United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
June 7, 2005.
RONALD K. SCOTT, Plaintiff,
KEITH B. QUIGLEY, et al., Defendants.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: A. RICHARD CAPUTO, District Judge
Presently before the Court is Defendants' Motion For Summary
Judgment filed by Defendants Jeffery A. Beard and Ray J. Sobina.
(Doc. 40.) The Court finds that Plaintiff has failed to submit
evidence from which a reasonable fact-finder could conclude that
Defendants Beard and Sobina, or any other official, acted with
deliberate indifference regarding Plaintiff's complaint
concerning his continued incarceration. Accordingly, the Court
will grant Defendants' motion. In addition, the Court will
dismiss Plaintiff's remaining state law claims for lack of
jurisdiction pursuant to § 1367(c). The Court has jurisdiction
over this matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and
28 U.S.C. § 1367.
On April 17, 2000, Plaintiff Ronald K. Scott was convicted of
two counts of robbery. On April 27, 2000, Judge Quigley, formerly
a defendant in this matter, sentenced Plaintiff to a term of
incarceration of twelve to twenty-four years. Plaintiff then
appealed his conviction. On July 31, 2001, Judge Rehkamp, also
formerly a defendant in this matter, issued an order granting
Plaintiff bail pending his appeal. Judge Rehkamp set bail at
$35,000.00 to be paid in a form approved by him. After an
unsuccessful attempt at posting bail with unencumbered property, Plaintiff
posted bail on February 13, 2002, through a bail bondsman.
Plaintiff was not released, however, because of previously
imposed detainers. On February 28, 2002, Plaintiff paid all
detainers and Judge Rehkamp ordered that Plaintiff be released. A
certified copy of the order was sent via United States Postal
Service on February 28, 2002, and was received by the Department
of Corrections on March 4, 2002. Plaintiff was released on bail
that same day.
Plaintiff commenced the instant action pro se on May 7, 2003.
In the Complaint, Plaintiff alleged violations of both the
United States Constitution as well as the Constitution of the
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Defendants filed the instant motion
on February 28, 2005. Plaintiff filed a brief in opposition, to
which Defendants replied. The matter is fully briefed and ripe
Summary judgment is appropriate if "the pleadings, depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with
the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to
any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a
judgment as a matter of law." FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c). A fact is
material if proof of its existence or nonexistence might affect
the outcome of the suit under the applicable substantive law.
See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).
Where there is no material fact in dispute, the moving party
need only establish that it is entitled to judgment as a matter
of law. Where, however, there is a disputed issue of material
fact, summary judgment is appropriate only if the factual dispute
is not a genuine one. See id. at 248. An issue of material fact is
genuine if "a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the
nonmoving party." Id.
Where there is a material fact in dispute, the moving party has
the initial burden of proving that: (1) there is no genuine issue
of material fact; and (2) the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. See CHARLES ALAN WRIGHT & ARTHURR.
MILLER, FEDERAL PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE: CIVIL 2D § 2727 (2d ed.
1983). The moving party may present its own evidence or, where
the nonmoving party has the burden of proof, simply point out to
the Court that "the nonmoving party has failed to make a
sufficient showing of an essential element of her case." Celotex
Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986).
All doubts as to the existence of a genuine issue of material
fact must be resolved against the moving party, and the entire
record must be examined in the light most favorable to the
nonmoving party. See White v. Westinghouse Elec. Co.,
862 F.2d 56, 59 (3d Cir. 1988). Once the moving party has satisfied its
initial burden, the burden shifts to the nonmoving party to
either present affirmative evidence supporting its version of the
material facts or to refute the moving party's contention that
the facts entitle it to judgment as a matter of law. See
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 256-257.
The Court need not accept mere conclusory allegations, whether
they are made in the complaint or a sworn statement. Lujan v.
Nat'l Wildlife Fed'n, 497 U.S. 871, 888 (1990). In deciding a
motion for summary judgment, "the judge's function is not himself
to weigh the evidence and determine the truth of the matter but
to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial."
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249. DISCUSSION
1) Federal Claims
As noted in the Court's previous Memoranda, the Complaint
alleges violations of the Fifth, Sixth, Eighth and
Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution. In the Court's
September 9, 2003, Memoranda, all of Plaintiff's claims brought
pursuant to the Fifth, Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments were
dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted. (Doc. 16 at 8-15.) Therefore, the only remaining claim
against Defendants Beard and Sobina is that they violated the
rights afforded Plaintiff under the Eighth Amendment by failing
to release him from prison upon the order issued by the Honorable
C. Joseph Rehkamp on February 28, 2002, because of DOC Policy
In its previous Memorandum, the Court raised the question
concerning the proper standard under which Plaintiff's
Eighth Amendment claim should be evaluated. (Doc. 16 at 15.) The Court
noted that under the standard set forth in Turner v. Safley,
482 U.S. 78 (1987), DOC Policy 11.5.1-4 must be reasonably
related to legitimate penological interests. (Id.) This was in
error. Eighth Amendment claims are subject to the more exacting
deliberate indifference standard "because the integrity of the
criminal justice system depends on full compliance with the
Eighth Amendment." Johnson v. California, ___ U.S. ___,
125 S. Ct. 1141, 1149-50 (2005). Accordingly, the Court must evaluate
the constitutionality of DOC Policy 11.5.1-4 under the standard
set forth by the United States Court of Appeals for the Third
Circuit in Moore v. Tartler, 986 F.2d 682 (3d Cir. 1993).
