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Pressley v. Blaine

May 17, 2006

SEAN PRESSLEY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
SUPT. C. BLAINE; SUPT. J. MILLER; JOHN DOE NO. 1; JOHN DOE NO.2; JOHN DOE NO. 3; JOHN DOE NO. 4; JOHN DOE NO. 5; JOHN DOE NO. 6; H/E B. ANSELL; C/O WISYAUSKI; C/O MCCLURE; H/E KERRI CROSS; C/O GIFFORD; C/O SMITH; H/E R. BITNER; UNKNOWN PRC MEMBERS; G/S S. DELETTO; K. PATTERSON, FISCAL T/C; C/O HAWKENBERRY; TORRETS, OUNSELOR, SUED IN THEIR ) INDIVIDUAL AND OFFICIAL CAPACITIES, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Magistrate Judge Lenihan

Consent Case

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff, Sean Pressley, an inmate incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at Greene, located in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania (SCI-Greene), commenced this action pursuant to the Civil Rights Act of 1871, 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Named as Defendants are various present and/or former employees of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC). In his Amended Complaint, Plaintiff claims that Defendants violated his rights as protected by the First, Fifth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution. Specifically, he seeks to impose liability against Defendants on the basis of alleged false misconducts he has received and for which he has received 1080 days of disciplinary confinement.

A. Standard of Review - Judgment on the Pleadings

Defendants have filed a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings under Rule 12(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. A motion for judgment on the pleadings is treated under the same standard as a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Regalbuto v. City of Philadelphia, 937 F.Supp. 374, 376-77 (E.D.Pa. 1995), aff'd, 91 F.3d 125 (3d Cir. 1996), cert. denied, 519 U.S. 982 (1996); Constitution Bank v. DiMarco, 815 F.Supp. 154, 157 (E.D.Pa. 1993). Consequently, judgment under Rule 12(c) will only be granted where the moving party clearly has established that no relief could be granted under any set of facts that could be proved. Taj Mahal Travel v. Delta Airlines, Inc., 164 F.3d 186, 189 (3d Cir. 1998). Additionally, the district court must view the facts and inferences to be drawn from the pleadings in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Regalbuto, 937 F.Supp. at 377 (citing Janney Montgomery Scott, Inc. v. Shepard Niles, Inc., 11 F.3d 399, 406 (3d Cir.1993)). In addition, however, in considering a motion for judgment on the pleadings, a court is not limited to the pleadings themselves but may also consider facts of which the court may take judicial notice. Oran v. Stafford, 226 F.3d 275, 289 (3d Cir. 2000) (court may take judicial notice of public disclosure documents filed with the SEC in disposing of a motion for judgment on the pleadings).

B. Plaintiff's Allegations

In his Amended Complaint (Am. Compl., doc. no. 25), Plaintiff sets forth the following allegations. On March 29, 2001, Sergeant Clark prepared misconduct report no. A322862 accusing Plaintiff of refusing to obey an order. The misconduct was approved by the shift commander and was supposed to be served upon Plaintiff by John Doe no. 1 with inmate witness and inmate version forms. Defendant John Doe no. 1 did not serve Plaintiff with any of these items (Am. Compl., ¶¶ 1-3).

On March 29, 2001, C.O. Brown prepared misconduct report no. A322863 accusing Plaintiff of assault. The misconduct was approved by the shift commander and was supposed to be served upon Plaintiff by John Doe no. 2 with inmate witness and inmate version forms. Defendant John Doe no. 2 did not serve Plaintiff with any of these items (Am. Compl., ¶¶ 4-6).

On March 29, 2001, C.O. Kulick prepared misconduct no. A322864 accusing Plaintiff of refusing an order and destroying state property. The misconduct was approved by the shift commander and was supposed to be served upon Plaintiff by John Doe no. 3 with inmate witness and inmate version forms. Defendant John Doe no. 3 did not serve Plaintiff with any of these items (Am. Compl., ¶¶ 7-9).

On March 29, 2001, C.O. Saunders prepared misconduct no. A322865 accusing Plaintiff of assault and refusing to obey an order. The misconduct was approved by the shift commander and was supposed to be served upon Plaintiff by John Doe no. 4 with inmate witness and inmate version forms. Defendant John Doe no. 4 did not serve Plaintiff with any of these items (Am. Compl., ¶¶ 10-12).

On March 29, 2001, C.O. Rordan prepared misconduct no. A248671 accusing Plaintiff of refusing to obey an order. The misconduct was approved by the shift commander and was supposed to be served upon Plaintiff by John Doe no. 5 with inmate witness and inmate version forms. Defendant John Doe no. 5 did not serve Plaintiff with any of these items (Am. Compl., ¶¶ 13-14).

