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Goode v. Nutter

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

August 28, 2017

RONALD GOODE, Plaintiff,
v.
MICHAEL NUTTER, et al., Defendants.

          OPINION

          Slomsky, J.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Ronald Goode, proceeding pro se, brings this suit against Defendant Lieutenant James Hamilton for alleged violations of his constitutional rights stemming from his incarceration at Curran-Frumhold Correctional Facility ("CFCF") in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.[1]Defendant Hamilton has filed a Motion for Summary Judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. (Doc. No. 93.) This Motion is presently before the Court for a decision.

         II. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Ronald Goode alleges that he suffered federal civil rights violations by being placed in a segregated housing unit at CFCR (Doc. No. 54.) The Fourth Amended Complaint alleges that Plaintiff was moved to the segregated housing unit after being assaulted by two inmates. (Id.) He contends that while in segregated housing, he did not receive proper medical treatment, was not permitted to attend religious services, and was not permitted to "exhaust[] ... my courts [sic] administrative remedies." (Id.) According to Plaintiff, these deprivations violated of his right to procedural due process under the Fourteenth Amendment and his right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment, triggering civil liability under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Id.)

         On June 28, 2013, Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, initiated this action against Defendants. (Doc. No. 3.) After a Fourth Amended Complaint ("FAC") was filed, Defendant Hamilton filed an Answer to the FAC. (Doc. Nos. 54, 56.) The parties proceeded to discovery. After discovery concluded, Defendant Hamilton filed the Motion for Summary Judgment.[2] (Doc. No. 93.)

         III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Granting summary judgment is an extraordinary remedy. Summary judgment is appropriate "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). In reaching this decision, the court must determine whether "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, admissions, and affidavits show there is no genuine issue of material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Favata v. Seidel, 511 F.App'x 155, 158 (3d Cir. 2013) (quoting Azur v. Chase Bank, USA, Nat'l Ass'n, 601 F.3d 212, 216 (3d Cir. 2010) (quotation omitted)). A disputed issue is "genuine" only if there is a sufficient evidentiary basis on which a reasonable jury could find for the non-moving party. Kaucher v. Cnty. of Bucks. 455 F.3d 418, 423 (3d Cir. 2006) (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)). For a fact to be considered "material, " it "must have the potential to alter the outcome of the case." Favata, 511 F.App'x at 158. Once the proponent of summary judgment "points to evidence demonstrating no issue of material fact exists, the non-moving party has the duty to set forth specific facts showing that a genuine issue of material fact exists and that a reasonable factfinder could rule in its favor." IcL (quoting Azur, 601 F.3d at 216 (internal quotation marks omitted)).

         In deciding a motion for summary judgment, "[t]he evidence of the nonmovant is to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his favor." Id. (quoting Chambers ex rel. Chambers v. Sch. Dist. of Philadelphia Bd. of Educ, 587 F.3d 176, 181 (3d Cir. 2009) (quotation omitted)). The Court's task is not to resolve disputed issues of fact, but to determine whether there exist any factual issues to be tried. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247-49. Whenever a factual issue arises which cannot be resolved without a credibility determination, at this stage the court must credit the non-moving party's evidence over that presented by the moving party. Id. at 255. If there is no factual issue, and if only one reasonable conclusion could arise from the record regarding the potential outcome under the governing law, summary judgment must be awarded in favor of the moving party. Id. at 250.

         IV. ANALYSIS

         The FAC raises a claim against Lieutenant James Hamilton pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("Section 1983"). (Doc. No. 54.) Plaintiff alleges that he was placed in the segregated housing unit at CFCF for a couple of weeks after he was assaulted by two inmates. (Id.). He alleges that he was denied medical treatment, religious accommodations, and the ability to exhaust administrative remedies while in the segregated housing unit, which he contends amounted to a violation of his right to procedural due process under the Fourteenth Amendment and his right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment. (Id.)

         Defendant Hamilton argues in the Motion for Summary Judgment that the Section 1983 claim should be dismissed for two reasons. (Doc. No. 93 at 3.) First, Defendant Hamilton argues that Plaintiff has failed to show that a constitutional violation occurred. (Id. at 5-6.) Second, Defendant Hamilton asserts that Plaintiff has failed to identify evidence showing Defendant Hamilton's personal involvement in the alleged wrongdoing. (Id. at 7-8.) For reasons that follow, this Court agrees with Defendant's arguments and will grant the Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 93).

         A. Plaintiff Has Not Produced Facts Showing an Underlying Violation of the Fourteenth Amendment or the Eighth Amendment

         1. Plaintiff Has Failed to Show a Fourteenth ...


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