Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. For the reasons hereafter stated, I conclude that plaintiff's motion should be denied, and that defendants are entitled to partial summary judgment.
Although all four of plaintiff's claims are based on events that took place during his confinement at Graterford, the claims are largely unrelated and may be treated separately for the sake of convenience.
RESTRICTION ON INMATE BANKING
Plaintiff's principal contention here involves a policy adopted in January of 1972 by then-Commissioner Sielaff of the Pennsylvania Bureau of Correction and enforced by defendant Robinson up until April of 1978. This policy, as set forth in written memoranda to all Pennsylvania prison superintendents, prohibited inmates from opening outside savings accounts. It provided, however, that an inmate who already had an active savings account at the time he was incarcerated would be permitted to "retain it for deposit of regularly received income such as checks from Veterans Administration, Social Security, Pension, etc." Sielaff Memorandum, Exhibit X to Complaint; See Robinson Memorandum, Exhibit A to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (Document No. 24).
Although plaintiff already had an active savings account with the Fidelity Bank when he entered Graterford in August of 1973, defendant Johnson refused to permit use of this account because plaintiff had opened it under the name of William H. Bradford, an alias, rather than under Harold Smith, which was plaintiff's name at the time he was incarcerated. Plaintiff was discharged from Graterford on April 5, 1974. When he later attempted to change the name on the account to "Harold Smith," the bank book was lost in the mail. As a result, this account was closed and settled to the satisfaction of all concerned. Complaint P 14.
In June and July of 1975, while again confined at Graterford, plaintiff opened an outside savings account with the Philadelphia Saving Fund Society by mailing in a one-dollar deposit. Complaint PP 15-16. Graterford officials evidently raised no objection to the transaction. However, when he sought in November of 1975 to deposit another forty dollars in that account, defendants refused to process this transaction, stating that use of the new account was prohibited by the banking policy referred to earlier.
The complaint asserts that defendants' enforcement of this policy violated several constitutional provisions, particularly the due process and equal protection clauses of the fourteenth amendment. Although the complaint requests declaratory and injunctive relief, plaintiff's counsel has since conceded that these requests are moot in light of Commissioner Robinson's memorandum of April 8, 1978, which permits all inmates to establish and maintain outside savings accounts. Plaintiff's Supplemental Memorandum (Document No. 48) at 1; See Robinson Memorandum, Exhibit I to Defendants' Supplemental Memorandum (Document No. 47). Thus, only plaintiff's damages claim remains for adjudication. Both plaintiff and defendants seek summary judgment on this claim.
Plaintiff argues, first of all, that defendants' refusal to let him use an outside savings account deprived him of property without due process of law. His argument calls attention to defendants' overall management of money earned or received by Graterford inmates. It is undisputed that such moneys are credited to the inmate's "intra-institutional account," and then pooled into the Inmate Cash Fund. Cramer Affidavit PP 7-9, 20 (Exhibit A to Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment). The bulk of each institution's Inmate Cash Fund is sent to the Bureau of Correction, which in turn pools those moneys (together with other moneys not pertinent here) into the General Welfare Fund. Id. PP 21-22, 24. Finally, the Bureau invests all moneys contained in the General Welfare Fund, "and the interest earned is used solely for the benefit of all inmates in all State Correctional Institutions for such things as movies, recreational supplies, television, etc." Id. P 25.
Plaintiff's objection to this arrangement stems from the fact that inmates' "intra-institutional accounts" do not bear interest. Id. P 8. He contends here that defendants, by failing to pay interest on the money in his account, by placing his money in the General Welfare Fund, and by appropriating the interest earned on his money through investment of the General Welfare Fund, effectively deprived him of property without due process of law.
Although defendants contend that their actions did not violate plaintiff's constitutional rights, they rely primarily on the affirmative defense of qualified, "good faith" immunity. See generally Butz v. Economou, 438 U.S. 478, 98 S. Ct. 2894, 57 L. Ed. 2d 895 (1978); Procunier v. Navarette, 434 U.S. 555, 98 S. Ct. 855, 55 L. Ed. 2d 24 (1978); Wood v. Strickland, 420 U.S. 308, 95 S. Ct. 992, 43 L. Ed. 2d 214 (1975); Developments in the Law Section 1983 and Federalism, 90 Harv.L.Rev. 1133, 1209-17 (1977); The Supreme Court, 1974 Term, 89 Harv.L.Rev. 47, 219-25 (1975). Procunier v. Navarette, supra, establishes beyond question that "prison officials and officers" enjoy qualified immunity from damages liability under the Civil Rights Act of 1871. 434 U.S. at 561, 98 S. Ct. 855, 55 L. Ed. 2d 24 (addressing claims based on 42 U.S.C. § 1983); See Raitport v. Provident Nat'l Bank, 451 F. Supp. 522, 534 (E.D.Pa.1978) ("sections 1983 and 1985 require identical analyses where immunity is asserted"). The critical question here is whether, by reason of this defense, defendants are entitled to judgment as a matter of law on plaintiff's damages claim. I conclude that they are.
Under Wood v. Strickland, supra, an official who enjoys qualified immunity may nevertheless be held liable for damages "if (he) knew or reasonably should have known that the action he took within the sphere of his official responsibility would violate the constitutional rights of the (individual) affected, Or if (he) took the action with the malicious intention to cause a deprivation of constitutional rights or other injury to (that individual)." 420 U.S. at 307, 95 S. Ct. at 994 (emphasis supplied). Although the complaint here fairly alleges that defendants' conduct was Intentional, Procunier v. Navarette, supra, 434 U.S. at 566, 98 S. Ct. 855, plaintiff has neither alleged nor shown by affidavit that their conduct was Malicious. Accordingly, the second branch of the Wood v. Strickland standard cannot override defendants' claim of qualified immunity, Butz v. Economou, 438 U.S. 478, 98 S. Ct. 2894, 57 L. Ed. 2d 895 (1978), and only the first branch is applicable here.
The Supreme Court restated that portion of the standard only recently in Procunier v. Navarette, supra :
"Under the first part of the Wood v. Strickland rule, the immunity defense would be unavailable to (defendant prison officials) if the constitutional right allegedly infringed by them was clearly established at the time of their challenged conduct, if they knew or should have known of that right and if they knew or should have known that their conduct violated the constitutional norm."
434 U.S. at 562, 98 S. Ct. at 860.