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THOMAS v. ZINKEL

July 26, 2001

WAYNE THOMAS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
WILLIAM ZINKEL, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Joyner, Judge.

MEMORANDUM

This is a prisoner civil rights case brought by Plaintiff Wayne Thomas ("Plaintiff"), a prisoner currently incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at Graterford ("SCI-Graterford"), against several prison and medical officials, including William Zinkel ("Zinkel"), School Principal at SCI-Graterford; David DiGuglielmo ("DiGuglielmo"), Deputy Superintendent for Facility Management at SCI-Graterford; Terrance Swartz ("Swartz"), Maintenance Supervisor at SCI-Graterford; Correctional Physicians Services, Inc. ("CPS"); Frank Botto ("Botto"), CPS's Administrator; Dr. Emre Beken ("Beken"); Dr. Baddick ("Baddick"), Medical Director at SCI-Graterford; and Julie Knauer ("Knauer"), Correctional Health Care Administrator (collectively "Defendants"). In his Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that various Defendants violated his federally protected civil rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution and 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In addition, Plaintiff alleges several state common law claims.

Presently before the Court are: (1) Plaintiff's Motion to Amend; (2) Zinkel, DiGuglielmo, Vaughn, Swartz, and Knauer's ("Prison Defendants") Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6); and (3) CPS, Beken, and Botto's ("Medical Defendants") Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) and/or for Summary Judgment. For the reasons that follow we will grant all of the Motions before the Court.

BACKGROUND

In August 1998, Plaintiff was assigned to the "school area" within SCI-Graterford to work as a typewriting clerk. The typewriting area where Plaintiff worked had a roof leak that allowed rain water to enter the room. Plaintiff was directed by Zinkel to clean the area and to attempt to divert the leaking water. On May 18, 1999, while attempting to repair the leak, Plaintiff slipped and fell from the ledge he was standing on and suffered several injuries to his lower back region.

Immediately after his fall, Plaintiff was taken to the prison hospital and received medical treatment from the Physician's Assistant on duty. In the months that followed, Plaintiff received a variety of tests, prescriptions, and ongoing diagnoses from several different physicians. Despite this continuing treatment, Plaintiff's injuries from the fall persisted, and he became increasingly unsatisfied with his doctors' refusal to order certain tests and their care in general. Following his injury, Plaintiff filed a variety of informal and formal prison grievances complaining about the unsafe conditions that led to his fall and the shortcomings of the medical care he received. Plaintiff filed the instant Complaint in this Court on December 20, 2000.

DISCUSSION

I. Motion to Amend

In the midst of Defendants' dispositive motions, Plaintiff has filed a Motion to Amend. Plaintiff's Motion seeks to amend the Complaint to reflect that Plaintiff's claims against DiGuglielmo are brought against him in his individual capacity. Because Defendants indicate no opposition to this Motion, and because courts freely grant leave to amend, we will grant Plaintiff's Motion to Amend. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a).

II. Dispositive Motions

A. Legal Standards

When deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a court must view all facts, and reasonable inferences drawn therefrom, in the light most favorable to the non-movant. See, e.g., Markowitz v. Northeast Land Co., 906 F.2d 100, 103 (3d Cir. 1990). Dismissal is appropriate only "if it is clear that no relief could be granted under any set of facts that could be proved consistent with the allegations." Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69, 73, 104 S.Ct. 2229, 81 L.Ed.2d 59 (1984).

In contrast, when deciding a motion for summary judgment under Rule 56(c), a court must determine "whether there is a genuine issue of material fact and, if not, whether the moving party is entitled to judgment as matter of law." Medical Protective Co. v. Watkins, 198 F.3d 100, 103 (3d Cir. 1999). Although a court should view all facts in the light most favorable to the non-movant, the non-movant must, through affidavits, admissions, depositions, or other evidence demonstrate that a genuine issue exists for trial. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986). If the non-movant fails to create "sufficient disagreement to require ...


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