United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Wichita Falls Division
MEMORANDUM AND OPINION
RAY, JR. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
the Court are Defendants Shea Sides and Juli McCaffity's
Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 90) with Brief (ECF No.
90-1) and Appendix (ECF No. 90-2) in support, filed February
2, 2018; and “Plaintiff Opposition (Response) to
Defendants Sides and McCaffity's Motion for Summary
Judgment” (ECF No. 109), filed March 19, 2018. The
parties consented to have the United States Magistrate Judge
conduct all proceedings in this case, up to and including
trial and order of final judgment. ECF No. 85. After
considering the pleadings and applicable law, the Court
GRANTS Defendants Shea Sides and Juli
McCaffity's Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 90).
Todrick Morris (“Morris”) brings this action
under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violation of his
constitutional rights. ECF No. 38 at 3-4. He claims excessive
force, retaliation for engaging in protected conduct, failure
to protect, conspiracy, and deliberate indifference to his
medical needs. Id.
is an inmate in custody of the Texas Department of Criminal
Justice (“TDCJ”) and is currently incarcerated in
the Allred Unit in Iowa Park, Texas. ECF No. 38 at 1.
Defendants Lt. Anthony Bria (“Bria”), Sgt. Tommy
Cates (“Cates”), Sgt. Larry Goatley, Jr.
(“Goatley”), Justin Odom (“Odom”),
Scott Szczepinski (“Szczepinski”), Richard
Arrieta, Jr. (“Arrieta”), John M. Cerda, Jr.
(“Cerda”), Michael A. Cossey
(“Cossey”), and Patrick W. Morris (“Officer
Morris”) (collectively, the “Guard
Defendants”) are correctional officers at the Allred
Unit. ECF No. 99 at 4. Defendants Shea Sides
(“Sides”) and Juli McCaffity
(“McCaffity”) (collectively, the “Nurse
Defendants”) are nurses at the Allred Unit. ECF No.
90-1 at 3.
following facts are taken from Morris's Second Amended
Complaint, which Morris verified by a signature to be true
under penalty of perjury. ECF No. 38 at 16.
February 18, 2017, Bria, Cates, and Goatley allegedly came to
Morris's cell at Pod J of the Allred High Security Unit
and confronted Morris about filing grievances. Id.
at 5. According to Morris, they became angry with him during
the confrontation and told him that they were going to beat
him. Id. They then left the pod. Id.
forty-five minutes later they returned to his cell with a
five-man extraction team consisting of Arrieta, Szczepinski,
Odom, Officer Morris, and Cossey (collectively the
“Team Defendants”). Id. Cerda also came
with them, as the video camera operator. Id. at 6.
Morris claims he was in compliance with all TDCJ rules and
regulations up to this point. Id. When he saw the
team, and due to the threats that Bria, Cates, and Goatley
had allegedly made, Morris states that he feared for his life
and believed he was about to be harmed. Id. He then
covered his cell door and windows and placed a magazine in
the cell door to prevent the door from being able to be
opened. Id. Morris believed that, because of his
actions, the correctional officers would be required to
summon a higher-ranking officer to the scene, and Morris
would then be able to communicate his fear of harm to the
higher ranking official. Id. However, no
higher-ranking official came to the scene. Id.
sprayed chemical agents three times through the food slot in
the cell door. Id. Morris claims that after each
spray, he went to his cell door, moved the obstruction he had
put there, and told Goatley and Bria that he would comply
with orders to submit to a strip search and hand restraints.
Id. Morris again requested the presence of a higher
ranking official. Id. According to Morris, Bria and
Goatley ignored Morris's attempts to surrender himself
and instead forced the cell door open. Id. The Team
Defendants then went into Morris's cell. Id. One
of the Team Defendants, purportedly Officer Morris, struck
Morris with a shield. Id.; ECF No. 111 at 4. When he
was struck, Morris was standing in the doorway area of his
cell by the shower. ECF No. 38 at 6.
alleges that he was then forced further back into the cell
toward the shower and toilet area, and the Team Defendants
struck him several times in the face and head. Id.
at 7. He claims that he was not resisting at this point and
started to dive to the cell floor to surrender. Id.
He was then slammed or tackled face-down to the floor in the
toilet and shower area, with his head near the front of the
cell door opening and wall fixture. Id. Morris then
placed his hands behind his back to surrender and loudly
stated that he was not resisting. Id. At this point
the Team Defendants allegedly punched him in the head and
face, choked him, banged his head into the floor twice,
gouged his eyes, and bent his hands, arms, and legs.
Id. The Team Defendants then placed Morris in hand
restraints. Id. Morris alleges that, during the
incident, the Team Defendants falsely called out “quit
resisting” when he was not resisting. Id.
alleges that Bria and Goatley intentionally stood in the cell
door to obstruct the view of the video camera, which allowed
the Team Defendants to assault Morris. Id. at 8.
Morris alleges that Bria then stepped into Morris's cell
and struck Morris with a chemical agent canister in
Morris's left-eye area and sprayed Morris with the
chemical agent. Id. Morris alleges that he was still
not resisting. Id. Morris claims that he was
continually struck and choked for several more minutes,
during which period he lost consciousness twice. Id.
then called Cerda to come closer to the cell with the video
camera. Id. The Team Defendants cut off Morris's
clothing and took him out of his cell onto the walkway to
stand facing the wall. Id.
and Goatley then summoned medical personnel to the scene.
Id. Sides arrived, approached Morris, and asked him
if he had any injuries. Id. Morris responded that he
had injuries to the left and right sides of his face, his
left eye, his head, and his left hand. Id. at 9.
Morris claims that he was dizzy and disoriented from the
attack and had several visible injuries, including swollen
lips as well as swelling and bleeding on his head and face.
Id. Morris alleges that Sides medically cleared
Morris on the video recording and told Goatley that Morris
was okay. Id. Morris alleges that Sides did not
assess his injuries or their severity at this time.
Id. According to Morris, several other inmates then
began cursing and yelling at Sides from their cells that she
needed to give Morris medical treatment and they were
witnesses to her denying care to Morris. Id. Goatley
took photos of Morris and stated on camera that Sides had
medically cleared Morris to be placed back ...