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LILES v. CAMDEN COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS
October 1, 2002
CHARLES LILES AND DARON JOSEPHS, PLAINTIFFS,
CAMDEN COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, DAVID S. OWENS, JR., AND EDWARD T. MCDONNELL, DEFENDANTS.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Stephen M. Orlofsky, United States District Judge
In their original pro se Complaint, Plaintiffs Charles Liles ("Liles")
and Daron Josephs ("Josephs") allege a number of inadequate prison
conditions that violated their Eighth Amendment rights. Defendants,
Warden David S. Owens ("Owens") and Freeholder Edward T. McDonnell
("McDonnell")*fn1, move for summary judgment on the Complaint filed
against them. Only one of Plaintiffs' claims, alleging violence among
inmates that broke out when urine splashed on inmates who slept on cell
floors next to toilets, presents any genuine question of material fact.
Thus, for the reasons set forth below, Defendants' Motion for Summary
Judgment shall be granted in part and denied in part.
II. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Incarceration of Liles and Josephs
Both Liles and Josephs were incarcerated at CCCF. Liles has spent time
in CCCF on approximately five different occasions, see Tr. of Charles
Liles Dep. 5/25/00 ("Liles Tr.") 58:23-25, most recently from September
1998 until September of 1999, id. 59:9-12. Josephs was incarcerated at
CCCF from December 1997 to April 2000. See Pls.' 56.1 Statement at 3.
Both Liles and Josephs allege that they were deprived of their
constitutional rights during their incarceration at CCCF, based on:
having to sleep on the floor of their cells on thin
mattresses, which caused back pain, see Am. Compl.
¶ D; Liles Tr. 80:9-16; Tr. of Daron Josephs
Dep. 1/29/02 ("Josephs Tr.") 42:5-9, 43:3 to 44:16;
only receiving two sheets and one blanket, and not
receiving a pillow, despite the cool temperature in
CCCF cells, see Am. Compl. ¶ F; Liles Tr.
80:19-24, 104:22 to 105:8; Josephs Tr. at 74:17-25;
having to take meals on dirty, "smelly" trays, see
Am. Compl. ¶ G; Liles Tr. 80:25 to 81:6; Josephs
Tr. 60:24 to 61:19;
receiving spoiled food on one occasion, see Am.
Compl. ¶ G; Liles Tr. 81:7-14, 87:1-13, 93:5 to
94:2; Josephs Tr. 61:20 to 63:10;
having to use dirty showers covered in fungus that
caused Plaintiffs to break out in rashes, see Liles Tr.
81:16 to 82:11; Josephs Tr. 49:17 to 53:8;
receiving inadequate medical care, see Am. Compl.
¶¶ H, I; Liles Tr. 82:12 to 83:19, 143:15 to
146:21, 166:13-21; Josephs Tr. 64:1 to 67:7;
not getting adequate access to the law library, see
Liles Tr. at 85:7-10, 136:21 to 139:15; Josephs Tr.
76:19 to 78:6;
being subjected to a lockdown from June 1st to June
22nd of 1999, during which they were permitted to
leave their cells for only twenty minutes a day, see
Am. Compl. ¶ E; Liles Tr. 85:12 to 86:11,
129:13-18; Josephs Tr. 56:22 to 60:5;
not having enough storage space for clothes, see Am.
Compl. ¶ A; Liles Tr. 86:17-22; and
not being allowed to send their blankets to a laundry
service, which caused them to develop rashes and
infections from fungus, see Am. Compl. ¶¶ B, J; Liles
Tr. 147:3 to 148:13; Josephs Tr. 47:10 to 49:13.
On July 29, 1999, Plaintiffs filed their first Complaint, which I
dismissed for failure to state a claim. See Order, Liles, et al. v.
Camden County Dep't of Corr., Civ. A. No. 99-3311(SMO) (D.N.J. July 29,
1999). I granted Plaintiffs leave to file an Amended Complaint within
thirty days, which Plaintiffs did on August 12, 1999. Because Liles and
Josephs filed their Complaint pro se, I have liberally construed their
Complaint, which is fashioned as a claim for relief under
42 U.S.C. § 1983 based on deprivations of their Eighth Amendment
rights.*fn2 This court has jurisdiction over this action under
28 U.S.C. § 1331, 1343 (2002).
Defendants moved for summary judgment on the Amended Complaint on July
7, 2000. This Court denied the motion without prejudice on January 19,
2001. On that same date Lawrence Lustberg, Esq., of the law firm
Gibbons, Del Deo, Dolan, Griffinger & Vecchione, P.C., was appointed
as pro bono counsel to represent Liles and Josephs.*fn3 Defendants now
move, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c), for summary judgment on the Amended
III. STANDARD FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
The legal standard governing summary judgment is well-settled. Summary
judgment is proper only "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) (West 2002); see also Anderson v. Consol. Rail Corp.
("Conrail"), 297 F.3d 242, 247 (3d Cir. 2002). An issue is genuine "if
the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for
the nonmoving party." Conrail, 297 F.3d at 247 (citing Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986)). A fact is material if it
bears on an essential element of the plaintiff's claim. Abraham v. Raso,
183 F.3d 279, 287 (3d Cir. 1999) (citing Anderson, 477 U.S. at
248-251). Thus, to survive a motion for summary judgment, the party
contesting the motion must demonstrate a dispute over facts that might
affect the outcome of the suit. Groman v. Township of Manalapan,
47 F.3d 628, 633 (3d Cir. 1995) (citing Anderson,
477 U.S. at 250-52).
When considering a motion for summary judgment, "the judge's function
is not himself to weigh the evidence and determine the truth of the
matter but to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial."
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249. In evaluating the evidence, the court must
"view the inferences to be drawn from the underlying facts in the light
most favorable to the party opposing the motion." Curley v. Klem,
298 F.3d 271, 276-77 (3d Cir. 2002) (quoting Bartnicki v. Vopper,
200 F.3d 109, 114 (3d Cir. 1999)); see also Adickes v. S.H. Kress &
Co., 398 U.S. 144, 157 (1970). Notwithstanding this deference towards the
non-movant, "[t]he mere existence of a scintilla of evidence in support
of the [movant]'s position will be insufficient" to defeat a motion for
summary judgment. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 252.
Summary judgment is proper "if after adequate time for discovery and
upon motion, a party 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." Conrail, 297 F.3d at 247
(citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986)).
After one party has filed a properly supported summary judgment
motion, the party opposing it must present sufficient evidence for a
reasonable jury to find in its favor. Groman, 47 F.3d at 633 (citing
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 250-52). Moreover, "[w]hen a motion for summary
judgment is made and supported . . . an adverse party may not rest upon
the mere allegations or denials of the adverse party's pleadings, but the
adverse party's response, by affidavits or as otherwise provided in this
rule, must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue
for trial." ...