 421, we conclude that the force used was
Rather, Servidio attested that Defendants applied
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
Therefore, we conclude that the district court erred
in granting summary judgment in favor of the Defendants, and we
express no opinion on the ultimate disposition of Servidio’s
We dispense with oral argument because the facts and
VACATED AND REMANDED
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?