The opinion of the court was delivered by: A. CAPUTO, District Judge
Presently before the Court is Defendants' Motion For Summary
Judgment (Doc. 21). For the reasons set forth below, the Court
will grant Defendants' motion in part and deny it in part. The
Court has jurisdiction over this matter pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1331 and 28 U.S.C. § 1367.
Plaintiff was stopped by Defendant John Hinkle on State Route
92 in Wyoming County Pennsylvania, on April 27, 2002. (Doc. 32-2,
Ex. 1 ¶¶ 7-10.) At the time, Defendant Hinkle was the Chief for
Exeter Township Police Department. (Doc. 24-4, tab 3 at 4.)
Defendant Hinkle submitted evidence that he had observed
Plaintiff speeding, crossing over the double yellow line twice
and crossing the white fog line once. Id. Plaintiff admits that
he was speeding, but denies having driven across either the
yellow or white lines. (Doc. 32-2, Ex. 1 ¶¶ 7-8.)
While speaking with Plaintiff about his license and
registration, Defendants submitted evidence that Defendant Hinkle
observed a strong odor of alcohol coming from the vehicle. (Doc. 23 ¶ 6; Doc. 24-3, tab 2 at 22.) Defendant
Hinkle then asked Plaintiff to submit to a field sobriety test,
and Plaintiff agreed. (Doc. 24-3, tab 2 at 26-27; Doc. 24-4, tab
3 at 5.) Plaintiff subsequently failed the test. (Doc. 24-4, tab
3 at 8.) Plaintiff was then arrested on suspicion of driving
under the influence, he did not attempt to resist arrest or flee,
and Defendant Hinkle initially handcuffed Plaintiff's hands
behind his back prior to transporting Plaintiff to Tyler Memorial
Hospital for blood testing, to which Plaintiff had consented.
(Doc. 24-4, tab 3 at 8, Doc. 24-3, tab 2 at 7, 47.)
Plaintiff submitted evidence that while in transport to the
hospital he complained to Defendant Hinkle numerous times that
the handcuffs were hurting him, and requested the handcuffs be
loosened. (Doc. 24-3, tab 3 at 50.) Plaintiff also submitted
evidence that he began to cry from the pain caused by the
handcuffs. (Doc. 32-2, Ex. 1 ¶ 19.) Furthermore, Plaintiff
submitted evidence that despite his requests and crying,
Defendant Hinkle did not check or loosen the handcuffs until
Plaintiff was in the examination room at Tyler Memorial Hospital.
(Doc. 24-3, tab 3 at 53.) Defendants submitted evidence that
Plaintiff had actually began to cry when Plaintiff was advised he
was under arrest. (Doc. 24-3, tab 2 at 41.)
According to Plaintiff, upon removal of the handcuffs at the
hospital, his wrists were bleeding and had abrasions. (Doc. 24-2,
tab 1 at 53.) Defendants, however, submitted evidence that
Plaintiff's wrists were red where the handcuffs had been, but
were not bleeding or showing signs of injury. (Doc. 23 ¶ 14.)
Plaintiff submitted evidence that Defendant Hinkle observed the
injuries to Plaintiff's wrists and, following completion of the
blood test, proceeded to reapply the handcuffs as tightly as
before. (Doc. 32-2, Ex. 1 ¶¶ 23-24.) Plaintiff further submitted
evidence that his hands were, again, handcuffed behind his back. Id. Defendant submitted evidence that
Plaintiff's hands were handcuffed in front of his body following
completion of the blood tests. (Doc. 24-3, tab 2 at 55.)
Defendants also submitted evidence that Plaintiff's blood alcohol
content tested at .149 and was thus over the legal limit. (Doc.
24-7, tab 6.)
Plaintiff next submitted evidence that outside of the hospital,
Defendant Hinkle tried to shove Plaintiff into the police cruiser
in order to transport Plaintiff to Plaintiff's home. (Doc. 24-2,
tab 1 at 67.) Plaintiff further submitted evidence that due to
the shove, he fell onto his back with the handcuffs on and
sustained an injury to his lower back. Id. Defendants submitted
evidence that Plaintiff was not shoved and did not fall. (Doc.
24-3, tab 2 at 56.) Plaintiff also submitted evidence that
Defendant Hinkle refused to allow him to use a restroom, which
forced Plaintiff to urinate on himself in the back of the
cruiser. (Doc. 24-2, tab 1 at 58-59.) Defendants submitted
evidence that Plaintiff was allowed to use the restroom at the
hospital, and that Plaintiff never urinated in the police
cruiser. (Doc. 24-3, tab 2 at 55-57.)
The following day, on April 28, 2002, Plaintiff returned to the
Tyler Memorial Hospital complaining about bilateral wrist pain
with numbness of the right thumb and index finger. (Doc. 32-3 at
1.) Plaintiff then submitted evidence that he has received
ongoing treatment for injuries to his wrists and lower back
following his arrest, including EMG nerve conduction, three nerve
blocks, and imaging at the Wilkes Barre Imaging Center. (Doc.
32-3 at 2.) Finally, Plaintiff submitted evidence from an expert
stating that Plaintiff's "current symptoms of numbness in his
right thumb and index finger are secondary to the handcuff
application," and "that his current low back pain is also
secondary to the injury he sustained when falling to the ground."
(Doc. 32-3 at 3.) On March 8, 2004, Plaintiff filed the present suit. Defendants
moved for summary judgment on March 31, 2005. The motion is fully
briefed and the matter is ripe for disposition.
Summary judgment is appropriate if "the pleadings, depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with
the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to
any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a
judgment as a matter of law." FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c). A fact is
material if proof of its existence or nonexistence might affect
the outcome of the suit under the applicable substantive law.
See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986).
Where there is no material fact in dispute, the moving party
need only establish that it is entitled to judgment as a matter
of law. Where, however, there is a disputed issue of material
fact, summary judgment is appropriate only if the factual dispute
is not a genuine one. See id. at 248. An issue of material fact
is genuine if "a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the
nonmoving party." Id.
Where there is a material fact in dispute, the moving party has
the initial burden of proving that: (1) there is no genuine issue
of material fact; and (2) the moving party is entitled to
judgment as a matter of law. See CHARLES ALAN WRIGHT & ARTHUR.
MILLER, FEDERAL PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE: CIVIL 2D § 2727 (2d ed.
1983). The moving party may present its own evidence or, where
the nonmoving party has the burden of proof, simply point out to
the Court that "the nonmoving party has failed to make a
sufficient showing of an essential element of her case." Celotex
Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986).
All doubts as to the existence of a genuine issue of material
fact must be resolved against the moving party, and the entire
record must be examined in the light most favorable to the
nonmoving party. See White v. Westinghouse Elec. Co.,
862 F.2d 56, 59 (3d Cir. 1988). Once the moving party has satisfied its
initial burden, the burden shifts to the nonmoving party to
either present affirmative evidence supporting its version of the
material facts or to refute ...