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Grisby v. McBeth

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

March 28, 2018

JASON GRISBY, Plaintiff
v.
C.O. 1 MCBETH, Defendant

          MEMORANDUM

          SYLVIA H. RAMBO, United States District Judge

         Before 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.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Grisby 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.)

         On 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.)

         On 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.)

         II. LEGAL STANDARDS

         A. Motion to Dismiss Standard

         McBeth 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 judgment.

         B. Motion for Summary Judgment Standard

         Federal 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).

         When 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 ...


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