Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Thomas v. Aschroft

March 30, 2006

CHARLES THOMAS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JOHN ASHCROFT, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Caputo

MEMORANDUM

I. Introduction

Plaintiff, Charles Thomas, formerly*fn1 an inmate at the Allenwood Low Security Correctional Institution ("Allenwood") in White Deer, Pennsylvania, commenced this pro se action with acivil rights complaint alleging a Bivens*fn2 claim, a Privacy Act*fn3 claim, a claim under the Federal Tort Claims Act ("FTCA"),*fn4 and a claim under 42 U. S. C. § 1983 (Doc. 1). Defendants are: the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office; former United States Attorney General John Ashcroft; United States probation officer Nicole Seader; and the following officials of the United States Bureau of Prisons ("BOP"): former Allenwood wardens Yates and Apker; Joseph DeFrancesco; Douglas Schader;*fn5 Dave Dewald; and an individual identified as Mr. Erickson.*fn6 Plaintiff complains about erroneous entries in his prison records, incorrectly identifying him as a sex offender, and he claims Defendants failed to adequately protect him from an attack by other inmates precipitated by Defendants' dissemination of the erroneous information among the inmates. By Order dated March 9, 2006 (Doc. 56), the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office was dismissed from this action. Presently pending is the remaining Defendants' motion to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint and for summary judgment (Doc. 38). The motion has been briefed and it is ripe for disposition. For the following reasons, Defendants' motion for summary judgment will be granted.

II. Discussion

A. Motion to Dismiss Standard

Defendants' motion to dismiss is based upon a contention that Plaintiff has failed to exhaust administrative remedies. In rendering a decision on a motion to dismiss, the Court must accept the plaintiff's allegations as true. White v. Napoleon, 897 F.2d 103, 106 (3d Cir. 1990). A motion to dismiss may not be granted if "under any reasonable reading of the pleadings, plaintiff may be entitled to relief." Holder v. City of Allentown, 987 F.2d 188, 194 (3d Cir. 1993) (citation omitted). It is also well-settled that pro se complaints should be liberally construed. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). Since Plaintiff's complaint alleges that he has exhausted the administrative remedies available to him (Doc. 1 at 1), and since Defendants' motion relies upon supplemental documentation attached to the motion, Defendants' motion to dismiss will be denied.

B. Summary Judgment Standard

Defendants also move for summary judgment, again based upon a contention that Plaintiff has failed to exhaust his administrative remedies, as well as a claim that Plaintiff's Privacy Act claim is legally insufficient.*fn7 The Court agrees. Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c), summary judgment may be entered only "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." The party moving for summary judgment has the burden of proving that there is no genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). Additionally, on summary judgment, the inferences to be drawn from the underlying facts must be viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Mraz v. County of Lehigh, 862 F. Supp. 1344 (E.D. Pa. 1994). "Only disputes over facts that might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly preclude the entry of summary judgment." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). To preclude summary judgment, there must be a "genuine" issue of a material fact, "that is, if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Id. "If the evidence is merely colorable, or is not significantly probative, summary judgment may be granted." Id. at 249-250 (citations omitted).

Moreover, Rule 56 provides that the adverse party may not simply sit back and rest on the allegations contained in the pleadings. Rather, the adverse party must show by affidavits, pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file that there is a genuine issue for trial. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e). When addressing a summary judgment motion, our inquiry focuses on "whether the evidence presents a sufficient disagreement to require submission to the jury or whether it is so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of law." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 251-52 (emphasis added).

C. Exhaustion Requirement

Under the provisions of 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a):

No action shall be brought with respect to prison conditions under Section 1979 of the Revised Statutes of the United States (42 U.S.C. 1983), or any other federal law, by a prisoner confined in any jail, prison, or other correctional facility until such administrative remedies as are available are exhausted.

42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). "This provision makes no distinction between an action for damages, injunctive relief, or both. The exhaustion requirement is mandatory, whether or not the administrative remedies afford the inmate-plaintiff the relief sought in the federal court action." Nyhuis v. Reno, 204 F.3d 65, 67 (3d Cir. 2000). Thus, prisoners are required to exhaust available administrative remedies prior to seeking relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 or any other federal law. Fortes v. Harding, 19 F. Supp. 2d 323, 325 (M.D. Pa. 1998).

In Lyons v. U.S. Marshals, 840 F.2d 202, 205 (3d Cir. 1988), the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit identified the various policies ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.