Andrews v. Williams
Order on Motion for Summary Judgment
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
DISTRICT OF ALASKA
PETER LEE ANDREWS,
CHESTER LEE WILLIAMS,
ORDER AND OPINION
(Re: Motions at docs. 76, 77 & 84)
I. MOTION PRESENTED
At docket 76, defendant Sergeant Chester Lee Williams moves for summary
judgment on plaintiff Peter Lee Andrews” claim for lost property. The motion is
essentially repeated in what defendant deems a “cross-motion for summary judgment”
at docket 84. In addition, plaintiff moves for summary judgment at docket 77. All
motion have been briefed. Oral argument was not requested and would not assist the
In his Second Amended Complaint, Andrews alleged that defendant Williams
wrestled him to the ground and hit him in the ribs on May 14, 2004, in the Cook Inlet
Pretrial booking area.1 Plaintiff further alleged that Williams took plaintiff’s prescription
eye glasses at that time and did not return them. The Second Amended Complaint
asserted that Williams violated Andrews’ rights under the Eighth Amendment. In an
earlier order, this court dismissed the claim advanced by Andrews based on the alleged
assault on May 14, 2004, because Andrews had not properly exhausted the grievance
procedure available to him with respect to the assault.2 In that same order, the court
declined to dismiss the claim for loss of the eyeglasses, because that claim had been
exhausted, and the only basis advanced for dismissal of the claim was failure to
exhaust administrative remedies.
In the current motion Williams contends that the lost property claim cannot be
pursued based on an alleged violation of the Eighth Amendment, because plaintiff has
not even pled the essential elements of the claim and the undisputed facts do not
support such a claim.
A claim for violation of the Eighth Amendment based upon deliberate indifference
to a medical need requires a plaintiff to set forth facts to support a conclusion that the
“failure to treat a prisoner’s condition could result in further significant injury or the
‘unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain.’”3 Andrews’ Second Amended Complaint
alleges that the loss of his glasses has caused double vision, headaches, and loss of
vision. The court will assume for purposes of this motion that this is a sufficient
allegation of significant injury. Defendant presents no evidence to show that this was
not a significant injury.
To make a claim against Williams for the loss of the glasses, Andrews must also
present facts sufficient to show that Williams acted with deliberate indifference to his
medical needs.4 It is undisputed that the eyeglasses were lost after Williams placed
them up on a counter. There is no evidence that Williams intentionally lost the
eyeglasses, or that Williams himself ever did anything more with the eyeglasses than
place them on the counter. Somehow they got lost. Maybe it was negligent to put the
Jet v. Penner, 439 F.3d 1091, 1096 (9th Cir. 2006 (quoting McGuckin v. Smith, 974 F.
2d 1050, 1059 (9th Cir. 1991) (overruled on other grounds by WMX Techs, Inc. V. Miller, 104
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97,104-05 (1976) .
eyeglasses on the counter. Even assuming it was negligent to do so, negligence is not
enough to support an Eighth Amendment claim.5
The undisputed facts surrounding the disappearance of the eyeglasses do not
show that Williams was deliberately indifferent to Andrews’ medical needs. At most he
was negligent. It follows that defendant Williams is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56.
For the reasons above, Williams first motion for summary judgment at docket 76
is GRANTED, Andrews’ motion for summary judgment at docket 77 is DENIED, and
Williams’ second motion for summary judgment at docket 84 is DENIED as moot. The
court has previously dismissed plaintiff’s other claims for failure to exhaust
administrative remedies. As implied in defendants’ briefing in support of the motion at
docket 76, Andrews may be able to pursue a state law tort claim in state court. This
court takes no position on that matter.
The Clerk will please enter a judgment that this case is dismissed without
DATED at Anchorage, Alaska, this 21st day of November 2007.
/s/ JOHN W. SEDWICK
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Hutchinson v. U.S., 838 F.2d 390, 394 (9th Cir. 1988).
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