The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Fischer
For the reasons that follow, the claims raised by Plaintiff Donald Rusch ("Rusch") against Defendants Adams, Ludwig, Xander and Community Education Centers, Inc. ("Moving Defendants") will be dismissed.
I.Relevant Factual and Procedural History
Rusch is one of four State prisoners who, at the time this lawsuit was filed, were all incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at Pittsburgh ("SCI-Pittsburgh"). Plaintiffs bring this suit pursuant to the Civil Rights Act of 1871, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that a variety of practices and conditions at SCI-Pittsburgh violate their Constitutional rights. See, generally, Compl. (ECF No. 14). This suit commenced with the receipt of the complaint on November 11, 2009. (ECF No. 1). Plaintiffs were granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis ("IFP") on January 22, 2010. Moving Defendants filed the instant motion to dismiss on May 7, 2010. (ECF No. 58). Moving Defendants filed a brief supporting said motion on May 12, 2010. (ECF No. 62). Plaintiffs were ordered to respond on or before June 7, 2010.
(ECF No. 60). As of the date of this writing, there has been no response to this motion, nor have Plaintiffs moved for an extension of time. This motion is ripe for disposition.
Germane to this memorandum opinion are Plaintiffs‟allegations and claims against Moving Defendants only. These appear to involve alleged acts or omissions made with respect to Rusch, and are confined to paragraphs 96-108, 118-19, and 152-157.
Rusch alleges that, on January 22, 2009, he entered the Therapeutic Community ("TC") Program, which he asserts was a requirement for parole. (ECF No. 14) ¶ 101. Rusch avers that the program required that inmates ""inform‟ on one another‟s behaviors[,]" and prohibited the use of the words "God" or "Higher Power" while in the program. Id. ¶¶ 100, 102. Rusch further avers that, between January 22, 2009 and January 26, 2009, he "observed inmates in the TC Program being required to sing nursery rhymes to the point of humiliation."*fn1 Id. ¶ 103.
On January 26, 2009, just four days after entering the TC Program, Rusch sought permission from Moving Defendant Xander, and nonmoving Defendant McCoy, to leave it. Id.
¶ 104. Rusch states that the TC Program‟s "philosophy and concepts . . . compromised [his] moral and spiritual principles, as well as placed his safety in jeopardy." Id. Defendant Xander allegedly told Rusch that Rusch "would be required to sit in a chair and face the wall for three days[,]" and attempted to conduct a "Last Chance Intervention[,]" in response to Rusch‟s attempt to leave the program. Id. ¶ 105. Rusch refused to take part in either of these acts. Id. The following day, on January 27, 2009, Rusch was discharged from the TC Program. Id.
After Rusch removed himself from the program, an evaluation was prepared by Defendant Adams -- with the assistance of Defendant Xander -- and forwarded to the Parole Board. Id. ¶¶ 107. Rusch was provided with this document on March 20, 2009. Id. He alleges that it "contained falsehoods and misstatements of facts so as to portray Rusch in the worst possible light to the Parole Board." Id. The evaluation also allegedly failed to mention Rusch‟s concerns regarding his safety and the lack of spiritual basis for the TC Program. Id. ¶ 108.
Sometime in July of 2009, Rusch was interviewed for parole. He alleges that he was denied parole "due to his failure to complete the TC Program and the evaluation submitted by [Defendant] Adams." Id. ¶ 118.
Based on the above alleged acts and omissions, Rusch asserts that Moving Defendants violated his rights under 1) the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment; 2) the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment; 3) the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment; and 4) the Eighth Amendment‟s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment. Id. ¶ 156. Moving Defendants argue that Rusch has failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, ...