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SCOTT v. QUIGLEY

June 7, 2005.

RONALD K. SCOTT, Plaintiff,
v.
KEITH B. QUIGLEY, et al., Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: A. RICHARD CAPUTO, District Judge

MEMORANDUM

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.

BACKGROUND

  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 for disposition.

  LEGAL STANDARD

  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 11.5.1-4.

  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 ...


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