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Wright v. State

United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division

April 26, 2016

JAMES A. WRIGHT ADC # 142769, Plaintiff,
v.
STATE OF ARKANSAS, et al. Defendants.

          RECOMMENDED DISPOSITION

          BETH DEERE, Magistrate Judge.

         I. Procedures for Filing Objections:

         This Recommended Disposition ("Recommendation") has been sent to Chief Judge Brian S. Miller. You may file written objections to this Recommendation. If you file objections, they must be specific and must include the factual or legal basis for your objection. Your objections must be received in the office of the United States District Court Clerk within fourteen (14) days of this Recommendation.

         If no objections are filed, Judge Miller can adopt this Recommendation without independently reviewing the record. By not objecting, you may also waive any right to appeal questions of fact.

         II. Background:

         Plaintiff James A. Wright, an Arkansas Department of Correction ("ADC") inmate, filed this case pro se under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Docket entry #1) Mr. Wright alleges that on May 3, 2015, while housed at the Grimes Unit of the ADC, Defendant Cullum used excessive force against him.[1] (#9)

         Defendant Cullum, the only remaining Defendant, has now filed a motion for summary judgment. (#23) Mr. Wright has not responded to the motion, and the time for doing so has passed. After viewing the evidence in a light most favorable to Mr. Wright, the Court concludes that Defendant Cullum's motion for summary judgment should be granted

         III. Discussion:

         A. Standard for Granting Summary Judgment

         In a summary judgment the court rules in favor of a party without the need for a trial. A party is entitled to summary judgment if the evidence, viewed in the light most favorable to the party on the other side of the lawsuit, shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any fact that is important to the outcome of the case. FED.R.CIV.P. 56; Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23, 106 S.Ct. 2548 (1986); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 246, 106 S.Ct. 2505 (1986).

         Here, Defendant Cullum has moved for summary judgment, so he must come forward with evidence showing that there is no real dispute about any fact that is important enough to make a difference in how the case is decided. If he meets this burden, Mr. Wright must respond by producing evidence that contradicts Defendant Cullum's evidence. Torgerson v. City of Rochester, 643 F.3d 1031, 1042 (8th Cir. 2011) (en banc). If he does not come forward with enough evidence to show that there is a real dispute, the Court must grant summary judgment in favor of Defendant Cullum, and there will be no trial. Celotex Corp., 447 U.S. at 322-23, 106 S.Ct. at 2552.

         B. Facts

         On May 3, 2015, Mr. Wright was housed in an isolation cell in the Grimes Unit where Defendant Cullum and Corporal Bufford (not a party to this action) conducted "mat call." In routine mat call, for an inmate to receive a mat, he must stand with his back to the door with his hands together behind his back. After he places his hands through the flap, an officer places his hands in restraints. After hands are restrained, a door is opened, the inmate is issued a mat, and the door is closed again. The inmate then again backs up to the door and puts his restrained hand through the flap so that officers can remove the hand restraints. (#23, Ex. 9)

         After Mr. Wright was issued a mat and the door was closed, he returned to the door and put his restraints through the flap. (#25) At that time, Defendant Cullum held Mr. Wright's right hand and Corporal Bufford held his hand restraints and inserted the key to remove them. (#23, Ex. 3, 8, 9, 10) Mr. Wright began trying to pull his hands away from the officers; Corporal Bufford managed to retrieve the key from the restraints. (#23, Ex. 8, p.32, #25) Defendant Cullum then sprayed Mr. Wright with ...


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