Young's only allegations regarding medical care are that he was suffering from a hernia and the defendants refused to provide him with a hospital bed. Neither he nor the defendants have developed the record with regard to this claim. Nonetheless, as the allegations stand, they are too unspecific to permit Young to proceed with this claim, let alone rule on the defendants' qualified immunity defense. Simply put, refusing to provide a hospital bed for an inmate with a hernia, without more, does not necessarily violate the Constitution. Accordingly, the court rescinds that portion of its August 2, 1991 order denying the defendants' motion to dismiss Young's complaint insofar as that order applies to Young's allegations regarding medical care. See Document 91 of record. The claims regarding medical care will be dismissed without prejudice to the plaintiff's right to reassert them in an amended complaint within thirty (30) days.
If he chooses to file an amended complaint, Mr. Young is reminded to state with particularity the conduct alleged to have caused the constitutional deprivation, as well as the time, the place and the persons responsible. See Rode v. Dellarciprete, 845 F.2d 1195, 1207-08 (3d Cir. 1988), citing Hall v. Pennsylvania State Police, 570 F.2d 86, 89 (3d Cir. 1978). This requirement is designed to give the defendants sufficient notice of the claims asserted against them so that they can prepare responsive pleadings adequately. Frazier v. Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, 785 F.2d 65, 67 (3d Cir. 1986). It also permits the court to weed out frivolous claims and those that should be heard in other fora. Rotolo v. Borough of Charleroi, 532 F.2d 920 (3d Cir. 1976); Valley v. Maule, 297 F.Supp. 958 (D.Conn. 1968).
The plaintiff is advised that any amended complaint must be complete in all respects. It must be a new pleading which stands by itself as an adequate complaint without reference to the complaint already filed. It may not contain conclusory allegations. Rather, it must establish the existence of specific actions by the defendants which have resulted in constitutional deprivations. See Rizzo v. Goode, 423 U.S. 362, 46 L. Ed. 2d 561, 96 S. Ct. 598 (1976). The amended complaint must also be "simple, concise, and direct" as required by the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. See Fed.R.Civ. P. 8(e)(1).
D. Bureau of Prisons, Quinlan, Meese and the United States Marshal
It is difficult to determine what Young attempted to accomplish by naming these parties as defendants because there are no allegations of improper conduct directed at any of them. It is also clear from controlling Third Circuit precedent that none of these defendants owe an affirmative, enforceable duty to the plaintiff. Chinchello v. Fenton, 805 F.2d 126 (3d Cir. 1986). Therefore, the motion for summary judgment on the basis of qualified immunity will be granted in favor of the Bureau of Prisons, Quinlan, Meese and the United States Marshal.
III. Summary Judgment
The standards governing motions for summary judgment are well-known in the legal profession. They bear repeating in this case, however, because Young is a pro se litigant, apparently capable, yet unschooled in law.
Federal Rule of Civil procedure 56(c) requires that the court render summary judgment ". . . forthwith if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). "This standard provides that the mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment; the requirement is that there be no genuine issue of material fact." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202, 106 S. Ct. 2505 (1986) (emphasis in original).
In determining whether there is a genuine issue of material fact,
the court must view all facts and all reasonable inferences in favor of the nonmoving party. Clement v. Consolidated Rail Corporation, 963 F.2d 599, 600 (3d Cir. 1992). In order to stave off a summary judgment motion, however, the nonmoving party may not rest on the bare allegations of his or her pleadings. Once the moving party has satisfied its burden under Rule 56(c) of identifying evidence which demonstrates the absence of a genuine issue of material fact, the nonmoving party is required by Rule 56(e)
to go beyond the pleadings by way of affidavits, depositions, answers to interrogatories or the like in order to demonstrate specific material facts which give rise to a genuine issue. Celotex Corporation v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265, 106 S. Ct. 2548 (1986). The party opposing the motion "must do than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. v. Zenith Radio, 475 U.S. 574, 586, 89 L. Ed. 2d 538, 106 S. Ct. 1348 (1986). when Rule 56(e) shifts the burden of production to rhe nonmoving party, that party must produce evidence to show the existence of every element essential to its case which it bears the burden of proving at trial, for "a complete failure of proof concerning an essential elemmoreent of the nonmoving party's case necessarily renders all other facts immaterial." Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323. See Harter v. G.A.F. Corp., 967 F.2d 846, 851 (3d Cir. 1992). If, however, "the evidentiary matter in support of the motion does not establish the absence of a genuine issue, summary judgment must be denied even if no opposing evidentiary matter is presented." Advisory Committee Notes to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e) (1963 Amend.).
