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HODGIN v. ROTH

March 30, 1982

William A. HODGIN
v.
Lawrence V. ROTH, Jr., individually and in his official capacity as Warden of Montgomery County Prison, et al.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: LUONGO

In this action brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, plaintiff, William A. Hodgin, a prisoner at the State Correctional Institution at Graterford, asserts numerous constitutional claims stemming from two separate incidents which occurred while he was in custody at Montgomery County Prison (MCP). Named as defendants are the Warden of MCP (Roth), three assistant wardens (McCoy, Carlin and Kilgonnon), the prison doctor (Andries), four medical officers (Palmer, Mickiewicz, Alterman and Malloy), and nine correctional officers (Fleas, Calhoun, Reynolds, Zamperri, n* Bucci, Perna, Porcelli and Fisher). *fn1" Plaintiff instituted this action pro se, but counsel has since been appointed on his behalf. Plaintiff seeks, inter alia, a declaration that defendants' acts were unconstitutional and an award of compensatory and punitive damages. *fn2" Presently before me are motions (1) for summary judgment in favor of all defendants on "Causes of Action" I-IV on the ground that these counts are in the nature of habeas corpus and do not state a claim under § 1983, and (2) for summary judgment on behalf of defendants Roth, McCoy, Carlin, Kilgonnon, Andries, Palmer, Mickiewicz, Alterman and Malloy on the ground that there is nothing in this record establishing their involvement in the events in issue.

 After receiving medical treatment, plaintiff was not returned to his regularly assigned cell, he was placed in a confinement cell pending a hearing on his actions. According to a written prison policy, prison officials are permitted to confine prisoners charged with an offense against "person or property" prior to a hearing on the charge. The policy requires, however, that a hearing be given within four days after the inmate has been notified of the violation of which he is accused. Plaintiff was notified of the violation on June 24, but he was not given a hearing. He remained in the confinement cell from June 24 to June 30. During that period plaintiff visited the infirmary every day complaining of pain in his back. On June 30, after complaining of dizziness and loss of consciousness, plaintiff was moved to a cell in the infirmary where he remained for two or three days. He was then returned to administrative confinement in a "front jail cell." *fn4" On July 9, 1980, plaintiff was taken to Sacred Heart Hospital where x-rays of his back disclosed no physical damage.

 The second incident giving rise to this complaint occurred on July 14, 1980 when plaintiff was scheduled to appear in Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas to enter a plea to the burglary charges. That morning defendant Zamperri came to plaintiff's cell to take him to court. Plaintiff, still complaining of back pain, demanded a wheel chair. Defendants Zamperri, Perna, McBride and Porcelli surrounded plaintiff, carried him to the front door and turned him over to the Montgomery County Sheriff's Department for transport to court. At his court appearance plaintiff pled guilty to the burglary charges.

 Plaintiff asserts various claims out of the above facts. Some of his claims pertain solely to the June 24 incident, some pertain solely to the July 14 incident, and others encompass both events. Specifically, plaintiff asserts that defendants violated his due process rights by keeping him in confinement for the period in issue without affording him a hearing. (Complaint, Causes V and VI) Plaintiff also contends that, on both occasions, his medical needs were neglected and he was subjected to undue physical force, (id. Cause VII), both by MCP personnel and by Montgomery County Sheriff personnel. (Id.) Finally, plaintiff asserts that the actions of defendants on July 14, 1980, made it impossible for him to participate meaningfully in the court proceedings at which he entered his guilty plea and, therefore, he asserts that his plea was induced in violation of various of his constitutional rights (Causes I-IV).

 On the motions for summary judgment, the moving parties, of course, have the burden of establishing that no material issue of fact remains for trial and that they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Further, all inferences of fact must be drawn in favor of the non-moving party.

 All defendants move for summary judgment on Causes I-IV which provide: *fn5"

 VI. FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION

 
1. Defendants and their agents, by denying the plaintiff the right to go to trial on the merits of his case, violated the plaintiff's right to access to the courts under the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

 VII. SECOND CAUSE OF ACTION

 
1. Defendants and their agents, by denying the plaintiff the right to go to trial on the merits of his case, violated the plaintiff's right to Jury Trial by his peers, under the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

 VIII. THIRD CAUSE OF ACTION

 
1. Defendants, by denying the plaintiff the right to go to trial on the merits of his case, violated the plaintiff's right to due process of the law under the Fifth and Fourteenth ...

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