The opinion of the court was delivered by: JAMES McCLURE, Senior District Judge
David Anthony McKinney ("Plaintiff"), an inmate presently
confined at the United States Penitentiary, Marion, Illinois
("USP-Marion"), filed this combined civil rights/Federal Tort
Claims Act ("FTCA") action. Originally named as Defendants were
United States Attorney General John Ashcroft; Kathleen
Hawk-Sawyer, former Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons
(BOP); USP-Marion Warden E.A. Stepp and thirteen (13) officials
at McKinney's prior place of confinement, the Allenwood United
States Penitentiary, White Deer, Pennsylvania ("USP-Allenwood").
By Memorandum and Order dated January 16, 2004, the Defendants'
motion to dismiss was granted in part. The civil rights portion of the
complaint was dismissed as being barred by the applicable statue
of limitations. However, McKinney's FTCA claims were allowed to
proceed and the United States of America was substituted as sole
According to the complaint, on May 18, 2000, Correctional
Officer Simpler handcuffed the Plaintiff and escorted him to
Lieutenant Noone. Upon their arrival at the front of the prison's
Special Housing Unit ("SHU"), Noone took the handcuffs from
Simpler and directed McKinney towards the SHU Property Room.
McKinney alleges that he was subsequently knocked unconscious
when Correctional Officer T. Burke forced him into the Property
Room and "slammed me down to the floor."*fn1 Record document
no. 1, ¶ IV. After regaining consciousness, Burke instructed
McKinney to look out the window where he saw J. Fenney smiling at
him. The complaint adds that at this juncture "the attacker took
out his knife and attempted to kill me." Id.
When the Plaintiff began pleading for his life, Burke ceased
the attack and told McKinney that the assault had been ordered by
Original Defendants R. Eldridge and Fenney. However, Burke resumed the beating when Fenney began
banging on the window. Specifically, the guard purportedly
slammed Plaintiff's head into the Property Room door. After
leaving the Property Room, Burke pushed McKinney into the walls
of the common area of the SHU. Burke proceeded to throw the
prisoner to the floor with the assistance of other correctional
staff. It is alleged that Burke then pulled Plaintiff's left
elbow in an upward motion with such force that the prisoner
suffered a fracture to his left arm.
When McKinney informed Lieutenant Arrington that he had been
assaulted, Arrington purportedly ordered that a videotape taken
of the attack be erased. Lieutenant Gonzales subsequently served
McKinney with an incident report regarding the altercation, took
his statement and indicated that he would look into the incident.
Plaintiff claims that neither Gonzales, Warden Mendez nor the BOP
took any corrective action. The complaint further alleged that
McKinney was intentionally delayed needed treatment for his
broken left arm.
Following the incident, Plaintiff was subjected to additional
verbal threats and physical abuse by Defendants Burke and
Matlack. His remaining contention asserts that he was assaulted
by unidentified correctional staff following his arrival at USP-Marion. McKinney seeks monetary damages and a transfer from
USP-Marion to another correctional facility.
Presently pending is the Defendants' motion requesting entry of
summary judgment. The motion (Record document no. 48) has been
briefed and is ripe for disposition. For the reasons outlined
below, the motion will be granted.
Summary judgment is appropriate if the "pleadings, depositions,
answers to interrogatories, admissions on file, together with
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]he plain language of Rule 56(c) mandates the entry
of summary judgment, after adequate time for
discovery and upon motion, against a party who fails
to make a showing sufficient to establish the
existence of an element essential to that party's
case, and on which that party will bear the burden of
proof at trial. In such a situation, there can be "no
genuine issue as to any material fact," since a
complete failure of proof concerning an essential
element of the nonmoving party's case necessarily
renders all other facts immaterial. The moving party
is "entitled to a judgment as a matter of law"
because the nonmoving party has failed to make a
sufficient showing on an essential element of her
case with respect to which she has the burden of
proof. "[T]he standard [for granting summary judgment] mirrors the standard for a directed
verdict under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
50(a). . . ."
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317
, 322-23, (1986).
The moving party bears the initial responsibility of stating
the basis for its motion and identifying those portions of the
record which demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of
material fact. The moving party can discharge that burden by
"`showing' . . . that there is an absence of evidence to support
the nonmoving party's case." Celotex, supra,
106 S.Ct. at 2553 and 2554. Once the moving party has satisfied its burden,
the nonmoving party must present "affirmative evidence" to defeat
the motion, consisting of verified or documented materials.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 257 (1986).
Issues of fact are "genuine only if a reasonable jury,
considering the evidence presented could find for the nonmoving
party." Childers v. Joseph, 842 F.2d 689, 693-94 (3d Cir.
1988). Only disputes over facts that might ...