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Kerry-X v. Pennsylvania Department of Corrections

United States District Court, Third Circuit

January 22, 2014



MALACHY E. MANNION [1], District Judge.

I. Background

On January 24, 2012, Plaintiff, Kerry-X Marshall, filed the above captioned, pro se action, on behalf of himself and four other individuals, in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, at Civil No. 2:12-cv-00082. (See Doc. No. 7). James Jihad Butler, Shawn Mustafa Saunders, James Shakoor Townsend, and Melvin Ali Lindsey are the four other named Plaintiffs. Plaintiff alleges a denial of the First Amendment right to one's freedom to exercise religion. By Order dated February 17, 2012, the action was transferred to the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

Presently before the Court is Defendants' motion for summary judgment. (Doc. No. 88). The motion is ripe for disposition, and for the reasons set forth below, will be denied. Also before the Court are Plaintiff's motion for leave to file an amended complaint (Doc. No. 91) and Plaintiff's motion to compel. (Doc. No. 92). Plaintiff's motion for leave to amend will be denied, and his motion to compel will be granted.

II. Standard of Review

Summary judgment is appropriate "if the pleadings, the discovery [including, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file] and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett , 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986); Turner v. Schering-Plough Corp. , 901 F.2d 335, 340 (3d Cir. 1990). A factual dispute is genuine if a reasonable jury could find for the non-moving party, and is material if it will affect the outcome of the trial under governing substantive law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc. , 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986); Aetna Cas. & Sur. Co. v. Ericksen , 903 F.Supp. 836, 838 (M.D. Pa. 1995). At the summary judgment stage, "the judge's function is not himself to weigh the evidence and determine the truth of the matter but to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial." Anderson , 477 U.S. at 249; see also Marino v. Indus. Crating Co. , 358 F.3d 241, 247 (3d Cir. 2004) (a court may not weigh the evidence or make credibility determinations). Rather, the court must consider all evidence and inferences drawn therefrom in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Andreoli v. Gates , 482 F.3d 641, 647 (3d Cir. 2007).

To prevail on summary judgment, the moving party must affirmatively identify those portions of the record which demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex , 477 U.S. at 323-24. The moving party can discharge the burden by showing that "on all the essential elements of its case on which it bears the burden of proof at trial, no reasonable jury could find for the non-moving party." In re Bressman , 327 F.3d 229, 238 (3d Cir. 2003); see also Celotex , 477 U.S. at 325. If the moving party meets this initial burden, the non-moving party "must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to material facts, " but must show sufficient evidence to support a jury verdict in its favor. Boyle v. County of Allegheny , 139 F.3d 386, 393 (3d Cir. 1998) (quoting Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp. , 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986)). However, if the non-moving party "fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to [the non-movant's] case, and on which [the non-movant] will bear the burden of proof at trial, " Rule 56 mandates the entry of summary judgment because such a failure "necessarily renders all other facts immaterial." Celotex Corp. , 477 U.S. at 322-23; Jakimas v. Hoffman-La Roche, Inc. , 485 F.3d 770, 777 (3d Cir. 2007).

III. Statement of Facts

From the pleadings, declarations, and exhibits submitted therewith, the following pertinent facts can be ascertained from the record as undisputed.

Marshall was housed at SCI-Mahanoy from September 23, 2008 until April 4, 2011, when he was transferred to SCI-Fayette. (See Doc. No. 90, Ex. A, Pennsylvania Department of Corrections ("DOC"), Moves Report). Plaintiff is currently housed at SCI-Rockview. Id.

While housed at SCI-Mahanoy, Plaintiff filed a grievance concerning the denial of separate worship services for the Nation of Islam ("NOI") and Muhammad's Temple of Islam ("MTOI"), which was denied in a Final Appeal Decision, dated March 12, 2010, and which found the following:

You state that you were denied separate Muhammad's Temple of Islam (MTOI) Services at SCI-Mahanoy based on a religious discriminatory policy. Your concerns have been investigated. Records reflect that you submitted a Religious Accommodations Request requesting such services. Your request was reviewed and it was decided that separate services/classes for MTOI inmates are currently denied as services and spiritual growth opportunities are already provided for inmates who identify with the broad Islamic faith. Therefore, our grievance appeal to this office is denied. There is no evidence to suggest that SCI-Mahanoy is discriminating against your religion.

(Doc. No. 86, Final Appeal Decision).

Different correctional institutions have different programs for different religious groups based on a variety of factors, including, but not limited to, the religious affiliation of the inmate population at the particular institution. (Doc. No. 90, Ex. B, ...

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