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WOLFGANG v. SMITHERS

September 26, 2005.

ERIC JOHN WOLFGANG, Plaintiff
v.
CARL SMITHERS, ET AL., Defendants.



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

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Background

Eric John Wolfgang ("Plaintiff"), an inmate presently confined at the Retreat State Correctional Institution, Hunlock Creek, Pennsylvania ("SCI-Retreat"), initiated this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

  By separate Orders dated August 15, 2002, Judge William Nealon of this Court transferred two civil rights complaints filed by SCI-Retreat inmates Christopher Grob, Timothy Hunsinger and Steve McCollough to the undersigned. This Court subsequently directed that pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 42(a), those cases should be consolidated into Wolfgang. However, on September 20, 2004, this Court granted Plaintiffs McCullough, Hunsinger and Grob's requests for voluntary dismissal.

  On September 16, 2003, a similar civil rights action filed by SCI-Retreat inmates David Jacoby and Richard Shipe was also consolidated into this matter. By Order January 11, 2005, a motion for voluntary dismissal by Plaintiff Shipe was granted. Hence, Wolfgang and Jacoby are the only two remaining Plaintiffs in this action.

  Wolfgang previously submitted an amended complaint which names as Defendants the following SCI-Retreat officials: Correctional Services Laundry Supervisor Carl Swithers; Superintendent Edward Klem; Health Care Administrator Joseph Mataloni; Deputy Superintendent Joseph Piazza; Correctional Industries Director Susan Kuzminski; Correctional Industries President Linda Morrison; and Physician's Assistant James Updyke. Also named are SCI-Retreat, as well as the prison's Laundry and Medical Departments.

  On March 26, 2004, this Court addressed the Corrections Defendants' motion to dismiss Wolfgang's amended complaint. The Memorandum and Order entered dismissal in favor of Defendants SCI-Retreat and the prison's Laundry and Medical Departments. In addition, all claims which transpired prior to April 10, 2000 were deemed to be time barred under Pennsylvania's applicable statute of limitations. Dismissal was also entered in favor of Defendants Joseph Piazza and Edward Klem.

  Twenty-one (21) Defendants are named by Jacoby. They are the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC), its Secretary Jeffrey Beard, Correctional Industries President Linda Morrison and Correctional Industries Directors Susan Kuzminski and Mark Goldberg. Six hospitals*fn1 and the Diamond Chemical Company are also listed as Defendants. He is also proceeding against SCI-Retreat, the prison's Medical and Laundry Departments, and five (5) prison officials, including: Superintendent Joseph Chesney; Laundry Supervisor Carl Swithers; Health Care Administrator Joseph Mataloni; Physician's Assistants ("PA") James Updyke and Darla Sherman; and Doctor Diaz.

  By Memorandum and Order dated September 28, 2004, dismissal with respect to Jacoby's claims was entered in favor of the following sixteen (16) Defendants named by Jacoby: DOC; Beard; Morrison; Kuzminski; Goldberg; SCI-Retreat; Laundry Department; Medical Department; Danville State Hospital; Joseph Chesney; the Diamond Chemical Company; Clarks Summit State Hospital; Allentown State Hospital; Harrisburg State Hospital; Southeastern Veterans Hospital; and Selinsgrove State Hospital.

  In conclusion, the surviving Defendants named by Wolfgang are Laundry Supervisor Swithers, Health Care Administrator Mataloni, PA Updyke, Correctional Industries Director Susan Kuzminski and Correctional Industries President Linda Morrison. While the remaining Defendants named by Jacoby are Swithers, Mataloni, PA Updyke, PA Darla Sherman, and Doctor Diaz.*fn2

  Wolfgang and Jacoby state that they previously worked in the SCI-Retreat Correctional Industries laundry. In addition to cleaning the laundry generated by SCI-Rockview inmates, the Laundry Department also provides service for other state prisons, as well as psychiatric hospitals and health care facilities for veterans. The remaining Plaintiffs allege that they were injured as a result of purportedly unsafe conditions which exist in the Laundry Department.

  Plaintiffs state that the laundry was contaminated with bodily fluids and human waste. In addition, some laundry from the hospital and health care facilities would arrive in red and yellow bio-contamination bags. Wolfgang and Jacoby claim that inmate laundry workers including themselves were not provided with adequate protective gear. As a result of those purportedly unconstitutional conditions they suffered headaches, nose bleeds, red blotches on their skin, dizziness and stomach problems. The remaining Plaintiffs further contend that they also have not been provided with adequate medical care for their work related injuries. Wolfgang and Jacoby seek injunctive relief as well as punitive, compensatory, and nominal damages.

  Presently pending before this Court is the remaining Corrections Defendants' motion requesting entry of summary judgment. See Record document no. 127. Laundry Supervisor Swithers and Health Care Administrator Mataloni are the remaining Corrections ...


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