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Eakle v. Tennis

July 14, 2006

CHARLIE EAKLE, PLAINTIFF
v.
SUPERINTENDENT TENNIS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: John E. Jones III United States District Judge

ORDER

Charles Eakle, an inmate formerly 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.*fn1 The Plaintiff alleges that Defendants have denied him the opportunity to have a cellmate because staff at SCI-Rockview and SCI-Smithfield have told him they do not want to promote homosexual activity. Plaintiff names as Defendants various officials and employees of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, most of whom are employed at either SCI-Smithfield or SCI-Rockview, including SCI-Smithfield Superintendent John A. Palakovich, SCI-Rockview Superintendent Tennis, and former SCI-Rockview Superintendent Meyers.

Presently pending before the Court is Defendants' Motions to Dismiss the action, in which Defendants argue that Eakle has failed to exhaust available administrative remedies.*fn2 (Rec. Docs 21, 35, 37). The Motions have been fully briefed and are ripe for disposition. For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' Motions to Dismiss will be granted.

Background*fn3

Plaintiff alleges that from approximately June 2002 to September 2004, he has contacted numerous staff members at SCI-Rockview and SCI-Smithfield and requested that his "'Z' Code single cell status" be changed so that he could have a cellmate of his choosing. (Rec. Docs. 1, 32). In that time period, Plaintiff has received misconducts for being in another inmate's cell, breaking cell restriction, and being in an unauthorized area. Id.

On July 30, 2003, Plaintiff submitted Grievance No. 57949-03, alleging that: On January 16, 2003, I had spoken to my counselor, Mr. Knapp about getting rid of my "Z" code. He had replied I am not going to double cell you, [and] to stop promoting homosexual activity.

On January 19, 2003, I had received a misconduct for being in somebody else's cell when I was not.

On January 24, 2003, Mr. Knapp had stopped in the RHU and had stated that PRC had placed me on the "Z" code.

On February 2, 2003, I had sent a request to Vivieonal of the PRC and stated every thing to him about my "Z" code and how he had told me to speak to my counselor about getting rid of my "Z" code.

On February 25, 2003, I had sent a request to the Unit Manager, Mr. Morningstar, [and] Mr. Knapp asking to get my "Z" code removed due to the fact of mental anguish and my seizures.

On June 24, 2003, I had received a reply back from Mr. Knapp, stating that on November 29, 1999, I had allegedly performed oral sex with a cellie, Richard Burk on B/C, which was not forced, also stated I admitted to having sex with a Paul Letmattes, and he suggests at this time, he recommends that I keep my single cell status.

I would like a cellie of my choice due to my protection and the protection of security of the institution.

(Rec. Doc. 52, Ex. 3). On August 8, 2003, Grievance Officer Morningstar responded to Grievance No. 57949-03 with the following:

I have interviewed Mr. Eakle's grievance and found it without merit. The Unit Team reviewed Mr. Eakle's "Z" Code status as part of his Annual Case Review in July 2003. It was determined that in the best interests of institution security that the "Z" Code be retained. If Mr. Eakle feels there is a medical reason for the "Z" Code to be removed, the medical department should notify his counselor, Mr. Knapp of this need. As of this date we have not received any notification. (Rec. Doc. 52, Ex. 3, Official Inmate Grievance Initial Review Response). Eakle did not ...


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