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David E. Edwards v. Sisto

September 12, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Craig M. Kellison United States Magistrate Judge


Plaintiff, a state prisoner proceeding pro se, brings this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Pursuant to the written consent of all parties, this case is before the undersigned as the presiding judge for all purposes, including entry of final judgment. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). Pending before the court are: (1) plaintiff's motion for summary judgment (Doc. 61); and (2) defendants' cross-motion for summary judgment (Doc. 63).


A. Plaintiff's Allegations

This action proceeds on plaintiff's first amended complaint (Doc. 13). Plaintiff states that, on January 7, 2008, inmate culinary workers started a work strike and refused to report to their work assignments. He states that inmates working in the bakery, however, did report to work but were turned away by correctional staff. According to plaintiff, an institutional lock-down was initiated before any other inmates could report for their work assignments. Plaintiff adds:

Regardless that the institution did not need inmate Labor, later in the day on January 7, 2008, and the following three days, officers and staff went around and ordered inmates to report to work knowing full well that it was not safe for any inmate to do so. There were anonymous threats made from inmates welling out their doors, so it is not possible that officers and staff could claim that they had no knowledge of the potential great bodily harm to any inmate that left their cell when ordered.

However, some inmates did leave their cell. . . . The officers ordering inmates to report to work on Monday January 7, 2008, did so with deliberate indifference to the safety of the inmates and will full knowledge that they were only pretending to take inmates to work.

Plaintiff states that the details of his particular case are set forth in an inmate grievance attached to his complaint as Exhibit A. In this exhibit, plaintiff outlines the following incident:

On February 7, 2008, I was found guilty by a Lt. Ferguson, on a fraudulent CDC-115 for not attempting to report to work and crossing an inmate "picket line," which would have put me in harms way. In other words, I was found guilty even though I could not go to work. I should have marked myself as a scab worker in front of 200 angry inmates, by coming out of my cell and pretending that I could go to work.

Sgt. Clay falsified a 115 by stating that I was given an opportunity to go to work on 1-7-2008 and that a general call for all workers took place throughout the day. This did not happen in building one. It is also impossible for me to attend my job if no chaplains are on duty, as I am a clerk in the chapel. I never work on Monday, as there are no chaplains present. Sgt. Clay, not being my supervisor, should have investigated this before falsifying a government document. However, according to the incident report that was given to me, the chapel was taken over by Lt. Knudsen on Monday January 7, 2008, so there were no services and no chaplains. . . . Therefore, Sgt. Clay and Lt. Ferguson already knew I could not report to work on January 7, 2008, yet they continued to cause me mental stress by lying and falsifying official government documents that have caused me harm.

Plaintiff adds that defendant Ferguson denied him an investigating employee, denied him witnesses, and denied him the right to postpone the hearing. He also states that "Lt. Ferguson violated the law, by using foul language during my hearing, and finding me guilty of not coming out of my cell, putting myself in harm's way, when he knew in fact I could not even go to work."

Plaintiff asserts that defendants Sisto, Singh, and Peck were aware of the danger posed to inmates who crossed the inmate strike line to report to work assignments. As to defendant Peck in particular, plaintiff states:

Cpt. Peck is believed to be the officer who spearheaded all these violations by issuing orders to correctional officers and staff to coerce inmates to cross the strike line. . . .

Plaintiff alleges a violation of his rights under the Eighth Amendment. He also alleges that defendants denied him due process.

B. The Parties' Evidence

1. Plaintiff's Evidence

Attached to plaintiff's motion for summary judgment as Exhibit A is a January 7, 2008, report by R. Knudsen regarding the inmate work stoppage.

Attached to plaintiff's motion as Exhibit B is his own "Statement of Claim." Also at Exhibit B is plaintiff's inmate ...

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