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Ali-x v. McKishen

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

December 10, 2019

KASEEM ALI-X, Plaintiff,
v.
DAVID MCKISHEN, et al, Defendants.

          Kaseem Ali-X, 000422722B New Jersey State Prison Plaintiff pro se

          Gurbir S. Grewal, Attorney General of New Jersey Kai W. Marshall-Otto, Deputy Attorney General R.J. Counsel for Defendants

          OPINION

          NOEL L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.

         Defendants R. Ayars, E. Brainard, R. Charlesworth, K. Davis, P. Davis, Z. Ennals, J. Ginyard, C. Jones, J. Kilman, B. Malpica, M. Maniscalo, B. McIver, T. Miller, H. Ortiz, C. Pierce, D. Ruiz, J. Thompson, L. Vastano, D. Wells, and C. Williams (“the mailroom defendants”) move for summary judgment on Plaintiff Kaseem Ali-X's amended complaint alleging that they opened his legal mail. Defendants Christopher Holmes and David McKishen likewise move for summary judgment on Plaintiff's claim that they failed to supervise their subordinates and stop the alleged infringement on Plaintiff's First Amendment rights.

         At issue is Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment, which is ripe for adjudication. See ECF No. 89. The Court has subject-matter jurisdiction over this case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331, as this case concerns a federal question. The Court finds that no reasonable jury could conclude that Plaintiff has met his burden of proof on showing the mailroom defendants were personally involved in any constitutional violation. Additionally, Holmes and McKishen are entitled to qualified immunity. For the reasons that follow, the Court will grant the Motion.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Undisputed Facts

         Plaintiff was incarcerated in South Woods State Prison, Bridgeton, New Jersey from approximately May 2010 to September 2011. ECF No. 96 at 3 ¶ 1. He is presently confined in New Jersey State Prison in Trenton. Id. ¶ 1.

         Plaintiff alleges that legal mail was opened outside of his presence on May 24, 2010; June 12, 2010; July 9, 2010; July 23, 2010; August 13, 2010; March 27, 2011; July 11, 2011; September 27, 2011; and September 30, 2011. Id. at 4. Plaintiff alleges the mailroom defendants opened his legal mail on one or more of those dates. Id. ¶ 5. Plaintiff alleges McKishen and Holmes failed to correct the violations by the mailroom defendants. Id. at 11 ¶¶ 21-22.

         Plaintiff filed an amended complaint on May 9, 2013. ECF No. 11. On September 28, 2016, the Court permitted Plaintiff to substitute the names of the mailroom defendants for the John Doe mailroom employees. ECF No. 61 (granting motion with mailroom defendants' names at ECF No. 57).

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Summary judgment should be granted when the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, admissions on file, and affidavits show that there is no genuine dispute 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). A disputed fact is material when it could affect the outcome of the suit under the governing substantive law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute is genuine if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party. Id. at 250. The Court should view the facts in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and make all reasonable inferences in that party's favor. Hugh v. Butler County Family YMCA, 418 F.3d 265, 267 (3d Cir. 2005).

         Initially, the moving party must show the absence of a genuine issue concerning any material fact. See Celotex Corp. v. Carrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). Once the moving party has satisfied its burden, the non-moving party, “must present affirmative evidence in order to defeat a properly supported motion for summary judgment.” Anderson, 477 U.S. at 257. “While the evidence that the non-moving party presents may be either direct or circumstantial, and need not be as great as a preponderance, the evidence must be more than a scintilla.” Hugh, 418 F.3d at 267 (citing Anderson, 477 U.S. at 251).

         If the court determines that “the record taken as a whole could not lead a rational trier or fact to find for the non-moving party, there is no ‘genuine issue for trial.'” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986) (quoting First Nat'l Bank of Arizona v. Cities Serv. Co., 391 U.S. 253, 289 (1968)). Rule 56 mandates the entry of summary judgment against the party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element ...


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