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WICKS v. SHIELDS

January 15, 2002

AARON WICKS, PLAINTIFF,
V.
WARDEN SHIELDS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Joyner, District Judge.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

This is a prisoner civil rights case brought by Plaintiff Aaron Wicks ("Plaintiff") against multiple Defendants, including Deborah Sharpe ("Sharpe"), Sergeant Hutson ("Hutson"), Lieutenant Holt ("Holt"), Lieutenant Waterford ("Waterford"), Captain Mercer ("Mercer"), Major Bamberski ("Bamberski"), and Warden Shields ("Shields") (collectively referred to as "Defendants"),*fn1 who are all employees of or affiliated with the State Correctional Institution in Somerset, Pennsylvania ("S.C.I. Somerset") where Plaintiff was incarcerated when the complained of conduct occurred. Presently before the Court is the Motion of all the remaining defendants for Summary Judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. For the reasons that follow, we will grant the Defendants' Motion.

BACKGROUND

The facts of this case stem from alleged mistreatment suffered by Plaintiff at the hands of various Defendants who are all employees of or affiliated with S.C.I. Somerset.*fn2 During Plaintiffs incarceration at S.C.I. Somerset, he was employed in the legal clinic. Throughout Plaintiffs employment at the legal clinic, he misused his position to send a large volume of mail to the Philadelphia Public Defender's Association ("Defender's Association") and/or to the Probation Office on behalf of other inmates and signed the letters indicating that he was the representative of the various other inmates. Plaintiffs practice was against the House of Corrections ("HOC") policies. The mail sent by Plaintiff was so voluminous that the Defender's Association called the institution and asked that the letter writing cease. Plaintiff received several verbal warnings informing him that if he did not stop misusing his position at the legal clinic in violation of HOC policies, he would be fired. Plaintiff admits that he continued this practice despite the warnings. Finally, Plaintiff was fired from his position at the legal clinic.

After Plaintiffs termination, he was only allowed access to the legal clinic and law library on the days that his housing unit was assigned to visit. Further, he could only send mail regarding any inmate, free of charge, to Jules Epstein, the Prison Master, and the Pennsylvania Prison Society.

Plaintiff also alleges that he was often not allowed to finish meals at the dining hall, referred to as the "chow hall," and that snide remarks were made to him while eating there. Plaintiffs specific allegations with respect to each Defendant are summarized below:

A. Deborah Sharpe

Plaintiff alleges that Sharpe, who is a social worker at the HOC and who was in charge of the legal clinic, threatened Plaintiff on three separate occasions while he was an employee of the legal clinic. Plaintiff alleges that on two separate occasions Sharpe told Plaintiff that if he did not make copies of unspecified documents for her she was going to fire him. Plaintiff also alleges that Sharpe told Plaintiff that if he did not stop his letter writing campaign on behalf of other prisoners, which was in violation of the HOC policies, she would fire him.

B. Sergeant Hutson

Plaintiff alleges that Hutson made snide remarks to him in the chow hall and that she would make Plaintiff leave the chow hall before he had finished his meals. Plaintiff further alleges that Hutson would not allow Plaintiff access to the legal clinic during the 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. shift.

C. Lieutenant Holt and Lieutenant Waterford

Plaintiff alleges that Holt and Waterford would not allow him access to the legal clinic during the 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. shift, threatened him not to report prisoner physical abuse, and placed him on house arrest.

D. Captain Mercer

Plaintiff alleges that Mercer told him to stop sending letters on behalf of other prisoners through the legal clinic mail and told Plaintiff that he would only send mail free of charge from Plaintiff to Jules Epstein, ...


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