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Redmond v. Lytle

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

October 27, 2017

JESSE R. REDMOND, Plaintiff,
v.
CHAD LYTLE, et al., Defendants.

          SCHWAB MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

          MEMORANDUM

          A. RICHARD CAPUTO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Presently before this Court is Magistrate Judge Schwab's Report and Recommendation (“R&R”) (Doc. 32) to Defendants' Motion to Dismiss and Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 13), and Plaintiff Jesse R. Redmond's Motion to Appoint Counsel (Doc. 33). Because Plaintiff's claim is governed by the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), Plaintiff had a duty to exhaust available administrative procedures. Since Plaintiff failed to exhaust such procedures, Magistrate Judge Schwab's recommendation to grant summary judgment in favor of Defendants Chad Lytle and John Adami will be adopted. Further, this Court will grant summary judgment in favor of Defendant Angelo Jordan because Plaintiff has not asserted an interest protected under the Fifth Amendment and his discipline was supported be sufficient evidence. Consequently, Plaintiff's Motion to Appoint Counsel will be denied as moot.

         I. Background

         A. Factual Background:

         The following facts appear in Defendants' Statement of Material Facts (“DSMF”) filed pursuant to Local Rule 56.1:

         Plaintiff Jesse R. Redmond (“Plaintiff”) is a federal inmate formerly incarcerated at the United Sates Penitentiary located in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. (DSMF ¶ 1.) On October 31, 2012, Corrections Officer Chad Lytle (“Lytle”) conducted a random search of Plaintiff's cell. (DSMF ¶ 4.) While searching Plaintiff's cell, Lytle discovered a number of items including: (1) a honey bottle containing ethyl alcohol hand sanatizer; (2) plastic bags with uncooked rice; (3) a plastic bag with uncooked grits; (4) a plastic bag containing brown sugar; (5) sixteen isoprophyl alcohol preparation pads; and (6) an inmate identification card that did not belong to Plaintiff. (DSMF ¶¶ 5-6.) Notably, according to policies established by the United States Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”), it was prohibited for an inmate to possess any of the items identified above. (DSMF ¶ 7.)

         Upon further investigation, Lytle learned that Plaintiff worked as a Hospital Orderly at the prison, and that many of the prohibited items found in Plaintiff's cell may have been obtained from the prison's Health Services Department. (DSMF ¶¶ 8-9.) Following Lytle's search and investigation, he authored an incident report detailing the violations of BOP policy discovered during the October 31, 2012 search of Plaintiff's cell. (DSMF ¶ 11.) This incident report was provided to Plaintiff on November 1, 2012. (Id.) Specifically, Plaintiff was informed that he had violated five “codes” or policies in place at the prison: (1) Code 113, Possession of any narcotic, drugs, alcohol, intoxicants, or related paraphernalia not prescribed by medical staff; (2) Code 111, Introduction of any narcotic, alcohol, intoxicant, or related paraphernalia not prescribed by medical staff; (3) Code 219, Stealing; (4) Code 226, Possession of stolen property; and (5) Code 305, Possession of anything not authorized. (Id.)

         As prescribed by the BOP, Plaintiff was advised of his rights before the Disciplinary Hearing Officer (“DHO”) on November 2, 2012, and Plaintiff indicated he understood his rights prior to the start of the disciplinary hearing. (DSMF ¶¶ 13, 16.) At that time, Plaintiff requested a staff representative, and submitted a number of written statements for the DHO to review. (DSMF ¶ 13.) The DHO tasked to this matter was Defendant Angelo Jordan (“Jordan”), and he conducted the disciplinary hearing on December 17, 2012. (DSMF ¶¶ 13- 14.) As requested, Plaintiff was provided a staff representative for the hearing, Defendant John Adami (“Adami”). (DSMF ¶¶ 13, 15.)

         At the hearing, Plaintiff testified that the facts in the incident report were accurate, but he believed his due process rights were violated because his cell had been search by two different staff members on October 31, 2012. (DSMF ¶¶ 17-18). In an attempt to substantiate this claim, Plaintiff wished to call Officer Stackhouse, the officer who conducted the search prior to Lytle, as a witness. (DSMF ¶ 19.) Adami contacted Officer Stackhouse, who submitted two written statements confirming she had searched Plaintiff's cell on the day in question, but she also noted that she had not conducted the search that lead to the instant incident report. (DSMF ¶¶ 20-22.) Notably, Officer Stackhouse wrote that she did not conclude the initial search because she was called away from Plaintiff's cell prior to completing the search. Upon Officer Stackhouse being called away from the cell, Officer Lytle began searching Plaintiff's cell and concluded the search. (DSMF ¶ 23.) In addition to a statment from Officer Stackhouse, Plaintiff requested video servailance footage of the incident. (DSMF ¶ 24.) Unfortunately, such video was no longer available. (Id.)

         On January 3, 2013, Jordan provided Plaintiff a written report which detailed his findings. (DSMF ¶ 30.) The report concluded that Plaintiff violated Code 226, possession of stolen property. (DSMF ¶ 25.) Such a conclusion was reached after reviewing the incident report, statements submitted by Plaintiff and Stackhouse, and the photographs of the items at issue. (DSMF ¶ 26.)

         As a result of having been found in violation of Code 226, Plaintiff was sanctioned to 30 days of Disciplinary Segregation, and 90-days loss of commissary, telephone, and visitation. (DSMF ¶ 27.) Notably, Plaintiff appealed the sanctions, and the incident report in question was expunged after a subsequent hearing at a different United States Penitentiary. (DSMF ¶ 32.) Plaintiff exhausted his appeal relative to the substantive Code 226 violation. During that appeal, Plaintiff argued that Defendant Jordan, acting as DHO, did not have sufficient evidence to find that he had stolen the items in question. (DSMF ¶ 44.) But, the appeal and subsequent administrative filings made by Plaintiff do not concern his transfer, the loss of his job and associated wages, or an inability to make funeral arrangements. (DSMF ¶¶ 42-43.)

         B. Procedural History:

         Following the events described above, Plaintiff filed a Complaint on Auguest 31, 2016 seeking monetary damages against three staff members at United States Penitentiary, Lewisburg: (1) Corrections Officer Chad Lytle, (2) Discipline Hearing Officer Angelo Jordan and (3) Unit Manager John Adami. On November 14, ...


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