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Prillerman v. City of Philadelphia

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

November 4, 2019

CITY OF PHILADELPHIA, et al. Defendants.


          Rufe, J.

         Plaintiff, who is proceeding pro se, filed suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, challenging the conditions of his confinement in the Curran Fromhold Correctional Facility (“CFCF”) in Philadelphia. After an appeal from an earlier ruling, the remaining issue in the case is Plaintiff's claim that Defendants violated his constitutional right to procedural due process by preventing him from speaking freely with a defense attorney during an extradition hearing held by videoconference. Defendants have moved for summary judgment on this claim.[1]

         I. Facts

         The following facts are uncontested for purposes of summary judgment. In 2010, Plaintiff was placed on probation after a criminal conviction in Arkansas. Plaintiff then returned to Philadelphia. On November 29, 2012, Plaintiff was arrested for violating the conditions of his Arkansas probation and detained at CFCF, pending his extradition to Arkansas. Plaintiff testified in his deposition that about a week before the extradition hearing he met for approximately 10 minutes with a paralegal from the public defender's office who explained his options regarding whether to waive extradition.[2] Plaintiff testified in his deposition that on December 11, 2012, those detainees with hearings scheduled were brought into a room, where Officer Lynch was stationed, and then each had a hearing in turn under the following procedure:

Once we sit down [Officer Lynch] verifies who we are off a list, explains that we are going to have a hearing on video, shows us where the video thing is, and then she says . . . “I'm going to call the public defender. When I put you on the phone do not discuss your case with him, only answer yes to the questions he asks you.” Okay. So all of us followed that order from her and the public defender, I can't remember the questions he asked, but they were more like identification questions than anything else. And she also instructed us not to address the camera, the video, unless they address us. So at the time they did the colloquy about waiving extradition.
Q Who did that, do you remember?
A I think it was the lawyer asking the questions. I don't think it was the judge asking questions, I think it was the lawyer asking -- this is what I can remember -- the lawyer asking the questions. And once that colloquy was done she, Officer Lynch, gave you a paper to sign.[3]

         Thus, present in the room were several detainees, Officer Lynch, and a video monitor with a live feed of the judge, the defense attorney, and the prosecutor.[4] Plaintiff's colloquy took four minutes, and then he signed the waiver of extradition given to him by Officer Lynch.[5]

         II. Standard of Review

         A court will award summary judgment on a claim where there is “no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”[6] A fact is “material” if resolving the dispute over the fact “might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing [substantive] law.”[7] A dispute is “genuine” if “the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.”[8]

         In evaluating a summary judgment motion, a court “must view the facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, ” and make every reasonable inference in that party's favor.[9]Further, a court may not weigh the evidence or make credibility determinations.[10] Nevertheless, the party opposing summary judgment must support each essential element of the opposition with concrete evidence in the record.[11] “If the evidence is merely colorable, or is not significantly probative, summary judgment may be granted.”[12] This requirement upholds the “underlying purpose of summary judgment [which] is to avoid a pointless trial in cases where it is unnecessary and would only cause delay and expense.”[13] Therefore, if, after making all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party, the court determines that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact, summary judgment is appropriate.[14] Finally, although the Court liberally construes Plaintiff's pro se filings, Plaintiff must set forth facts, supported by affidavits or other evidence of record, sufficient to survive summary judgment.[15]

         III. Discussion

         A. Failure to Exhaust or to Request Specific Damages

         Defendants argue, as they did previously, that Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. Defendants acknowledge that Plaintiff did file a grievance just before he was transferred out of CFCF, but have not shown any evidence of a response. The Third Circuit recently held that “as soon as a prison fails to respond to a properly submitted grievance or appeal within the time limits prescribed by its own policies, it has made its administrative remedies unavailable and ...

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