The opinion of the court was delivered by: William W. Caldwell United States District Judge
Julio Ortiz, an inmate at USP-Lewisburg, Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, filed this pro se civil-rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 arising from his confinement at the Lackawanna County Prison. He sues the following County defendants: (1) Warden Janine Donate, (2) Assistant Warden Timothy Betti, (3) Capt. Chiarelli, and (4) Capt. Katz. Plaintiff makes a claim for lost property and for a lack of hygiene products while he was in restricted housing.
We are considering the defendants' motion for summary judgment pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56. For the reasons stated below, we will grant the motion.
Plaintiff's complaint lacks detail, so we take this background section from a brief (doc. 14) Plaintiff filed in support of a premature motion for summary judgment, along with Defendants' evidentiary submissions.
Plaintiff alleges the following. At some time after June 2006, when he was housed in the Lackawanna County Prison, he was transferred to the Restricted Housing Unit (RHU) as punishment for a prison rule violation. Doc. 14 ¶¶ 1 & 2. While in the RHU, he requested hygiene products but they were denied by the RHU officers. Doc. 14 ¶¶ 3 & 4. Plaintiff does not mention which hygiene products he was denied and how long he was without them. Plaintiff also alleges that, upon release from the RHU, his requests for an "indigent kit" were denied for about a month before he finally received one. Doc. 14 ¶ 5. Finally, the Plaintiff alleges that his boots, which were confiscated during transfer from his old cell to the RHU, were lost and never returned to him after release from the RHU, causing foot pain when Plaintiff was forced to substitute different footwear. Doc. 14 ¶¶ 1, 5-7.
Defendants have submitted an affidavit (Dc. 31) by Defendant Donate which states that (1) the Plaintiff's prison record contains a receipt signed by Plaintiff detailing the property, including shoes, that were returned to him on January 4, 2008, (2) there was a grievance procedure at the prison which allowed Plaintiff to seek compensation for lost items, and (3) it is prison policy to provide all inmates, including those in the RHU, "with necessary personal hygiene products, including clean linens, running water, soap, toothpaste, a toothbrush, a razor and toilet paper." (Id. ¶ 5).
Pursuant to Rule 56(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, we may grant summary judgment "if the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56; See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). In reviewing the evidence, we must construe facts and inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 1356, 89 L.Ed.2d 538, 553 (1986). Summary judgment must be entered for the moving party "[w]here the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party." Id. at 586-87 (citations omitted).
The moving party bears the initial responsibility of stating the basis for its motion and identifying portions of the record which demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. It can discharge that burden by "showing . . . that there is an absence of evidence to support the nonmoving party's case." Id. at 325.
An issue is "genuine" "only if a reasonable jury, considering the evidence presented, could find for the nonmoving party." Childers v. Joseph, 842 F.2d 689, 693-94 (3d Cir. 1988) (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2510, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986)). A fact is "material" when it would ...