United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
Young claims that while incarcerated at Northampton County
Jail, a correctional officer grabbed him by the throat and
used a set of keys to punch him in the mouth. Young brings
claims for excessive force, under 42 U.S.C. § 1983,
against the correctional officer and a prison supervisor. The
defendants filed a motion for summary judgment. I will grant
the motion as to the prison supervisor but deny the motion as
it pertains to the correctional officer.
January 13, 2015, Anthony Young was incarcerated at
Northampton County Jail. Early that morning, another inmate,
Geffrey Desir, was moved to the unit Mr. Young was housed in.
According to Mr. Young, Desir was causing a ruckus. Mr. Young
yelled at Desir to quiet down because he was trying to sleep.
rest of the day, Desir and Young argued with each other from
their respective cells. At one point, Young claims Desir
said, "when I come out, I am going to eff you up, you
know." (Young Dep. 26:25-27:2). Young then overheard
Desir ask defendant Gerald Grube, a correctional officer
("CO"), to let him out so he could "fuck
[Young] up." (Id. at 27:15-17). CO Grube let
Young and Desir out of their cells around the same time.
(Id. at 27:17).
Young claims, once out of their cells, Desir came at him
"in a threatening manner" so he hit Desir twice.
(Id. at 27:17-24). After this happened, CO Grube
punched Young in the mouth with the keys CO Grube uses to
unlock the cells. (Id. at 29:20-30:3, 33:2-11).
Young did not do anything threatening toward CO Grube.
(Id. at 32:22). After CO Grube hit Young, he
allegedly said: "You didn't know I could hit that
hard for an old guy, did you[?]" (Id. at
32:7-8). This incident was captured on video surveillance.
being hit, Young's mouth was bleeding so he went to the
medical unit. (Id. at 34:21-24). Young's nose
was also bleeding. (Doc. No. 3 ¶ III). Since this fight,
Young has had to visit the dentist three times.
(Id.). He had cuts on his mouth that healed weeks
later. Since being hit by CO Grube, he had excruciating pain
in one of his teeth, which eventually had to be removed.
(Young Dep. 36:12-16). He has since told a psychologist at
the prison that he wakes up scared in the middle of the night
to the sound of keys and that he is afraid he will get
attacked again by a correctional officer. (Id. at
addition to CO Grube, Mr. Young sued Ryan Ziegler, a
lieutenant at the Northampton County Jail. According to Mr.
Young, Lieutenant Ziegler "didn't do anything. He
didn't attack me or nothing." (Id. at
35:2-3). The only reason Mr. Young named Lieutenant Ziegler
in the lawsuit is "because he was the lieutenant who
handled the situation, " meaning, "he was the
supervisor on duty" at the time the fight occurred.
(Id. at 35:5-8). However, Mr. Young was adamant in
his deposition testimony that Lieutenant Ziegler
"wasn't involved at all" in this incident.
(Id. at 35:11).
judgment is proper "if the movant shows that there is no
genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(a). A factual dispute is "material" only if it
might affect the outcome of the case. Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). For an issue to
be "genuine, " a reasonable fact-finder must be
able to return a verdict in favor of the non-moving party.
seeking summary judgment initially bears responsibility for
informing the court of the basis for its motion and
identifying those portions of the record that it believes
demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986).
A party asserting that a fact cannot be or is genuinely
disputed must support the assertion by citing relevant
portions of the record, including depositions, documents,
affidavits, or declarations, or showing that the materials
cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine
dispute, or showing that an adverse party cannot produce
admissible evidence to support the fact. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c).
Summary judgment is therefore appropriate when the non-moving
party fails to rebut the moving party's argument that
there is no genuine issue of fact by pointing to evidence
that is "sufficient to establish the existence of an
element essential to that party's case, and on which that
party will bear the burden of proof at trial."
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322.
Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the court
must draw "all justifiable inferences" in favor of
the non-moving party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255. The
Court must decide "not whether ... the evidence
unmistakably favors one side or the other but whether a
fair-minded jury could ...