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Redmond v. United States

March 20, 2006

LEON B. REDMOND, PLAINTIFF,
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge McClure

MEMORANDUM

BACKGROUND

On February 2, 2004, plaintiff Leon B. Redmond, an inmate currently confined in the United States Penitentiary, Atlanta, Georgia, filed a complaint against numerous defendants in the Middle District of Pennsylvania. Following court order, Redmond filed an amended complaint on April 16, 2004. The amended complaint alleged a Federal Torts Claim Act (FTCA) claim, a Bivens civil rights claim, and an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) claim.

By court order dated March 3, 2005, we partially granted defendants' motion to dismiss and for summary judgment. In that order we granted summary judgment in defendants' favor with respect to plaintiff's ADA and civil rights claims. We denied defendants' request for summary judgment with respect to Redmond's FTCA claim. As a result of our rulings in that order the United States is the sole remaining defendant. The United States has since filed a second motion for summary judgment. The matter is now fully briefed. For the following reasons we find that the discretionary function exception to the FTCA shields the United States from liability and strips this court of subject matter jurisdiction. Therefore, we will dismiss the action because we lack jurisdiction to hear the case.

DISCUSSION:

I. LEGAL STANDARD

It is appropriate for a court to grant a motion for summary judgment "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 a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). "If the nonmoving party has the burden of persuasion at trial, 'the party moving for summary judgment may meet its burden by showing that the evidentiary materials of record, if reduced to admissible evidence, would be insufficient to carry the non-movant's burden of proof at trial.'" Jalil v. Avdel Corp., 873 F.2d 701, 706 (3d Cir. 1989) (quoting Chippolini v. Spencer Gifts, Inc., 814 F.2d 893, 896 (3d. Cir. 1987)); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986).

In evaluating a motion for summary judgment the court will draw all reasonable inferences from the evidence in the record in favor of the nonmoving party. Am. Flint Glass Workers Union v. Beaumont Glass Co., 62 F.3d 574, (3d Cir. 1995). The nonmoving party, however, cannot defeat a motion for summary judgment by merely offering general denials, vague allegations, or conclusory statements; rather the party must point to specific evidence in the record that creates a genuine issue as to a material fact. See Celotex, 477 U.S. at 32; Ridgewood Bd. of Educ. v. N.E. ex rel. M.E., 172 F.3d 238, 252 (3d Cir. 1999).

II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

First, we note that defendant complied with Local Rule 56.1 and filed a separate and concise statement of uncontested material facts. (Rec. Doc. No. 34.) Plaintiff, who is proceeding pro se, failed to comply with Local Rule 56.1 and file a statement opposing these facts.

Daniel Graham and plaintiff Leon Redmond were both previously inmates at United States Penitentiary Allenwood, Pennsylvania. The complaint arises out of a violent assault by Graham against Redmond while the two were housed at Allenwood. Redmond was assigned to the UNICOR factory almost continuously from November 5, 1997 until October 17, 2002. On October 17, 2002, while working at his assigned work station, Redmond was violently attacked by another inmate, Daniel Graham, who struck Redmond on the head from behind with a metal fabric cutting bar. Following this incident, Redmond was taken to the local hospital and, from there, transferred to the United States Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri (USMCFP Springfield).

An investigation into this assault revealed allegations that Redmond had threatened Graham on October 15, 2002, following a personal disagreement. According to Court records, Redmond had apparently become upset when inmate Graham was assigned more overtime than him. Before lunch on October 17, 2002, while working in the UNICOR factory, Redmond allegedly threatened Graham a second time, stating, "you'd better have your shit the next time I see you."

Graham understood this statement to mean he should bring a knife or weapon. During a subsequent interview, Graham admitted that he felt threatened and that it was his "policy" to take such threats seriously.

Prior to Graham's assault upon Redmond, neither inmate indicated to any USP Allenwood staff that there were any problems between them ...


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