United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
D. Mariani United States District Judge
Wesley Brennan, a former inmate housed at the State
Correctional Institution, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania,
("SCI-Huntingdon"), initiated the above-captioned
civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc.
1). The matter is proceeding via an amended
complaint. (Doc. 27). Brennan's claims relate to his
participation in, and purported self-removal from, the sex
offender treatment program at SCI-Huntingdon. (Id.
at pp. 3-6). Brennan sets forth claims pursuant to the Eighth
and Fourteenth Amendments, as well as state law claims under
the Pennsylvania Constitution and criminal statutes.
(Id. at pp. 2, 6-10). The named Defendants are
Krista Fisher and Christine Neri, Psychological Services
Specialists at SCI-Huntindgon, and David Morningstar,
previously employed as a Unit Manager at SCI-Huntingdon.
(Id. at p. 3).
pending before the Court is Defendants' motion to dismiss
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), or in
the alternative, for summary judgment pursuant to Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 56. (Doc. 36). For the following
reasons, the motion for summary judgment will be granted.
Summary Judgment Standard of Review
summary adjudication, the court may dispose of those claims
that do not present a "genuine dispute as to any
material fact." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). "As to
materiality, ... [o]nly disputes over facts that might affect
the outcome of the suit under the governing law will properly
preclude the entry of summary judgment." Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).
party moving for summary judgment bears the burden of showing
the absence of a genuine issue as to any material fact.
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 106
S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). Once such a showing has
been made, the non-moving party must offer specific facts
contradicting those averred by the movant to establish a
genuine issue of material fact. Lujan v. Nat'l
Wildlife Fed'n, 497 U.S. 871, 888 (1990). Therefore,
the non-moving party may not oppose summary judgment simply
on the basis of the pleadings, or on conclusory statements
that a factual issue exists. Anderson, 477 U.S. at
248. "A party asserting that a fact cannot be or is
genuinely disputed must support the assertion by citing to
particular parts of materials in the record ... or showing
that the materials cited do not establish the absence or
presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party
cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A)-(B). In evaluating whether summary
judgment should be granted, "[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). "Inferences
should be drawn in the light most favorable to the non-moving
party, and where the non-moving party's evidence
contradicts the movant's, then the non-movant's must
be taken as true." Big Apple BMW, Inc. v. BMW of N.
Am., Inc., 974 F.2d 1358, 1363 (3d Cir.1992),
cert, denied 507 U.S. 912 (1993).
"facts must be viewed in the light most favorable to the
nonmoving party only if there is a 'genuine' dispute
as to those facts." Scott v. Harris, 550 U.S.
372, 380, 127 S.Ct. 1769, 1776, 167 L.Ed.2d 686 (2007). If a
party has carried its burden under the summary judgment rule,
its opponent must do more than simply show that there is some
metaphysical doubt as to the material facts. Where the record
taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier of fact to
find for the nonmoving party, there is no genuine issue for
trial. The mere existence of some alleged factual dispute
between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly
supported motion for summary judgment; the requirement is
that there be no genuine issue of material fact. When
opposing parties tell two different stories, one of which is
blatantly contradicted by the record, so that no reasonable
jury could believe it, a court should not adopt that version
of the facts for purposes of ruling on a motion for summary
Id. (internal quotations, citations, and alterations
Allegations of the Amended Complaint
alleges that on December 23, 2013, Defendants Fisher and Neri
warned him that he would be removed from the sex offender
treatment program unless he admitted to having sexual contact
with several minor victims. (Doc. 27, p. 3, ¶ 7). Later
that evening, Brennan allegedly received a "60 Day
Notice" further advising him that he would be removed
from the sex offender treatment program unless he
demonstrated progress in his treatment. (Doc. 27, p. 3,
¶ 8; Doc. 27, p. 13). The 60 Day Notice provided as
This 60 day notice is to inform you that you are not taking
full responsibility for your sex offense. In order to provide
you appropriate sex offender treatment, it is important that
you admit to and take full responsibility for all of your sex
offenses. Accepting responsibility is not repeating what
someone said you did, reciting the Affidavit of Probable
Cause, or just saying that you accept responsibility.
Although you admit to some details of the offense, you still
are not admitting to or accepting responsibility for other
crucial details of other offenses. When prompted for
additional detailed information, you begin to use thinking
errors; changing the subject, distracting, etc. In addition,
your assignments have been less than adequate, resulting in
them having to be reassigned. This lack of responsibility
taking and utilization of concepts interferes with your
ability to gain and utilize the information and knowledge
presented to you. ...