Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

SCANTLING v. VAUGHN

February 12, 2004.

LAMONT SCANTLING, Plaintiff
v.
DONALD T. VAUGHN, et al., Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MARY A. McLAUGHLIN, District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

This case is brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 by a pro se prisoner who alleges that the defendants failed to provide him adequate medical care. Several of the defendants have filed a motion to dismiss the claims against them. In the alternative, the moving defendants seek to have the claims against the defendants who work at State Correctional Institute-Albion ("SCI-Albion") severed and transferred to the Western District of Pennsylvania. The Court will grant in part and deny in part the motion. Defendant Baker filed a separate motion to dismiss or in the alternative to transfer. The Court will deny Baker's motion. The plaintiff has filed a Motion to Add Defendants and a Motion for Leave to File a Supplemental Complaint. The Court will deny Page 2 the motion to file a supplemental complaint, and will deny in part and grant in part the motion to add defendants.

I. Background

  The plaintiff, Lamont Scantling, recounts in great detail what happened to him at State Correctional Institute-Graterford ("SCI-Graterford") and SCI-Albion.*fn1 His basic claim is that he received inadequate medical care and was denied certain medical treatment at both SCI-Graterford and SCI-Albion in violation of his constitutional rights. He has sued numerous prison staff. He also alleges supervisory liability and retaliatory action against various prison administrators. These latter allegations center around the manner in which the plaintiff's grievances were handled.

  The defendants work or worked for various entities. Defendants Donald T. Vaughn, Manuel Arroyo, Edward J. Dennis, Leslie S. Hatcher, Julie Knauer, Donald Frace, "Nurse Jim," various unknown medical staff, an unknown person who is either Deputy Superintendent of Management or Deputy Superintendent of Inmate Services, and an unknown female correctional officer work Page 3 for SCI-Graterford. Defendants William A. Wolfe, Bruce T. Marquardt, Victoria L. Kormanic, William J. Barr, Maxine Overton, Susan Rebele, and various unknown medical staff work for SCI-Albion. Defendants Tshanna C. Kyler, Thomas L. James, Sharon M. Burk*fn2 and Jeffrey A. Beard do not work for any particular correctional institute, but are employed by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections ("DOC").

  At a status conference, counsel for Dr. Baker and counsel for all the other moving defendants represented that defendant doctors, Drs. Ralph Smith, Baker, and Conrad Fraider were not employees of either SCI-Graterford or SCI-Albion. Dr. Smith was an employee of the medical contractor for SCI-Graterford at the time the incidents took place. Dr. Baker is an employee of Wexford, the current medical contractor for SCI-Albion. Dr. Fraider is an independent contractor to whom SCI-Albion medical staff sometimes refers patients. Dr. Bashline is alleged to be a staff doctor at SCI-Albion.*fn3 Page 4

  A. Overview of Events at SCI-Graterford

  According to the amended complaint, Mr. Scantling was brought to SCI-Graterford less than two weeks after having been discharged from Frankford Hospital. His right ankle had been operated on as a result of a car accident. Three screws were placed in the ankle during this operation. He arrived at SCI-Graterford in a wheelchair, and had a non-weight bearing cast on his right foot. The plaintiff also had a set of crutches which were later stolen. He was seen by medical staff upon arriving at SCI-Graterford.

  The plaintiff's medical needs were ignored or minimized in a number of ways. Dr. Smith and all other doctors at SCI-Graterford, with one exception, gave the plaintiff over-the-counter painkillers instead of the prescription painkillers a doctor at Frankford Hospital had prescribed. He was given no therapy for his foot and was transferred to a cell in an upper-tier. Dr. Smith ordered that no meals be brought to the plaintiff's cell, forcing him to walk a quarter mile to reach the mess hall. Medical staff refused to give him the Motrin that Dr. Smith had prescribed him.

  On July 12, 2002, a female correctional officer refused to give the plaintiff a chair for him to use in the shower and refused to mop-up water on the floor surrounding the showers. Page 5

  The plaintiff slipped on this water after his shower and fell. He injured his hip, back, neck, and re-injured his right ankle. The plaintiff was taken to the infirmary for this fall.

  He was treated roughly by Nurse Jim. X-rays were taken only of his back. The plaintiff was sent to an isolation cell without his crutches. When he got back to the cell, the plaintiff asked for assistance in getting to the bathroom because he was in too much pain to do so. The prison staff refused to help him.

  Between July 13, 2002 and the time he was transferred to SCI-Albion, the plaintiff alleges numerous other instances of inadequate medical care and the denial and delay of medical care. He also alleges inadequate supervision of staff and retaliatory transfer.

  B. Overview of Events at SCI-Albion

  On September 24, 2002, Mr. Scantling was transferred from SCI-Graterford to SCI-Albion, in alleged violation of the Department of Corrections' policy that prohibited someone in the plaintiff's condition from being moved to a different facility.

  Between October 17 and 28, 2002, the plaintiff complained to the prison staff about his pain. He was seen by the prison nurses, prison doctors, and other prison staff. Generally, he was either given more over-the-counter medications, told to take the medications he had already been given, or told Page 6 that he could not have more or stronger medication at that time. Staff doctors ordered him to keep walking on the injured foot.

