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Patterson v. Casalenda

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

April 23, 2019

Honora Tremaine Patterson, Plaintiff,
Dominic Casalenda, Michael Costello, Michael Zacharias, in their individual capacity, Defendants.



         The above-captioned case comes before the undersigned on Plaintiff's Motion for Order for Protection [and] Order to Show Cause for Protection, (ECF No. 30), Defendants Casalenda, Costello, and Zacharias' Motion for Summary Judgment, (ECF No. 42), and Defendants Casalenda, Costello, and Zacharias' Motion to Strike Plaintiff's Amended Complaint, (ECF No. 48).[1] This matter was referred for the resolution of pretrial matters pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636 and District of Minnesota Local Rule 72.1. (ECF No. 20). For the reasons stated below, the Court recommends that Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment be granted, Defendants' Motion to Strike Plaintiff's Amended Complaint be denied, Plaintiff's motion be denied, and this matter be dismissed with prejudice.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff initiated suit on July 20, 2018. (Compl., ECF No. 1). Plaintiff is committed to the Minnesota Correctional Facility at Oak Park Heights through the Minnesota Department of Corrections (DOC). (Compl., at 3-4). Plaintiff brings a § 1983 civil rights action, asserting violations of his Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth amendment rights. (Compl., at 2, 9).

         Plaintiff's allegations all appear to stem from a “verbal altercation” on June 14, 2018. (Compl., at 5). Plaintiff claims Defendant Casalenda “wrote a false report” stating Plaintiff refused to pull his hands from the cuffing post and that Defendant Casalenda also tried to “kick or slam [Plaintiff's] cuffing post really hard.” (Compl., at 5, 7). Plaintiff claims Defendant Zacharias said “let's slam his [Plaintiff's] hands” and bent Plaintiff's right hand “causing unnessry [sic] pain.” (Compl., at 7). Plaintiff also claims Defendant Zacharias violated his rights “by placing his hand on my buttcheek, spreading my anus open when he and other officers already did a strip search when I arrived at intake.” (ECF No. 1, at 8). Plaintiff claims Defendant Costello “didnt [sic] try to stop staff when they were slamming my hands in the cuffing post” despite being the supervisor at the time. (Compl., at 7). Plaintiff claims Defendant Costello's failure to intervene “cause[d] my hand to be swollen and bruise[d].” (ECF No. 1, at 7).

         Plaintiff claims he is “not allow[ed] to grievance the matter but I did pleaded not guilty and appeal and explain my complaint and I inform the warden of this matter and the captain review the incident.” (Compl., at 3). Plaintiff attached to his complaint his communication with Captain Matthews on the incident and a notice of appeal of a disciplinary hearing on June 21, 2018. (ECF No. 1, Ex. 2). There is nothing in the record on any other administrative remedies Plaintiff pursued.

         Plaintiff also submitted an amended complaint adding defendants and allegations. (Amend. Compl., ECF No. 40). Defendants moved to strike Plaintiff's amended complaint for failure to comply with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Court's scheduling order. (ECF No. 48). This Court addresses the amended complaint alongside Plaintiff's initial complaint.[2]

         In his amended complaint, Plaintiff adds Defendants Derek Magel, Irene Tuschner, John Ricci, and James Frick.[3] Plaintiff claims Defendant Magle “kick[ed] the cuff post in ACU cell 129 to . . . hurt my hand.” (Amend. Compl., at 4). Plaintiff claims Defendant Costello was the supervising officer and allowed this to happen. (Amend. Compl., at 4). Plaintiff claims Defendant Ricci “slam[med] my hand in the cuffing” which caused Plaintiff's hand to hurt and swell up. (Amend. Compl., at 4). Plaintiff also claims Defendant Frick told Defendant Magle to slam Plaintiff's hands and that Defendant Frick performed an unclothed body search on Plaintiff. (Amend. Compl., at 5). Plaintiff alleges Defendant Tuscher “refuse[d] to treat my hand [and] she stated its [sic] not that bad and walk [it] off.” (Amend. Compl., at 4). It appears these allegations arose from the initial verbal altercation described in Plaintiff's initial complaint.

         In both his initial complaint and amended complaint, Plaintiff requests relief of $30, 000 and criminal charges for the officers who slammed his hands in the cuffing post. (See Compl., at 10; Amend. Compl., at 6). In Plaintiff's initial complaint, he also requested a “change [in] the policies to allow offender's [sic] to have fair hearing and holding officers accountable for their actions it is [sic] unprofessional.” (Compl., at 10).


         A. Legal Standard

         Summary judgment is appropriate where no genuine issue of material fact exists and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). The movant has the burden of demonstrating that no genuine issue of material fact remains to be decided. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). When a motion for summary judgment has been made and supported by the pleadings and affidavits, the burden shifts to the party opposing the motion to demonstrate that a disputed issue of material fact remains. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986).

         When deciding a motion for summary judgment, courts liberally construe pro se pleadings and hold them to a less stringent standard than those drafted by attorneys. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). Nevertheless, a pro se plaintiff's claims cannot survive a motion for summary judgment unless the plaintiff sets forth specific facts demonstrating that there is a genuine issue for trial. Quam v. Minnehaha Cnty. Jail, 821 F.2d 522 (8th Cir. 1987). Mere allegations and conclusory statements are insufficient to withstand a motion for summary judgment. Dunavant v. Moore, 907 F.2d 77, 80 (8th Cir. 1990).

         B. ...

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