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WESLEY v. HOLLIS

April 29, 2004.

RONALD WESLEY, Plaintiff
v.
N. HOLLIS, et al., Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: JAMES KELLY, Senior District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Presently before the Court is a Motion to Dismiss, in Part, Plaintiff's Complaint filed by Defendants Correctional Officer Nathaniel Hollis ("Hollis"), Correctional Officer Kevin Marsh ("Marsh") and Internal Security Lieutenant Kenneth Eason ("Eason") (collectively, "Defendants") requesting that this Court dismiss some of the claims set forth in the Complaint filed by pro se Plaintiff Ronald Wesley ("Plaintiff" or "Wesley"), an inmate incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at Graterford, Pennsylvania ("Graterford"), against Defendants in their individual capacities.*fn1 Defendants move for dismissal of the following claims pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6): (1) First Amendment access to courts claim against Hollis for allegedly kicking and confiscating Plaintiff's legal materials; (2) Fourteenth Amendment procedural due process claim against Hollis for allegedly writing a false misconduct report; (3) retaliation claim against Hollis; (4) conspiracy claim against Hollis and Marsh; (5) claim against Eason for conducting a delayed and incomplete investigation of the alleged assault; and (6) pendent state law claims against all Defendants. For the following reasons, Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, in Part, Plaintiff's Complaint is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART.

I. BACKGROUND

  For the purpose of ruling on this Motion to Dismiss, we recite the facts as alleged by Plaintiff and accept his allegations as true.

  On June 10, 2001, Correctional Officer Hollis appeared at Wesley's cell in the Restricted Housing Unit and announced a cell search. Hollis handcuffed Wesley through the opening in the cell door, called control operations to open the door and instructed Wesley to exit the cell. Hollis frisked Wesley, then entered his cell and began the search.

  During the cell search, Wesley observed Hollis going through a stack of his "legal-related work-product materials." (Compl. ¶ E.6.) Hollis extracted "contrasting tablet-back materials from the stack and tossed them to the floor, as though they were trash." (Id.) Wesley objected to Hollis that the tablet-back materials were legal-related work-product relating to pending and contemplated civil rights and habeas proceedings. Hollis insisted that the tablet-back material was contraband.

  Wesley called Lieutenant Marsh, who was standing nearby, and asked him to instruct Hollis to stop trashing his legal-related materials. Marsh entered the cell, spoke briefly to Hollis, and left the cell.

  Hollis concluded his search. While leaving the cell, he swept the tablet-back legal-related materials out of the cell with his feet. Wesley tried to kick the materials back into his cell, but Hollis prevented him from doing so. Wesley requested a confiscation receipt, as required by Department of Corrections policy, for the tablet-back materials from Hollis. Hollis refused, stating, "I'm throwing the stuff in the trash." (Compl. ¶ E.11.)

  Wesley was then ordered to return to his cell. After the cell door was closed, he stood with his back to the door to enable Hollis to remove the handcuffs. Under the guise of removing the handcuffs, Hollis grabbed the cuffs, yanking them with enough strength and force to tighten the cuffs on Wesley's wrists to cause Wesley's back and head to bang into the steel cell door. Wesley screamed and pleaded with Hollis to let go of the cuffs, stating "You're gonna break my wrists." (Compl. ¶ E.14.) Hollis refused to release his hold on the cuffs, even as Wesley twisted in pain and agony while attempting to pull away.

  Hollis held onto the handcuffs for approximately five minutes. Although at least six officers, including Marsh, stood nearby, none of them intervened at first. Eventually, Marsh stopped the assault, by ordering Hollis to let go of the cuffs and give him the key. Hollis let go of the cuffs, pulled the key from his pocket, and handed it to Marsh. Marsh then struck the key into the lock and removed the cuffs from Wesley's wrists.

  Wesley's hands and wrists were badly bruised, swollen, and bleeding. He hollered to Marsh to have him taken to the infirmary for treatment and to notify the State Police of his intent to file a complaint for an investigation.

  Several minutes later, two officers appeared at Wesley's cell to escort him to the infirmary.

  Later that day, Wesley was served with a misconduct report written by Hollis, in which Hollis blamed Wesley for provoking the assault, by refusing to obey his orders to be uncuffed.

  On June 10, 2001, Wesley submitted a grievance against Hollis. On June 12, 2001, he submitted a request to Deputy Superintendent of Internal Security, Mr. Lorenzo, requesting investigations by the internal security department and the State Police. Consequently, on June 23, 2001, Eason, a lieutenant in Graterford's internal security department, interviewed Wesley. On July 11, 2001, Eason notified Wesley in ...


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