  The plaintiff was eventually referred to outside doctors and was given physical therapy. From December 2002 through January 2003, nursing staff interfered with this therapy, and correctional officers transported him to and from therapy in a rough manner. He also alleges that he was denied basic accommodations by being transferred out of the infirmary during the winter months, forcing him to walk in slippers through the snow to get his meals. On March 27, 2003, an outside podiatrist stated that he should not have been walking on the foot.

  C. Overview of the Plaintiff's Use of the Prison Grievance System

  During his time at SCI-Graterford, the plaintiff filed three grievances. The first grievance was about the inadequate medical care he was receiving. The second was about defendant Frace's misconduct and the inadequacy of his medical care, and the third was about prison conditions leading to his slipping and falling.

  The first grievance was returned by defendant Hatcher because it exceeded the two-page limit imposed by DOC regulations. This decision was upheld by the prison superintendent, defendant Vaughn. The other grievances were ruled on unfavorably. The grievance reviewers found that the Page 7 plaintiff had received medical attention and that the medical and correctional staff had been acting appropriately to the plaintiff's needs. Prison officials upheld these findings on appeal, finding that the staff had been very accommodating to the plaintiff's medical needs. See Letter from Thomas L. James to Lamont Scantling (Nov. I, 2002) at unnumbered Ex. to Compl.

  The plaintiff also filed grievances at SCI-Albion. He appealed the decisions on those grievances, but they were upheld. He alleges that various administrative officials condoned or ratified various violations by upholding negative decisions on his grievances.

 II. Procedural History

  The plaintiff filed his original complaint on December 12. 2002. A motion to dismiss and/or sever and transfer the case was filed by defendants Vaughn, Arroyo, Dennis, Hatcher, Knauer, Frace, Wolfe, Marquardt, Kormanic, Overton, Rebele, James, and Kyler on April 2, 2003 (the "initial motion"). The plaintiff responded to the initial motion on April 25, 2003. Defendant Baker filed a separate motion to dismiss or transfer on August 11, 2003. On August 28, 2003, defendant Barr joined in the initial motion to dismiss.

  On September 4, 2003, the Court held a telephone conference. After a discussion of the various motions and other Page 8 issues, the plaintiff was given 60 days in which to respond in writing to the various motions.

  The plaintiff requested and received extensions of time in which to respond to Dr. Baker' motion. In January 2004, the plaintiff filed an amended complaint before any responsive pleading had been filed. The amended complaint adds four defendants, Beard, Burk, Dr. Bashline, and an unknown person who is either the Deputy Superintendent of Management or of Inmate Services at SCI-Graterford, and makes some additional allegations. The amended complaint expressly incorporates the original complaint and its exhibits. At the same time, the plaintiff filed a motion to add those four defendants. He also filed a Motion For Leave to File a Supplemental Complaint.

  The moving defendants, except for Dr. Baker, filed an opposition to the Motion For Leave to File a Supplemental Complaint. In that opposition they argue that the amended complaint does not state a claim against two of the newly added defendants, Burk and Beard. The opposition also states: "the additional pleadings do not enhance plaintiff's allegations to the extent necessary to defeat the respective defendants' motion to dismiss which are still pending." The Court shall therefore Page 9 take this opposition as a renewal of the initial motion to dismiss.*fn4

 III. Involvement of the Moving Defendants

  A. Jeffrey A. Beard

  Beard is the Secretary of the Department of Corrections. The plaintiff alleges that he authored a policy redefining "cruel and unusual punishment" as meaning only the use or threat of excessive force. Beard is also alleged to have failed to implement an intake health care policy that required obtaining outside medical records for chronically or acutely ill prisoners, and to have failed to investigate the plaintiff's claims.

  B. Leslie S. Hatcher

  Hatcher is a Facility Grievance Coordinator at SCI-Graterford. On July 22, 2002, Ms. Hatcher returned the plaintiff's grievance because it exceeded the two-page limit. Page 10

  C. Donald T. Vaughn

  Vaughn is the Superintendent at SCI-Graterford. On August 20, 2002, Mr. Vaughn responded to the plaintiff's appeal regarding the two-page limit for grievances. He upheld Hatcher's decision to reject the grievance. Mr. Scantling also alleges he permitted the plaintiff's transfer to SCI-Albion and authored or ratified an unconstitutional policy.

  D. Tshanna C. Kyler

  Kyler is a Grievance Review Officer for the DOC. On September 3, 2002, Ms. Kyler wrote the plaintiff a letter regarding his appeal of a grievance decision. She told the plaintiff that no action would be taken on his appeal because he had not provided photocopies of his prior filings with respect to that grievance.

  E. Donald Frace

  Frace is a correctional officer at SCI-Graterford. On July 21, 2002, the plaintiff asked for an appointment to see a doctor. Mr. Frace said that the medical staff did not want to see the plaintiff because there was nothing they could do for the plaintiff. Mr. Frace also told the plaintiff ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.