in 1994. (Pearson Dep. at 90-91). Therefore, plaintiff has
created a genuine issue of material fact as to whether plaintiff
faced a substantial risk of serious harm.
b. Deliberate indifference
Plaintiff must also show that the harm suffered resulted from
defendant Murray's deliberate indifference to plaintiff's safety.
See Hamilton, 117 F.3d at 747. Plaintiff must present evidence
1) that the defendant was aware of facts from which he could
infer a substantial risk of serious harm and 2) that defendant
actually drew that inference. See Farmer, 511 U.S. at 837, 114
S.Ct. 1970. When evaluating whether a prison official was
deliberately indifferent, a court must "focus [on] what a
defendant's mental attitude actually was (or is), rather than
what it should have been (or should be)." Hamilton, 117 F.3d at
747 (quoting Farmer, 511 U.S. at 837, 114 S.Ct. 1970).
Defendants contend that defendant Murray did not act with
deliberate indifference by failing to place plaintiff in
administrative custody. In support of this contention, defendants
argue that because plaintiff's alleged comments did not provide
Murray with the names of particular inmates whom he feared would
harm him, defendant Murray did not act with deliberate
indifference to plaintiff's safety.
Plaintiff testified that he informed Murray, at least twice,
that he was stabbed while housed at Graterford in 1994 and was
concerned for his safety in general population. When plaintiff
requested that he be placed in administrative custody, plaintiff
explained that he had suffered a serious assault at Graterford.
Defendant Murray does not recall having any conversation with
plaintiff. (Murray Dep. at 25). Murray testified that plaintiff
did not request that he be removed from general population.
(Murray Dep. at 40). Plaintiff claims that Murray informed
plaintiff that he had checked plaintiff's file. Murray told
plaintiff that because plaintiff was cleared for general
population, housing plaintiff in administrative custody was
unnecessary. However, according to plaintiff, Murray could not
have checked his file because his records were still at Dallas.
Plaintiff was not placed in administrative custody until after
the February 21, 1996 stabbing.
Taking plaintiff's version of the facts as true, I conclude
that a genuine question of material fact exists as to whether
defendant Murray was deliberately indifferent to plaintiff's
Because a genuine issue of material fact exists regarding the
substantial risk of serious harm and defendant Murray's
deliberate indifference, granting summary judgment as to
defendant Murray is not appropriate.
C. Qualified Immunity
Defendant Murray argues that he is shielded from liability by
qualified immunity. "As government officials engaged in
discretionary functions, [d]efendants are qualifiedly immune from
suits brought against them for damages under section 1983,
`insofar as their conduct does not violate clearly established
statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person
would have known.'" Sherwood v. Mulvihill, 113 F.3d 396, 398-99
(3d Cir. 1997) (quoting Harlow v. Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800,
818, 102 S.Ct. 2727, 73 L.Ed.2d 396 (1982)). Thus, Harlow
provides the court with an objective standard against which to
measure the official's actions. When applying this objective
standard, the court must resolve two issues: (1) Has the
plaintiff stated a violation of a constitutional or federal
statutory right? Siegert v. Gilley, 500 U.S. 226, 232, 111
S.Ct. 1789, 114 L.Ed.2d 277 (1991); and (2) If so, was that right
clearly established, i.e., were the "contours of the right . . .
sufficiently clear that a reasonable official would understand
that what [he or she] is doing violates that right"? Anderson v.
Creighton, 483 U.S. 635, 640, 107 S.Ct. 3034, 97 L.Ed.2d 523
(1987); see also Rouse v. Plantier, 182 F.3d 192, 200 (3d Cir.
Defendant Murray asserts that he did not violate a clearly
established constitutional right because plaintiff expressed only
a general fear for his safety. At the time of the events at
issue, the law clearly established that prison officials have a
duty to protect prisoners from attacks by other prisoners. See
Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. at 833, 114 S.Ct. 1970. "A prison
official's deliberate indifference to a substantial risk of
serious harm to an inmate violates the Eighth Amendment." See
id. at 828, 114 S.Ct. 1970. Because plaintiff has presented
sufficient evidence to create a genuine issue of material fact as
to whether defendant Murray was deliberately indifferent to
plaintiff's safety, granting summary judgment on the basis of
qualified immunity is not appropriate.*fn19
AND NOW, this — day of June, 2000, IT IS ORDERED that:
1. Defendants' motion for summary judgment (Docket
Entry # 27) is GRANTED as to defendant Vaughn;
2. Defendants' motion for summary judgment (Docket
Entry # 27) is GRANTED as to plaintiff's claims for
money damages against defendant Murray in his
official capacity; and
3. Defendants' motion for summary judgment (Docket
Entry # 27) is DENIED as to defendant Murray in his