Viewing the undisputed facts in the light most favorable to Young, the court finds that (not withstanding their entitlement to qualified immunity) the Bureau of Prisons, Quinlan, Meese and the United States Marshal are also entitled to summary judgment on the merits. The record does not support a similar grant on behalf of Young or the remaining defendants.
Bureau of Prisons
In order to prevail on a civil rights claim, the plaintiff must prove two things: (1) that some person has deprived him of a federally protected right, and (2) that the person who deprived him of that right acted under the color of law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48, 101 L. Ed. 2d 40, 108 S. Ct. 2250 (1988). Governmental agencies like the Bureau of Prisons, however, are not subject to civil rights damages for the simple reason that they are not persons within the meaning of civil rights jurisprudence. Will v. Michigan Department of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 71, 105 L. Ed. 2d 45, 109 S. Ct. 2304 (1989). While a government agency may be held liable for the constitutional torts of its officials in a limited class of cases, none of the circumstances required to impose such liability are present here. See City of Canton v. Harris 489 U.S. 378, 388, 103 L. Ed. 2d 412, 109 S. Ct. 1197 (1989); Monell v. New York City Department of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 691, 56 L. Ed. 2d 611, 98 S. Ct. 2018 (1978).
Meese, Quinlan and the United States Marshal
A defendant in a civil rights action must personally participate in the alleged wrongs in order to incur liability, Rode v. Dellarciprete, 845 F.2d at 1207, i.e., civil rights liability can not be predicated on respondeat superior. Roman v. Jeffes, 904 F.2d 192, 196 (3d Cir. 1990); Stoneking v. Bradford Area School District 882 F.2d at 724; Capone v. Marinelli, 868 F.2d 102, 106 (3d Cir. 1989).
Neither Meese Quinlan nor the Marshal has specifically argued lack of personal participation in support of their motion, but because Young filed motions for summary judgment on all issues and thereby availed himself of the opportunity to demonstrate the sufficiency of his entire case he has opened the door for the court to enter judgment in favor of the defendants on any grounds apparent in the record. As one commentator has noted,
the practice of allowing summary judgment to be entered for the nonmoving party in the absence of a formal cross-motion is appropriate. It is in keeping with the objective of Rule 56 to expedite the disposition of cases and, somewhat more remotely, with the mandate of Rule 54(c) requiring the court to grant relief to which a party is entitled even if the party has not demanded such relief in his pleadings.
Wright, Miller & Kane, Federal Practice and Procedure: Civil 2d § 2720 (West 1983) (quotations omitted).
Young has not levied a single allegation against either Quinlan or Meese that even remotely connects them with the deprivations he suffered at the Lewisburg penitentiary. Indeed, it would be difficult to imagine that the Director of the Bureau of Prisons and the Attorney General of the United States, both of whom are national leaders of agencies employing many thousands of people, could have played a personal role in the day-to-day operation of a pretrial detention program at a single corrections facility. Because nothing in the record implicates these individuals either directly or inferentially in any improper conduct, judgment must be entered in their favor.
With regard to the Marshal, the record indicates that his conduct was limited to forwarding information to Lewisburg officials that the plaintiff was involved in a possible escape attempt. The record reveals that in September, 1988, the Marshal's office informed Lewisburg staff that it had received confidential information that Young might attempt an escape while on a community trip, by attempting to be released to the custody of persons impersonating law enforcement officials or through a falsely induced medical emergency trip. While Lewisburg officials admit that the information furnished by the Marshal ultimately led to the censorship of Young's mail, the Marshal's tangential involvement in the prison officials' conduct was only an indirect cause of the censorship. Not every injury in which a government official has played some role can be vindicated in a civil rights action. Martinez v. California, 444 U.S. 277, 285, 62 L. Ed. 2d 481, 100 S. Ct. 553 (1980). Thus, even if the court assumes Young were deprived of a federal right when prison officials censored his mail, he may not recover against the Marshal because the deprivation was merely an indirect or incidental result of the Marshal's conduct. Cospito v. Heckler, 742 F.2d 72, 82 (3d Cir. 1984). Issues of causation aside, nowhere in the record is there evidence that the Marshal acted improperly when he relayed information about Young's alleged escape plans. Under the circumstances, the Marshal is also entitled to summary judgment because Young can not prove that he participated in unconstitutional conduct.
