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Gray v. Rustin

September 10, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Chief Magistrate Judge Susan Paradise Baxter.



A. Relevant Procedural History

On or about January 8, 2008, Plaintiff Andre L. Gray, an individual formerly incarcerated at the Allegheny County Jail ("ACJ"), filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.*fn2 Named as Defendant is Ronald Rustin, the Warden at ACJ. In his Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant violated his rights under the eighth and fourteenth amendments to the United States Constitution by allegedly keeping him imprisoned at ACJ for more than eight months beyond the end of his sentence. (Complaint, ECF No. 3, at Section IV.C). In particular, Plaintiff alleges the following, set forth verbatim, in pertinent part:

My sentence was suppose [sic] to end on December 7, 2006, after following the policy of the Allegheny County prison. I filed a prisoner Grievance on December 10, 2006 requesting that I be release [sic] from Mr. Rustin [sic] Custody which at that time Mr. Rustin had all legal document [sic] from the court's [sic] concerning my release date, which was suppose [sic] to be December 7, 2006. [A]s the Warden of Allegheny County Prison he did not follow the Order that was handed down by the Courts, Judge Allen Order [sic] me release [sic]. Mr. Rustin did not release me from his custody until August 27, 2007, which by Law this was out of Cruel and Unusual Punishment for Mr. Rustin to hold me in his Prison for no reason at all. (Id.). As relief for his claims, Plaintiff seeks monetary damages.

On May 20, 2008, Defendant filed a motion to dismiss [ECF No. 11] asserting that Plaintiff's complaint failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted and should be dismissed as frivolous. By Opinion and Order dated December 16, 2008 [ECF No. 33], this Court denied Defendant's motion to dismiss; however, after granting Defendant's motion for reconsideration [ECF No. 35], this Court issued an Order dated March 6, 2009, dismissing Plaintiff's Fourteenth Amendment claim and allowing Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment claim to proceed. [ECF No. 44].*fn3

The parties have since completed discovery. On September 29, 2009, Defendant filed a Motion for Summary Judgment seeking the entry of judgment in his favor as a matter of law. [ECF No. 77]. On November 27, 2009, Plaintiff filed a brief in response to Defendant's motion. [ECF No. 87]. This matter is now ripe for consideration.

B. Relevant Factual History

On September 30, 2004, Plaintiff was arrested and charged in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, with terroristic threats and simple assault. (ECF No. 20, Exhibit D at p. 4). On June 7, 2005, Plaintiff entered a plea of nolo contendere to the charges and was sentenced by Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Cheryl Lynn Allen ("Judge Allen") to serve 18 months probation, effective immediately. (Id.).

On November 16, 2005, while serving his probation sentence, Plaintiff was arrested and charged in Allegheny County with sexual assault, burglary, and rape by forcible compulsion (hereinafter referred to as "new charges"). As a result of the new charges, Plaintiff was detained at ACJ. (ECF No. 77, Exhibit A). After having his trial on the new charges postponed numerous times, Plaintiff was ultimately found guilty of sexual assault on August 14, 2007, and was sentenced to serve five to ten years imprisonment, which he began serving at SCI-Forest on or about August 27, 2007. (ECF No. 77, Exhibit B).

Pending at the time of his arrest on the new charges were two probation violation detainers, a criminal contempt detainer from Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, and a contempt detainer from Washington County, Pennsylvania. The first probation violation detainer stemmed from a criminal sentence of 10 years probation that was entered by Allegheny County Judge Donna Jo McDaniel ("Judge McDaniel") on April 10, 1996. (ECF No. 77, Exhibit C). This detainer was lifted on May 17, 2006. (Id.). The second probation violation detainer was issued by Judge Allen and apparently stemmed from Plaintiff's then pending 18 month probation sentence. (ECF No. 77, Exhibit E). The Allegheny County contempt detainer was issued by the Family Division of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas on or about November 16, 2005. (ECF No. 77, Exhibit D). The Washington County contempt detainer was issued by the Domestic Relations Section of the Washington County Court of Common Pleas on February 8, 2006. (ECF No. 77, Exhibit F). Due to the presence of these various detainers, Plaintiff was held at ACJ until August 27, 2007, when he was authorized to be released to the custody of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections to begin serving his 5-10 year sentence on the new charges.

C. Standards of Review

1. Summary Judgment

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c) provides that summary judgment shall be granted 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." Rule 56(e) further provides that when a motion for summary judgment is made and supported, "an adverse party may not rest upon the mere allegations or denials of the adverse party's pleading, but the adverse party's response, by affidavits or as otherwise provided in this rule, must set forth specific facts showing ...

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