United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
SHAWN L. WILLIAMS, Plaintiff
SUPERINTENDENT MICHAEL CLARK, et al., Defendants
MEMORANDUM OPINION ON DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR
SUMMARY JUDGMENT ECF NO. 93
RICHARD A. LANZILLO, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Shawn L. Williams commenced this §1983 action alleging
that certain Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC)
officials at the State Correctional Institution at Albion,
Pennsylvania (SCI-Albion) violated his rights under the
First, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S.
Constitution. The Defendants have moved for summary judgment.
For the reasons discussed below, the Court will grant in part
and deny in part the Defendants' motion.
Relevant Procedural History
filed this lawsuit alleging that the Defendants violated his
rights during a series of incidents at SCI-Albion between May
8, 2015 and December 12, 2015. See ECF Nos. 4, 20,
26. As Defendants, Williams named twenty-one members of both
the1 DOC and private medical providers at SCI-Albion.
Id. By Orders dated November 14, 2018, and January
3, 2018, the Court dismissed all claims against ten of these
Defendants. The remaining eleven Defendants are employees of
the DOC. The remaining Defendants are: Sergeant Beddick, a
corrections officer at SCI-Albion, Nancy A. Giroux, former
Superintendent and Facilities Manager at SCI-Albion, Michael
R. Clark, current SCI-Albion Superintendent and Facilities
Manager, Carl Franz, SCI-Albion Deputy Superintendent,
Christopher M. Meure, an SCI-Albion corrections officer
holding the rank of Major, Trevor Irwin, an SCI-Albion
corrections officer holding the rank of Captain and the title
of Shift Commander, Earl J. Jones, an SCI-Albion corrections
officer holding the rank of Captain, "T." Anderson,
an SCI-Albion corrections officer holding the rank of
Security Lieutenant, Tammy Bashor, SCI-Albion PREA
Coordinator, Ryan Szelewski a Hearing Examiner at SCI-Albion,
and Valerie Kusiak, SCI-Albion's PREA Compliance Officer.
current claims arise primarily from Sergeant Beddick's
alleged conduct. Against him, Williams asserts a conditions
of confinement claim, a sexual harassment claim, a
retaliation claim, an excessive force claim, and a state law
claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Williams asserts a due process claim against Hearing Examiner
Szelewski. Against all other Defendants, Williams claims that
they failed to protect him from the actions allegedly taken
discovery, the remaining Defendants moved for summary
judgment. The matter has been fully briefed and is ripe for
relevant times, Williams was incarcerated at SCI-Albion. On
May 8, 2015, Beddick denied Williams access to a shower. ECF
No. 95-1, Ex. 12, p. 9-11. Williams did not file a grievance
regarding this incident. ECF No. 113, ¶ 2; ECF No. 96,
¶ 2. Beddick whistled, blew kisses, and winked at
Williams on a regular basis. ECF No. 95-1, Ex. 12, p. 17-22.
Williams filed a grievance alleging that on June 24, 2015,
Beddick blew kisses, winked, and whistled at him. ECF No. 96,
¶ 3. The grievance was investigated by Bashor as a
Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) complaint. Id.
Bashor interviewed Williams on November 3, 2015. ECF No. 112,
¶ 31. Bashor's PREA investigation concluded that
Williams' allegations were unsubstantiated. ECF No. 96,
August 7, 2015, non-party CO. Wells issued Williams a
misconduct for allegedly making threatening statements to him
during a random pat-down. ECF No. 96, ¶ 10. Williams was
found guilty by Szelewski and sentenced to 30 days of
disciplinary custody time. Id. at ¶ 10.
October 31, 2015, between 6:45 and 7:00 a.m., Williams states
that he was preparing to conduct his morning prayers, when he
heard Beddick making anti-Islamic comments around the
Diversionary Treatment Unit. ECF No. 112, ¶ 23-24.
Beddick then arrived at Williams' cell and allegedly
stated, "right Williams? I'm out to kill Allah's
people, so how can I believe in Allah?" Id. at
¶ 25. Williams requested a grievance form, but Beddick
refused to provide one, allegedly stating, "you should
already have one since you love to write them so much."
