The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Caldwell
David Cabello, an individual formally confined at the Huntingdon State Correctional Institution (SCI-Huntingdon), in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania,*fn1 filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claiming that Correctional Officer (CO) Loop issued him two false misconducts reports in retaliation for filing institutional grievances and lawsuits. (Doc. 1, Compl.)
Defendant Loop has filed a Motion for Summary Judgment, arguing that the retaliation claim lacks merit because: (1) Cabello has not shown the requisite causal connection between his filing of grievances and lawsuits and the two misconducts and (2) Defendant issued the misconducts for legitimate non-retaliatory reasons.
Defendant has filed a statement of undisputed material facts, a brief and exhibits in support of his motion. (See Docs. 23, 24 and 25). Cabello has neither responded to the motion nor sought an enlargement of time to do so.
For the reasons that follow, defendant's unopposed motion will be granted.
Under Fed. R. Civ. P. 56, summary judgment should be granted "if the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). In pertinent part, parties moving for, or opposing, summary judgment must support their position by "citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for the purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1)(A). In deciding a motion for summary judgment, "[t]he court need consider only the cited materials, but it may consider other materials in the record." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(3). "'The evidence of the non-movant is to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his favor.'" Meditz v. City of Newark, 658 F.3d 364, 369 (3d Cir. 2011) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986)).
The record evidence, viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, reveals the following undisputed facts relevant to the disposition of the instant motion.*fn2
After being convicted of Burglary and Escape, David Cabello was in the custody of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) between 2004 and 2010. (Doc. 23, Def.'s Statement of Material Facts (DSMF) ¶ 1). At all times relevant to this action, Chad Loop, the sole named defendant in this action, was a correctional officer at SCI-Huntingdon. (Id. ¶ 2).
On July 15, 2008, Cabello filed a lawsuit, Cabello v Grace, No. 1:08-CV-1334 (M.D. Pa.), alleging that SCI-Huntingdon medical officials had improperly prescribed his diabetes medication. The action related solely to his medical care. (Id. ¶ 3). CO Loop was not named as defendant nor mentioned in the original complaint filed in that action. (Id. ¶ 4). On September 15, 2008, Cabello signed and dated an Amended Complaint in Cabello v. Grace, supra. (Id. ¶ 5). The Amended Complaint was docketed by this court on September 19, 2008, and alleged that CO Loop issued Cabello a retaliatory misconduct in 2006. (Id. ¶¶ 6-7). CO Loop was never added as a defendant in that action because Cabello "couldn't really prove that it was retaliation." (Id. ¶¶ 8-9; Doc. 25-1 at p. 20).*fn3
Cabello never spoke to CO Loop about the lawsuit and does not know how or when he learned his name was mentioned in it. (DSMF at ¶10).
On September 20, 2008, Cabello was on cell restrictions as a result of his receipt of an institutional misconduct. (Id. ¶¶ 11-12). The DOC's Inmate Disciplinary Policy, DC-ADM 801, defines "cell restrictions" as "total confinement to general population cell, dorm area or cubicle, except for meals, showers, one formal religious service per week, commissary, law library and one one-hour specified daily exercise period." (Id. ¶ 12). An inmate on cell restrictions ...