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Lee v. Ericson

March 8, 2006


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Kosik


Michael Lee, an inmate currently confined at the State Correctional Institution at Retreat (SCI-Retreat), Pennsylvania, filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Named as defendants are seven (7) officials/employees at SCI-Retreat which include Superintendent Charles Ericson, Deputy Superintendents James Sommers and Thomas Temperine, Lieutenant Mark Pall, Sergeant Levi Gibbon and Correctional Officers Mark Lacina and Harry Miles.

In the complaint Lee alleges that defendants subjected him to cruel and unusual punishment over a period of time beginning September 11, 2004 through September 30, 2004. He claims that he was physically assaulted as well as denied food, water, showers, pens and grievance forms. He also alleges that he was stripped of his clothing and bed sheets and spit on. He further claims that he was deprived of doctor's visits, forced to ingest medication against his will and retaliated against for filing a lawsuit against defendants Lacina and Gibbon. He seeks injunctive and compensatory relief.

Presently pending is defendants' motion to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) filed on March 25, 2005 (Doc. 11). The motion is fully briefed. For the reasons that follow, the motion will be granted in part and denied in part.

I. Background

Lee states that he was placed in the Restricted Housing Unit at SCI-Retreat on or about September 13, 2004 by defendant Gibbon, after being falsely accused of flooding the range. Later that same afternoon, Lee was moved to a suicide observation cell by defendants Gibbon and Pall. When Lee asked defendants why he was being moved to the observation cell, he was called names and told to not talk. Lee contends that he was not provided with lunch or supper on this date. He also claims that the observation cell did not have any water. (Doc. 1, Compl. at 1-2.)

On or about September 14, 2004, Lee claims that he requested water from defendant Pall. Pall denied the request, as well as a subsequent request for a grievance form. Later that afternoon, Lee was stripped of his sheets and blankets. Although he asked why these items were being taken, all he received in response was a slap in the face from defendant Pall. Lee further alleges that he received no food or water the entire day. He also states that he was given a misconduct and charged for the sheets that Pall had stepped on and ripped.

On September 15, 2004, Lee states he received a "cold food loaf" to eat that still had ice on it. (Id. at 2.) He claims he was also denied water and a shower. When he asked defendant Gibbon for a pen and a misconduct appeal form, his request was denied. The following day, defendants Pall, Gibbon and Lacina removed him from the cell and handcuffed him to a wooden bench for two (2) hours. During this time, Lee contends that Lacina physically assaulted and spit on him. He was also called names including "Nigger Boy, Asshole and Dark Boy." (Id. at 3.) Lee claims that he was also punished for a lawsuit he had filed against Gibbon and Lacina. When he was returned to his cell, a shield was placed on the front of the cell door which appeared to have feces on it. When Lee spoke with defendants Ericson and Temperine, he was told to go lay down on the bed. He claims he received no water or other food this day.

On September 17, 2004, Lee alleges he was forced to take medication against his will. When he attempted to avoid taking the pills, he was restrained by Gibbon and Lacina and two additional unknown officers. Lee was also denied food, and water on this date, as well as stripped of his t-shirt, underwear, socks and mattress. He was left in the cell with no form of clothing and was not provided a shower. He further contends that he was denied food and water the following day.

Lee was given a "weight check" on or about September 19, 2004 and thereafter placed on a "medically approved and needed diet" due to all of the weight he lost. (Doc. 1, Compl. at 4.) He claims, however, that defendants Pall, Gibbon, Lacina and Miles denied him the diet thereby placing his health in jeopardy. Defendant Gibbon told the prison medical staff not to worry about the officers feeding him. According to Lee, he received no food or water that day.

On September 20, 2004, Lee asked Lacina if he could see the doctor because he was dizzy. He was refused and told to submit a grievance however defendants Lacina and Miles refused to provide Lee with a grievance form and pen. Lee states that he was also given several "frivolous" misconducts on this date as well. (Id. at 5.)

Several days later, on September 23, 2004, Lacina assaulted Plaintiff when he was called from his cell to have blood taken. Lacina allegedly pushed Lee into a door while he was handcuffed behind his back. He was also denied a shower making it two weeks since last receiving a shower. The following day, Lee requested to see a doctor due to back pain he was experiencing from sleeping on a metal bed with no mattress. His request was denied by defendants Pall, Gibbon and Miles. He also received no food or water on this date.

Lee claims that he was denied a food loaf by defendants Miles and Lacina on September 26, 2004. He was told that he was never going to eat or drink again as long as he was in the R.H.U. He was also called racial names and given ten (10) misconducts, all with different dates on them and all frivolous. He was given six (6) more misconducts the following day.

Lee contends that he was denied various appeal and witness forms on September 28, 2004 by defendant Miles. The following day, he was told by defendants Miles and Pall that he had to go to the medical department and that he "abused this time." (Id. at 7.) He claims he was pulled upstairs by Miles and when Lee told Miles to stop, Lee was then kicked by Pall and told to keep moving. Again, he ...

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