The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOHN E. JONES, District Judge
THE BACKGROUND OF THIS ORDER IS AS FOLLOWS:
The plaintiff, James E. Drayton ("Plaintiff" or "Drayton"), an
inmate incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution, in
Huntingdon, Pennsylvania ("SCI-Huntingdon"), proceeding pro se,
initiated this civil rights actions pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
("§ 1983") by filing a complaint in the United States District
Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania on January 17,
2002. (See Rec. Doc. 1). On March 22, 2002, Plaintiff filed an
amended complaint, in which he named additional defendants and
added claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 1985 and 1986, which were
dismissed by a subsequent order of the Court. Plaintiff's only
claim that remains is his Eighth Amendment claim. (See Rec.
Docs. 89, 99). This case was referred to Magistrate Judge Malachy E. Mannion
for preliminary review. On June 3, 2005 the Corrections
Defendants filed the instant Motion for Summary Judgment. (Rec.
Doc. 294) and on June 8, 2005, Plaintiff filed a Motion for
Summary Judgment. (Rec. Doc. 297). The cross-motions for summary
judgment have been briefed by the parties and are ripe for
disposition. In addition, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Sanctions
on June 3, 2005 which is deemed unopposed as the Corrections
Defendants have failed to either file an opposing brief in
accordance with Local Rule 7.6 or request an extension of time
within which to do so. (Rec. Doc. 293).
On July 28, 2005, Magistrate Judge Mannion issued a Report and
Recommendation within which he concluded that the cross-motions
for summary judgment should be denied, that any ruling on
Plaintiff's Motion for Sanctions, which allegedly claims a
violation of an Order of this Court, be reserved for the
undersigned, and that the instant action be set down for trial.
(See Rep. & Rec. at 17-18).*fn1 Objections to the Magistrate Judge's Report were due on August
28, 2005 and to date none have been filed.*fn2 This matter
is now ripe for disposition.
When no objections are made to a magistrate's report, the
district court is not statutorily required to review a magistrate
judge's report before accepting it. See Thomas v. Arn,
474 U.S. 140, 149-50 (1985). According to the Third Circuit, however,
"the better practice is to afford some level of review to
dispositive legal issues raised by the report." Henderson v.
Carlson, 812 F.2d 874, 878 (3d Cir. 1987). When a district court
accepts a magistrate judge's report, the report becomes the
judgment of the court. Id.
In considering a Motion for Summary Judgment, it is important
to note that summary judgment is appropriate if "there is no
genuine issue as to any material fact and . . . the moving party
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." FED .R. CIV. P.
56(c); see also Turner v. Schering-Plough Corp.,
901 F.2d 335, 340 (3d Cir. 1990). The party moving for summary judgment bears the
burden of showing "there is no genuine issue for trial." Young
v. Quinlan, 960 F.2d 351, 357 (3d Cir. 1992). 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).
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
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 provides that, where such a
motion is made and properly supported, the non-moving party must
then 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 their case that a reasonable jury could find in its
favor. Celotex Corp., 477 U.S. at 322-23.
It is important to note that "the non-moving party cannot rely
upon conclusory allegations in its pleadings or in memoranda and
briefs to establish a genuine issue of material fact." Pastore v. Bell Tel. Co. of
Pa., 24 F.3d 508, 511 (3d Cir. 1994) (citation omitted).
However, all inferences "should be drawn in the light most
favorable to the non-moving party, and where the non-moving
party's evidence contradicts the movant's, then the non-movant's
must be taken as true." Big Apple BMW, Inc. v. BMW of N. Am.,
Inc., 974 F.2d 1358, 1363 (3d Cir. 1992), cert. denied,
507 U.S. 912 (1993) (citations omitted).
Still, "the mere existence of some alleged factual dispute
between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly
supported motion for summary judgment; the requirement is that
there be no genuine issue of material fact." Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986) (emphasis in
original). "As to materiality, the substantive law will identify
which facts are material." Id. at 248. A dispute is considered
to be genuine only if "the evidence is such that a reasonable
jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Id.
Our review of this case confirms Magistrate Judge Mannion's
detailed analysis and determinations, and while we have not been
presented with any reason to revisit them, we do reiterate the
salient aspects of the Magistrate Judge's report.
First, as the Magistrate Judge thoroughly explained the issue
of exhaustion of administrative remedies as it relates to the
factual background and procedural history of this case in his report, we need not revisit it at
this juncture. (See Rep. & Rec. at 3-16). After a careful
review of the extensive procedural record in this case, we agree
with the Magistrate Judge that Corrections Defendants' Motion for
Summary Judgment based upon Plaintiff's alleged failure to
exhaust administrative remedies should be denied. As the
Magistrate Judge submits, Plaintiff took substantial steps in
attempting to exhaust his administrative remedies, even going so
far as to file a grievance, relating to his inability to complete
his initial grievance in an attempt to obtain copies of the
materials needed to submit his final appeal to the Secretary's
Office of Inmate Grievances and Appeals. Id. at 15. In
addition, several of the ...