United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
Shaka U. Dyette, Plaintiff,
Scott Black, Kurt S. DeMoura, William Shugrue Defendants.
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
Nathaniel M. Gorton United States District Judge
case involves the alleged mistreatment of Shaka Dyette
(“plaintiff” or “Dyette”) by three
employees (collectively “defendants”) of the
Massachusetts Department of Correction while Dyette was
incarcerated at MCI-Cedar Junction.
brings his action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging
that 1) Lieutenant William J. Shugrue (“Shugrue”)
violated his Eighth Amendment rights when Shugrue accosted
him, 2) Scott W. Black (“Black”) violated his
incorporated First Amendment rights when Black retaliated
against Dyette for filing a grievance against Shugrue and 3)
Kurt Demoura (“Demoura”) violated his Fourteenth
Amendment right to due process by obstructing Dyette's
attempt to obtain evidence of the alleged battery. In
addition, Dyette alleges that Shugrue, Black and Demoura
engaged in a civil conspiracy to commit the underlying acts.
before this Court is defendants' motion for summary
judgment. For the following reasons, that motion will be
allowed with respect to plaintiff's procedural due
process claim but will otherwise be denied.
times relevant to this action, plaintiff was housed by the
Massachusetts Department of Correction at MCI-Cedar Junction
in Walpole, Massachusetts. On June 1, 2014, plaintiff was
order by Corrections Office Hope Hill to comply with a
“pat search” while he was leaving the dining
area. During that process, Shugrue approached the plaintiff
and the two exchanged words. Shugrue ordered plaintiff to
enter a nearby room to be strip searched. Plaintiff contends
that, as he was complying with that order, he was grabbed by
Shugrue and other Corrections Officers and then punched by
Shugrue in the face (“the incident”).
result of that incident, plaintiff was placed in solitary
confinement for 30 days and classified for placement in a
maximum security prison. Plaintiff filed a grievance
concerning the incident and the subsequent placement and
classification. That grievance was assigned to Black, a
Department of Correction investigator.
claims that Black attempted to coerce plaintiff to drop the
grievance in return for a guarantee that he would not be
classified for a maximum security prison. Dyette declined
that offer. Black filed a disciplinary report against
plaintiff that alleged that the initial grievance constituted
providing false information against a staff member.
part of his investigation for the grievance, plaintiff
requested a copy of the video tape of the incident. Plaintiff
asserts that DeMoura refused to provide that video in bad
faith and took actions to prevent plaintiff from obtaining
role of summary judgment is “to pierce the pleadings
and to assess the proof in order to see whether there is a
genuine need for trial.” Mesnick v. Gen. Elec.
Co., 950 F.2d 816, 822 (1st Cir. 1991). The burden is on
the moving party to show, through the pleadings, discovery
and affidavits, “that there is no genuine dispute as to
any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment
as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A fact is
material if it “might affect the outcome of the suit
under the governing law.” Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A genuine issue
of material fact exists where the evidence with respect to
the material fact in dispute “is such that a reasonable
jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.”
moving party has satisfied its burden, the burden shifts to
the non-moving party to set forth specific facts showing that
there is a genuine, triable issue. Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986). The Court must view
the entire record in the light most favorable to the
non-moving party and indulge all reasonable inferences in
that party's favor. O'Connor v.
Steeves, 994 F.2d 905, 907 (1st Cir. 1993). Summary
judgment is appropriate if, after viewing the record in the
non-moving party's favor, the Court determines that no
genuine issue of material fact exists and that the moving
party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Count I - Excessive Force Claim
contends that Shugrue violated the Eighth Amendment's
prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment. Defendants
respond that Shugrue's use of force was reasonable, ...