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Kargbo v. Brown

United States District Court, First Circuit

December 13, 2013

Abu B. Kargbo, Plaintiff
v.
Sergeant Carl Brown; Sergeant Todd Gordon; Officer Joshua Caisse; Officer Jonathan Plumpton; Officer David Archambault; and Woodrow Weatherby, Defendants Opinion No. 2013 DNH 170

David W. Ruoff, Esq. John A. Curran, Esq.

ORDER

Steven McAuliffe United States District Judge

Abu Kargbo is an inmate at the Northern New Hampshire Correctional Facility. He claims that while he was a pre-trial detainee at the Hillsborough County House of Corrections (also known as the “Valley Street Jail”), he was, on two separate occasions, subjected to unreasonable and excessive force motivated by racial animus. He brings this action seeking damages for the violation of various constitutionally protected rights. See generally 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Defendants move for summary judgment, asserting that Kargbo failed to properly exhaust his claims relating to the first incident and, in any event, that none of his constitutionally protected rights were violated during either of the two incidents identified in his complaint.

For the reasons discussed, defendants’ motion for summary judgment is granted in part and denied in part.

Standard of Review

When ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the court must “view the entire record in the light most hospitable to the party opposing summary judgment, indulging all reasonable inferences in that party’s favor.” Griggs-Ryan v. Smith, 904 F.2d 112, 115 (1st Cir. 1990). Summary judgment is appropriate when the record reveals “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). In this context, “a fact is ‘material’ if it potentially affects the outcome of the suit and a dispute over it is ‘genuine’ if the parties’ positions on the issue are supported by conflicting evidence.” Int’l Ass’n of Machinists & Aerospace Workers v. Winship Green Nursing Ctr., 103 F.3d 196, 199-200 (1st Cir. 1996) (citations omitted). Nevertheless, if the non-moving party’s “evidence is merely colorable, or is not significantly probative, ” no genuine dispute as to a material fact has been proved, and “summary judgment may be granted.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249-50 (1986) (citations omitted).

Background

The factual allegations set forth in Kargbo’s complaint and various amendments are discussed in detail in the Magistrate Judge’s two reports and recommendations (documents no. 15 and 28). They need not be recounted in detail. It is sufficient to note that Kargbo claims that on November 6, 2010, and again on September 30, 2011, various defendants violated his constitutionally protected rights to due process and equal protection by assaulting him and employing excessive force against him.[1]

Discussion

I. Exhaustion and the November 6 Incident.

42 U.S.C. § 1997e, as amended by the Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (“PLRA”), provides that:

No action shall be brought with respect to prison conditions under section 1983 of this title, 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) (emphasis supplied). The Supreme Court has held that section 1997(e) requires an inmate to exhaust all available administrative processes before filing a federal suit that relates to the conditions of his or her confinement, even if some or all of the relief the inmate seeks cannot be obtained through those administrative processes. Booth v. Churner, 532 U.S. 731, 734 (2001) (“The question is whether an inmate seeking only money damages must complete a prison administrative process that could provide some sort of relief on the complaint stated, but no money. We hold that he must.”).

Subsequently, the Supreme Court made explicit that which was implicit in Booth: the phrase “with respect to prison conditions, ” as used in the PLRA’s exhaustion provision, incorporates within its scope not just conditions generally affecting the inmate ...


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