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Flanyak v. Hopta

January 23, 2006


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Malachy E. Mannion United States Magistrate Judge


Presently pending before the court is the defendants' unopposed*fn1 motion for summary judgment. (Doc. No. 37).


On July 26, 2004, the plaintiff, an inmate at the State Correctional Institution at Mahanoy, ("SCI-Mahanoy"), Frackville, Pennsylvania, filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983, in which he alleges that defendant Hopta violated his Eighth Amendment rights by subjecting him to unsafe conditions in the prison's welding shop and that defendant Cerullo was deliberately indifferent to his resulting medical needs. (Doc. No. 1).

On the same day the plaintiff filed the appropriate application to proceed in forma pauperis, (Doc. No. 2), and authorization form, (Doc. No. 3). As a result, a financial administrative order was issued. (Doc. No. 4).

On September 27, 2004 the plaintiff requested appointment of counsel. (Doc. No. 12). The district court judge, then assigned to the case, denied that motion on November 8, 2004. (Doc. No. 16).

By order dated August 27, 2004, it was directed that the Clerk of Court forward the plaintiff's complaint to the United States Marshal for service. (Doc. No. 9). The defendants waived service of the plaintiff's complaint, and on November 1, 2004, the defendants filed their answer to the plaintiff's complaint. (Doc. No. 15).

By notice dated November 18, 2004, the parties consented to the exercise of jurisdiction by the undersigned and the case was reassigned. (Doc. Nos. 19, 21). On December 2, 2004 the undersigned, sua sponte, reconsidered the previous order denying appointment of counsel and conditionally granted the plaintiff's request for counsel pursuant to MDPA LR, requesting review by the district's pro bono panel. (Doc. No. 22). After multiple reviews, the court was advised that no counsel would agree to undertake representation of the plaintiff on this claim. (Doc. Nos. 25, 28, and 29). The court, subsequently revoked its conditional order of appointment. (Doc. No. 30).

A scheduling order was issued by the court on June 1, 2005. (Doc. No. 30). After having been granted an extension of time to do so, (Doc. No. 33), on November 30, 2005, the defendants filed the instant motion for summary judgment, (Doc. No. 37), along with a statement of material facts, (Doc. No. 38), and supporting brief, (Doc. No. 39).


Summary judgment is appropriate 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).

The Supreme Court has stated that:

". . . [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 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."

Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323-24 (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. Id. The moving party can discharge that burden by "showing . . . that there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case." Id. at 325.

Issues of fact are genuine "only if a reasonably jury, considering the evidence presented, could find for the nonmoving party." Childers v. Joseph, 842 F.2d 689, 693-94 (3d Cir. 1988)(citations omitted). Material facts are those which will effect the outcome of the trial under governing law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). The court may not weigh the evidence or make credibility determinations. Boyle v. County of Allegheny, 139 F.3d 386, 393 (3d Cir. 1998). In determining whether an issue of material fact exists, the court must consider all evidence and inferences drawn therefrom in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Id. at 393.

If the moving party meets his initial burden, the opposing party must do more than raise some metaphysical doubt as to material facts, but must show sufficient evidence to support a jury verdict in its favor. Id.


In his complaint, the plaintiff alleges that he worked as a production welder for Correctional Industries while confined at SCI-Mahanoy from November 2000 through July 2002. While there, the plaintiff alleges that he reported to the medical department with complaints of shortness of ...

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