Plaintiff alleges that DOC Policy 11.5.1-4 caused him to be
subject to incarceration without penological justification. To establish § 1983 liability
for incarceration without penological justification in violation
of the Eighth Amendment, the United States Court of Appeals for
the Third Circuit requires the convergence of three elements.
Moore, 986 F.2d at 686 (3d Cir. 1993). First, Plaintiff must
demonstrate that a prison official had knowledge of Plaintiff's
problem, and thus of the risk that unwarranted punishment was
being, or would be inflicted. Id. Second, Plaintiff must
establish that the official either failed to act or took
ineffectual action under the circumstances, thus demonstrating a
deliberate indifference to the plight of Plaintiff. Id.
Finally, Plaintiff must show a casual connection between the
official's response to the problem and the infliction of the
unjustified detention. Id.
On February 25, 2002, Plaintiff filed an Inmate's Request To
Staff Member. (Doc. 41, Ex. 1-B.) In the request, Plaintiff
stated that his incarceration was being continued despite the
fact that he had been granted bail. (Id.) A Department of
Corrections official responded to Plaintiff the same day
indicating that the delay was caused by a lack of certified
paperwork. (Id.) The evidence also suggests that at the time
Plaintiff filed the request, he was not entitled to be released
because of the existence of detainers lodged against him. (Doc.
41, Ex. 1 ¶ 8.) The evidence submitted indicates that on February
28, 2002, Plaintiff satisfied the detainers in full. (Doc. 41,
Ex. 1 ¶ 9; Doc. 41, Ex. 1-E; Doc. 45, Ex. A ¶ 1.) That same day,
Judge Rehkamp ordered Plaintiff be released from incarceration.
(Doc. 41, Ex. 1-D.) The order was then sent by the Perry County
Sheriff's Department to the Department of Corrections on
February, 28 2002. (Doc. 41, Ex. 1-C; Doc. 45, Ex. A ¶ 8.) The
evidence submitted indicates that a letter from the Perry County Sheriff's Department and Judge Rehkamp's order were received by
the Department of Corrections on March 4, 2002. (Doc. 41, Ex. 1 ¶
9; Doc. 41, Ex. 2 ¶ 7; Doc. 41, Ex. 1-C.) Plaintiff failed to
submit any evidence to the contrary. It is undisputed that the
Department of Corrections released Plaintiff on March 4, 2002.
Deliberate indifference may be established where a prison
official refuses to address a question of incarceration without
penological justification brought to his attention by an inmate.
Sample v. Diecks, 885 F.2d 1099, 1110 (3d Cir. 1989). Unlike
situations where prison officials stood idly by while prisoners'
contentions about the legality of their continued detention went
unaddressed, there is no evidence in the instant matter that
Plaintiff suffered a similar fate. In fact, Plaintiff has failed
to submit any evidence from which a reasonable fact-finder could
conclude that Defendants Beard or Sobina, or any other official,
acted with deliberate indifference. Rather, the evidence suggests
quite the opposite. Consequently, the Court will grant
2) State Claims
Although never addressed previously, a review of Plaintiff's
Complaint reveals that he has asserted violations of various
provisions of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of
Pennsylvania. (Doc. 1 at 5.) The Court may exercise jurisdiction
over these claims pursuant to § 1367. Section 1367(a) states:
[I]n any civil action of which the district courts
have original jurisdiction, the district courts shall
have supplemental jurisdiction over all other claims
that are so related to claims in the action within
such original jurisdiction that they form part of the
same case or controversy under Article III of the
United States Constitution. Such supplemental
jurisdiction shall include claims that involve the
joinder or intervention of additional parties. 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a). Cases that "derive from a common nucleus of
operative fact" with federal claims are part of the same case or
controversy. United Mine Workers of Am. v. Gibbs, 383 U.S. 715,
725 (1966). The state law claims raised by Plaintiff derive from
the same operative facts as the federal law claims, giving the
Court jurisdiction under § 1367(a). The Court, however, "may
decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over a claim under
subsection (a) if . . . the district court has dismissed all
claims over which it has original jurisdiction. . . ."
28 U.S.C. § 1367(c). The Supreme Court has indicated that "if the federal
claims are dismissed before trial, even though not insubstantial
in a jurisdictional sense, the state claims should be dismissed
as well." United Mine Workers, 383 U.S. at 726.
Here, the Court will grant summary judgment on the only
remaining federal claim. The remaining claims allege violations
of various provisions of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of
Pennsylvania. The Court declines to exercise jurisdiction over
these state law claims. Therefore, the Court will dismiss the
remaining state law claims for lack of jurisdiction pursuant to §
Plaintiff failed to submit any evidence that Defendants Beard
or Sobina, or any other official, acted with deliberate
indifference. Accordingly, the Court will grant Defendants'
motion. In addition, the Court will dismiss Plaintiff's remaining
state law claims for lack of jurisdiction pursuant to § 1367(c).
An appropriate Order follows. ORDER
NOW, this 7th day of June, 2005, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED
(1) Defendants' Motion For Summary Judgment (Doc. 40) is
(2) Plaintiff's remaining state law claims are DISMISSED.
(3) The Clerk of the Court shall mark this case CLOSED.
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