Leonard Kitt v. Tracy Bailey
UNPUBLISHED OPINION FILED. [15-20378 Affirmed ] Judge: WED , Judge: LHS , Judge: SAH Mandate pull date is 03/07/2017; granting motion to file supp reply brief filed by Appellant Mr. Leonard Wayne Kitt [8079554-2]; granting motion to file supplemental briefs filed by Appellant Mr. Leonard Wayne Kitt [8044308-2]; denying motion to order defendents to submit missing evidence filed by Appellant Mr. Leonard Wayne Kitt [8020949-2]; granting motion to question the evidentiary support and file his objection to defendant's initial disclosure Pg. 28 Offense Report (Objection to Insufficient Evidence for Defendant) filed by Appellant Mr. Leonard Wayne Kitt [8020884-2]; denying motion to appoint counsel filed by Appellant Mr. Leonard Wayne Kitt [7985250-2] [15-20378]
Date Filed: 02/14/2017
IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT
United States Court of Appeals
February 14, 2017
Lyle W. Cayce
LEONARD WAYNE KITT,
TRACY H. BAILEY, Senior Warden, and Reprimanding Authority; JODY L.
VINCENT; LAKESHIA L. COOPER; KRISTY C. COOPER; MS. FRENCHER,
(University of Texas Medical Branch) Employee/LVN Nurse; GWYNN FINCHER;
BILLY A. MCCREARY, JR.; ANDREW L. ALLEN; HENRY L. FORD, III; DAVID W.
ALLMON; EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, DEPUTY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR,
DIVISION DIRECTOR, DEPUTY DIRECTORS, REGIONAL DIRECTORS,
Appeal from the United States District Court
for the Southern District of Texas
USDC No. 4:12-CV-368
Before DAVIS, SOUTHWICK, and HIGGINSON, Circuit Judges.
PER CURIAM: *
Leonard Wayne Kitt, Texas prisoner # 655955, filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983
civil rights action against officials of the Texas Department of Criminal
Justice. He alleged that excessive force was used against him when he was
Pursuant to 5TH CIR. R. 47.5, the court has determined that this opinion should not
be published and is not precedent except under the limited circumstances set forth in 5TH
CIR. R. 47.5.4.
Date Filed: 02/14/2017
sprayed with a chemical agent prior to being moved from a shower cell to
another cell. All defendants except Billy McCreary were dismissed because
Kitt failed to state a claim against them. McCreary was later dismissed by
summary judgment based on qualified immunity. Even when Kitt’s appeal
pleadings are liberally construed, he appeals only the dismissal of McCreary.
His other potential claims are waived by lack of briefing. See Yohey v. Collins,
985 F.2d 222, 224-25 (5th Cir. 1993); Brinkmann v. Dallas Cty. Deputy Sheriff
Abner, 813 F.2d 744, 748 (5th Cir. 1987).
We review de novo the grant of summary judgment. See Hernandez v.
Yellow Transp., Inc., 670 F.3d 644, 650 (5th Cir. 2012). “Summary judgment
is proper if the pleadings and evidence show there is no genuine issue of
material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Id.; see FED. R. CIV. P. 56(a). To defeat summary judgment, Kitt must set forth
specific facts showing the existence of a genuine issue for trial. See FED. R.
CIV. P. 56(c)(1).
Because McCreary invoked the defense of qualified immunity, Kitt must
also negate that defense by pleading facts to show a violation of a right that
was clearly established at the time of the incident and that, in light of that
clearly established law, the defendant’s conduct was objectively unreasonable.
See Short v. West, 662 F.3d 320, 325 (5th Cir. 2011). Where a prison official is
alleged to have used excessive force, “the core judicial inquiry is . . . whether
force was applied in a good-faith effort to maintain or restore discipline, or
maliciously and sadistically to cause harm.” Hudson v. McMillian, 503 U.S. 1,
7 (1992). We give great weight to the facts shown in video recordings made at
the scene. See Newman v. Guedry, 703 F.3d 757, 761 (5th Cir. 2012).
Uncontested summary judgment evidence, including a video recording
and Kitt’s pleadings, shows that McCreary sprayed Kitt’s upper back and the
Date Filed: 02/14/2017
back of his head with a chemical agent for about five seconds when Kitt refused
to submit to a strip search and cell restraints for the purposes of removal from
the shower cell. Kitt then complied with instructions. Upon reaching his new
cell, Kitt complained of chest pains and shortness of breath. He received
immediate medical attention and suffered no apparent injury or lingering ill
effects from being sprayed.
Moreover, Kitt has admitted that he refused to comply with orders to
submit to restraints. But he notes that no disciplinary charge was made
against him, which he asserts is proof that he was right to resist being
handcuffed because he should simply have been released from the shower cell.
Prison officials are “accorded wide-ranging deference in the adoption and
execution of policies and practices that in their judgment are needed to
preserve internal order and discipline and to maintain institutional security.”
Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 547 (1979). Kitt’s mere conclusional assertion
that he should simply have been released does not establish that he was
entitled to disobey an order. Moreover, he does not show that McCreary should
have known restraints were not needed or that McCreary acted in bad faith or
Although Kitt contends that force was unnecessary because he was not
actively resisting or creating a disturbance, no clearly established law forbids
the application of a single burst of a chemical irritant in order to compel a
prisoner to comply with an order. There is no genuine dispute that Kitt refused
to comply with orders and that McCreary’s actions were objectively reasonable
under the circumstances. See Hudson, 503 U.S. at 6-7. Kitt thus has failed to
overcome the defense of qualified immunity. See Short, 662 F.3d at 325.
Kitt contends that he was sprayed with chemicals in violation of a
medical restriction against exposure to pollutants. As noted by the district
Date Filed: 02/14/2017
court, Kitt was restricted from exposure to chemicals in his workplace, but not
for disciplinary purposes. In any event, “a prison official’s failure to follow the
prison’s own policies, procedures or regulations” does not, in itself, amount to
constitutional violation. Myers v. Klevenhagen, 97 F.3d 91, 94 (5th Cir. 1996).
Finally, Kitt argues that, without a disciplinary charge to defend
against, he was denied due process of law because he could not present his
version of events. This argument does not pertain to the relevant issue of
McCreary’s qualified immunity. Moreover, Kitt was afforded due process when
he had the opportunity to set forth his version of events in a prison grievance
he filed about the force incident. Cf. Stauffer v. Gearhart, 741 F.3d 574, 587
(5th Cir. 2014) (noting that the use of the prison grievance system afforded the
prisoner due process).
The district court’s judgment is AFFIRMED.
Kitt’s motion for
appointment of counsel is DENIED. See Ulmer v. Chancellor, 691 F.2d 209,
212 (5th Cir. 1982). Kitt’s motion to order the submission of missing evidence
is DENIED. Kitt’s motion “to question the evidentiary support” is construed
as a request to allow additional briefing (which have been filed) and, as such,
Kitt’s motions to file a supplemental brief and to file a
supplemental reply brief (which have been filed) are GRANTED. All other
requested relief is DENIED.
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