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Antwone Williams v. City of Philadelphia and Warden Clyde Gainey

August 17, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Rufe, J.


Plaintiff Antwone Williams brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that he was subjected to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution when, during a nearly two-year period in the administrative segregation unit of the Curran Fromhold Correctional Facility ("CFCF"), he was denied meals and recreation. Before the Court is Motion for Summary Judgment of Defendants, the City of Philadelphia and Warden Clyde Gainey. Because the Court finds that Plaintiff has failed to develop sufficient evidence from which a reasonable jury could conclude that the alleged constitutional deprivations may be attributed to the City or Warden Gainey, the Motion will be granted.


On March 24, 2006, Plaintiff, who was at the time incarcerated at CFCF in Philadelphia,

Pennsylvania, assaulted his cellmate. *fn2 Plaintiff asserts that after the assault, he was removed from his cell and taken to CFCF's psychiatric unit where he was handcuffed, shackled and denied food for a period of two days. *fn3 Plaintiff was thereafter charged with aggravated assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse by forcible compulsion, aggravated indecent assault without consent, sexual assault, terroristic threats with intent to terrorize another, unlawful restraint/serious bodily injury, indecent assault without consent of other, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, rape by forcible compulsion, rape by threat of forcible compulsion, and resisting arrest. *fn4

On March 29, 2006, Plaintiff was transferred to the administrative segregation unit ("ASU") of CFCF to await disposition of these charges. *fn5 The ASU where Plaintiff was housed as a pretrial detainee, is "a special management, maximum security housing unit within CFCF that houses inmates in single cells whose continued presence in the general population would pose a serious threat to life, property, self, staff, and/or other inmates, or to the secure and orderly operation of the facility." *fn6 Plaintiff remained in the ASU from March 29, 2006 until March 18, 2008. *fn7 His March 18, 2008 release from the ASU followed a March 1, 2008 sentencing hearing before the Honorable John J. Poserina, Jr. of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, at which Plaintiff, who pled guilty to the aggravated assault of his cellmate, received a sentence of 30 to 60 months. *fn8

While housed in the ASU, Plaintiff was in punitive or disciplinary segregation for approximately 30 days for the assault on his cellmate; 15 days for possessing a weapon on October 19, 2008; 7 days for possessing a lighter in April 2007; and 11 days for possessing a lighter and violating a posted- rule in January 2008. *fn9 Plaintiff claims that during his time in the ASU, CFCF staff refused to allow him to exercise on at least 60 occasions, did not serve him a lunchtime meal for his first six months and numerous times thereafter, denied him his evening meal three times per week for his first year, failed to replace the light source in his cell for two months, and refused him medical treatment for 45 days when he injured his right shoulder and wrist. *fn10 He further claims that his documented complaints about this treatment were ignored by prison officials.

The Philadelphia Prison System's ("PPS") Policies and Procedures set forth the rights of inmates and an internal grievance procedure available to grieve alleged deprivations of those rights. *fn11 Relevant here are two PPS Policies; one involving inmate recreation when inmates are housed in disciplinary detention and the other involving meals provided to inmates in administrative segregation. The Court will address each policy in detail below.

Plaintiff asserts that the aforementioned deprivation of meals, recreation, light, and medical treatment constitute cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments and seeks to hold the City and Warden Gainey liable for these alleged constitutional violations pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in part, based on the PPS policies. Defendants have filed a motion for summary judgment arguing, inter alia , that the alleged deprivations cannot be attributed to Defendants and therefore, that summary judgment should be granted in their favor. *fn12


Upon motion of a party, summary judgment is appropriate if "the materials in the record" show "that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." *fn13 Summary judgment may be granted only if the moving party persuades the district court that "there exists no genuine issue of material fact that would permit a reasonable jury to find for the nonmoving party." *fn14 A fact is "material" if it could affect the outcome of the suit, given the applicable substantive law. *fn15 A dispute about a material fact is "genuine" if the evidence presented "is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." *fn16

In evaluating a summary judgment motion, a court "must view the facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party," and make every reasonable inference in that party's favor. *fn17

Further, a court may not weigh the evidence or make credibility determinations. *fn18 Nevertheless, the party opposing summary judgment must support each essential element of the opposition with concrete evidence in the record. *fn19 "If the evidence is merely colorable, or is not significantly probative, summary judgment may be granted." *fn20 This requirement upholds the "underlying purpose of summary judgment [which] is to avoid a pointless trial in cases where it is unnecessary and would only cause delay and expense." *fn21 Therefore, if, after making all reasonable inferences in ...

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