United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
FLOYD E. PATTERSON, JR.
JANINE L. QUIGLEY, et al.
R. Sánchez, C.J.
Plaintiff Floyd E. Patterson, Jr., an inmate in the State
Correctional Institute at Somerset, brings claims pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendants Warden Janine L.
Quigley, Lieutenant Miguel Castro, and Correctional Officers
Cunningham, Dew, and Gurry for constitutional violations that
occurred while he was incarcerated at Berks County Jail.
Warden Quigley and Lieutenant Castro (collectively, the
Administrative Defendants) and Correctional Officers
Cunningham, Dew, and Gurry (collectively, the Correctional
Officer Defendants) move for summary judgment pursuant to
Federal Rule Civil Procedure 56. Because Patterson's
claims against the Correctional Officer Defendants are barred
by the applicable statute of limitations and because
Patterson failed to exhaust his administrative remedies with
regard to his claim against the Administrative Defendants,
Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment will be granted.
asserts various constitutional violations that occurred while
he was incarcerated at Berks County Jail (BCJ).
Patterson's only remaining claims in this action include
a Free Exercise claim against the Administrative Defendants,
a Free Exercise claim against Officers Gurry and Dew, and an
Eighth Amendment Claim against Officer Cunningham.
Free Exercise claims are based upon his allegation that he,
as a Muslim, was prevented from exercising his right to
practice his religion. Specifically, Officer Gurry, on or
before June 6, 2014, threatened Patterson and told him to
shut-up during religious services. See Patterson
Dep. 48:2-48:13; Defs.' Ex. C. Patterson subsequently
submitted a grievance form complaining of Officer Gurry's
conduct on June 6, 2014. See Defs.' Ex. C.
Similarly, Patterson's Free Exercise claim against
Officer Dew is based on one occasion when Officer Dew
intentionally removed Patterson from a list of inmates who
were permitted to leave their block to attend religious
services. See Id. 81:23-83:10. Officer Dew then
refused to allow Patterson to attend his religious services.
See Id. Patterson testified that this single
incident occurred sometime in 2014. See Id.
Free Exercise claim against Warden Quigley and Lieutenant
Castro is based on their knowledge and acquiescence of the
Correctional Officer Defendants' conduct and other
conditions or incidents that deprived Patterson of his right
to exercise his Muslin religion. Aside from the individual
incidents discussed above, on at least two occasions,
Patterson was kicked out of religious services and banned
from attending for periods of one-to-four weeks by other
correctional officers. See Id. 90:11-94:18;
100:2-102:3. Patterson filed grievances and spoke about these
issues with Lieutenant Castro. See Id. 88:23-90:10.
Despite disagreeing with Lieutenant Castro's responses to
his grievances, Patterson never appealed any of the responses
to Warden Quigley. See Defs.' Ex. C & D;
Patterson Dep. 76:25-77:7; 116:19-117:2 120:4-120:17;
127:5-128:2. He also wrote and spoke to Warden Quigley about
the ban on him attending religious services. See Id.
94:19-97:16. Warden Quigley informed Patterson he needed to
use the grievance procedures to have her address the issues.
See Id. 95:20-95:24. Subsequently, Patterson
submitted an “inmate communication form” rather
than a grievance form. See Id. 96:13-96:23;
Defs.' Ex. E.
underlying his Free Exercise claim, Patterson testified that
the Special Operation Group (SOG) officers hold guns during
his Islam religious services and it makes it difficult for
him to focus on his religious practice. See Id.
106:19-106:22; 125:24-126:21. He also testified that the SOG
officers do not always carry guns around Berks and they
especially do not carry guns during other religious services.
See Id. 107:2-110:6. Patterson filed at least one
grievance regarding this practice in 2014. See
Defs.' Ex. C (BERKS136). Although Lieutenant Castro
stated in a response to Patterson's grievance on this
issue that “custody personnel are at all major
religious services, ” Patterson, again, did not appeal
to Warden Quigley. See Id. 111:8-114:20.
Eighth Amendment Claim is based on multiple incidents which
all occurred before May 2014. See Id. 136:3-145:5;
148:12-148:17. Officer Cunningham strip searched Patterson
multiple times, made sexually inappropriate comments, and on
at least occasion, forced Patterson to “jerk him
off.” See id.
on the above facts, on April 4, 2016, Patterson filed a
complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the
Administrative Defendants and three Berks County
Commissioners. See Compl., ECF No. 3. On June 6,
2017, Patterson filed an Amended Complaint in which he
dropped his claims against the Commissioners and asserted new
claims against the Correctional Officer Defendants.
See Am. Compl., ECF No. 36. The Administrative and
Correctional Officer Defendants separately filed Motions to
Dismiss all of Patterson's claims. See Mot. to
Dismiss, June 20, 2017, ECF No. 43; Mot. to Dismiss, Aug. 15,
2017, ECF No. 47. Patterson submitted a response to the
Administrative Defendants' Motion but did not submit a
response to the Correctional Officer Defendants' Motion.
The Court granted in part and denied in part both motions,
leaving only the claims listed above. See Mem. and
Order, Mar. 30, 2018, ECF Nos. 50-51. The Court then ordered
Defendants to file an answer to the Amended Complaint.
See Order, Apr. 26, 2017, ECF No. 52.
November 15, 2018, Defendants timely filed this Motion for
Summary Judgment seeking judgment in their favor on all
remaining claims in the Amended Complaint. Patterson did not
file a response to Defendants' Motion. The Court heard
oral argument on the Motion on February 5, 2019.
Defendants' Motion is now ripe for disposition.
motion for summary judgment shall be granted “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). A fact is
“material” if it “might affect the outcome
of the suit under the governing law.” Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A
“genuine” dispute is one where “the
evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the [non-moving] party.” Id.
“[A] party seeking summary judgment always bears the
initial responsibility of informing the district court of the
basis for its motion, and identifying those portions of the
[record] which it believes demonstrate the absence of a
genuine issue of material fact.” Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986) (citation and internal
quotation marks omitted). To defeat summary judgment,
“the non-moving party must present more than a mere
scintilla of evidence; there must be evidence on which the
jury could reasonably find for the [non-movant].”
Burton v. Teleflex, Inc., 707 F.3d 417, 425 (3d Cir.
2013) (alteration in original) (citation and internal
quotation marks omitted). “Where 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.'” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith
Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986) (citation
omitted). The Court first turns to Patterson's claims
against the Correctional Officer Defendants.
Correctional Officer Defendants argue they are entitled to
summary judgment because Patterson's claims are
time-barred. They argue the statute of limitations for §
1983 claims in Pennsylvania is two years, and the claims
against them are predicated on events that occurred between
May and August 2014. Because Patterson did not file his
Amended Complaint against them until June 2017, they assert
it is untimely.
1983 does not provide its own statute of limitations. See
Wallace v. Kato, 549 U.S. 384, 387 (2007). Rather,
“[t]he length of the statute of limitations for a
§ 1983 claim is governed by the personal injury tort law
of the state where the cause of action arose.” Kach
v. Hose, 589 F.3d 626, 634 (3d Cir. 2009) (citing
Wallace, 549 U.S. at 387). Under Pennsylvania law,
the statute of limitations for a § 1983 claim is two
years. See 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 5524(2). ...