The opinion of the court was delivered by: MALCOLM MUIR, Senior District Judge
THE BACKGROUND OF THIS ORDER IS AS FOLLOWS:
On July 30, 1999, Plaintiff Latchmie Toolasprashad, an inmate
in the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, filed this
action in the United States District Court for the District of
Columbia. The proceedings in that court included the filing of
dispositive motions and an appeal by Toolasprashad to the United
States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
See Toolasprashad v. Bureau of Prisons, 286 F.3d 576 (D.C. Cir.
2002). Toolasprashad is proceeding pro se and in forma
As a result of the rulings in those courts, all but one of
Toolasprashad's claims were resolved in favor of the Defendants.
In his only remaining claim, Toolasprashad alleges that the
Bureau of Prisons violated the Privacy Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552a, when
it transferred him to a correctional institution far from his
parents' home, and it reclassified him as a "special offender" based upon false information in a Bureau of Prisons's memorandum.
On October 18, 2002, the Federal Bureau of Prisons filed in the
United States District Court for the District of Columbia a
motion for summary judgment with respect to that claim or, in the
alternative, to transfer the case to this court. By order dated
July 29, 2003, the United States District Court for the District
of Columbia transferred the matter to this court. In its order
the court "decline[d] to reach the merits of the case and
therefore [left] resolution of the summary judgment motion to the
transferee court." (Order of July 29, 2003, p. 2, n. 1)
The Clerk of Court assigned this case to us but referred it to
Magistrate Judge J. Andrew Smyser for consideration. Although the
order transferring this case was entered on July 29, 2003, the
case file was not received in this court until March 22, 2005. On
April 15, 2005, Magistrate Judge Smyser filed a report
recommending that the summary judgment motion be granted and the
After being granted an extension of time in which to do so, on
July 18, 2005, Toolasprashad filed the following documents: 1)
"Plaintiff's Request to Accept Overlength [sic] Combined
Objections and Brief to the Report and Recommendation and Notice
to Court"; 2) "Plaintiff's Combined Objections and Brief to the
Report and Recommendation"; and 3) exhibits in support of those
objections. On August 2, 2005, the Bureau of Prisons filed a brief opposing Toolasprashad's objections. On August 3, 2005,
Toolasprashad filed "Plaintiff's Supplemental Motion and Brief To
Plaintiff's Combined Objections and Brief to the Report and
Recommendation." On August 11, 2005, Toolasprashad filed
"Plaintiff's Second Supplemental Combined Motion and Brief to
Plaintiff's Combined Objections and Brief to the Report and
Recommendation." On August 22, 2005, Toolasprashad filed a reply
brief, thereby ripening his objections for disposition.
When objections are filed to a report of a Magistrate Judge, we
make a de novo determination of those portions of the report or
specified proposed findings or recommendations made by the
magistrate judge to which there are objections. United States v.
Raddatz, 447 U.S. 667 (1980); 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); M.D. Pa.
Local Rule 72.31. Furthermore, district judges have wide
discretion as to how they treat recommendations of the Magistrate
Judge. Id. In providing for a de novo review determination
rather than a de novo hearing, Congress intended to permit
whatever reliance a district judge, in the exercise of sound
discretion, chooses to place on a Magistrate Judge's proposed
findings and recommendations. Id. See also Mathews v. Weber,
423 U.S. 261, 275 (1976); Goney v. Clark, 749 F.2d 5, 7 (3d Cir.
As a threshold matter we note that the Bureau of Prisons has
not objected to the length of Toolasprashad's combined objections and supporting brief (consisting of forty-two pages) or to the
documents he filed on August 3, 2005 (entitled "Plaintiff's
Supplemental Motion and Brief To Plaintiff's Combined Objections
and Brief to the Report and Recommendation"), or the document
filed on August 11, 2005 (labeled "Plaintiff's Second
Supplemental Combined Motion and Brief to Plaintiff's Combined
Objections and Brief to the Report and Recommendation"). In the
absence of any objection to those documents, and in light of
Toolasprashad's pro se status, we will reluctantly consider
those filings in their entirety in our de novo review of the
Bureau of Prisons's motion for summary judgment.
Summary judgment is appropriate only when there is no genuine
issue of material fact which is unresolved and the moving party
is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(c). Summary judgment should not be granted when there is a
disagreement about the facts or the proper inferences which a
fact finder could draw from them. Peterson v. Lehigh Valley Dist.
Council, 676 F.2d 81, 84 (3d Cir. 1982). "When a motion for
summary judgment is made and supported as provided in . . . [Rule
56], an adverse party may not rest upon mere allegations or
denials of the adverse party's pleading. . . ." Fed.R.Civ.P.
Initially, the moving party has a burden of demonstrating the
absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corporation v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). This may be met
by the moving party pointing out to the court that there is an
absence of evidence to support an essential element as to which
the non-moving party will bear the burden of proof at trial.
Id. at 325.
Rule 56 provides that, where such a motion is made and properly
supported, the adverse party must show by affidavits, pleadings,
depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file
that there is a genuine issue for trial. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e).
The United States Supreme Court has commented that this
requirement is tantamount to the non-moving party making a
sufficient showing as to the essential elements of his or her
case that a reasonable jury could find in its favor. Celotex
Corporation vs. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986).
When addressing a motion for such a judgment, our inquiry
focuses on "whether the evidence presents a sufficient
disagreement to require submission to the jury or whether it is
so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of law."
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 251-52 (1986)
(emphasis added). As summarized by the Advisory Committee On
Civil Rules, "[t]he very mission of the summary judgment
procedure is to pierce the pleadings and to assess the proof in
order to see whether there is a genuine need for trial."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56 advisory committee note to 1963 Amendment. We will apply those principles to the Bureau of Prisons's
motion for summary judgment. Before doing so, however, we will
set forth the undisputed material facts relating to
Toolasprashad's sole remaining claim.
Toolasprashad arrived at the Federal Correction Institution at
Allenwood (hereinafter "Allenwood") on October 17, 1994. On
January 27, 1995, he received an Incident report charging him
with, inter alia, "insolence towards staff." The underlying
incident is described in the report as follows:
On 01/27/95 at approximately 09:10 a.m. I was giving
Inmate Toolasprashad a legal call. I informed him
that he could call his lawyer but not his congressman
as he requested. Inmate Toolasprashad became irate
stating I'll get you motherfuckers give me a BP8.
(January 27, 1995, Incident report, p. 1) The Disciplinary
Hearing Officer ...