On March 29, 2001, C.O. Stewart prepared misconduct no. A322866 accusing Plaintiff of destroying property. The misconduct was approved by the shift commander and was supposed to be served upon Plaintiff by Defendant John Does with inmate witness and inmate version forms. Defendant John Does did not serve Plaintiff with any of these items (Am. Compl., ¶¶ 15-17).

On April 4, 2001 a hearing was held before hearing examiner Ansell on the misconducts outlined above. Plaintiff informed Ansell that he had not received notice of the charges in order to prepare a defense, request witnesses or submit a written version. Defendant Ansell asked Plaintiff if he was in a strip cell and Plaintiff answered "yes." Defendant Ansell told Plaintiff that he would receive copies of the misconduct reports and instructed Defendants Wisyauski and McClure to take him back to his cell. Later that day, Plaintiff received six rationales stating that at the hearing, he had told Ansell that that he did not want to be present and that this statement was witnessed by Defendants Wisyauski and McClure. The hearing was held with Plaintiff in absentia where he was found guilty of all the misconducts and sentenced to three hundred (300) days of disciplinary time plus restitution (Am. Compl., ¶¶ 18-25).

On November 16, 2001, Defendant Hawkenberry came to Plaintiff's cell and asked him if he wanted to attend his restitution assessment hearing for misconduct report A322866 to which Plaintiff affirmatively replied. Defendant Hawkenberry then produced a document that he requested Plaintiff to sign. Plaintiff refused to sign the document but reiterated that he still wanted to attend the hearing. Plaintiff then was told that if he did not sign the document, he would not be allowed to attend the hearing. Defendants Hawkenberry and Patterson stated that Plaintiff did not want to attend the assessment hearing so it also was held in his absence and a lien was placed on his inmate account (Am. Compl., ¶¶ 26-30).

On July 5, 2001, C.O. Gibson prepared misconduct report A362259 accusing Plaintiff of threatening an employee, using abusive language, and refusing to obey an order, which was approved by the shift commander and served on Plaintiff. On July 5, 2001, C.O. Polfus prepared misconduct report A254967 accusing Plaintiff of threatening an employee, using abusive language, and refusing to obey an order, which was approved by the shift commander and served on Plaintiff. On July 5, 2001, Lt. Fisher prepared misconduct report A324881 accusing Plaintiff of rioting, which was approved by the shift commander and served on Plaintiff. On July 5, 2001, Lt. Fisher prepared misconduct report A093447 accusing Plaintiff of destroying state property, which was approved by the shift commander and served on Plaintiff. On July 5, 2001, Lt. Fisher prepared misconduct report A271183 accusing Plaintiff of possession of contraband, which was approved by the shift commander and served on Plaintiff (Am. Compl., ¶¶ 33-37).

On July 9, 2001, a hearing was held on these misconducts before hearing examiner Ansell. Ansell refused to allow Plaintiff any inmate assistance, refused to allow him to call his inmate witnesses, and refused to allow him to view the videotape evidence. Because of this, Plaintiff was unable to prepare a defense so he left the hearing room. The remainder of the hearing was held with Plaintiff in absentia where he was found guilty of the misconducts and sentenced to a total of six hundred and sixty (660) days of disciplinary custody plus restitution (Am. Compl., ¶¶ 38-40).

On November 5, 2001, Defendant Hawkenberry came to Plaintiff's cell and asked him if he wanted to attend his restitution assessment hearing for misconduct report A093447 to which Plaintiff affirmatively replied. Defendant Hawkenberry then produced a document that he requested Plaintiff to sign. Plaintiff refused to sign the document but reiterated that he still wanted to attend the hearing. Plaintiff then was told that if he did not sign the document, he would not be allowed to attend the hearing. Defendants Hawkenberry and Patterson stated that Plaintiff did not want to attend the assessment hearing so it also was held in his absence and a lien was placed on his inmate account (Am. Compl., ¶¶ 41-45).

On August 20, 2001, Sgt. Santoyo prepared misconduct report A211812 accusing Plaintiff of destroying state property. Defendant Gifford did not serve Plaintiff with an inmate witness and inmate version form in accordance with DOC policy (Am. Compl., ΒΆ 48-49). On August 20, 2001, Defendant Endres prepared misconduct report A211820 accusing Plaintiff of refusing to obey an order. Defendant Smith did not serve Plaintiff ...


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