United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
September 15, 2005.
JEFFREY J. CAMPBELL, Plaintiff,
JEFFREY A. BEARD, et al., Defendants.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: YVETTE KANE, District Judge
Plaintiff, Jeffrey J. Campbell, an inmate formerly incarcerated
at the State Correctional Institution in Waymart ("SCI-Waymart"),
Pennsylvania, commenced this pro se civil rights action with
a complaint filed pursuant to the provisions of 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
Campbell alleges that SCI-Waymart Prison officials and healthcare
personnel conspired to deprive him of his rights under the
Americans with Disabilities Act, demonstrated deliberate
indifference to his disability, and intentionally inflicted
emotional distress. Campbell named sixteen (16) Defendants,
including SCI-Waymart Medical Director Dr. Tamarat Bekele
(Bekele) and Regional Director of Healthcare Glenn Jeffes
(Jeffes). By an Order dated September 16, 2004 (Doc. 29), this
Court granted the motion to dismiss Bekele and Jeffes as
Defendants in the case. This matter comes before the Court on the
motion of the remaining fourteen (14) Defendants to dismiss (Doc.
37) Plaintiff's complaint or, in the alternative, for summary
judgment. A brief in support of the motion was timely submitted,
Plaintiff has filed two documents in opposition (Docs. 40 and
46), and the motion is ripe for disposition. Also pending is
Plaintiff's motion for oral argument (Doc. 30), Plaintiff's
motion for entry of default (Doc. 43), and Plaintiff's motion to
cancel last motion for default. For the reasons set forth below,
Defendants' motion to dismiss will be denied, Defendants' motion
for summary judgment will be held in abeyance pending submission of
supplemental documentation, and Plaintiff's motions will be
deemed withdrawn and therefore denied.
A. Plaintiff's Miscellaneous Motions
Plaintiff has filed a motion for oral argument (Doc. 30) on a
previous motion for default, as well as a second motion for entry
of default (Doc. 43) and a motion to cancel his last motion for
entry of default (Doc. 47). More than ten (10) days have elapsed
since these motions have been filed, and no supporting briefs
have been submitted. In this Court's Standing Practice Order
(Doc. 3), the Court makes a specific reference to M.D.Pa.L.R.
7.5, and the text of that Rule is attached. Under LR 7.5,
"[w]ithin ten (10) days after the filing of any motion filed
prior to trial, the party filing the same shall file an original
and two (2) copies of a brief with the clerk and shall serve
copies thereof on all parties . . . Unless otherwise ordered by
the court, if supporting legal briefs are not filed within the
time provided in this rule such motion shall be deemed
withdrawn." Consequently, the motions are deemed withdrawn and
will therefore be denied.
B. Motion to Dismiss Standard
In rendering a decision on a motion to dismiss, the Court must
accept the Plaintiff's allegations as true. White v. Napoleon,
897 F.2d 103, 106 (3d Cir. 1990). A motion to dismiss may only be
granted if there is no reasonable reading of the facts that would
entitle Plaintiff to relief. Lum v. Bank of America,
361 F.3d 217, 223 (3d Cir. 2004). A complaint that does not establish
entitlement to relief under any reasonable interpretation is
properly dismissed without leave to amend. Grayson v. Mayview
State Hospital, 293 F.3d 103, 106 (3d Cir. 2002). It is also
well-settled that pro se complaints should be liberally construed. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520
(1972). Defendants' motion goes beyond a simple motion to
dismiss, because it is accompanied by evidentiary materials
outside the pleadings. Accordingly, since the supplemental
materials will be considered by the Court, Defendants' motion to
dismiss will be denied.
C. Summary Judgment Standard
Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c), summary judgment
may be entered only "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 judgment
as a matter of law." The party moving for summary judgment has
the burden of proving that there is no genuine issue of material
fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986).
Additionally, on summary judgment, the inferences to be drawn
from the underlying facts must be viewed in the light most
favorable to the non-moving party. Mraz v. County of Lehigh,
862 F. Supp. 1344 (E.D. Pa. 1994). "Only disputes over facts that
might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will
properly preclude the entry of summary judgment." Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). To preclude
summary judgment, there must be a "genuine" issue of a material
fact, "that is, if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury
could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Id. "If the
evidence is merely colorable, or is not significantly probative,
summary judgment may be granted." Id. at 249-250 (citations
Moreover, Rule 56 provides that the adverse party may not
simply sit back and rest on the allegations contained in the
pleadings. Rather, 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). When addressing a summary judgment motion, 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, 477 U.S. at 251-52 (emphasis added).
