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Robinson v. Tennis

March 4, 2010

MARK A. ROBINSON, PLAINTIFF
v.
FRANKLIN J. TENNIS, JOEL S. DICKSON, LYNN EATON, JEFFREY RACKOVAN, AND SHARON M. BURKS, DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Munley

MEMORANDUM

Before the court is plaintiff's appeal of Magistrate Judge Malachy E. Mannion's decision denying his motion to supplement his complaint, as well as plaintiff's objections to the report and recommendation of Magistrate Judge Mannion, which recommends that summary judgment be granted the defendants. Having been fully briefed, the matters are ripe for disposition.

Background

This case arises out of plaintiff's employment at the prison kitchen in the Pennsylvania State Correctional Institution at Rockview ("SCI-Rockview"). (Defendants' Statement of Undisputed Material Facts (Doc. 42) (hereinafter "Defendants' Statement") at ¶ 1). On May 23, 2006, while working in the kitchen, plaintiff stopped Ms. Johnson, a female staff person, and spoke inappropriately to her. (Id. at ¶ 2). Johnson reported these comments to her supervisor. (Id. at ¶ 3). Johnson wrote a misconduct report about plaintiff as ordered by her supervisor. (Id. at ¶ 4). According to the report, plaintiff told Johnson that he found her "beautiful" and offered to "get something going" with her. (Id. at ¶ 5). A romantic relationship between an inmate and a prison employee violates prison rules. (Id. at ¶ 6).

That same day, the prison issued Misconduct #A902830, charging plaintiff with sexual harassment. (Id. at ¶ 7). Johnson's complaint led to placement of Robinson in Administrative Custody pending an investigation and hearing on his alleged misconduct. (Id. at ¶ 8). The prison held a misconduct hearing on May 26, 2006. (Id. at ¶ 9). Plaintiff pled guilty to the charge and received sixty days in disciplinary custody for this offense. (Id. at ¶ 10). Plaintiff also lost his job in the prison kitchen. (Id. ¶ 11). The prison thereafter also considered plaintiff a threat to female staff and to the institution. (Id. at ¶ 12).

Plaintiff filed a complaint on May 13, 2008. (Doc. 1). Plaintiff alleges that he was classified a "threat and risk" in 2008 without due process of law. (Id. at ¶ 1). This classification, he claims, has "severely limited" his ability to have his sentenced commuted. (Id. ¶ 4). That classification has also prevented him from obtaining an institutional job. (Id. at ¶ 5). As relief, plaintiff seeks expungement of the May 23, 2006 incident from his record so that he can seek commutation. He also requests reinstatement to his previous employment and back pay for time missed while in the SCI-Rockview's restricted housing union. Finally, plaintiff seeks monetary damages.

At the close of discovery the defendants filed the instant motion for summary judgment. After the parties briefed the issue, Magistrate Judge Mannion issued a report and recommendation, advising the court that defendants' motion should be granted. Plaintiff filed the instant objections and a brief in support of them, bringing the case to its present posture.

Jurisdiction

Because plaintiff filed his complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, this court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 ("The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States.").

Discussion

A. Plaintiff's Appeal

Plaintiff first appeals the magistrate judge's decision to deny his motion to supplement his complaint. Here, the plaintiff appeals the magistrate judge's nondispositive order. The standard of review for a non-dispositive order by a magistrate judge is to determine if the magistrate judge's ruling was clearly erroneous or contrary to law. 28 U.S.C. 636(b)(1)(A).

On July 16, 2009, plaintiff filed a motion (Doc. 57) to supplement his complaint. Defendant sought to add to the complaint several officials at SCIRockview. He alleged that these individuals had violated the ADA and discriminated against him, attempted to apply cruel and unusual punishment and attempted to deny him access to the court. In his brief in support of that motion, plaintiff relates that he suffers from an anxiety disorder and needs to be housed in a cell with windows. Plaintiff relates that prison officials were aware of that condition. In June 2009, plaintiff told prison psychologists that he intended to kill himself if not placed in a cell with windows. Despite these threats, administrators placed him in a windowless cell. Plaintiff contends that this failure to provide a safe cell came in retaliation for his filing a federal law suit. Plaintiff also complains that he was placed in restricted forms of custody without justification and without due process.

The magistrate judge concluded that plaintiff should not be allowed to supplement his complaint. He found that the actions about which plaintiff complained in his motion and brief had occurred long after the events that led to the initial complaint and were unrelated to them. As such, the ...


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