Id. at ¶ 26. Later that day, Beddick issued
Williams a misconduct for threatening him and using abusive
language during their interaction earlier that day. ECF No.
96, ¶ 13. Williams was later found guilty by Szelewski
and sentenced to 30 days of disciplinary custody time.
Id. at ¶ 10.
December 12, 2015, Beddick was escorting Williams to a
medical appointment. Williams attests that Beddick tightened
his handcuffs to the point of causing pain and one or more
small cuts to his wrist and that Beddick pinched his arm and
then twisted the handcuffs in a painful way when removing
them. ECF No. 112, ¶ 39-47; ECF No. 96, ¶ 18.
Williams wrist bled and he was provided band-aids.
Summary Judgment Standard
Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a) requires a court to enter
summary judgment "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). "[T]his standard provides that the mere existence
of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not
defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary
judgment; the requirement is that there be no genuine issue
of material fact." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby,
Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986). A disputed fact is
"material" if proof of its existence or
nonexistence would affect the outcome of the case under
applicable substantive law. Id. at 248; Gray v.
York Newspapers, Inc., 957 F.2d 1070, 1078 (3d Cir.
1992). An issue of material fact is "genuine" if
the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the nonmoving party. Anderson, 477 U.S.
at 257; Brenner v. Local 514, United Bhd. of Carpenters
and Joiners of Am., 927 F.2d 1283, 1287-88 (3d Cir.
determining whether a genuine issue of material fact remains
for trial, the court must view the facts and draw all
reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party.
Moore v. Tartler, 986 F.2d 682 (3d Cir. 1993);
Clement v. Consol. Rail Corp., 963 F.2d 599, 600 (3d
Cir. 1992); White v. Westinghouse Elec. Co., 862
F.2d 56, 59 (3d Cir. 1988). To defeat a properly supported
motion for summary judgment, however, the nonmoving party may
not rest on the unsubstantiated allegations of his or her
pleadings. When the party seeking summary judgment satisfies
its burden under Rule 56 of identifying evidence which
demonstrates the absence of a genuine issue of material fact,
the nonmoving party is required by Rule 56 to go beyond his
pleadings with affidavits, depositions, answers to
interrogatories or the like in order to demonstrate specific
material facts which give rise to a genuine issue.
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986).
The party opposing the motion "must do more than simply
show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material
facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith
Radio, 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). When Rule 56 shifts the
burden of production to the nonmoving party, that party must
produce evidence to show the existence of every element
essential to its case which it bears the burden of proving at
trial, for "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. See also Harter v.
G.A.F. Corp., 967 F.2d 846, 851 (3d Cir. 1992).
Analysis and Discussion
Denial of a Shower on May 8, 2015
argues that he is entitled to summary judgment on this claim
because, even accepting Williams' factual assertions as
true, the denial of a single shower does not rise to the
level of a constitutional violation. Beddick also argues that
because Williams did not file a grievance regrading this
incident, he failed to exhaust his administrative remedies.
The Court agrees on both points.
courts within the Third Circuit have uniformly held that
"the denial of showers for a temporary period of time
does not rise to the level of a constitutional
violation." Barndt v. Wenerowicz, 698 Fed.Appx.
673, 677 (3d Cir. 2017) (per curiam); Fortune v.
Hamberger, 379 Fed. App. 116, 122 (3d Cir. 2010) (denial
of 15 days of showers does not rise to the level of a
constitutional violation); see also Rodriguez v.
Thomas,299 F.Supp.3d 618, 639 (M.D. Pa. 2018)
("The Eighth Amendment does not require that prisoners
be afforded frequent or comfortable showers.");
Robinson v. Danberg,729 F.Supp.2d 666, 683 (D. Del.
2010) (finding that denial of a shower on a one-time basis,
without more, did not deprive plaintiff of the "minimal
civilized measures of life's necessities");
Moneyham v. United States, 2019 WL 6817380, at *6
(M.D. Pa. Nov. 19, 2019), report and recommendation adopted,
2019 WL 6826501 (M.D. Pa. Dec. 12, 2019). In the present
case, Williams asserts that he was denied a shower on a
single occasion, and nothing in the record supports that this