United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
DANA E. YOUNG, Plaintiff,
COUNSELOR HAWK, et al., Defendants.
E. Jones III, Judge
matter is presently proceeding via an amended
complaint filed on September 5, 2014, pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1893, by Plaintiff Dana E. Young
(“Plaintiff” or “Young”). (Doc. 27).
Named as defendants are Pennsylvania Department of
Corrections (“DOC”) employees, Counselor Hawk
(“Hawk”) and Pam Tomko (Tomko”). Young
alleges that the failure of Hawk and Tomko to address his
concern, that information pertinent to his ability to be
released on parole is missing from his DOC inmate file,
violates his due process rights. (Doc. 27).
before the Court is Defendants Hawk and Tomko's motion
(Doc. 51) for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 56. For the reasons set forth below, the
motion will be granted.
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. App'x. 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
1983, Young was convicted of rape and kidnaping in the Court
of Common Pleas of Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, and sentenced
to an aggregate term of imprisonment of twenty-one to
forty-two years. (Doc. 52, ¶ 3; Doc. 59, ¶ 3). He
became eligible for parole in 2004. (Id. at 4;
Id. at 4). He has been denied parole on
approximately five occasions because he has not successfully
completed sex offender therapy. (Id. at 5, 6;
Id. at 5, 6).
to prison records attached to Young's Amended Complaint,
he completed the sex offender Structured Treatment Education
Program (“STEP”) while housed at the State
Correctional Institution at Huntingdon
(“SCI-Huntingdon”). (Id. at 7, 8, 13;
Id. at 7, 8, 13). The prison records include the
following: 1) “Information Report” dated August
25, 1993, indicating he “Completed STEP [sex offender
programming] satisfactory by attending 14 of 15 sessions. The
program began April 17, 1993 and ended August 25,
1993”; 2) “Prescriptive Program Plan”
document dated January 31, 1997, noting under “RESULTS
ACHIEVED” that he “completed SOP [sex offender
programming] at Huntingdon”; 3) “Prescriptive
Program Plan” document dated September 1, 1998,
recommending participation in sex offender program.
(Id. at 8, 11-20; Id. at 8, 11-20). These
records are not in Young's inmate file. (Id. at
10; Id. at 10). Young has notified corrections
officials that his file is inaccurate because it does not
contain these records. (Id. at 9; Id. at
Ley (“Ley”), a Licensed Psychologist Manager
employed by the DOC, declares that he is familiar with the
STEP Program, which is a non-admitter program designed to
help sex offenders accept a degree of responsibility for
their actions. (Id. at 21; Id. at 21; Doc.
54, p. 9, ¶¶ 7-11). The program did not contain an
admitter's requirement. (Doc. 52, at 22; Doc. 54, p. 9,
¶ 11). The program is no longer in use. (Doc. 54, p. 9,
¶ 9). Ley indicates that successful completion of the
DOC's sex offender treatment for purposes of a parole
recommendation requires admission of the wrongdoing and that
completion of the STEP program “would not be a basis to
give petitioner [Young] credit for completing the sex
offender therapy with an admitter's requirement, as
required by the Department for recommendation for
parole.” (Doc. 52, at 23; Doc. 59, at 23; Doc. 54, p.
10, ¶ 15).
Hawk (“Hawk”), who is employed by the DOC as a
Corrections Counselor 2, echoes that completion of the STEP
program would not be a basis to give Young credit for
completing the sex offender therapy with an admitter's
requirement. (Id. at 31; Id. at 31; Doc.
54, p. 2, ¶ 13). Since at least 2003, Young has
repeatedly been advised of the need to complete sex offender
therapy that contains the admitter's requirement, but
refuses to take the sex offender therapy containing the
admitter's component. (Id. at 24, 28;
Id. at 24, 28; Id. at p. 3, ¶ 10).
Defendants have refused to credit Young with completion of
sex offender therapy because he did not complete the program
with an admitter's requirement. (Id. at 25, 30;
Id. at 25, 30).
1983 of Title 42 of the United States Code offers private
citizens a cause of action for violations of federal law by
state officials. See 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The
statute provides, in pertinent part, as follows:
Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance,
regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or
the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be
subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person
within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any
rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution
and laws, shall be liable to the party ...