United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
M. MUNLEY JUDGE
Walter Ola Scott (“Scott”), a state inmate who,
at all times relevant, was incarcerated at the State
Correctional Institution at Frackville
(“SCI-Frackville”), Pennsylvania, commenced this
action on August 29, 2016, in the United States District
Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. (Doc. 1-1).
The case was transferred to this district on October 19,
2016. (Doc. 8). The matter is proceeding via an
Amended Complaint (Doc. 13).
pending is a motion (Doc. 17) for summary judgment pursuant
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a), on the issue of
exhaustion, filed on January 20, 2017, on behalf of remaining
Defendants Officer Kraynaks, Jamis Hex, C.O Krames Kramer,
and C.O. Weiner. A brief (Doc. 18) in support of the motion
and statement of material facts (Doc. 19) were filed on that
same date. Scott failed to oppose the motion. On May 18,
2017, he was directed to respond to the motion by filing an
opposition brief and a statement of material facts. (Doc.
20). He was cautioned that his failure to file an opposition
brief and statement of material facts would render the motion
unopposed and would result in an admission to the
Defendants' statement of material facts. (Id.)
Although Scott filed an opposition brief, he failed to file a
statement of material facts. Consequently, Defendants'
statement of material facts is deemed admitted.
reasons set forth below, the motion for summary judgment will
Standard of Review
judgment “should be rendered 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.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Turner v.
Schering-Plough Corp., 901 F.2d 335, 340 (3d Cir. 1990).
“[T]his standard provides that 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.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986) (emphasis in
original); Brown v. Grabowski, 922 F.2d 1097, 1111
(3d Cir. 1990). A disputed fact is “material” if
proof of its existence or nonexistence would affect the
outcome of the case under applicable substantive law.
Id.; Gray v. York Newspapers, Inc., 957
F.2d 1070, 1078 (3d Cir. 1992). An issue of material fact is
"genuine" if the evidence is such that a reasonable
jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 257; Brenner v. Local 514,
United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America,
927 F.2d 1283, 1287-88 (3d Cir. 1991).
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 (1986);
Orson, Inc. v. Miramax Film Corp., 79 F.3d 1358,
1366 (3d Cir. 1996). Once such a showing has been made, the
non-moving party must go beyond the pleadings with
affidavits, depositions, answers to interrogatories or the
like in order to demonstrate specific material facts which
give rise to a genuine issue. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56;
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324; Matsushita Elec.
Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio, 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986)
(stating that the non-moving party "must do more than
simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the
material facts"); Wooler v. Citizens Bank, 274
F. A'ppx. 177, 179 (3d Cir. 2008). The party opposing the
motion must produce evidence to show the existence of every
element essential to its case, which it bears the burden of
proving at trial, because “a complete failure of proof
concerning an essential element of the nonmoving party's
case necessarily renders all other facts immaterial.”
Id. at 323; see also Harter v. G.A.F.
Corp., 967 F.2d 846, 851 (3d Cir. 1992). “[T]he
non-moving party 'may not rely merely on allegations or
denials in its own pleadings; rather, its response must . . .
set out specific facts showing a genuine issue for
trial.'” Picozzi v. Haulderman, 2011 WL
830331, *2 (M.D. Pa. 2011) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)(2)).
“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 North America. Inc., 974 F.2d 1358, 1363
(3d Cir. 1992).
Statement of Material Facts
motion for summary judgment filed pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56
shall be accompanied by a separate, short and concise
statement of the material facts . . . as to which the moving
party contends there is no genuine issue to be tried.”
See L.R. 56.1. The opposing party shall file a
separate statement of the material facts as to which it is
contended that there exists a genuine issue to be tried.
Id. “All material facts set forth in the
statement required to be served by the moving party will be
deemed to be admitted unless controverted by the statement
required to be served by the opposing party.”
Id. Because Scott failed to oppose Defendants'
statement of material facts, all facts contained therein are
alleges that his cell mate, Lynch, was threatening him and
swung at him and that he left his cell to get help. (Doc. 13,
pp. 2-3). When he reported the incident to Correctional
Officer Kraynak, Kraynak instructed him to “tell the
Sergeant Boyer.” (Id. at 2). Boyer told him to
sit in the TV room. (Id.). He alleges that he was in
the TV room and “Next thing I no [sic] they coffit
[sic] me and put me in the hole for 30 day for asking for
help from them.” (Id. at 3). He takes issue
with being sanctioned for simply asking for help and alleges
that Defendants are failing to protect him from Lynch.
(Id.) He states that Defendants “need to pay
me $2000 dollars for each day I stayed in the hole.”
(Doc. 21, p. 1).
Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (“DOC”)
Administrative Directive 801 (DC-ADM 801) sets forth
applicable procedures for inmate discipline and outlines a
system of appeals and sanctions for inmate misconduct. (Doc.
19, ¶ 2). Pursuant to DC-ADM 801, once an inmate is
found guilty of a misconduct charge, he may appeal that
decision to the Program Review Committee (“PRC”).
(Id. at 3). If dissatisfied with the PRC's
response, the inmate may appeal to the Superintendent of the
facility. (Id. at 4). The final level of appeal is
to the Office of the Chief Hearing Examiner. (Id. at
August 19, 2016, Scott received misconduct B401672 for
refusing to obey an order. (Doc. 1-1, pp. 9, 11; Doc. 19-1,
p. 53). At the August 23, 2016 disciplinary hearing, the
hearing examiner stated that she “believes Officer
Kraynak's report over inmate Scott's denial that he
refused to obey an order when Officer Kraynak ordered inmate
Scott to lock in because yard was coming in. Inmate Scott
refused the order to lock in. . . at which time a Sgt. and
Officer handcuffed I/M Scott and escorted him to the
RHU.” (Doc. 1-1, p. 9). Scott was sanctioned with
thirty days disciplinary custody. (Id.) He did not
appeal his misconduct to the Office of the Chief Hearing
Examiner. (Doc. 19, ¶ 7; Doc. 19-1, ¶¶ 12,
seek an entry of summary judgment on the grounds that Scott
failed to fully exhaust his administrative remedies, as
required by 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). The Prison Litigation
Reform Act of 1996 (the “PLRA”) “mandates
that an inmate exhaust ‘such administrative remedies as
are available' before bringing suit to challenge prison
conditions.” Ross v. Blake, 136 S.Ct. 1850,
1856 (2016); see Nyhuis v. Reno, 204 F.3d 65, 73 (3d
Cir. 2000) (“[I]t is beyond the power of this court-or
any other-to excuse compliance with the exhaustion
requirement, whether on the ground of futility, inadequacy or
any other basis.”). The text “suggests no limits
on an inmate's obligation to exhaust- irrespective of
‘special circumstances.'” Id.
“And that mandatory language means a court may not
excuse a failure to exhaust, even to take such circumstances