United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
RASHEED R. HARRIS, Plaintiff,
LESINSKI, SILBAUGH, GILMORE and WETZEL, Defendants.
OPINION RE: ECF NO. 47
MAUREEN P. KEKLY CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
operative Complaint, Plaintiff Rasheed R. Harris
("Plaintiff) advances claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
for alleged violations of his constitutional rights while he
was incarcerated at the State Correctional Institute at
Greene ("SCI-Greene"). ECF No. 7. Presently before
the Court is Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment
filed on behalf of the two remaining Defendants, Lesinski and
Silbaugh ("Defendants"). ECF No. 47. Defendants
seek judgment as a matter of law pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 56(a) as to all remaining claims asserted in
the Complaint filed pro se by Plaintiff. For the
reasons that follow, Defendants' Motion for Summary
Judgment will be granted.
August 9, 2016, Plaintiffs Complaint was received by the
Court. ECF No. 1. A Deficiency Order was issued on August 29,
2016, because Plaintiff had failed to include a motion to
proceed in forma pauperis, a certified copy of his trust fund
account statement for the six months preceding the filing of
the complaint, a notice and authorization to withdraw funds
from his inmate account, service copies of the complaint,
process receipt and return forms, and a notice and request
for waiver of service. ECF No. 2 at 1-2. Accordingly, the
case was dismissed and closed. ECF No. 2. However, the Court
ordered that Plaintiff could reopen the case by remedying the
aforementioned deficiencies. Id. at 2.
September 15, 2016, Plaintiff filed a Motion and Declaration
in Support of Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis
and an authorization permitting withdrawal of prison account
funds. ECF Nos. 3-4. On September 20, 2016, the Court
reopened the case, granted the Motion for Leave to Proceed In
Forma Pauperis and the Complaint was filed. ECF Nos. 5-7. In
his Complaint, Plaintiff alleged: (1) a sexual assault by
Defendant Lesinski on August 7, 2014; and (2) subsequent
retaliation against Plaintiff by Defendant Silbaugh by
issuance of a false misconduct report. ECF No. 7 at 2.
November 21, 2016, Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss. ECF
No. 14. On December 13, 2016, Plaintiff filed a Motion to
Withdraw Defendants Gilmore and Wetzel. ECF No. 19.
Thereafter, this Court granted the Motion to Withdraw and
dismissed Defendants Gilmore and Wetzel. ECF No. 20. In a
separate order, this Court denied Defendants' Motion to
Dismiss as moot. ECF No. 21.
December 27, 2016, Defendants Lesinski and Silbaugh filed
Defendants' Answer to Plaintiffs Complaint with
Affirmative Defenses. ECF No. 23. Following the completion of
discovery, Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment was
filed on November 7, 2017. ECF No. 47. The matter now being
fully briefed, ECF Nos. 47-50 and 56, the Motion for Summary
Judgment is ripe for consideration.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
of summary judgment is appropriate when the moving party
establishes "that there is no genuine dispute as to any
material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law." Heffernan v. City of Paterson,
777 F.3d 147, 151 (3d Cir. 2015) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(a)). A genuine issue of material fact is one that could
affect the outcome of litigation. Willis v. UPMC
Children's Hosp. of Pittsburgh. 808 F.3d 638, 643
(3d Cir. 2015) (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby.
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)). However,
'"[w]here the record taken as a whole could not lead
a rational trier of fact to find for the non-moving party,
there is no genuine issue for trial.'"
N.A.A.C.P. v. North Hudson Reg'l Fire &
Rescue, 665 F.3d 464, 475 (3d Cir. 2011) (quoting
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co.. Ltd. v. Zenith Radio
Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587(1986)).
initial burden is on the moving party to adduce evidence
illustrating a lack of genuine issues. Hugh v. Butler
Cntv. Family YMCA, 418 F.3d 265, 267 (3d Cir. 2005)
(citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317,
323-24 (1986)). Once the moving party satisfies its burden,
the non-moving party must present sufficient evidence of a
genuine issue, in rebuttal. Santini v. Fuentes, 795
F.3d 410, 416 (3d Cir. 2015) (citing Matsushita
Elec. 475 U.S. at 587). When considering the
parties' arguments, the Court is required to view all
facts and draw all inferences in the light most favorable to
the non-moving party. Id. (citing United States
v. Diebold. Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655 (1962)). The benefit
of the doubt will be given to allegations of the non-moving
party when in conflict with the moving party's claims.
Bialko v. Quaker Oats Co., 434 Fed.Appx. 139, 141
n.4 (3d Cir. 2011) (citing Valhal Corp. v. Sullivan
Assocs., 44 F.3d 195, 200 (3d Cir. 1995)).
a well-supported motion for summary judgment will not be
defeated by "[u]nsupported assertions, conclusory
allegation or mere suspicions." Betts v. New Castle
Youth Dev. Ctr., 621 F.3d 249, 252 (3d Cir. 2010)
(citing Williams v. Borough of West Chester, 891
F.2d458, 46O(3dCir. 1989)).