The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. John E. Jones III
THE BACKGROUND OF THIS MEMORANDUM IS AS FOLLOWS:
Plaintiff Sharif Edwards ("Plaintiff" or "Edwards"), an inmate presently confined at the Graterford State Correctional Institution ("SCI Graterford") in Graterford, Pennsylvania, initiated the above action pro se by filing a civil rights Complaint under the provisions of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. 1.) Presently before the Court is an unopposed Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings filed on behalf of Defendants Calpin and the Lackawanna County Prison. (Doc. 22.) For the reasons set forth herein, the Motion will be granted.
Edwards filed this action on October 26, 2010 while he was an inmate at the Lackawanna County Prison in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Named as Defendants are George Calpin, a Correctional Officer at Lackawanna County Prison, and the Lackawanna County Prison. Edwards alleges that, on July 19, 2010, he was awakened by his cellmate, Demba Diagouraga, and that Diagouraga was touching his penis and trying to sexually assault him. (Doc. 1 § IV. ¶ 1.) Edwards alleges that he told Defendant Calpin, but Calpin thought Edwards was lying and "playing around" until Diagouraga tried it again, and Edwards defended himself, after which "they locked [Edwards] up and [he] did 28 days." (Id. ¶¶ 1-2.)
Service of the Complaint was directed by Order dated November 19, 2010. (Doc. 10.) Following a request for an extension of time, which was granted, an Answer to the Complaint was filed on behalf of Defendants on January 28, 2011. (Doc. 20.) The instant Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings was filed on Defendants' behalf on February 3, 2011. (Doc. 22.) A supporting brief subsequently was filed on February 8, 2011. (Doc. 23.)
Because Edwards neither filed his opposition to the instant Motion nor requested an extension of time in which to do so, by Order dated March 1, 2011, he was directed to file his opposition on or before March 15, 2011. (Doc. 24.) The Order informed Edwards that his failure either to file his opposition brief or request an extension of time in which to do so within the required time would result in the instant Motion being deemed unopposed and addressed on the merits. (Id.) After the March 1, 2011 Order was returned in the mail with a notation that Plaintiff no longer was at the Lackawanna County Prison, Plaintiff was located at SCI Graterford, and this Court's Order was re-mailed to him on March 11, 2011. However, Plaintiff still has not filed a brief in opposition to the instant Motion, and therefore, we shall deem it to be unopposed and address it on the merits.
Defendants seek judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c). That rule provides that "[a]fter the pleadings are closed- but early enough not to delay trial- a party may move for judgment on the pleadings." Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(c). "Under Rule 12(c), like Rule 12(b)(6) (dismissal for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted), judgment will not be granted: unless the movant clearly establishes that no material issue of fact remains to be resolved and that he is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. In considering a motion for judgment on the pleadings, the trial court is required to view the facts presented in the pleadings and the inferences to be drawn therefrom in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. In this fashion the courts hope to insure that the rights of the nonmoving party are decided as fully and fairly on a rule 12(c) motion, as if there had been a trial.
Soc'y Hill Civic Ass'n v. Harris, 632 F.2d 1045, 1054 (3d Cir. 1980) (quoting 5 C. Wright & A. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure, § 1368, at 690 (1969)); see also Sikirica v. Nationwide Insurance Co., 416 F.3d 214, 220 (3d Cir. 2005) (finding that under Rule 12(c) "[j]udgment will not be granted unless the movant clearly establishes there are no material issues of fact, and he is entitled to judgment as a matter of law."). The standard of review for a motion for judgment on the pleadings is identical to that of a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Turbe v. Gov't of Virgin Islands, 938 F.2d 427, 428 (3d Cir. 1991). The only difference is that, on a motion for judgment on the pleadings, the Court reviews not only the complaint, but also the answer and written instruments attached to the pleadings. 2-12 Moore's Federal Practice - Civil § 12.38 (2011).
Defendants are entitled to judgment as a matter of law inasmuch as Edwards has failed to dispute the pleadings, which establish the following:
Defendant Calpin was a correctional officer at the Lackawanna County Prison at all times material hereto. (Doc. 20, Answer, ¶ 1.) Calpin denies that Edwards informed him that his cell mate, Demba Diagouraga, had touched Edwards' penis or otherwise subjected him to a sexual assault. (Id. ¶ 2) Calpin denies that he placed Edwards in a disciplinary unit for twenty-eight (28) days. (Id. ¶ 3.)
Defendant Calpin was on duty on July 21, 2010 and was operating central control immediately outside C Block, which is where Edwards was housed. (Id. ¶ 5.)
Demba Diagouraga showed himself to Defendant Calpin behind the glass door of C Block. (Id. ¶ 6.) Diagouraga's face was bleeding and bruised. (Id.) Defendant Calpin asked Corectional Officer Janeski to take Diagouraga to the Shift Commander's office to get appropriate medical attention and to determine what had caused his ...