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Perry v. W.VA. Correctional Industries

United States District Court, N.D. West Virginia

December 13, 2018

JASON A. PERRY, Plaintiff,
v.
W. VA. CORRECTIONAL INDUSTRIES, EDDIE LONG, ROBERT WHITEHEAD, DON ZIELINSKY, GREG GILLI, CECILIA JANISZEWSKI, DR. JERRY HAHN, JANE/JOHN DOE and JAMIE LEE, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT, DENYING MOTIONS IN LIMINE AND MOTION TO AMEND/CORRECT CASE CAPTION AS MOOT

          FREDERICK P. STAMP, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. Procedural History

         The pro se[1] plaintiff, Jason A. Perry (“Perry”), a state inmate, filed this civil rights matter pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the defendants raising four claims: (1) unsafe work environment; (2) hostile work environment based on sexual preference; (3) discrimination based upon retaliation; and (4) failure to provide proper medical care. This case was referred to United States Magistrate Judge Robert W. Trumble under Local Rule of Prisoner Litigation Procedure 2. The defendants filed several motions to dismiss and the magistrate judge issued a report and recommendation. ECF No. 84. The magistrate judge recommended that the motions to dismiss filed by the defendants be granted and that the motion to dismiss filed by defendants Robert Whitehead (“Whitehead”) and Don Zielinsky (“Zielinsky”) (ECF No. 41) be granted in part and denied in part.

         More specifically, the magistrate judge recommended that the plaintiff's claims regarding an unsafe work environment and failure to provide proper medical care be dismissed with prejudice for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. The magistrate judge also found that plaintiff's Claims 2 and 3 alleging violations of equal protection should not be dismissed, and a scheduling order should be entered.

         This Court entered a memorandum opinion and order affirming and adopting the magistrate judge's report and recommendation and overruling the plaintiff's objections. ECF No. 91. This Court then entered a scheduling order as to plaintiff's Claims 2 and 3 alleging violations of equal protection by defendants Robert Whitehead (“Whitehead”) and Don Zielinsky (“Zielinsky”). ECF No. 92.

         Defendants Whitehead and Zielinsky filed an answer (ECF No. 96) to the plaintiff's amended complaint (ECF No. 16). Plaintiff filed a letter motion requesting discovery production (ECF No. 110) which this Court construed as a motion to compel and referred to the magistrate judge (ECF No. 122). Defendants then filed a motion for summary judgment (ECF No. 119) and memorandum in support (ECF No. 120). Plaintiff filed a response in opposition (ECF No. 121). The magistrate judge then entered an order requiring defendants to produce all discovery requests and responses (ECF No. 123) and consequently granted the plaintiff's motion to compel in part and denied the motion in part (ECF No. 134). Defendants filed their reply to the plaintiff's response in opposition to summary judgment (ECF No. 128) and the plaintiff filed a sur-reply (ECF No. 133). Defendants then filed a reply to the plaintiff's sur-reply (ECF No. 143). This Court then entered an order directing the parties to end briefing on the motion for summary judgment and extended the non-expired scheduling order deadlines and trial 90 days. Plaintiff then filed another response to defendants' sur-reply (ECF No. 145).

         The contentions of the parties are now fully briefed and defendants' pending motion for summary judgment (ECF No. 119) is ripe for disposition.

         II. Applicable Law

         Under Rule 56(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,

A party asserting that a fact cannot be or is genuinely disputed must support the assertion by:
(A) citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations . . . admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials; or
(B) showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). The party seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of showing the absence of any genuine issues of material fact. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). This burden can be met by showing that the nonmoving party has failed to prove an essential element of the nonmoving party's case for which the nonmoving party will bear the burden of proof at trial. Id. at 322. If the moving party meets this burden, according to the United States Supreme Court, “there can be ‘no genuine issue as to any material fact,' since a complete failure of proof concerning an essential element of the nonmoving party's case necessarily renders all other facts immaterial.” Id. at 323. “The burden then shifts to the nonmoving party to come forward with facts sufficient to create a triable issue of fact.” Temkin v. Frederick County Comm'rs, 945 F.2d 716, 718 (4th Cir. 1991), cert. denied, 502 U.S. 1095 (1992) (citing Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986)). However, as the United States Supreme Court noted in Anderson, “Rule 56(e) itself provides that a party opposing a properly supported motion for summary judgment may not rest upon the mere allegations or denials of his pleading, but . . . must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 256. “The inquiry performed is the threshold inquiry of determining whether there is the need for a trial-whether, in other words, there are any genuine factual issues that properly can be resolved only by a finder of fact because they may reasonably be resolved in favor of either party.” Id. at 250; see also Charbonnages de France v. Smith, 597 F.2d 406, 414 (4th Cir. 1979) (“Summary judgment ‘should be granted only in those cases where it is perfectly clear that no issue of fact is involved and inquiry into the facts is not desirable to clarify the application of the law.'” (citing Stevens v. Howard D. Johnson Co., 181 F.2d 390, 394 (4th Cir. 1950))).

         In Celotex, the Supreme Court stated that “the plain language of Rule 56(c) mandates the entry of summary judgment, after adequate time for discovery and upon motion, against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial.” Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322. In reviewing the supported underlying facts, all inferences must be viewed in the ...


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