Coleman v. McNelis et al
MEMORANDUM OPINION. SEE OPINION FOR COMPLETE DETAILS. Signed by District Judge Henry E. Hudson on 12/04/2017. Copy of Memorandum Opinion mailed to Plaintiff.(ccol, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT -FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF VIRGINIA I,=
K McNELIS, et al.
CLERK. U.S. C11ST,:;1CT COURT
Civil Action No. 3: 16CV96 l-HEH
(Denying Motions for Summary Judgment)
Raymond Coleman, a Virginia prisoner proceedingpro se and informapauperis,
brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. 1 As pertinent here, 2 Coleman contends
that Correctional Officers K. McNelis and N. Melton violated his rights under the Eighth
The statute provides, in pertinent part:
Every person who, under color of any statute ... of any State ... subjects,
or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within
the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities
secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an
action at law ....
42 U.S.C. § 1983.
In his Complaint, Coleman also listed as defendants a number of unnamed employees of
the Virginia Department of Corrections and Armor Correctional Health Services, Inc. Coleman,
however has failed to identify these individuals or serve them with a copy of the Complaint. The
Court employs the pagination assigned to Coleman's submissions by the CM/ECF docketing
Amendment 3 and acted with gross negligence when they failed to protect him from an
assault by another inmate on November 24, 2014. (Compl. 2, 11-13.)
K. McNelis and N. Melton ("Defendants") have filed separate Motions for
Summary Judgment (ECF Nos. 14, 26). 4 Defendants have each provided Coleman with
appropriate Roseboro 5 notice. (See ECF Nos. 16, 28.) Coleman has responded to the
Defendants' Motions for Summary Judgment. (ECF Nos. 18, 19, 30, 31.) For the
reasons set forth below, the Motions for Summary Judgment will be denied without
I. DEFENDANTS' MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
Summary judgment must be rendered "if the movant shows that there is no
genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter
of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). It is the responsibility of the party seeking summary
judgment to inform the court of the basis for the motion, and to identify the parts of the
record which demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. See Celotex
Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986).
''Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and
unusual punishments inflicted." U.S. Const. amend. VIII.
The Court notes that although Defendants filed separate Motions for Summary
Judgment, they are represented by the same counsel and their motions present identical
Statements of Facts, Arguments, Affidavits, and Exhibits. (See Mem. Supp. Mot. Dismiss, ECF
Nos. 15, 27 .) Therefore, the Court analyzes the motions as one.
Roseboro v. Garrison, 528 F.2d 309 (4th Cir. 1975).
Defendants moved for summary judgment on the ground that Coleman failed to
properly exhaust his administrative remedies as required by 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a).6
Because exhaustion of administrative remedies is an affirmative defense, Defendants bear
the burden of pleading and proving lack of exhaustion. Jones v. Bock, 549 U.S. 199, 216
Defendants contend that Coleman failed to properly exhaust his administrative
remedies because he failed to pursue any grievances during the thirty-day period after the
assault on November 25, 2014, as prison rules required. The record before the Court is
inadequate for the Court to evaluate whether Coleman was able to avail himself of any
available administrative remedies during that timeframe. See Moore v. Bennette, 517
F .3d 717, 725 (4th Cir. 2008) (citation omitted) (observing that "an administrative
remedy is not considered to have been available if a prisoner, through no fault of his own,
was prevented from availing himself of it"). Further, the record is unclear as to when
Coleman first began pursuing administrative remedies with respect to the November 25,
2014 incident. Therefore, the Motions for Summary Judgment (ECF Nos. 14, 26) will be
denied without prejudice. Nevertheless, the Court will grant the Defendants leave to
refile their Motions for Summary Judgment and re-raise their exhaustion defense and
address the merits of Coleman's Complaint. See E.D. Va. Loe. Civ. R. 56(c).
action shall be brought with respect to prison conditions under [42 U .S.C. § 1983]
or any other Federal law, by a prisoner confined in any jail, prison, or other correctional facility
until such administrative remedies as are available are exhausted." 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a)
If the Defendants choose to renew their motion for summary judgment on the
ground that Coleman failed to exhaust his administrative remedies, the Defendants should
(1) Coleman's submission of a "Grievance Receipt" indicating that he filed a
grievance pertaining the November 25, 2014 incident as early as February
2015 (ECF No. 1-2, at 6);
(2) Coleman's submission of a response to a Regular Grievance dated May 5,
2015 stating "13 Informals written" (id. at 2);
(3) Coleman's available administrative remedies while housed in the Greensville
Correctional Center's Medical Unit (see Compl. ~ 31.); and
(4) Coleman's ability to avail himself of any available administrative remedies
while housed in Greenville Correctional Center's Medical Unit (see id. ~ 33).
Further, the Court expects the parties to abide by Local Civil Rule 56(8), which
Each brief in support of a motion for summary judgment shall include a
specifically captioned section listing all material facts as to which the
moving party contends there is no genuine issue and citing the parts of the
record relied on to support the listed facts as alleged to be undisputed. A
brief in response to such a motion shall include a specifically captioned
section listing all material facts as to which it is contended that there exists a
genuine issue necessary to be litigated and citing the parts of the record
relied on to support the facts alleged to be in dispute. In determining a
motion for summary judgment, the Court may assume that facts identified
by the moving party in its listing of material facts are admitted, unless such
a fact is controverted in the statement of genuine issues filed in opposition to
E.D. Va. Loe. Civ. R. 56(8).
For the foregoing reasons, Defendants Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF
Nos. 14, 26) will be denied without prejudice. Any party wishing to file a renewed
Motion for Summary Judgment must do so within sixty (60) days of the date of entry
An appropriate order will accompany this Memorandum Opinion.
HENRY E. HUDSON
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Date:D~c.. 'i. 1 2ot'7
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