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Third Circuit Vacates Dismissal of Pennsylvania Prisoner’s Retaliation Claim

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals reversed summary judgment for prison officials on a Pennsylvania prisoner's retaliation claim.

Patrick Toussaint is a prisoner of the State Correctional Institution at Cresson, Pennsylvania. In 2005, he brought federal suit alleging retaliation, denial of access to the courts, due process and other claims. The district court treated Defendants' motion to dismiss as a motion for summary judgment, and granted the motion.

The Third Circuit affirmed the district court's decision on all but Toussaint's retaliation claim. Noting that the district court found that "Toussaint failed to show a causal connection between his grievance filings and the sanctions imposed on him," the Third Circuit found that "Toussaint might not have been on notice to argue" such a connection. As such the court vacated the judgment on the retaliation claim, concluding: "On this record, it is unclear why the Magistrate Judge credited the defendants with meeting the summary judgment standard on a claim against which they did not specifically defend." See: Toussaint v. Good, 276 Fed.Appx. 122, 124 (3rd Cir., 2008).

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Related legal case

Toussaint v. Good