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Hernandez v. York County

November 26, 2007

LUIS A. HERNANDEZ, PLAINTIFF,
v.
YORK COUNTY AND WARDEN THOMAS H. HOGAN, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Caputo

MAGISTRATE JUDGE SMYSER

MEMORANDUM

Presently before the Court is Magistrate Judge J. Andrew Smyser's Report and Recommendation (Doc. 15) and Defendants' Objections (Doc. 16) to the July 17, 2007 Report and Recommendation. The Magistrate Judge recommended that the Court grant in part and deny in part Defendants' motion for summary judgment. For the reasons set forth below, Plaintiff's Objections to the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation will be granted, the Court will adopt in part and reject in part the Report and Recommendation (Doc. 15), and grantDefendants' motion for summary judgment. (Doc. 11.)

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, Luis A. Hernandez is a former inmate of the York County Prison. The Defendants are York County and Thomas H. Hogan, the warden of the York County Prison. On June 17, 2004, at approximately 2:50 p.m., Officer Steven A. Bolding was to transport the Plaintiff to medical cell number one (1) of the York County Prison. (Defs.' Statement of Material Facts in Supp. of Summ. J., ¶ 2, Doc. 13.) When Officer Bolding arrived at the cell, he requested that the Plaintiff relax, and the officer started to release the Plaintiff from his handcuffs. (Id. ¶ 3.) At this time the Plaintiff became uncooperative and would not follow Officer Bolding's instructions. (Id. ¶ 4.) Officer Bolding, along with Officer Dill and Officer Boyer, subdued the inmate by placing him on the floor. (Id. ¶ 5; Aff. of Steven A. Bolding ¶ 3, Doc. 13-3.) In subduing the inmate, the officers requested assistance from the medical section because the inmate appeared to be out of control and suffering from a psychotic episode. (Doc. 13 ¶ 5.) A nurse administered two shots of Thorzene to subdue the inmate. (Id. ¶ 6.)

Officer Bolding believed that the Plaintiff presented a danger to himself, and followed standard procedure in removing the Plaintiff's clothing, shackles, and handcuffs before leaving the cell. (Id. ¶ 7.) An examination of the Plaintiff revealed that he suffered some minor injury from the handcuffs in the form of minor bruises, as a result of the incident. (Id. ¶ 8.)

On the morning of June 18, 2004, Captain Christopher Schell was called to a medical cell in York Country Prison, and found the Plaintiff out of control, kicking and running into the cell door. (Id. ¶ 10.) Captain Schell believed that the Plaintiff was suffering from some serious form of mental illness, and recognized that the Plaintiff refused to follow orders to stop running into the cell door. (Id. ¶ 11.) Plaintiff was loud, screaming, and making little sense. (Id. ¶ 12.) Captain Schell then indicated to the medical staff that the inmate was hurting himself, and that something needed to be done. (Id.) Captain Schell received direction from the on-call prison doctor, who ordered a shot of medication and requested that the Plaintiff be placed in a four-point restraint for his own safety. (Id. ¶ 13.) Efforts to subdue the Plaintiff with the use of Oleoresin capsicum were unsuccessful. (Id. ¶ 14.)

The Correctional Emergency Response Team ("CERT Team") was activated and proceeded to accomplish a cell extraction. (Id. ¶ 15.) The CERT Team entered the cell and physically subdued the Plaintiff. (Id. ¶ 16.) The Plaintiff was placed in a four-point restraint and an injection of medication was used to calm him. (Id. ¶ 17.)

The Plaintiff has failed to submit a short, concise statement of material facts in opposition to the Defendants' motion as required by Local Rule 56.1. Local Rule 56.1 states that "All material facts set forth in the statement required to be served by the moving party will be deemed admitted unless controverted by the statement required to be served by the opposing party." As the Plaintiff has failed to controvert any of the material facts set forth by the Defendants, these facts and the accompanying affidavits will be deemed undisputed.

On June 12, 2006, the Plaintiff filed a Complaint against York County and Warden Thomas H. Hogan, alleging violations of his First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights, as well as violations of various state laws. (Doc. 1.) On August 11, 2006, the Defendants filed a motion to dismiss. (Doc. 3.) On December 27, 2006, Magistrate Judge Smyser issued a Report and Recommendation which recommended that the motion be granted in part and denied in part. (Doc. 8.) On March 8, 2007, this Court adopted the Report and Recommendation, and granted the motion to dismiss as to all Section 1983 claims against Defendant Hogan, and denied the motion to dismiss as to all other claims. (Doc. 9.) The same day, the Defendants filed an Answer to the Complaint. (Doc. 10.) On May 14, 2007, the Defendants filed a motion for summary judgment.

(Doc. 11.) On July 17, 2007, Magistrate Judge Smyser issued the present Report and Recommendation, recommending that the Defendants' motion for summary judgment be granted in part and denied in part. (Doc. 15.) On July 26, 2007, Defendants filed an objection to the Report and Recommendation. (Doc. 16.)

The summary judgment motion is fully briefed and ripe for disposition. The Report and Recommendation is likewise ripe for disposition.

LEGAL STANDARDS

I. Review of a Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation

Where objections to the magistrate judge's report are filed, the Court must conduct a de novo review of the contested portions of the report, Sample v. Diecks, 885 F.2d 1099, 1106 n.3 (3d Cir. 1989) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(c)), provided the objections are both timely and specific, Goney v. Clark, 749 F.2d 5, 6-7 (3d Cir. 1984). In making its de novo review, the Court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the factual findings or legal conclusions of the magistrate judge. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Owens v. Beard, 829 F. Supp. 736, 738 (M.D. Pa. 1993). Although the review is de novo, the statute permits the Court to rely on the recommendations of the magistrate judge to the extent it deems proper. See United States v. Raddatz, 447 U.S. 667, 675-76 (1980); Goney, 749 F.2d at 7; Ball v. United States Parole Comm'n, 849 F. Supp. 328, 330 (M.D. Pa. 1994). Uncontested portions of the report may be reviewed at a standard determined by the ...


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