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EAKLE v. TENNIS

September 15, 2005.

CHARLES EAKLE, Plaintiff
v.
TENNIS, Superintendent, et al., Defendants.



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

ORDER

BACKGROUND:

Charles Eakle ("Plaintiff" or "Eakle"), an inmate presently confined in the Smithfield State Correctional Institution ("SCI-Smithfield"), in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, filed this civil rights action filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff's complaint centers around several alleged constitutional violations which occurred while he was confined in the Rockview State Correctional Institution ("SCI-Rockview"), in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. Specifically, Eakle challenges his placement in the Restricted Housing Unit ("RHU"). He claims that he was improperly placed in the RHU and subjected to excessive force in being placed in the RHU. Named as Defendants are the following employees and entities of SCI-Rockview: Program Review Committee ("PRC"); Superintendent Franklin Tennis; Former Deputy Superintendent Anthony Biviano; Program Manager Ray Coffman; Corrections Counselor Michael Knapp; Lieutenant Dale Walker; and Corrections Officers Timothy Watson, and Timothy Gensamer ("Defendants").

  Presently pending before the Court are the Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment ("Plaintiff's Motion") (doc. 17) and Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment ("Defendant's Motion"). (Rec. Doc. 13).*fn1 For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' Motion (doc. 13) will be granted.

  STANDARD OF REVIEW:

  Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c) requires the court to render summary judgment ". . . forthwith 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." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). "[T]his standard provides that 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).

  A disputed fact is "material" if proof of its existence or nonexistence would affect the outcome of the case under applicable substantive law. See Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248; see also Gray v. York Newspapers, Inc., 957 F.2d 1070, 1078 (3d Cir. 1992). An issue of material fact is "genuine" if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 257; Brenner v. Local 514, United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, 927 F.2d 1283, 1287-88 (3d Cir. 1991).

  When determining whether there is a genuine issue of material fact, the court must view the facts and all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party. See Moore v. Tartler, 986 F.2d 682 (3d Cir. 1993); see also Clement v. Consolidated Rail Corporation, 963 F.2d 599, 600 (3d Cir. 1992); White v. Westinghouse Electric Company, 862 F.2d 56, 59 (3d Cir. 1988). In order to avoid summary judgment, however, the nonmoving party may not rest on the unsubstantiated allegations of his or her pleadings. When the party seeking summary judgment satisfies its burden under Rule 56(c) of identifying evidence which demonstrates the absence of a genuine issue of material fact, the nonmoving party is required by Rule 56(e)*fn2 to go beyond the pleadings with affidavits, depositions, answers to interrogatories or the like in order to demonstrate specific material facts which give rise to a genuine issue. See Celotex Corporation v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986). The party opposing the motion "must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. v. Zenith Radio, 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). When Rule 56(e) shifts the burden of production to the nonmoving party, that party must produce evidence to show the existence of every element essential to its case which it bears the burden of proving at trial, for "a complete failure of proof concerning an essential element of the nonmoving party's case necessarily renders all other facts immaterial." Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. See Harter v. G.A.F. Corp., 967 F.2d 846, 851 (3d Cir. 1992).

  STATEMENT OF FACTS:

  Eakle was placed in Administrative Custody (Rec. Doc. 1 at 2). On November 20, 2003, Eakle received an "others" report, from SCI-Rockview Security Officers Lt. Vance and Lt. Eaton, stating that he was to remain in Administrative Custody pending further investigation of the assault and also because placement in general population would "endanger [his] safety and welfare." (Rec. Doc. 1 at 2).

  On December 12, 2003, whiled housed in Administrative Custody, Eakle was issued Misconduct Report No. A618953 for having another inmate "slide a magazine to [Plaintiff] under [his] door." (Rec. Doc. 1at 2-3).

  On December 17, 2003, as a result of his misconduct, Plaintiff was directed by Officers Watson and Walker, to "put [his] jumpsuit on and cuff up to move to (Restricted Housing Unit) RHU." (Rec. Doc. 1 at 3). Plaintiff refused, stating that he was in Administrative Custody "for medical reasons". (Rec. Doc. 1 at 3). The officers left Plaintiff's cell, and returned with an "assault team." (Rec. Doc. 1 at 3). Officer Walker again demanded Plaintiff to put on his jumpsuit. After Plaintiff refused, the "assault team" entered his cell and allegedly "attacked [plaintiff] all at once and dragged [him] to the RHU." (Aff. of Charles Eakle at 3). Plaintiff claims that he was then placed in a cell in the RHU that smelled of urine. (Aff. of Charles Eakle at 4). After the handcuffs were removed, Plaintiff was examined by a nurse. (Aff. of Charles Eakle at 4). Plaintiff had "scratches on [his] right leg and arm and the next day [his] hole right side from [his] neck to [his] right knee was all black and blue." (Aff. of Charles Eakle at 4). Later that day, Plaintiff questioned Officer Walker as to who authorized his move from Administrative Custody to the RHU. Walker responded that it was the Shift Commander. (Aff. of Charles Eakle at 5).

  On January 8, 2004, Eakle filed Grievance No. 72450, claiming that he was improperly removed from Administrative Custody and "forced into the RHU", in "violation of [his] safety and protection" and "in violation of DOC Inmate Hand Book", which states that an inmate placed in Administrative Custody for his own safety, can only be released by the PRC or Superintendent. (Rec. Doc. 15, Ex. A).

  On January 9, 2004, the SCI-Rockview Grievance Coordinator returned Plaintiff's grievance to him. (Rec. Doc. 15, Ex. B). The Grievance Coordinator rejected Eakle's grievance on the basis that: (1) Grievances related to Inmate Disciplinary and Restricted Housing Unit Procedures are to be grieved through DC-ADM 801; (2) Grievances related to Administrative Custody Procedures are to be grieved through DC-ADM 802; and (3) Plaintiff's excessive force claim was not submitted within fifteen (15) calendar days after the event upon which the claim was based. (Rec. Doc. 15, Ex. B). Eakle did not resubmit grievances in accordance with DC-ADM 801 or 802, ...


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