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Hubert v. Wetzel

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

August 5, 2019

JAMES HUBERT, Plaintiff,
v.
JOHN WETZEL, JAY LANE, CAPT. TIFT, SGT. RICHTER, and GRAFT, Defendants.

          OPINION AND ORDER RE: ECF NO. 22

          MAUREEN P. KELLY MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff James Hubert ("Plaintiff) is an inmate currently confined at the State Correctional Institution at Coal Township, Pennsylvania ("SCI-Coal Township"). This civil rights action arises out of allegations that Defendants Thomas Richter ("Richter") and Keith Graft ("Graft") (collectively, "Defendants") communicated the details of Plaintiffs criminal history to other inmates, placing him at risk of harm. Plaintiff further alleges that Defendants retaliated against him when he sought redress for this conduct.

         Presently before the Court is Plaintiffs Motion for Summary Judgment. ECF No. 22. For the reasons that follow, Plaintiffs Motion for Summary Judgment is denied.[1]

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff commenced this action in the Court of Common Pleas of Fayette County, Pennsylvania. Upon the filing of a "First Amended Civil Complaint" (the "Amended Complaint"), and pursuant to 28 U.S.C § 1441 et seq., Defendants removed the action to this Court, asserting original jurisdiction in federal court over Plaintiffs federal claims. ECF No. 1. In his Amended Complaint, Plaintiff asserts claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for the alleged violation of his rights arising under the First, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, the Pennsylvania Constitution, the Pennsylvania Civil Service Act, and various provisions of Pennsylvania Department of Corrections ("DOC) Code of Ethics arising out of the circumstances and conditions of his confinement at the State Correctional Institution at Fayette ("SCI-Fayette") during the period January 21, 2016 through November 20, 2016.

         Plaintiffs claims arise out of his status as a convicted sex-offender. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants Richter and Graft, prison officials at SCI-Fayette, communicated Plaintiffs criminal background to inmates in Plaintiffs general population and restricted housing units, placing him at serious risk of violence and injury, and defaming him. ECF No. 1-1 ¶¶ 17-19. Plaintiff further alleges that Defendants retaliated against him after he submitted grievances and complaints as to Defendants' conduct, violating his First Amendment rights. Id. ¶¶ 22, 27-31.

         On April 11, 2018, Defendants filed a partial Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs Amended Complaint. ECF No. 5. The Court granted in part and denied in part Defendants' Motion to Dismiss on October 4, 2018. ECF No. 11, As a result of this disposition, the Court dismissed all Defendants other than Richter and Graft, and the following claims remain in this action:

1. Plaintiffs Eighth Amendment conditions of confinement/failure to protect claims against Defendants Richter and Graft;
2. Plaintiffs First Amendment retaliation claims against Defendants Richter and Graft;
3. Plaintiffs claims for nominal and punitive damages as to his remaining federal claims; and
4. Plaintiffs state law claims for recklessness, negligence, and intentional infliction of emotional distress as to Defendants Richter and Graft.

Id. [2]

         The parties conducted discovery as to the remaining claims, and the discovery period closed on February 5, 2019. ECF No. 18. The Court entered a Case Management Order requiring that Defendants file a pretrial statement or motion for summary judgment by April 5, 2019. Id. The only remaining Defendants, Richter and Graft, elected not to file a motion for summary judgment. See ECF No. 28 at 3 n. 1.

         On March 1, 2019, Plaintiff filed the instant Motion for Summary Judgment. ECF No. 22. Although Plaintiff has styled his Motion as a "Motion for Summary Judgment," the specific relief he seeks is unclear. In the opening paragraph, Plaintiff explains that he is responding to Defendant's summary judgment motion and requests that the Court not dismiss this action-but Defendants did not move for summary judgment in this matter. Id. ΒΆ 22. Then, in closing, Plaintiff asks the Court to grant his "Motion for Summary Judgment on the Pleadings," appearing to conflate motions filed under Federal Rules of ...


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