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