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Naranjo v. Brooks

March 25, 2009


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Bruce W. Kauffman, J.


Kauffman, J.

Now before the Court is Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment (the "Motion"). For the reasons discussed below, the Motion will be granted.


This action arises from a prison fight involving Plaintiff Issac Naranjo ("Plaintiff"), two inmates, and various prison correctional officers.*fn1 On April 4, 2002, Plaintiff was housed in the B-Block at the Philadelphia Detention Center when an inmate named Mackey*fn2 assaulted him by throwing a cup of hot water in his face. Pl.'s Dep. 14, attached to the Mot. at Ex. A. Plaintiff alleges that immediately before this attack, he saw Defendant Correctional Officer Brooks ("Brooks") open Mackey's cell door and talk with him briefly. Id. Plaintiff claims that Brooks ordered Mackey to initiate the hot water attack because Plaintiff was complaining about Brooks' discriminatory behavior and other misdeeds. Id. at 9-10.

Angered by the hot water attack, Plaintiff kicked and hit his cell door to alert the guards of the assault. Id. at 14. When he received no response, he flooded his prison cell with water from his toilet. Id. at 17. Williams, another inmate, was let out of his prison cell to mop up the water. Id. at 18. After he was released from his cell, Williams attempted to throw a second cup of hot water in Plaintiff's face. Id.. When this second attack was unsuccessful, Williams started "attacking [Plaintiff] with a knife through the window" of Plaintiff's cell. Id. At that point, Plaintiff's cell door was opened. Id.

Plaintiff alleges that Mackey and Williams then entered his prison cell and began assaulting him. Id. at 21. Mackey attacked him with a knife, and Williams attacked him with a mop. Id. Plaintiff was able to disarm Williams and used the mop to defend himself from Mackey's knife attacks. Id. at 21-22. During this assault, Plaintiff overheard Brooks telling Williams and Mackey to continue attacking him. Id. at 23. The altercation spilled out of Plaintiff's prison cell, and after several minutes, other correctional officers arrived to break up the fight. Id. at 25. Once the correctional officers returned Plaintiff to his cell, Brooks entered his cell and kicked him. Id. at 28.*fn3 Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Correctional Officer McCorey ("McCorey"), although not present at the time of the incident, conspired with Brooks by filing a report stating he was present during the fight. Id. 29-30.*fn4

After the incident, Plaintiff showed his injuries to Defendant Correctional Sergeant Kindle ("Kindle"). Id. at 30. Kindle then "laughed and insulted" Plaintiff before taking him to the medical clinic, where he was forced to wait "about an hour" before seeing a doctor. Id. at 30-31. The doctor at the medical clinic eventually referred Plaintiff to Temple Hospital where he received seven stitches in his left eye and was treated for facial burns and various stab wounds. Id. at 32.

As a result of the altercation, an internal affairs investigation took place, and Plaintiff answered questions posed to him by the investigator. Id. at 34-35. In his deposition testimony for the instant action, Plaintiff claimed that he did not file an inmate grievance about the incident because he "didn't know any procedures or anything about grievances" and because "the guards didn't allow [him] any pen or paper" and "sent various prisoners to intimidate [him]." Id. at 35.

Plaintiff's pro se Complaint was filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and seeks injunctive relief as well as damages.*fn5 On March 14, 2008, Defendants filed the instant Motion, arguing that they are entitled to summary judgment because Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies prior to filing suit.

Dep. 29. Nevertheless, Plaintiff believes McCorey is a proper Defendant because he falsely stated he was present during the fight to help cover up the wrongdoing. Id. at 29-30.


In deciding a motion for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56, the test is "whether there is a genuine issue of material fact and, if not, whether the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Med. Protective Co. v. Watkins, 198 F.3d 100, 103 (3d Cir. 1999) (quoting Armbruster v. Unisys Corp., 32 F.3d 768, 777 (3d Cir. 1994)). "[S]ummary judgment will not lie if the dispute about a material fact is 'genuine,' that is, if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). The Court must examine the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and resolve all reasonable inferences in that party's favor. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986).However, "there can be 'no genuine issue as to any material fact' . . . [where the non-moving party's] complete failure of proof concerning an essential element of [its] case necessarily renders all other facts immaterial." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986).

The party moving for summary judgment bears the initial burden of showing the basis for its motion. See Shields v. Zuccarini, 254 F.3d 476, 481 (3d Cir. 2001). If the movant meets that burden, the onus then "shifts to the non-moving party to set forth specific facts showing the existence of [a genuine issue of material fact] for trial." Id. Because Plaintiff is appearing pro se, the Court will construe his filings liberally and hold them ...

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