D. Exhaustion Requirement
Defendants' summary judgment motion is based upon a contention
that Plaintiff has failed to exhaust his administrative remedies
on his claims of mistreatment set forth in the complaint. With
respect to the exhaustion of administrative remedies,
42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a) provides as follows:
No action shall be brought with respect to prison
conditions under Section 1979 of the Revised Statutes
of the United States (42 U.S.C. 1983), or any other
federal law, by a prisoner confined in any jail,
prison, or other correctional facility until such
administrative remedies as are available are
"This provision makes no distinction between an action for
damages, injunctive relief, or both. The exhaustion requirement
is mandatory, whether or not the administrative remedies afford
the inmate-plaintiff the relief sought in the federal court
action." Nyhuis v. Reno, 204 F.3d 65
, 67 (3d Cir. 2000). Thus,
prisoners are required to exhaust available administrative
remedies prior to seeking relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 or
any other federal law. Fortes v. Harding, 19 F. Supp. 2d 323,
325 (M.D. Pa. 1998).
Nevertheless, "[f]ailure to exhaust administrative remedies is
an affirmative defense that must be pled and proven by the
defendant." Brown v. Croak, 312 F.3d 109, 111 (3d Cir. 2002)
(citing Ray v. Kertes, 285 F.2d 287, 295 (3d Cir. 2002)). A
prisoner has no duty to plead exhaustion in the complaint, and it
is the Defendants' issue to support with credible evidence.
Ray, 285 F.3d at 297.
The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections has established a
Consolidated Inmate Grievance Review System, policy number DC-ADM
804, which became effective January 1, 2001. With certain exceptions not applicable here, DC-ADM 804, Section VI
("Procedures") provides that, after attempted informal resolution
of the problem, a written grievance may be submitted to the
Grievance Coordinator; an appeal from the Coordinator's decision
may be made in writing to the Facility Manager; and a final
written appeal is presented to the Secretary's Office of Inmate
Grievances and Appeals. (Doc. 39, Ex. 1, § VI. B-D.)
In support of their motion, Defendants have submitted a
declaration by SCI-Waymart Grievance Coordinator Ronald Richards.
Defendants aver that a review of Department of Corrections'
records establishes that Plaintiff "filed no grievances during
his confinement at SCI-Waymart" (Doc. 39 at 5.), and they cite ¶
8 of the Richards Declaration in support of the contention.
(Id.) However, in the electronic filing of the declaration,
page two of the document (apparently containing ¶ 8 of the
declaration) appears to have been lost in transmission, and it
does not appear in the record as part of Doc. 39.
In response to the present motion, Plaintiff appears to argue
that he did exhaust administrative remedies, alleging that he
"did use all resources at his disposal to remedy this entire case
before it was even filed in this Honorable Court." (Doc. 40 at
1.) Plaintiff claims that he has "copies of everything . . .
including the responses to everything that was filed[, and upon]
request . . . these documents shall be made available." (Id.)
In light of the absence of documentation to support either
party's contentions related to exhaustion of administrative
remedies, the Court is unable to decide the pending motion.
Consequently, the Court will defer a decision on the pending
motion for summary judgment, and the parties will be granted an
enlargement to submit relevant documentation on the issue of
exhaustion of administrative remedies. III. Order.
AND NOW, THEREFORE, THIS 15th DAY OF SEPTEMBER, 2005, in
accordance with the foregoing memorandum, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED
1. Defendants' motion to dismiss is DENIED, and
Defendants' motion for summary judgment (Doc. 37)
will be held in abeyance pending submission of
further documentation by the parties.
2. Within ten (10) days of the date of this Order,
Defendants shall submit documentation in support of
their contention that Plaintiff has failed to exhaust
administrative remedies available for the issues
raised in the instant action.
3. Within ten (10) days of the date of this Order,
Plaintiff shall submit documentation in support of
his contention that he has exhausted all
administrative remedies available for the issues
raised in the instant action.
4. Within five (5) days from the submission of any
supplemental documentation pursuant to this Order,
the parties may respond to the supplemental documents
submitted by the adverse party relating to the issue
of exhaustion of administrative remedies.
5. Plaintiff's motion for oral argument (Doc. 30),
his motion for entry of default (Doc. 43), and his
motion to withdraw last motion for default (Doc. 47)
are deemed withdrawn for failure to file a brief in
support of said motions as required by M.D.Pa.L.R.
7.5, and the motions are therefore DENIED.
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