United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
RICHARD CAPUTO, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
before the Court is Defendants' motion for summary
judgment based on Mr. Brown's failure to properly exhaust
his available administrative remedies concerning his
retaliatory transfer from SCI-Dallas to SCI-Smithfield. (ECF
No. 81.) In lieu of an opposition brief, Plaintiff has filed
a cross motion for summary judgment alleging that prison
officials interfered with his exhaustion efforts. (ECF No.
following reasons, both motions for summary judgment will be
denied. This matter will be set for trial at the convenience
of the Court.
Summary Judgment Standard of Review
judgment is proper where “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). The court must determine “whether
the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories,
admissions on file, and affidavits show that there is no
genuine issue of material fact and whether the moving party
is therefore entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
MacFarlan v. Ivy Hill SNF, LLC, 675 F.3d 266, 271
(3d Cir. 2012)(citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477
U.S. 317, 322, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 2552, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986)).
“[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, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2509 - 10,
91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986).
genuine issue is present when a reasonable trier of fact,
viewing all of the record evidence, could rationally find in
favor of the non-moving party in light of his burden of
proof.” Doe v. Abington Friends Sch., 480 F.3d
252, 256 (3d Cir. 2007) (internal citations omitted).
Material facts are those which “might affect the
outcome of the suit under the governing substantive
law.” Scheidemantle v. Slippery Rock Univ. State
Sys. of Higher Educ., 470 F.3d 535, 538 (3d Cir. 2006).
Where contradictory facts exist, the court may not make
credibility determinations or weigh the evidence. See
Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Prods., Inc., 530 U.S. 133,
150 - 51, 120 S.Ct. 2097, 2110, 147 L.Ed.2d 105 (2000)
(internal quotation marks and citations omitted);
Paradisis v. Englewood Hosp. Med. Ctr., 680 F.
App'x 131, 135 (3d Cir. Feb. 24, 2017). In reviewing a
motion for summary judgment, the court must view all facts
and draw all reasonable inferences “in the light most
favorable to the party opposing the motion.” Blunt
v. Lower Merion Sch. Dist., 767 F.3d 247, 265 (3d Cir.
2014) (internal quotation marks omitted).
prevail on summary judgment, the moving party must
affirmatively identify those portions of the record which
demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.
Santini v. Fuentes, 795 F.3d 410 (3d Cir. 2015)
(citing Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323, 106 S.Ct. 2553).
“A party asserting that a fact cannot be or is
genuinely disputed must support the assertion by citing to
particular parts of materials in the record ... or showing
that the materials cited do not establish the absence or
presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party
cannot produce admissible evidence to support the
fact.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A) - (B). To withstand
summary judgment, the non-moving party must “go beyond
the pleadings” and “designate ‘specific
facts showing that there is a genuine issue for
trial.'” Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324, 106
S.Ct. at 2553 (citation omitted). The non-moving party
“may not rest on speculation and conjecture in opposing
a motion for summary judgment.” Ramara, Inc. V.
Westfield Ins. Co., 814 F.3d 660, 666 (3d Cir. 2016). In
deciding the merits of a party's motion for summary
judgment, the court's role is not to evaluate the
evidence and decide the truth of the matter, but to determine
whether there is a genuine issue for trial.
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249, 106 S.Ct. at 2511.
Credibility determinations are the province of the
factfinder. Big Apple BMW, Inc. v. BMW of N. Am.,
Inc., 974 F.2d 1358, 1363 (3d Cir. 1992).
Statement of Undisputed Facts
the pleadings, declarations and exhibits submitted therewith,
the following facts are ascertained as undisputed or, where
disputed, reflect Mr. Brown's version of the facts,
pursuant to this Court's duty to view all facts and
reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the
nonmoving party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255, 106
S.Ct. at 2510.
Charles E. Brown is a state inmate presently housed at the
Smithfield State Correctional Institution (SCI-Smithfield),
in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. (ECF No. 82, Defs.'
Statement of Material Facts (DSMF), ¶ 1.) The Defendants
are the following Pennsylvania Department of Corrections
(DOC) employees: William Sprenkle, Lori Lyons, Tanya Brandt,
Michael Klopotoski, Jerome Walsh and Vincent Mooney.
(Id., ¶ 2.) The sole issue presented in this
action is whether Mr. Brown was transferred from SCI-Dallas
to SCI-Smithfield on December 16, 2008, in retaliation for
his filing of grievances and complaints. (ECF No. 66, Am.
DOC's Grievance Process
DOC's Administrative Directive DC-ADM 804 (DC-ADM 804) is
known as the Inmate Grievance System. See
www.cor.state.pa.us, DOC Policies, DC-ADM 804, Inmate
Grievance System Policy; see also DSMF ¶ 5.
Pursuant to DC-ADM 804, inmates must first file a grievance
with the Facility Grievance Coordinator at the facility where
the events giving rise to the grievance occurred. The
grievance must be filed within fifteen (15) working days of
the event upon which the grievance is based. (DSMF
¶¶ 6 - 7.) If unsatisfied with the initial review
of his grievance, the inmate may appeal the decision to the
Facility Manager. (Id., ¶ 10.) If dissatisfied
with the response from the Facility Manager, the inmate may
appeal that decision to Final Review by the Secretary's
Office of Inmate Grievance Appeals (SOIGA). (Id.,