United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
WILLIAM M. DANIELS JR., Plaintiff
DAVID PITKINS, ET AL., Defendants
RICHARD P. CONABOY, United States District Judge
pro se civil rights action was initiated in the
Centre County Court of Common Pleas by William M. Daniels,
Jr., an inmate presently confined at the State Correctional
Institution, Albion, Pennsylvania (SCI-Albion). Following
submission of an amended complaint, This matter was removed
to this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1441 (a).
See Doc. 1, ¶ 9. By Order dated June 26, 2015,
Plaintiff's objections to the removal were denied.
See Doc. 19.
action regards events which allegedly transpired during his
prior confinement at the Benner State Correctional
Institution, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania (SCI-Benner).
Defendants are the following SCI-Benner employees:
Superintendent David Pitkins, Deputy Superintendents Tammy
Ferguson and Leo Glass, Counselor Bobbi Jo Salamon, and
Security Lieutenant L. W. Hoffman who are all employed at
SCI-Benner, by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections
(DOC Defendants). Also named as a Defendant is
Physician's Assistant (PA) Maria Leahy, who was
contracted to provide medical care to SCI-Benner inmates.
Amended Complaint concerns conduct taken by prison officials
following an April 25, 2014 SCI-Benner encounter between
Plaintiff and a female visitor. Specifically, it is alleged
that because Daniels was suspected of swallowing contraband
after being kissed by his visitor he was strip searched by a
non-defendant, Lieutenant Green, and placed in a
dry cell for almost an entire week where he was allegedly
subjected to unconstitutional conditions of confinement as
well as other violations of his constitutional rights.
Memorandum and Order dated August 19, 2015, Defendant
Leahy's motion to dismiss was partially granted.
See Doc. 10. Specifically, it was determined that
Leahy was entitled to entry of dismissal with exception of
the allegation that she failed to protect Plaintiff from
unconstitutional conditions of confinement. See Doc.
24. Presently pending is Leahy's motion seeking entry of
summary judgment. See Doc. 44. The opposed motion is
ripe for consideration.
respect to the remaining claim against Defendant Leahy, the
Amended Complaint alleges that on or about April 26, 2014
Leahy went to Plaintiff's POC cell to check his vital
signs and was asked to do something about the unsanitary
conditions of his confinement. She purportedly told Daniels
that there was nothing she could do. According to the Amended
Complaint, Leahy allegedly acted with deliberate indifference
by allowing Plaintiff to continue to suffer extreme
deprivations while in the POC cell. See id. at
Leahy claims entitlement to summary judgment on the grounds
that: (1) Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative
remedies, and (2) the Amended Complaint fails to allege a
viable failure to protect claim.
judgment is proper 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 a judgment as a matter of
law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); See also Saldana v. Kmart
Corp., 260 F.3d 228, 231-32 (3d Cir. 2001). A factual
dispute is “material” if it might affect the
outcome of the suit under the applicable law. Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A factual
dispute is “genuine” only if there is a
sufficient evidentiary basis that would allow a reasonable
fact-finder to return a verdict for the non-moving party.
Id. at 248. The court must resolve all doubts as to
the existence of a genuine issue of material fact in favor of
the non-moving party. Saldana, 260 F.3d at 232;
see also Reeder v. Sybron Transition Corp., 142
F.R.D. 607, 609 (M.D. Pa. 1992). Unsubstantiated arguments
made in briefs are not considered evidence of asserted facts.
Versarge v. Township of Clinton, 984 F.2d 1359, 1370
(3d Cir. 1993).
the moving party has shown that there is an absence of
evidence to support the claims of the non-moving party, the
non-moving party may not simply sit back and rest on the
allegations in its complaint. See Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986). Instead, it
must “go beyond the pleadings and by [its] own
affidavits, or by the depositions, answers to
interrogatories, and admissions on file, designate specific
facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.”
Id. (internal quotations omitted); see also
Saldana, 260 F.3d at 232 (citations omitted). Summary
judgment should be granted where a party “fails to make
a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element
essential to that party's case, and on which that party
will bear the burden at trial.” Celotex, 477
U.S. at 322-23. “‘Such affirmative evidence -
regardless of whether it is direct or circumstantial - must
amount to more than a scintilla, but may amount to less (in
the evaluation of the court) than a
preponderance.'” Saldana, 260 F.3d at 232
(quoting Williams v. Borough of West Chester, 891
F.2d 458, 460-61 (3d Cir. 1989)).
Leahy asserts that based on information provided by the DOC
during discovery, Plaintiff did not file any administrative
grievances against Leahy or anyone else which “had been
appealed to the final level of review.” Doc. 45, p. 7.
Plaintiff's opposing brief counters that he did file and
administratively appeal a ...