The Remaining Defendants
Clearly, defendant Keohane may not be held liable for violating Young's constitutional rights on the basis of his status as the Lewisburg warden alone. Even if the other defendants are ultimately found culpable, the warden's mere failure to act in the face of an unconstitutional act committed by one or more of his subordinates can not be a basis for the imposition of civil rights liability. Rizzo v. Goode, 423 U.S. at 376 (1976). However, a supervisory official "may not with impunity maintain a custom, practice or usage that communicates condonation or authorization of [unconstitutional behavior]," Stoneking, 882 F.2d at 730, and the record does not totally discredit the possibility that Keohane either acted with deliberate indifference to the conditions Young experienced as a Lewisburg detainee: or knew about those conditions and yet did nothing.
There is evidence which suggests that some defendants, McDermott for example, conducted themselves within constitutional limits in their interpersonal contacts with Richard Young. An individual like McDermott may not be relieved from the burden of litigation at this point, however, merely because he may have supplied Young with stamps or paper or tobacco on a given day, or saw to it that Young received a visit to the law library. This case is just as much about what wasn't done to or for Richard Young as what was done to him. Accordingly, a defendant may not escape liability by proving only that he did this or didn't do that. Because there remain genuine issues of material fact regarding each defendant's role, if any, in the malfeasance and nonfeasance depicted by Young, it is incumbent upon the defendants to be more specific about their duties within the prison and their precise obligations toward Young as the case develops. Until that time, releasing any of the remaining defendants from this suit is totally unwarranted.
The plaintiff's motions for summary judgment will be denied. The defendants' motion for summary judgment will be granted in part and denied in part. Summary judgment will be entered in favor of the Bureau of Prisons, Quinlan, Meese and the United States Marshal both on the basis of qualified immunity and on the merits.
The court's order dated August 2, 1991, Document 91 of records will be rescinded inasmuch as it denied the defendants' motion to dismiss Young's claims regarding adequate medical care. The motion to dismiss the medical claims will be granted without prejudice to Young's right to renew the claims in an amended complaint which adheres to the standards set forth above within thirty (30) days.
Counsel for the defendants and Mr. Young will be directed to appear in chambers for a case management conference on December 15, 1992. They should be prepared to meet with the court to conduct a detailed, extensive discussion during which all remaining aspects of this case will be discussed. The parties are reminded that Fed.R.Civ.P. 16 allows the court to simplify the issues, avoid unnecessary proof and cumulative evidence, identify witnesses and eliminate frivolous claims or defenses. See Stackhouse v. Marks, 556 F.Supp. 270 (M.D.Pa. 1982).
An appropriate order is attached.
RICHARD P. CONABOY
United States District Judge
DATE: NOVEMBER 13th, 1992
NOW, THIS 13th DAY OF NOVEMBER, 1992, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED THAT:
1. The plaintiff's motions for summary judgment are denied.
2. The defendants' motion for summary judgment is granted in part and denied in part.
3. Summary judgment is granted in favor of defendants Bureau of Prisons, Quinlan, Meese and the United States Marshal on the basis of qualified immunity and on the merits.
4. The defendants' motion for summary judgment is denied with respect to all other defendants.
5. The court's order dated August 2, 1991, Document 91 of record, is rescinded to the extent that it denied the defendants' motion to dismiss the plaintiff's claims regarding adequate medical care.
6. The defendants' motion to dismiss the plaintiff's claims regarding adequate medical care is granted without prejudice to the plaintiff's right to file an amended complaint regarding those claims within thirty (30) days of the date of this order.
7. Counsel for the defendants and the plaintiff are directed to appear in Chambers for a pretrial/case management conference at 10:00 a.m. on December 15, 1992.
8. As the court is advised that the plaintiff's current address is "Lackawanna County Prison, 1371 North Washington Avenue, Scranton, PA 18509", the Clerk of Court is directed to mail him a copy of this Memorandum and Order at that address and amend the records in this case to reflect Young's present place of incarceration.
9. The Warden at the Lackawanna County Prison is directed to produce the person of Richard Young in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania in Scranton, Pennsylvania, at 10:00 a.m., December 15, 1992, in Chambers for a pretrial/case management conference in this action; to keep the prisoner safe in custody and confine him at all times in a suitable place of confinement when he is not appearing before the court; and at the conclusion of the conference, to return the prisoner to his place of confinement prior to the conference to serve the balance of his sentence or sentences heretofore imposed upon him.
10. The Clerk of Court shall forward a copy of this order to both the Warden at the Lackawanna County Prison and to the United States Marshal for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, as well as to the parties of record.
RICHARD P. CONABOY
United States District Judge