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Geno A. Locascio v. Karen Balicki

June 22, 2011

GENO A. LOCASCIO, PLAINTIFF,
v.
KAREN BALICKI, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kugler, District Judge

NOT FOR PUBLICATION

OPINION

This matter comes before the Court upon Defendants' Motion to Seal (docket entry 96) and Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(c), or in the alternative, for Summary Judgment (docket entry 99). Plaintiff has opposed neither motion. The Court has reviewed the motions and decided them without oral argument pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 78.

For the reasons that follow, the Court will grant Defendants' motions. A motion to dismiss for failure to answer interrogatories, filed by Defendants on December 9, 2010 (docket entry 111), is also pending in this case. Due to this Court's decision to grant summary judgment, the motion to dismiss will be dismissed as moot.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff's complaint was submitted on October 1, 2007. At the time he submitted his original complaint, Plaintiff was housed at the New Jersey State Prison ("NJSP"); however, his complaint concerned events that occurred while previously housed at the South Woods State Prison ("SWSP"), beginning on January 9, 2007.

In his complaint, Plaintiff asserted that within five minutes of entering the prison tier to which he was assigned, an officer asked him in front of other inmates if it was true that he was a "skinhead with a rape charge." Plaintiff said that it was not true, and the officer stated that his paperwork must be incorrect.

Plaintiff was then subjected to daily cell searches by defendants, where his property was damaged, and religious, legal, and educational materials were destroyed or missing. His cell was constantly moved, and he was placed in cells with gang members. The defendant officers would tell the gang members that Plaintiff was a skinhead and a rapist. He was moved and searched for over four months. At one point, he was locked up for 15 days for not securing his cell door, and defendant Jones gave away Plaintiff's television to another prisoner.

Plaintiff asserted that he constantly complained and sent grievance forms to defendant Balicki, and his grievances went unanswered. This added to the ire of the officers who threatened him, warning him not to file anymore complaints. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Jones told plaintiff that he would "knock his head off" if Plaintiff ever made another complaint about him. Inmates told Plaintiff that defendants Delea and Jones were telling other inmates to attack him. Plaintiff was called a "snitch." Plaintiff contends that Defendant Chomo "constantly" called Plaintiff a racist rapist in front of other inmates instead of calling him by his name. Defendants destroyed his mail, literature, and called him names in front of other prisoners in attempts to have the other prisoners hurt Plaintiff.

Plaintiff stated that he lived in constant fear, and was reluctant to continue filing grievances because he would be retaliated against.

Finally, on August 7, 2007, Plaintiff had an "oral confrontation" with Defendant Carney, pertaining to the continued harassment. Plaintiff was told to leave his cell, and after five minutes, was attacked by several officers. His face was driven into a wall and he was beaten "vigorously" with closed fists, knees, elbows and feet. Plaintiff could not yell because he had no breath in his lungs, and states that he was being "brutalized." Plaintiff was taken to a room and shackled, and doors were opened onto his face. He was beaten while cuffed and shackled, and "thought he was being murdered."

That night, Plaintiff was transferred to New Jersey State Prison, where he spent 6 days in the infirmary. He was housed in lock-up for over 40 days with no access to the law library, and no proper medical treatment for his injuries.

Plaintiff's complaint asked for monetary relief, injunctive relief, and counsel.

Defendants' motion to vacate default was granted on March 23, 2009, and their proposed answer to the complaint was filed that day. Plaintiff repeatedly asked for, and has been denied, appointment of counsel. Scheduling orders have been entered, and discovery has been sought by both parties. Plaintiff filed an amended complaint on September 7, 2010; however, that complaint has been stricken in its entirety by Order dated May 27, 2011.

On October 27, 2010, Plaintiff was ordered to serve answers and objections to Defendants' interrogatories. It does not appear that Plaintiff has done so. Thereafter, on December 9, 2010, Defendants filed a motion ...


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