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DRAYTON v. KYLER

September 15, 2005.

JAMES E. DRAYTON, Plaintiff,
v.
SUPERINTENDENT KENNETH KYLER, ET AL., Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOHN E. JONES, District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

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.

  STANDARD OF REVIEW:

  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 325.

  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.

  DISCUSSION:

  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 ...


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