avoided if an officer had better or more training, sufficient to equip him to avoid the particular injury-causing conduct. Such a claim could be made about almost any encounter resulting in injury, yet not condemn the adequacy of the program to enable officers to respond properly to the usual and recurring situations with which they must deal").
Generic claims of inadequate training are not enough; the plaintiff must identify specific training that the defendant municipality did not give, and must explain how the lack of that training actually "caused" the decedent's suicide. The causation standard requires more of the plaintiff than simply "point[ing] to something the [municipal defendant] 'could have done' to prevent the unfortunate incident." City of Canton, 946 F.2d at 392. Rather, the alleged failure to train must itself have been "closely related to the ultimate injury." Id. at 391.
The second prong that plaintiffs must satisfy in order to maintain a viable failure to train claim requires a showing that the alleged failure to train was part of an official municipal policy of deliberate indifference to the risk that pretrial detainees might successfully commit suicide while in custody. Failure to train per se will not subject the municipality to § 1983 liability; the plaintiff must present evidence that the alleged indifference was a conscious choice that "resulted either from a decision officially adopted and promulgated or from a permanent and well-settled practice." Simmons v. City of Philadelphia, 947 F.2d 1042, 1059 (3d Cir. 1991), cert. denied 118 L. Ed. 2d 391, 112 S. Ct. 1671 (1992). Interpreting the Supreme Court's holding in Monell v. Dept. of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 56 L. Ed. 2d 611, 98 S. Ct. 2018 (1978), that local governments can only be subject to § 1983 liability for an official policy or custom, defined as a "statement, ordinance, regulation, or decision officially adopted and promulgated", id. at 694, the Simmons court determined that what the plaintiff must adduce is "scienter-like evidence of indifference on the part of a particular policymaker or policymakers." Simmons, 947 F.2d at 1060-61.
Following the Simmons court's teaching, plaintiff in the case at bar must show that the decedent's rights were violated as a result of a Clearfield County official policy or custom not to train correctional officers, which policy or custom that was the product of a conscious decision not to act on a known risk of prison suicides despite the availability of alternatives for preventing such suicides. Id. at 1064. Plaintiff must also establish that Clearfield County's alleged policy or custom caused the decedent's suicide. Id. at 1067.
When prison officials are aware of certain inmates' particular vulnerability to suicide, they have an affirmative "duty not to act with reckless indifference to that vulnerability." Id. at 1068 n. 23 (quoting Colburn I). Accordingly, the inquiry with respect to the Clearfield County defendants is whether a jury could conclude that the defendants made an effort to educate Clearfield County Prison correctional officers to the serious medical needs of intoxicated and potentially suicidal pretrial detainees and how to respond to those needs.
The Clearfield County Prison, unlike the City of Philadelphia in Simmons, did not at the time of decedent's detention have a history of numerous suicides and suicide attempts. Cf. Simmons, 947 F.2d at 1050 (20 suicides during a five year period). In the years prior to the decedent's incarceration, the prison had experienced one suicide and two, or perhaps four, suicide attempts, which in prison settings hardly constitutes a spate. Lombardo Deposition at 151.
Given this relatively unremarkable historical context, there can be little force to any probabilistic argument that defendants responded insufficiently to a known history of suicide attempts at the Clearfield County Prison. In Simmons, the defendant municipality had no suicide prevention measures; instantly, the Clearfield County defendants developed, taught and had employed a suicide prevention program involving two levels of screening, daily review of all prisoners, a "special supervision list" and a "suicide risk alert" list, and mechanisms for dealing with detainees identified as imminently suicidal, such as double-bunking and twenty-four hour monitoring. Lombardo Deposition at 16-19, 54-59, 92, 94.
There is no dispute that the Clearfield County defendants gave some type of training to prison correction officers regarding the detection of suicidal detainees and the appropriate supervisory response. Baughman Deposition at 7, 9, 12; Huber Deposition at 30, 37; Kramer Deposition at 10, 19; Lombardo Deposition at 78, 84-86, 103-104; McCullough Deposition at 15; Taylor Deposition at 10-12, 14. It appears from the record that this training was done at different times, usually informally at shift change meetings and through one-on-one discussions with Navarro, but sometimes semi-formally through the use of film presentations. Id. These facts preclude any claim that the Clearfield County defendants consciously followed a course of no action in response to the serious medical needs of potentially suicidal pretrial detainees. Defendants' motions for summary judgment are accordingly granted, and plaintiff's failure to train claims will be dismissed with prejudice.
3. State Law Claims
Plaintiff's pendent state law claims must be dismissed because Pennsylvania's Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act (PSTCA), 42 Pa.C.S. § 8541 et seq., does not include personal injury to incarcerated prisoners among the eight enumerated statutory exceptions to the common law immunity of municipalities and their employees. See 42 Pa.C.S. §§ 8542(b), 8545. While 42 Pa.C.S. § 8550 removes immunity from individual defendants who act criminally, or with actual malice or willfulness, that section does not remove the immunity of a county or prison board even if an individual defendant acted willfully. King v. Breach, 115 Pa. Commw. 355, 540 A.2d 976, 979 (Pa.Cmwlth. 1988). In any event, plaintiff does not allege that any individual defendant acted with actual malice or committed willful misconduct, defined even prior to the PSTCA in Evans v. Philadelphia Transportation Co., 418 Pa. 567, 573, 212 A.2d 440, 443 (1965) as action taken either with the desire to bring about a particular result or with the awareness that the result which followed was substantially certain to ensue. Nowhere in the amended complaint is it alleged that any defendant intended to cause Herman's death or took action with substantial certainty that Herman would, in fact, hang himself.
For the foregoing reasons, defendants' motions for summary judgment (Dockets No. 27 and 31) will be granted, and plaintiff's complaint dismissed with prejudice. An appropriate order follows.
Consistent with the foregoing opinion, the motions for summary judgment presented by the Clearfield County defendants (Docket No. 27) and the Clearfield/Jefferson Mental Health defendants (Docket No. 31) are hereby granted. Plaintiff Cathy Herman's complaint is hereby dismissed with prejudice.
The Clerk shall mark this case CLOSED.
BY THE COURT,
D. Brooks Smith
United States District Judge
DATE: October 12, 1993