United States District Court, D. Rhode Island
SAMSON P. PAYE Plaintiff,
A.T. WALL; WARDEN LEFEBVRE; OFFICER PENA; and OFFICER DIAS, Defendants.
JOHN J. McCONNELL, Jr., District Judge.
This lawsuit arises out of the denial of Samson P. Paye's request to obtain prison employment at the Rhode Island Adult Correctional Institution ("ACI") and specifically, out of Defendants' failure to provide him, an inmate, with employment in the Intake Center or outside of the module where he was housed. Mr. Paye contends that Defendants Director A.T. Wall, Warden Lefebvre, Officer Pena, and Officer Dias denied his request for employment because he is in prison for second-degree child molestation and that that denial was discriminatory. Mr. Paye further contends that Defendants will retaliate against him for filing this lawsuit by revealing the nature of his charge, by transferring him to segregation, and by preventing him from receiving his mail.
In his pro se complaint, Mr. Paye seeks declaratory and injunctive relief and damages pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 based on alleged employment discrimination against him during his confinement at the ACI. Mr. Paye claims that Defendants have violated § 703 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in denying his request to obtain prison employment. Defendants have moved for summary judgment, contending that Mr. Paye's claim should not proceed to trial because there is no disputed issue of material fact such that they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
For the reasons that follow, the Court finds that: (1) Mr. Paye fails to allege that Defendants, Director Wall and Warden Lefebvre, violated his rights; (2) Defendants did not illegally discriminate against Mr. Paye in denying him employment because Mr. Paye has no constitutional right to prison employment and the Defendants, under the Intake Center's standard operating procedure/guidelines, have the discretion in assigning employment to detainees; and (3) Mr. Paye's retaliation claims fail as a matter of law because he has not adduced facts sufficient to show that he engaged in a protected activity, that the Defendants took any adverse action against him, and that there is a causual link between the former and the latter.
Therefore, the Court GRANTS the Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 23) as to all claims.
I. FACTS AND BACKGROUND
Few facts are disputed here, and none upon which liability rests. The undisputed facts reveal that in September of 2014, Mr. Paye submitted a request to apply for prison employment. Approximately a week later, Mr. Paye received his request form back, denying his request due to his "Special Risk Group" status. Guided by the Intake Center's Standard Operating Procedure manual ("SOP"), Lieutenant Panarello denied Mr. Paye's request to have a job in the Intake Center or outside of the module where he was housed because he is designated as a "Security Risk Group" detainee by virtue of his extensive disciplinary record. Additionally, Lieutenant Panarello denied Mr. Paye's request because there are a limited number of jobs and protocol is to provide employment to detainees who demonstrate an ability to comply with the rules and remain discipline free. Defendants Pena and Dias also denied Mr. Paye's employment request to be a module porter in E-Module due to his extensive discipline record and disruptive nature.
II. STANDARD OF REVIEW
The Court may grant summary judgment only when a court finds "that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact" and that the undisputed facts give rise to an entitlement to judgment as a matter of law. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); Wilson v. Moulison N. Corp., 639 F.3d 1, 6 (1st Cir. 2011). A court must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and draw all reasonable inferences in his favor. Id. Because Mr. Paye represents himself in this case, the Court will view his pleadings liberally. The Court is "solicitous of the obstacles that pro se litigants face, and while such litigants are not exempt from procedural rules, [the Court] hold[s] pro se pleadings to less demanding standards than those drafted by lawyers and endeavor[s], within reasonable limits, to guard against the loss of pro se claims due to technical defects." Dutil v. Murphy, 550 F.3d 154, 158-59 (1st Cir. 2008) (citing Bolvin v. Black, 225 F.3d 36, 43 (1st Cir. 2000)).
"To defeat a properly supported motion for summary judgment, the nonmoving party must establish a trial-worthy issue by presenting enough competent evidence to enable a finding favorable to the nonmoving party." LeBlanc v. Great Am. Ins. Co., 6 F.3d 836, 842 (1st Cir. 1993) (internal quotation marks omitted). Further, "[o]n issues where the nonmovant bears the ultimate burden of proof, he must present definite, competent evidence to rebut the motion." Flannery v. Bauermeister, C.A. No. 06-399-S, 2008 WL 77723, at *2 (D.R.I. Jan. 4, 2008) (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 256-57 (1986)). This evidence "cannot be conjectural or problematic; it must have substance in the sense that it limns differing versions of the truth which a fact finder must resolve at an ensuing trial." Mack v. Great Atl. & P. Tea Co., 871 F.2d 179, 181 (1st Cir. 1989).
III. LEGAL ANALYSIS
Mr. Paye has filed his claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, which requires "three elements for liability: deprivation of a right, a causal connection between the actor and the deprivation, and state action." Sanchez v. Pereira-Castillo, 590 F.3d 31, 41 (1st Cir. 2009). He essentially brings two types of claims against Defendants. Mr. Paye asserts an employment discrimination claim as a result of being denied prison employment; he claims that Defendants violated § 703 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 regarding equal employment opportunity. He also asserts that Defendants will retaliate against him for filing this lawsuit.
A. Claims Against Defendants Wall and Lefebvre
Defendants argue that Mr. Paye's claim that Director Wall and Warden Lefebvre violated his rights fails because Mr. Paye does not allege any acts or omissions by them that violated his rights. Mr. Paye does not ...