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Wallace v. Lappin

October 14, 2010

TYRONE WALLACE, PLAINTIFF
v.
HARLEY G. LAPPIN, DIRECTOR; C. MAIORANA, ASSOCIATE WARDEN; AND, L. POTTER, PARAMEDIC, DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sylvia H. Rambo United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM

This is a Bivens-styled*fn1 civil rights case brought by Plaintiff Tyrone Wallace, pro se, a prisoner currently incarcerated in the United States Penitentiary at Lewisburg ("USP-Lewisburg"), for alleged violations of his First and Eighth Amendment rights secured by the United States Constitution. Defendants are officials with the Federal Bureau of Prisons who have been sued in their individual and official capacities. (See Doc. 32, Second Am. Compl.) Before the court is Defendants' motion for summary judgment. (Doc. 39.) This motion has been fully briefed and is ready for disposition.

I. Background

A. Procedural History

On September 28, 2009, Plaintiff filed a complaint against more than twenty-five officials from the Federal Bureau of Prisons. (See Doc. 1.) On October 7, 2009, Plaintiff was granted leave to proceed without pre-payment of the filing fee and a summons was issued. (Doc. 9.) On October 14, 2009, Plaintiff sent a letter to the court requesting that certain amendments be made to the complaint, but the court refused to accept the amendments as filed. Plaintiff was advised that an "amended complaint must be complete in all respects. It must be a new pleading which stands by itself as an adequate complaint without reference to the complaint already filed." (Doc. 11, Mem. & Order, Oct. 16, 2009 (citing Young v. Keohane, 809 F. Supp. 1185, 1198 (M.D. Pa. 1992).)

By order dated October 16, 2009, Plaintiff was granted leave to amend his complaint by no later than November 2, 2009. (Id.) No amended complaint was filed by that date; therefore, on November 9, 2009, the court issued an order stating that the case would proceed on the original complaint. (Doc. 16.)

On November 27, 2009, the court received a motion for reconsideration from Plaintiff in which he requested additional time to file the amended complaint, (Doc. 19), which the court granted by order dated December 1, 2009, (Doc. 20). Plaintiff filed an amended complaint but, in doing so, failed to place the docket number on the complaint and failed to identify the document as an "amended complaint." This filing was given a new docket number (4:09-CV-2210) and assigned to a different judge.

Ultimately, the complaint docketed to number 4:09-CV-2210 was dismissed and on December 30, 2009, Plaintiff filed an amended complaint in the captioned case. (See Doc. 22.) The amended complaint was found to be deficient and by memorandum and order dated January 21, 2010, Plaintiff was granted leave to file a second amended complaint by February 3, 2010. (Doc. 27.) Once again, Plaintiff was given detailed instructions and case law on what constitutes an appropriate complaint and an amended complaint. Plaintiff did not file the second amended complaint by February 3, 2010, and, consequently, the case was dismissed. (See Doc. 28.)

On March 22, 2010, Plaintiff advised the court that he did not receive the memorandum and order dated January 21, 2010. (Doc. 29.) The action was reinstated and Plaintiff was given to April 15, 2010, to comply with the January 21, 2010 memorandum and order. (Doc. 30.) That order, in addition to previous orders, advised Plaintiff that an amended complaint shall be a new pleading which stands by itself and shall be complete in all respects. (See id.)

On April 16, 2010, Plaintiff filed an amended complaint in which he named as Defendants Harley G. Lappin, C. Maiorana, and Paramedic Potter, the captioned parties. (Doc. 32.) After service of process by the United States Marshal's Service, Defendants filed their motion to dismiss or, in the alterative for summary judgment, their statement of material facts, and their brief in support. (Docs. 39-41.) By order dated August 23, 2010, the court granted Plaintiff additional time to respond to Defendants' motion, and put the parties on notice that it would convert Defendants' motion to one seeking summary judgment and would decide it pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. (Doc. 43.) A paper copy of this order was mailed to Plaintiff -- who had also previously received a paper copy of the court's Standing Case Management Order, which sets out in detail the requirements for opposing summary judgment. (See Doc. 5.)

On September 10, 2010, Plaintiff filed his brief in opposition, and his counter-statement of material facts. (Doc. 47-48.) On September 14, 2010, Plaintiff filed a declaration in support of his brief in opposition to Defendants' motion for summary judgment. (Doc. 50.) Defendants filed their reply brief on September 21, 2010. (Doc. 51.) Thus, Defendants' motion is ripe for disposition.

B. Facts

The following facts are drawn from the parties' statements of material fact, and the exhibits and affidavits attached thereto, and are undisputed except where noted. Plaintiff Tyrone Wallace ("Wallace") was convicted in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois for Possession of Firearm by an Armed Career Criminal.*fn2 (Doc. 40, Defs.' Statement of Material Facts ("Defs.' SMF") ¶ 1.) Wallace was sentenced to 300 months incarceration with a 5-year term of supervision to follow; he is currently projected for release on April 8, 2024. (Id. ¶ 2.)

1. Events Prior to Transfer to USP-Lewisburg

Immediately prior to his incarceration in USP-Lewisburg, Wallace was incarcerated in United States Penitentiary at Victorville (USP-Victorville) in California. While in USP-Victorville, Wallace was placed in administrative detention and referred for a hearing and possible placement in the Special Management Unit ("SMU"). (See Doc. 47 at 36-38 of 49, Admin. Detention Order and Notice of Hearing Referral for Designation to a Special Management Unit, attached as exhibits by Plaintiff to his Br. in Opp'n.) The SMU was implemented to manage and provide additional programming opportunities to inmates who have been involved in, or played a leadership role in, a disruptive incident involving some type of gang activity, or who have been chronic, serious disciplinary problems at previous institutions. (Defs.' SMF ¶ 11.) Wallace's referral noted that he was being referred to the SMU because:

You have demonstrated poor institutional adjustment and are considered a management problem. You have received twenty-six incident reports, which include: Assaulting Without Serious Injury (x3), and fighting. Your [sic] are the recognized leader of the Security Threat Group Black Gangster Disciples at ...


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