United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
RICHARD CAPUTO, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
December 2010, Plaintiff Charles Edward Brown, a prisoner in
the custody of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections
(DOC), proceeding pro se and in forma
pauperis, filed this civil rights lawsuit pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983. Mr. Brown claims various DOC employees
(William D. Sprenkle, Tanya Brandt, Superintendent Michael
Klopotoski; Vincent Mooney, Jerome Walsh and Lori Lyons)
transferred him to a different facility in retaliation for
his filing of institutional grievances. (ECF No. 66, Am.
Compl.) Presently before the Court are cross motions for
summary judgment limited to the issue of Mr. Brown's
exhaustion of Grievance 259990. (ECF Nos. 137 and 141).
reasons set forth below, the Court will grant Defendants'
second motion for summary judgment and deny Plaintiff's
motion for summary judgment. All other pending motions,
except for Plaintiff's motion to file a response to
Defendants' summary judgment motion (ECF No. 148), will
be denied as moot. The Court will accept Mr. Brown's
opposition materials as timely filed.
Summary Judgment Standard of Review
judgment is appropriate if, viewing the facts in the light
most favorable to the nonmoving party, there is no genuine
issue of material fact and the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. Forrest v. Parry, 930
F.3d 93 (3d Cir. 2019); Fed R. Civ. P. 56(a).
prevail on summary judgment, the moving party must
affirmatively identify those portions of the record which
demonstrate the absence of a genuine dispute of material
fact. Santini v. Fuentes, 795 F.3d 410 (3d Cir.
2015); Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). If this burden is met, the
nonmoving party “may not rest on speculation and
conjecture in opposing a summary judgment motion.”
Ramara, Inc. v. Westfied Ins. Co., 814 F.3d 660, 666
(3d Cir. 2016). Rather, the nonmovant must demonstrate, from
more than the pleadings alone, the existence of a genuine
dispute of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett,
477 U.S. 317, 324, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 2553, 91 L.Ed.2d 265
dispute of fact is “genuine” if the evidence is
such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the
non-moving party. Baloga v. Pittston Area Sch.
Dist., 927 F.3d 742, 752 (3d Cir. 2019) (citing
Santini v. Fuentes, 795 F.3d 410, 416 (3d Cir.
2015)). “[A] fact is only material if it might affect
the outcome of the suit under the governing [substantive]
law.” Forrest, 930 F.3d at 105 (citing
Scheidemantle v. Slippery Rock Univ. State Sys. of Higher
Educ., 470 F.3d 535, 538 (3d Cir. 2006.))
deciding the merits of a party's motion for summary
judgment, the court's role is not to evaluate the
evidence and decide the truth of the matter, but to determine
whether there is a genuine issue for trial. Baloga,
927 F.3d at 752 (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2511, 91
L.Ed.2d 202 (1986); Pearson v. Prison Health Serv.,
850 F.3d 526, 533-34 (3d Cir. 2017)). Credibility
determinations are the province of the factfinder.
Carvalho-Grevious v. Del. State Univ., 851 F.3d 249,
262 (3d Cir. 2017).
Relevant Procedural History
Brown initiated this action on December 17, 2010. (ECF No.
1.) The DOC Defendants then filed a motion to dismiss the
Complaint. The Court granted Defendants' motion in part
and denied it in part, allowing Mr. Brown to file an amended
complaint. Brown v. Camp Hill, No. 3:CV-10-2612,
2015 WL 5675575 (M.D. Pa. Sept. 25, 2015).
October 9, 2015, Mr. Brown filed an Amended Complaint. (ECF
No. 66.) Defendants again sought dismissal of the action.
(ECF No. 68.) On September 29, 2016, the Court denied
Defendants' motion finding Mr. Brown had plead a viable
retaliation claim. Brown v. Camp Hill, No.
3:CV-10-2612, 2016 WL 5461986 (M.D. Pa. Sept. 29, 2016).
after Defendants filed an Answer to the Amended Complaint
(ECF No. 80) they filed a motion for summary judgment based
on Mr. Brown's failure to exhaust his administrative
remedies with respect to his retaliatory transfer claim.
Specifically, Defendants alleged Mr. Brown failed to properly
exhaust Grievance 282036. (ECF No. 81.) On September 5, 2017,
the Court denied the motion finding that while Grievance
282036 was not properly exhausted, the record demonstrated
Mr. Brown had filed another administrative remedy, Grievance
259990, concerning his alleged retaliatory transfer which
Defendants had not challenged. Brown v. Camp Hill,
3:CV-No. 10-2612, 2017 WL 3872399 (M.D. Pa. Sept. 5, 2017).
Defendants then sought leave to challenge Mr. Brown's
exhaustion of Grievance 259990. (ECF No. 126.) The Court
granted Defendants' request on August 16, 2018. (ECF No.
November 2, 2018, Defendants filed a second motion for
summary judgment as to Mr. Brown's failure to exhaust
Grievance 259990. (ECF No. 137.) Defendants filed a statement
of material facts (ECF No. 138), supporting brief (ECF No.
139) and exhibits (ECF No. 140). On November 2, 2018, in lieu
of a response, Mr. Brown initially filed his own motion for
summary judgment asserting that Defendants impeded his
ability to complete the administrative remedy process with
respect to Grievance 259990. (ECF No. 141.) He also filed a
statement of material facts, supporting brief and exhibits.
(ECF Nos. 142, 143, 144 and 145.) Mr. Brown then sought an
enlargement of time to respond to Defendants' second
motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 148.) Defendants filed
a timely response to Mr. Brown's motion for summary
judgment which included a response to his statement of
material facts and opposition brief. (ECF Nos. 149 and 150.)
On December 7, 2018, Mr. Brown filed exhibits and a brief in
opposition to Defendants' motion for summary judgment.
However, he did not address Defendants' statement of
material facts. (ECF No. 156.)
interim, Mr. Brown filed multiple motions for sanctions. (ECF
Nos. 146, 152, 158 and 160.) He seeks sanctions against
defense counsel for his failing to mark their litigation
correspondence as “legal mail” under the
DOC's new mailing system which results in his delayed
receipt of such mailings,  and because of his dissatisfaction with
Defendants' response to his request for production of
documents. He also sought sanctions against Chief
Grievance Coordinator Dorina Varner for misrepresenting to
the Court that Grievance 282036 was the “sole”
administrative remedy he filed concerning his retaliatory
Statement of Undisputed Facts 
Charles E. Brown is presently housed at the Smithfield State
Correctional Institution (SCI-Smithfield), in Huntingdon,
Pennsylvania. (ECF No. 138, Defs.' Statement of Material
Facts, ¶ 1; ECF No. 142, Pl.'s Statement of Material
Facts, ¶ 1; and ECF No. 149, Defs.' Answer to
Pl.'s Statement of Material Facts.) The following DOC
employees are named as defendants: William Sprenkle, Lori
Lyons, Tanya Brandt, Michael Klopotoski, Jerome Walsh and
Vincent Mooney. (ECF No. 138 at ¶ 2; ECF No. 149 at
¶ 2 and ECF No. 149 at ¶ 2.) The sole issue
presented in this action is whether Defendants transferred
Mr. Brown from SCI-Dallas to SCI-Smithfield on December 16,