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Angle v. Woodside

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

June 30, 2015

BRYAN ANGLE, II, Plaintiff
DIANNA WOODSIDE, et al., Defendants.




A. Relevant Procedural and Factual History

Plaintiff Bryan Angle, II, a prisoner formerly incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at Fayette in LaBelle, Pennsylvania ("SCI Fayette"), [2] instituted this pro se civil rights action on July 7, 2014, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983. Named as Defendants are Dianna Woodside ("Woodside"), who is identified as "the responding officer for the final level of appeal for publication denials" at the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections ("DOC"); and four unnamed Defendants identified as "John/Jane Doe 1, " "John/Jane Doe 2, " "John/Jane Doe 3, " and "John/Jane Doe 4, " none of whom has been further identified or served with the complaint in this matter.

Plaintiff alleges that his book/magazine called "The Inmate Shopper" was confiscated from him in violation of his "right to press under the First Amendment."

On September 29, 2014, Defendant Woodside filed a motion to dismiss [ECF No. 8], arguing that Plaintiff has failed to state a cause of action upon which relief may be granted. In support of this argument, however, Defendant Woodside incorporates by reference the relevant DOC policies at issue, as well as her own testimony that was offered in an earlier case Plaintiff filed with this Court (Civil Action No. 12-249 Erie). As a result, this Court will construe Defendant's motion as a motion for summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.[3] Despite being granted ample time to do so, Plaintiff has failed to file a response to Defendant's motion. This matter is now ripe for consideration.

B. Standards of Review

1. Summary Judgment

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c)(2) provides that summary judgment shall be granted if the "pleadings, the discovery 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." Rule 56(e)(2) further provides that when a motion for summary judgment is made and supported, "an opposing party may not rely merely on allegations or denials in its own pleading; rather, its response must - by affidavits or as otherwise provided in this rule - set out specific facts showing a genuine issue for trial. If the opposing party does not so respond, summary judgment should, if appropriate, be entered against that party."

A district court may grant summary judgment for the defendant when the plaintiff has failed to present any genuine issues of material fact. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). The moving party has the initial burden of proving to the district court the absence of evidence supporting the non-moving party's claims. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 330 (1986); Andreoli v. Gates, 482 F.3d 641, 647 (3d Cir. 2007); UPMC Health System v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., 391 F.3d 497, 502 (3d Cir. 2004).

The burden then shifts to the non-movant to come forward with specific facts showing a genuine issue for trial. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e); Williams v. Borough of West Chester, Pa., 891 F.2d 458, 460-461 (3d Cir. 1989)(the non-movant must present affirmative evidence - more than a scintilla but less than a preponderance - which supports each element of his claim to defeat a properly presented motion for summary judgment). The non-moving party must go beyond the pleadings and show specific facts by affidavit or by information contained in the filed documents (i.e., depositions, answers to interrogatories and admissions) to meet his burden of proving elements essential to his claim. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322. See also Saldana v. Kmart Corp., 260 F.3d 228, 232 (3d Cir. 2001). The non-moving party "must present more than just bare assertions, conclusory allegations or suspicions to show the existence of a genuine issue." Garcia v. Kimmell, 2010 WL 2089639, at * 1 (3d Cir. 2010) quoting Podobnik v. U.S. Postal Serv., 409 F.3d 584, 594 (3d Cir. 2005).

When considering a motion for summary judgment, the court is not permitted to weigh the evidence or to make credibility determinations, but is limited to deciding whether there are any disputed issues and, if there are, whether they are both genuine and material. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). The court must consider the evidence, and all reasonable inferences which may be drawn from it, in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). See also El v. SEPTA, 479 F.3d 232, 238 (3d Cir. 2007).

A material fact is a fact whose resolution will affect the outcome of the case under applicable law. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248. Summary judgment is only precluded if the dispute about a material fact is "genuine, " i.e., if the evidence is such that a reasonable ...

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