United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
H. RAMBO, United States District Judge
the Court is a motion to dismiss the 42 U.S.C. § 1983
complaint (Doc. No. 1) of Plaintiff Jason Grisby
(“Grisby”), or, in the alternative, for summary
judgment, filed by Defendant C.O. McBeth
(“McBeth”), from the State Correctional
Institution at Camp Hill, Pennsylvania (“SCI-Camp
Hill”). (Doc. No. 16.) Grisby contends that McBeth
violated his First Amendment right by issuing him retaliatory
charges of misconduct. (Doc. No. 1.) For the reasons set
forth below, the motion for summary judgment will be granted.
was incarcerated at SCI-Camp Hill from May 28, 2014 to June
2015. (Doc. No. 1.) Grisby alleges that while housed in the
Special Management Unit (“SMU”), he was
retaliated by McBeth because of Grisby's complaints
stemming from food missing from his meal tray. (Id.
at 2.) Specifically, Grisby contends that on March 2, 2015,
he received his meal tray with food missing and complained to
McBeth. (Id.) Grisby alleges that as a result of his
complaint, McBeth issued him a falsified disciplinary
misconduct report for refusing to obey an order.
(Id., Doc. No. 17, Ex. A. Decl. Dupont ¶¶
12, 13, Grisby issued Misconduct B479893 which was dismissed
without prejudice). As a result of the misconduct, Grisby
contends that he was placed on a food restriction as well as
a movement restriction. (Id. at 3.)
March 4, 2015, Grisby maintains that a disciplinary hearing
was conducted which resulted in a dismissal of the
misconduct. (Doc. No. 1 at 3, Doc. No. 17, Ex. A Decl. Dupont
¶ 13, misconduct dismissed without prejudice). Grisby
alleges that as a result of the dismissal of the misconduct,
McBeth again issued him a false misconduct for refusing to
obey an order. (Doc. No. 1 at 3, Doc. No. 17, Ex. A Decl.
Dupont ¶ 14, Grisby issued Misconduct B479896). Grisby
was found guilty by a hearing examiner of refusing to obey an
order as set forth in the second misconduct and sentenced to
sixty (60) days disciplinary custody solitary confinement.
(Doc. No. 1 at 3, Doc. No. 17, Ex. A Decl. Dupont ¶ 15).
Grisby appealed Misconduct B479896 to the Superintendent who
upheld the hearing examiner's decision. (Doc. No. 17, Ex.
A Decl. Dupont ¶ 15). Grisby did not appeal the
misconduct to the Chief Hearing Examiner. (Id.)
March 16, 2015, Grisby filed a grievance concerning a problem
with staff officer Dempsey (not a named defendant) for
mishandling his outgoing mail. (Id. Ex. B Decl.
Alvord ¶ 20). The grievance was assigned number 556993
and was denied by the Facility Grievance Coordinator.
(Id.) Grisby appealed the initial response to the
Facility Manager, and the denial was upheld. (Id.)
Grisby did not appeal further to the Secretary's Office
of Inmate Grievances and Appeals (“SOIGA”).
(Id.) Grisby was transferred out of SCI-Camp Hill to
another facility on June 23, 2015. (Id. ¶ 21.)
Between March 2, 2015 and his transfer out of SCI-Camp Hill,
Grisby had filed two additional grievances regarding mail and
food, but failed to appeal either of these grievances to
SOIGA. (Id. ¶ 22.)
Motion to Dismiss Standard
has filed a motion which, in part, seeks dismissal of the
complaint on the grounds that Grisby's complaint fails to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted, as provided
by Rule 12(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The
motion, however, goes beyond a simple motion to dismiss under
Rule 12(b) because it is accompanied by evidentiary documents
outside the pleadings contravening Grisby's claims. Rule
12 provides, in pertinent part, as follows:
If, on a motion under Rule 12(b)(6) or 12(c), matters outside
the pleadings are presented to and not excluded by the court,
the motion must be treated as one for summary judgment under
Rule 56. All parties must be given a reasonable opportunity
to present all the material that is pertinent to the motion.
Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(d). The Court will not exclude the
evidentiary materials accompanying McBeth's motion to
dismiss because Grisby also has been given a reasonable
opportunity to present material relevant to the motion. Thus,
McBeth's motion to dismiss, or, in the alternative, for
summary judgment, will be treated solely as seeking summary
Motion for Summary Judgment Standard
Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a) requires the court to render
summary judgment “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). “[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). A disputed fact is
“material” if proof of its existence or
nonexistence would affect the outcome of the case under
applicable substantive law. Anderson, 477 U.S. at
248; 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 Bhd. of Carpenters and Joiners of Am.,
927 F.2d 1283, 1287-88 (3d Cir. 1991).
determining whether there is a genuine issue of material
fact, the court must view the facts and all reasonable
inferences in favor of the nonmoving party. Moore v.
Tartler, 986 F.2d 682 (3d Cir. 1993); Clement v.
Consol. Rail Corp., 963 F.2d 599, 600 (3d Cir. 1992);
White v. Westinghouse Electric Co., 862 F.2d 56, 59
(3d Cir. 1988). In order to avoid summary judgment, however,
the nonmoving party may not rest on the unsubstantiated
allegations of his or her pleadings. When the party seeking
summary judgment satisfies its burden under Rule 56 of
identifying evidence which demonstrates the absence of a
genuine issue of material fact, the nonmoving party is
required by Rule 56 to go beyond his pleadings with
affidavits, depositions, answers to interrogatories or the
like in order to demonstrate specific material facts which
give rise to a genuine issue. Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986). The party opposing
the motion “must do more than simply show that there is
some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.”
Matsushita Electric Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio, 475
U.S. 574, 586 (1986). When Rule 56 shifts the burden of
production to the nonmoving party, that party must produce
evidence to show the existence of every ...