United States District Court, D. Connecticut
JONATHAN S. SEILER, Plaintiff,
SCOTT SEMPLE, et al., Defendants.
RULING ON MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
W. Thompson United States District Judge.
plaintiff, Jonathan S. Seiler, commenced this civil rights
action pro se. The remaining named defendants are Lieutenant
Donovan and Correctional Officer Pearson. The only remaining
claim is an Eighth Amendment claim for use of excessive
force. The defendants have moved for summary judgment. For
the reasons that follow, the motion for summary judgment is
motion for summary judgment may be granted only where there
are no issues of material fact in dispute and the moving
party is therefore entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Rule 56(a), Fed. R. Civ. P.; Redd v. New York Div. of
Parole, 678 F.3d 166, 173-74 (2d Cir. 2012). “When
the nonmoving party will bear the burden of proof at trial,
the moving party can satisfy its burden at summary judgment
by ‘pointing out to the district court' the absence
of a genuine dispute with respect to any essential element of
its opponent's case: ‘a complete failure of proof
concerning an essential element of the nonmoving party's
case necessarily renders all other facts
immaterial.'” Cohane v. National Collegiate
Athletic Ass'n, 612 Fed.Appx. 41, 43 (2d Cir. 2015)
(quoting Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323
the moving party meets this burden, the nonmoving party must
set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine
issue for trial. Wright v. Goord, 554 F.3d 255, 266
(2d Cir. 2009). He cannot “‘rely on conclusory
allegations or unsubstantiated speculation' but
‘must come forward with specific evidence demonstrating
the existence of a genuine dispute of material
fact.'” Robinson v. Concentra Health
Servs., 781 F.3d 42, 34 (2d Cir. 2015) (citation
omitted). He must present such evidence as would allow a jury
to find in his favor in order to defeat the motion for
summary judgment. Graham v. Long Island R.R., 230
F.3d 34, 38 (2d Cir. 2000). Although the court reads pro se
papers liberally and interprets them to raise the strongest
arguments they suggest, Willey v. Kirkpatrick, 801
F.3d 51, 62 (2d Cir. 2015), “unsupported allegations do
not create a material issue of fact” and are
insufficient to oppose a properly supported motion for
summary judgment. Weinstock v. Columbia Univ., 224
F.3d 33, 41 (2d Cir. 2000).
August 2, 2016, Officer Pearson inspected the plaintiff's
cell in the restrictive housing unit, RHU-101, and removed a
second mattress from the cell. He then escorted the plaintiff
from the recreation yard back to his cell.
being handcuffed to enter the restrictive housing unit from
the recreation yard, the plaintiff pulled his hands back from
the trap toward the recreation yard. During the escort to his
cell, the plaintiff closed the distance between Officer
Pearson and himself, despite verbal instructions not to do
so. Officer Pearson used controlled contact to maintain a
space between them.
they were directly in front of the plaintiff's cell, the
plaintiff fell to the floor on his abdomen. The plaintiff
acted alone without any involvement by Officer Pearson, who
immediately stepped away from the plaintiff and made no
contact with him.
on the ground, the plaintiff yelled “stop kicking me in
the [groin], stop kicking my stomach, stop hurting me.”
ECF No. 101-2, ¶ 6. In his original Complaint, the
plaintiff alleged that he stated that “[i]t feels like
you kicked me in the [groin].” Id., ¶ 7.
Pearson summoned assistance. Lieutenant Donovan responded to
the call. After listening to Officer Pearson's
description and viewing the situation upon her arrival,
Lieutenant Donovan determined that the plaintiff had been
actively resistant during the restraint application for his
return from the recreation yard by pulling his hands away
from the trap door. He also was actively resistant while
being escorted to his call by deliberately closing the gap
between Officer Pearson and himself and ignoring verbal
instructions to stop doing so. Lieutenant Donovan determined
that the plaintiff had intentionally fallen to the floor and
falsely accused Officer Pearson of assaulting him. As she
determined that the plaintiff had interfered with
institutional safety and security, Lieutenant Donovan decided
that use of in-cell restraints was warranted.
p.m., Lieutenant Donovan ordered the plaintiff taken to cell
RHU-112 and placed on in-cell restraints. The restraints were
removed the following morning, at 4:05 a.m. At no time was
the plaintiff placed on full stationary restraints, also
known as four-point restraints.
May 2016, the plaintiff filed eight inmate grievances during
an eight-day period. The plaintiff was found to have abused
the inmate grievance process and was placed on grievance
restriction from June 2, 2016 through December 3, 2016.
During that time, he was permitted to file only one grievance
per month as long as that grievance related to a new issue
not previously addressed through the grievance process.
incident occurred on August 2, 2016. The plaintiff had thirty
days, or until September 2, 2016, to file a grievance. He did
not do so. Instead, on August 10, ...