The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOHN E. JONES, District Judge
Allen Branthafer ("Plaintiff"), an inmate presently confined at
the State Correctional Institution, Graterford, Pennsylvania,
filed this pro se civil rights action pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983. Named as Defendants are the following officials at the
Plaintiff's prior place of confinement, the Huntingdon County
Correctional Facility, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania: Warden Duane
Black; Deputy Warden Darrell Bair; Nurse Judy Hoffmaster;
Sergeant Joe Booher; and Correctional Officers George Green,
Ronnie Stewart, Fred Morgan, Chris Woodward, and Dale Morgan.
The complaint initially alleges that on or about July 16, 2000,
Plaintiff "slipped in water coming from the shower it [sic] the
booking area." Doc. 1, ¶ IV(1). Branthafer states that he fell
against the bars of his cell and injured his eye. He generally alleges that he was denied medical treatment "at that
time" by unidentified prison officials. Id. His resulting
injuries purportedly included vison loss and a scar.*fn1
In his second claim, Plaintiff avers that after "seeking legal
help about my eye" Sergeant Booher transferred him to an unheated
holding cell on January 23, 2001. Id. at (2). He remained in
this holding cell along with two other inmates until "about"
January 30, 2001.*fn2 Id. at (3). Unnamed correctional
officers also purportedly retaliated against Branthafer on
January 23, 2001 by removing his blanket, privileged legal
documents, and personal hygiene items from the cell. Plaintiff
adds that the holding cell was so cold that he and his cellmates
were unable to sleep for five (5) days. The unidentified officers
returned his legal documents and hygiene items the next day.
However, his mattress was removed from the holding cell by
unidentified officers later that same day. During this same time
period, Branthafer further claims that his clothing was taken and
the water in the holding cell was turned off.
On January 28, 2001, Correctional Officers Stewart and Green
allegedly threw Plaintiff against the wall outside of his cell.
Branthafer lacerated his arm against a button on the wall.
Plaintiff notes that his arm "sustained two long scars as a
result." Id. at (4). Next, Branthafer contends that Defendants
Booher, Green, Fred Morgan, Woodward, and Dale Morgan "either threw or failed to protect me
from the others throwing me head first into the visiting room."
Id. As a result, his head and back slammed into steel seats
located in the visiting room, bruising his back and ankle. Those
correctional officers also purportedly confiscated his hygiene
items and personal legal documents. His complaint also sets forth
claims that the inmate living quarters were: dirty; had
malfunctioning toilets; and lacked sufficient lighting.
Plaintiff's final contention is that the prison's law library
By Memorandum and Order dated September 17, 2003, this Court
partially granted Defendants' motion requesting entry of summary
judgment. Specifically, summary judgment was granted in favor of
Warden Black and Deputy Warden Bair and also with respect to
Plaintiff's claims of: denial of access to the courts; lack of
medical care following his July 16, 2000 slip and fall; and his
request for compensatory damages regarding the conditions of
Presently pending before the Court is the remaining Defendants'
second motion for summary judgment. See doc. 56. The motion has
been briefed and is ripe for consideration.
The remaining Defendants claim entitlement to entry of summary
judgment on the grounds that: (1) Plaintiff has not shown that he
suffered any physical injury as a result of the alleged
unconstitutional conditions of confinement; (2) the conditions of his holding cell confinement were constitutionally acceptable;
(3) defendant Hoffmaster is entitled to entry of summary judgment
based on the prior dismissal of Plaintiff's claim of deliberate
indifference to any serious medical needs; and (4) Branthafer's
allegations of retaliation are insufficient because there was a
legitimate penological interest for the actions taken against him
and his cellmates.
Summary judgment is appropriate if the "pleadings, depositions,
answers to interrogatories, admissions on file, together with
affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any
material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment
as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c).
[T]he plain language of Rule 56(c) mandates the entry
of summary judgment, after adequate time for
discovery and upon motion, against a party who fails
to make a showing sufficient to establish the
existence of an element essential to that party's
case, and on which that party will bear the burden of
proof at trial. In such a situation, there can be "no
genuine issue as to any material fact," since a
complete failure of proof concerning an essential
element of the nonmoving party's case necessarily
renders all other facts immaterial. The moving party
is "entitled to a judgment as a matter of law"
because the nonmoving party has failed to make a
sufficient showing on an essential element of her
case with respect to which she has the burden of
proof. "[T]he standard [for granting summary
judgment] mirrors the standard for a directed verdict
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 50(a). . . ."
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317
, 322-23, (1986). The moving party bears the initial responsibility of stating
the basis for its motion and identifying those portions of the
record which demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of
material fact. The moving party can discharge that burden by
"`showing' . . . that there is an absence of evidence to support
the nonmoving party's case." Celotex, supra,
106 S.Ct. at 2553 and 2554. Once the moving party has satisfied its burden,
the nonmoving party must present "affirmative evidence" to defeat
the motion, consisting of verified or documented materials.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242
, 257 (1986).
Issues of fact are ...