United States District Court, D. New Hampshire
J. McAULIFFE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
the court is defendants' Supplemental Motion for Summary
Judgment (Doc. No. 77). Plaintiff, Oliver Thomas, objects.
See Doc. No. 79.
alleges violations of his constitutional rights while he was
an inmate at the Federal Correctional Institution in Berlin,
New Hampshire (“FCI Berlin”). Since filing this
action, he has been transferred to FCI Forrest City Medium,
who is African American, filed a complaint in federal
district court on January 6, 2016, alleging that while
employed in the prison laundry at FCI Berlin he was subjected
to racial discrimination and violations of his First
Amendment right to free speech. In its preliminary review
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), the court construed
Thomas's Complaint as asserting three types of claims:
Claim 1, Thomas alleges that defendants, two FCI Berlin
laundry room supervisors, Corrections Officer
(“C.O.”) Joey Paul and C.O. M. Vigneault,
violated his Fifth Amendment right to equal protection by:
(a) firing him because of his race; (b) paying him less than
they paid white inmates and denying him a bonus paid to white
inmates; and (c) demoting him so his position could be given
to a white inmate.
Claim 2, Thomas asserts that defendants violated his First
Amendment right to petition the government by firing him in
retaliation for threatening to report their racially and
sexually motivated behavior to prison officials.
Claim 3, Thomas claims that defendants violated his First
Amendment right to free speech by coercing him to lie to
safety inspectors, by threatening to fire him if he told the
truth about improper practices in the laundry. See July 13,
2016 Order (Doc. No. 11) (approving May 16, 2016 Report and
Recommendation (“R&R”) (Doc. No. 5)).
seeks reinstatement with full benefits, back pay,
compensatory damages, punitive damages, declaratory relief,
and other unspecified injunctive relief. The court construed
Thomas's damages claims as asserted against Paul and
Vigneault in their individual capacities under Bivens v.
Six Unknown Named Agents of the Fed. Bureau of
Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971).
2017, defendants moved to dismiss Thomas's claims for
failure to state a claim and failure to exhaust
administrative remedies. The court denied the motion without
prejudice as to the exhaustion argument. See July 17, 2017
Order (Doc. No. 54) (approving June 21, 2017 R&R (Doc.
No. 53)). Defendants then filed a Motion for Summary
Judgment, focusing on Claims 1 and 2. (Doc. No. 64).
court denied the Motion for Summary Judgment without
prejudice to defendants' ability to refile a similar
dispositive motion addressing four issues identified by the
court. See Sept. 10, 2018 Order (Doc. No. 71). The court
appointed counsel to represent Thomas for the purpose of
responding to any dispositive motion filed by defendants in
response to the Sept. 10, 2018 Order. See Sept. 10, 2018
Order (Doc. No. 72); Oct. 5, 2018 Order (Doc. No. 73).
have filed a supplemental motion for summary judgment (Doc.
No. 77), and Thomas, through counsel, has filed an objection
(Doc. No. 79). This matter is ripe for review.
ruling on a motion for summary judgment, the court is
“obliged to review the record in the light most
favorable to the nonmoving party, and to draw all reasonable
inferences in the nonmoving party's favor.” Block
Island Fishing, Inc. v. Rogers,844 F.3d 358, 360
(1st Cir. 2016) (citation omitted). 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 factual dispute “is ‘genuine'
if the evidence of record permits a rational factfinder to
resolve it in favor of either party, and ‘material'
if its existence or nonexistence has the potential to change
the outcome of the suit.” Rando v. Leonard, 826 F.3d
553, 556 (1st Cir. 2016) (citation omitted). Consequently,
“[a]s to issues on which the party opposing summary
judgment would bear the burden of proof at trial, that party
may not simply rely on the absence of evidence but, rather,
must point to definite and competent evidence showing the
existence of a genuine issue of material fact.” Perez
v. Lorraine Enters., 769 F.3d 23, 29-30 (1st Cir. 2014). In
other words, ...