The opinion of the court was delivered by: Cooper, District Judge
This matter comes before the Court on (1) motion of plaintiff Henry T. Little for partial summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 ("Rule 56") and (2) cross-motion of defendants Jack Terhune ("Terhune"), Roy L. Hendricks ("Hendricks"), and Ronald V. Paice ("Paice") for summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56. For the reasons stated below, we will deny plaintiff's motion, but grant defendants' cross-motion.
For more than fifteen years, plaintiff has been incarcerated in the administrative segregation unit at New Jersey State Prison ("NJSP"). (Decl. of Henry T. Little Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1746 at 2.) Plaintiff was sent to administrative segregation for disciplinary reasons. (Id.) Plaintiff maintains that in the time he has been confined to administrative segregation, he has not been provided educational opportunities. (Am. Compl. ¶ 15.)
In July 1999, plaintiff submitted to the Court a civil complaint and an application to proceed in forma pauperis. In August 1999, the Court entered an Opinion granting plaintiff's application. (Op. filed 8-6-99.) Among other things, the Opinion dismissed plaintiff's Eighth Amendment, equal protection, and parole claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) and 1915A(b)(1), and allowed plaintiff's disciplinary due process claim to proceed. In September 1999, the magistrate judge granted plaintiff's motion for the appointment of counsel pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. (Order filed 9-14-99.) In December 1999, plaintiff, through appointed counsel, filed an Amended Complaint. (Am. Compl. filed 12-8-99.)
The Amended Complaint omitted plaintiff's disciplinary due process claim in favor of seven new causes of action: three causes of action based on the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, three based on the Equal Protection Clauses of the New Jersey Constitution, and one claim based on the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination ("NJLAD"), N.J. Stat. Ann. § 10:5-1 et seq. (Id.) *fn1
Plaintiff's Amended Complaint alleges that inmates, such as he, who are confined to administrative segregation at NJSP do not have access to meaningful educational and employment opportunities, nor the ability to attain an education. (Id. ¶ 11.) The Amended Complaint also alleges that other similarly situated inmates, including inmates in the general population at NJSP, inmates in administrative segregation at other New Jersey prisons, and inmates under the age of twenty-one in administrative segregation at NJSP, have access to those opportunities. (Id. ¶ 12.)
In December 1999, defendants Terhune, Hendricks, and Paice filed an Answer to the Amended Complaint. Defendants NJSP, New Jersey Department of Corrections, and The State of New Jersey filed an Answer in January 2000.
In September 2000, defendants moved for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c). Plaintiff voluntarily withdrew his claims against NJSP, New Jersey Department of Corrections, and the State of New Jersey, and withdrew his claim under the NJLAD (Count VII) against all defendants. In March 2001, this Court entered a Memorandum and Order granting in part and denying in part defendants' motion for judgment on the pleadings. (Mem. & Order filed 3-30-01.) The Court permitted plaintiff to proceed with equal protection claims against Terhune, Hendricks, and Paice.
In August 2001, plaintiff filed the instant motion for partial summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56, arguing that partial summary judgment should be granted on defendants' liability "because the undisputed material facts demonstrate that they are responsible for denying plaintiff access to educational opportunities offered to others similarly situated without any rational basis to justify the disparate treatment." (Pl.'s Br. in Supp. of Mot. for Partial Summ. J. ("Pl.'s Br.") at 5.) Terhune, Hendricks, and Paice also now cross-move for summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56.
I. Summary Judgment Standard
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c) provides that summary judgment is proper "if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). The party moving for summary judgment bears the initial burden of showing that there is no genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). Once the moving party has met its initial burden, the non-moving party must present evidence that establishes that a genuine issue of material fact exists, making it necessary to resolve the difference at trial. Id. at 324; Jersey Cent. Power & Light Co. v. Lacey Township, 772 F.2d 1103, ...