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Bealer v. Rios

United States District Court, E.D. California

July 8, 2016

ANTWOINE BEALER, Plaintiff,
v.
CORRECTIONAL OFFICER S. RIOS and SERGEANT R. BRANNUM, Defendants.

         Deadline to file Motions in Limine: July 20, 2016

          PRETRIAL ORDER

         This civil rights action, brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, proceeds on the Fourth Amended Complaint filed pro se by state prisoner Antwoine Bealer ("Plaintiff"), against defendants Correctional Officer S. Rios and Sergeant R. Brannum ("Defendants") for use of excessive force in violation of the Eighth Amendment during events occurring at Kern Valley State Prison on November 1, 2010.[1] (ECF No. 21.) Defendants are represented by Andrea R. Sloan, California Deputy Attorney General. This case is presently set for trial on August 9, 2016 at 8:30 a.m. before District Judge Dale A. Drozd in Courtroom 5.

         On June 20, 2016, Defendants filed their pretrial statement. (ECF No. 60.) Plaintiff has still not filed a pretrial statement despite having been granted an additional ten days to do so at the Trial Confirmation Hearing held on June 27, 2016. (Doc. No. 166.) Having reviewed Defendants' pretrial statement and the remainder of the file, and having considered the arguments of the parties at the June 27, 2016 Trial Confirmation Hearing, the Court now issues a pretrial order.

         I. Jurisdiction and Venue

         The Court has subject matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1343(a)(3). Venue in the Eastern District of California is proper under 28 U.S.C. § 1391. There is no dispute concerning subject matter jurisdiction or venue.

         II. Jury Trial

         Plaintiff and Defendants have requested a jury trial.

         III. Facts and Evidentiary Issues

         A. Defendants' Undisputed Facts

1. At all times relevant to this action, Plaintiff was in the custody of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) at Kern Valley State Prison (KVSP), in Facility A, Building Seven.
2. At all times relevant to this action, Defendants Rios and Brannum were employed by CDCR at KVSP.
3. On November 1, 2010, Defendant Brannum was the assigned Facility A Yard Sergeant.
4. On November 1, 2010, Defendant Rios was assigned as a Search and Escort Officer.
5. During the afternoon of November 1, 2010, Sergeant Brannum approached Plaintiff's cell and informed him he would be receiving a new cellmate.
6. Despite not knowing who the new assigned cellmate was, Plaintiff refused to accept a cellmate.
7. Plaintiff was counseled by Defendant Brannum regarding his refusal to accept an assigned cellmate, which was in violation of institution housing policy.
8. Shortly thereafter, Defendants Brannum and Rios escorted Plaintiff from his cell to be placed in Administrative Segregation for his continued refusal to accept a cellmate.
9. While Plaintiff was being escorted from his cell in Building 7, across the upper A Yard to the medical holding cell, Plaintiff was informed he was being placed in Administrative Segregation for his refusal to accept a cellmate.
10. Plaintiff then became resistive and attempted to head-butt Defendant Rios.
11. Defendant Brannum was on Plaintiff's left side holding onto Plaintiff's left forearm. When Plaintiff attempted to strike Defendant Rios, Defendant Brannum pulled back and upward while holding onto Plaintiff's forearm.
12. Defendant Rios was on Plaintiff's right side holding onto Plaintiff's right forearm when Plaintiff attempted to head-butt him. Defendant Rios lifted Plaintiff's right forearm up, bending Plaintiff at the waist.
13. With Defendants Brannum and Rios' combined weight, they were able to force Plaintiff to the ground.
14. During the incident, Defendant Brannum activated his alarm, calling for a Code 1 - resistive inmate over his institutional radio.
15. Officers Stewart and Bradshaw responded to Defendant Brannum's emergency call and placed leg restraints on Plaintiff and escorted him to medical to be examined following the incident.
16. An abrasion to Plaintiff's right knee and the back of his left ankle were noted on the Medical Report of Injury or Unusual Occurrence.
17. Plaintiff was issued a Rules Violation Report in connection to this incident, charging him with violating the California Code of Regulations, Title 15, Section 3005 (d)(1), for attempted battery on a peace officer.
18. Plaintiff was found guilty of the Rules Violation report and assessed a loss of good time credits.
19. Plaintiff was rehoused in Administrative Segregation following the incident.
20. The associated Rules Violation Report and loss of credits was never overturned.
21. Plaintiff has an extensive history of refusing cellmates and making threats to harm himself or others if he is assigned one. Plaintiff has learned how to use the system in ways to avoid being assigned a cellmate, despite being cleared to have one.
22. There are no medical records which support any additional injuries other than the scrape to Plaintiff's knee and ankle.

         B. Plaintiff's Undisputed Facts

         None. As noted above, plaintiff did not file a pretrial statement.

         C. Defendants' Disputed Factual Issues

1. Whether Plaintiff became resistive during the escort across the Facility A Yard on November 1, 2010.
2. Whether Plaintiff attempted to head-butt Defendant Rios during the escort.
3. Whether Defendants' actions in subduing Plaintiff constitute excessive force.
4. Whether Plaintiff received additional injuries which were not noted on the medical report taken after the incident.
5. Whether Plaintiff's alleged injuries were caused by any actions by Defendants or were pre-existing.

         D. Plaintiff's Disputed Factual Issues

         As noted above, plaintiff did not file a pretrial statement. However, plaintiff did successfully oppose defendants' motion for summary judgment.

         E. Defendants' Disputed Evidentiary Issues

         Evidence should be excluded when it lacks relevance, consists of hearsay, is mere opinion, has not been authenticated, or when its probative value is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice, confusion or needless delay. Fed R. Evid. 402, 403, 602, 701, 802, 901(b). Defendants object to any evidence submitted by Plaintiff based upon, or containing, inadmissible hearsay, or evidence that is irrelevant, immaterial, or incompetent.

         Defendants will contest the admissibility of any written statements by inmates whom Plaintiff claims are witnesses including, but not limited to, any statement signed by said inmates.

         Defendants object to any opinion testimony from Plaintiff regarding any matters that call for medical, psychological, or dental expertise.

         Defendants reserve objections to specific testimony and exhibits until Defendants have had the opportunity to hear such testimony and examine such exhibits. Defendants will also file specific objections to Plaintiff's exhibits once they have been exchanged with Defendants.

         Should Plaintiff, or any other incarcerated witnesses testify, Defendants will seek to impeach such witnesses by presenting evidence of prior felony convictions, pursuant to Federal Rules of Evidence, Rule 609. The verdict in this case will be affected by the credibility of witnesses. Therefore, Defendants argue that no one who has suffered a prior felony ...


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