United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
ROLAND K. BROWN, Plaintiff,
GERALD MAY, WARDEN AT C.F.C.F.; BLANCHE CARNEY, COMMISSIONER; JIM KENNEY, MAYOR OF PHILADELPHIA, Defendants.
OPINION DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT,
ECF NO. 37 - GRANTED IN PART
F. LEESON, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Roland Brown has presented evidence that during his term of
incarceration between April 2014 and April 2016 at the
Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility (“CFCF”) in
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,  he was
triple-celled in violation of his constitutional rights.
Defendants Gerald May, Warden of CFCF; Blanche Carney,
Commissioner of the Philadelphia Prison System
(“PPS”); and Jim Kenney, Mayor of the City of
Philadelphia, have filed a motion for summary judgment. After
review, this Court concludes that Commissioner Carney and
Mayor Kenney have shown that they are entitled to judgment as
a matter of law as to the personal capacity claims against
them because Brown has failed to provide any evidence showing
that either Defendant was personally involved in any alleged
constitutional violation. While Brown has produced evidence
showing that Warden May was personally involved, qualified
immunity protects Warden May from being sued in his personal
capacity because the contours of the constitutional right
were not clearly established. Summary judgment is therefore
entered in Defendants' favor on all personal-capacity
claims. However, based on Brown's evidence that the City
had a custom of triple-celling inmates at CFCF under the
specific conditions seen here (two-years in length,
continuous lockdowns, unsanitary cells, inmate violence,
etc.), a jury could conclude that the City is liable and the
official capacity claims against Defendants survive the
Motion for Summary Judgment.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
judgment is appropriate “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 disputed fact is “material”
if proof of its existence or nonexistence might affect the
outcome of the case under applicable substantive law.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
(1986). An issue of material fact is “genuine” if
the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the nonmoving party. Id. at 257.
party moving for summary judgment bears the burden of showing
the absence of a genuine issue as to any material fact.
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986).
Once such a showing has been made, the non-moving party must
go beyond the pleadings with affidavits, depositions, answers
to interrogatories or the like in order to demonstrate
specific material facts which give rise to a genuine issue.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324;
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp.,
475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986) (stating that the non-moving party
“must do more than simply show that there is some
metaphysical doubt as to the material facts”). The
party opposing the motion must produce evidence to show the
existence of every element essential to its case, which it
bears the burden of proving at trial, because “a
complete failure of proof concerning an essential element of
the nonmoving party's case necessarily renders all other
facts immaterial.” Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323.
party fails to oppose a summary judgment motion, the facts
may be deemed undisputed. See Fed. R. Civ. P.
56(e)(3); Anchorage Assocs. v. V.I. Bd. of Tax
Review, 922 F.2d 168, 175 (3d Cir. 1990). However, the
court must still analyze the motion to determine if summary
judgment is appropriate, “that is, whether the moving
party has shown itself to be entitled to judgment as a matter
of law.” See Anchorage Assocs., 922 F.2d at
175. “Where the moving party does not have the burden
of proof on the relevant issues, . . . the district court
must determine that the deficiencies in the opponent's
evidence designated in or in connection with the motion
entitle the moving party to judgment as a matter of
law.” Id. (citing Celotex Corp., 477
initiated this action against Defendants in their individual
and official capacities pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On
review of the § 1983 complaint and a motion to dismiss,
the Court concluded that Brown had alleged sufficient facts
to state a claim based on triple-celling but failed to plead
sufficient factual details showing each Defendant's
personal involvement in the alleged constitutional violation.
The Court further determined that “[a]lthough Brown
hinted to other possible claims, he failed to allege
sufficient facts to support any other independent
constitutional claim.” See Opn. 3 n.3 (citing
cases). The initial complaint was dismissed, with leave to
timely filed an Amended Complaint, again asserting a
constitutional violation for triple-celling. See ECF
No. 17. After an Answer to the Amended Complaint was filed,
this Court issued a scheduling Order setting discovery and
dispositive motions deadlines. See ECF No. 23. The
Order explained, inter alia, that “any
opposition to a motion for summary judgment shall include a
separate, short, and concise statement of the material facts
as to which it is contended that there exists a genuine issue
of fact to be tried” and that “[a]ll facts set
forth in the moving party's statement of material facts
may be taken by the Court as admitted unless controverted by
the opposing party.” See Id. at ¶¶
April 22, 2019, Defendants filed a Motion for Summary
Judgment, including a memorandum of law, Statement of
Undisputed Material Facts, and the deposition of Brown.
See ECF No. 37. Brown did not file a brief in
opposition to the motion or to the statement of facts. The
Court thereafter issued an Order directing Brown to
“file a response to Defendants' Motion for Summary
Judgment, see ECF No. 37, no later than July
3, 2019, or Defendants' Statement of Undisputed
Material Facts [would] be accepted as true.”
See Order, ECF No. 38 (emphasis in original). To
date, Brown has not filed any opposition to the summary
Statement of Undisputed Material Facts, which is limited to
four paragraphs, states:
1. Plaintiff was incarcerated at the Philadelphia Prison
System (“PPS”) from April 2014-April 2016.
See Exhibit A, Plaintiff's Deposition
Transcript, at 7:18-8:7.
2. Plaintiff has failed to adduce any evidence showing his
constitutional rights were violated at PPS.
3. Plaintiff has failed to produce any evidence regarding the
policies or customs of the City of Philadelphia.
4. Plaintiff has no evidence showing that Mayor Kenney,
Commissioner Carney, or Warden May were personally involved
in violating his constitutional rights, but rather has sued
these officials based on a respondeat ...