959 F.2d 349 (1st Cir. 1992), 91-1923, Rivera-Muriente v. Agosto-Alicea

Docket Nº:91-1923.
Citation:959 F.2d 349
Party Name:Juan RIVERA-MURIENTE, Plaintiff, Appellant, v. Juan AGOSTO-ALICEA, et al., Defendants, Appellees.
Case Date:March 23, 1992
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the First Circuit
 
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Page 349

959 F.2d 349 (1st Cir. 1992)

Juan RIVERA-MURIENTE, Plaintiff, Appellant,

v.

Juan AGOSTO-ALICEA, et al., Defendants, Appellees.

No. 91-1923.

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit

March 23, 1992

Heard March 4, 1992.

Page 350

Victor E. Baez, with whom Rosalinda Pesquera Davila and Elias Davila Berrios were on brief, for plaintiff, appellant.

Page 351

Alice Net Carlo with whom Anabelle Rodriguez, Sol. Gen., Com. of Puerto Rico, Reina Colon de Rodriguez, Deputy Sol. Gen., Carlos Lugo-Fiol, Asst. Sol. Gen., and Garcia Rodon, Correa Marquez & Valderas were on brief, for defendants, appellees.

Before SELYA, Circuit Judge, FEINBERG, [*] Senior Circuit Judge, and CYR, Circuit Judge.

SELYA, Circuit Judge.

Plaintiff-appellant Juan Rivera Muriente (Rivera) appeals an order granting summary judgment against him in a suit brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (1988). We affirm.

I.

Background

Consistent with the method of Fed.R.Civ.P. 56, we set forth the documented facts in the manner most congenial to the summary judgment loser.

While on sick leave from his civil service position with the Lottery Bureau of the Puerto Rico Treasury Department, appellant received a letter from the Secretary of the Treasury, defendant-appellee Juan Agosto Alicea (Agosto), notifying him of a potpourri of charges, both criminal and administrative, that had been lodged in connection with the distribution of lottery tickets to unauthorized recipients. The letter was dated March 28, 1988. It gave Rivera fifteen days to seek an administrative hearing. Rivera contends that he requested such a hearing within the allotted time. 1

No hearing was ever scheduled or held. Rivera never returned to work. He concedes that, in late April of 1988, he was informed by his supervisor that his name had been deleted from the employee roster and, consequently, he could no longer enter the workplace. Rivera acknowledges that a co-worker verified the information transmitted by the supervisor. Rivera was also told that he would be receiving a final check to liquidate his unused vacation time. He received, and cashed, the vacation-pay check no later than November of 1988.

The following year was a slightly more auspicious one for appellant. In April, the last remaining criminal charges against him were dismissed. In August, Agosto resigned and was succeeded by defendant-appellee Ramon Garcia Santiago (Garcia). On August 30, 1989, Rivera, having done nothing to ameliorate his situation since initially requesting a hearing, wrote to his supervisor, soliciting her intervention. That letter went unanswered.

On April 9, 1990, Rivera sued Agosto and Santiago in the federal district court. Invoking section 1983, he charged that the defendants had deprived him of property (his job) without due process of law and that Agosto, in doing so, had also stigmatized him. 2 Rivera's complaint sought a many-splendored array of relief, including back pay, money damages, and reinstatement to his previous position. In due course, the appellees moved for brevis disposition, contending that Rivera's action was time-barred. The district court agreed. 770 F.Supp. 770. Rivera appeals from the ensuing judgment.

II.

Applicable Legal Principles

A.

Summary judgment is appropriate when the record reflects "no genuine issue as to any material fact and ... the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). "In this context,

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'genuine' means that the evidence about the fact is such that a reasonable jury could resolve the point in favor of the nonmoving party." United States v. One Parcel of Real Property, Etc. (Great Harbor Neck, New Shoreham, R.I.), 960 F.2d 200, 204 (1st Cir.1992). In the same context, "material" means that the fact is one susceptible of altering the outcome of the litigation. Id. "On issues where the nonmovant bears the burden of proof, he must present definite, competent evidence to rebut the motion." Id.; see also Garside v. Osco Drug, Inc., 895 F.2d 46, 49 (1st Cir.1990) ("a mere promise to produce admissible evidence at trial does not suffice to thwart the summary judgment ax").

Our review of an order granting summary judgment is plenary. Garside, 895 F.2d at 48. In undertaking review, we must scrutinize "the entire record in the light most hospitable to the party opposing summary judgment, indulging all reasonable inferences in that party's favor." Griggs-Ryan v. Smith, 904 F.2d 112, 115 (1st Cir.1990). Nonetheless, the nonmovant cannot content himself with unsupported allegations; rather, he must set forth specific facts, in suitable evidentiary form, in order to establish the existence of a genuine issue for trial. Medina-Munoz v. R.J. Reynolds...

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