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Cidone v. Blume

November 9, 2009

PIERRE CIDONE, PLAINTIFF
v.
C.O. BLUME, ET AL., DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Rambo

MEMORANDUM

Plaintiff Pierre Cidone ("Cidone"), an inmate currently incarcerated at the Lackawanna County Prison ("LCP") in Scranton, Pennsylvania, commenced this action pro se by filing a civil rights complaint pursuant to the provisions of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. 1.) Cidone names the following Defendants: Correctional Officer ("CO") Blume; CO Sedlack; Correctional Care Services; and Captain Kazinetz. In the complaint, Plaintiff asserts that Defendants Blume and Sedlack used excessive force upon him during an altercation in violation of the Eighth Amendment, and Defendants Kazinetz and Correctional Care Services failed to respond to his grievances and treat his injuries, respectively.

Before the court is Defendants' motion for summary judgment. (Doc. 37.) For the reasons set forth below, the motion for summary judgment will be denied.

I. Background & Procedural History

In his complaint, Cidone claims that Defendant Blume "did exchange words, use foul language, punch me, then while handcuffed upon the floor, kick me in the face, cutting my lip." (Doc. 1 at 1.) Cidone asserts that Defendant Sedlack "held me in place" while Defendant Blume abused him. (Id. at 1-2.) Further, Cidone asserts that Defendant Correctional Care Services failed to treat his resulting injuries. (Id. at 2.) Finally, Cidone claims that Defendant Kazinetz failed to respond to his grievances related to the incident. (Id.)

As stated above, Defendants have filed a motion for summary judgment in this case. (Doc. 37.) In order to properly consider this motion, the court will first recount the rather lengthy procedural history. Cidone initiated this action on October 16, 2007. (Doc. 1.) Along with the complaint, Cidone also filed a motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (Doc. 4.) On November 26, 2007, the court granted Cidone's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis and directed service of the complaint on the Defendants named therein. (Doc. 10.)

On December 27, 2007, summons with respect to all Defendants were returned executed. (See Doc. 12.) Accordingly, an answer to the complaint was due on or before January 16, 2008. (Id.) However, no counsel entered an appearance on behalf of Defendants and no activity occurred in the case until the court issued an order on June 18, 2008, directing Cidone to indicate within fifteen (15) days of the date of the order whether he still desired to pursue this civil action.*fn1 (Doc. 15.) On June 26, 2008, Cidone responded, requesting that the case be listed on the next available trial list. (Doc. 16.)

On July 3, 2008, the court issued a case management order directing that discovery be completed by November 3, 2008; dispositive motions and supporting briefs be filed on or before November 18, 2008; and set jury selection and trial date for May 4, 2009. (Doc. 18.) On July 27, 2008, Thomas B. Helbig, Esquire, entered his appearance on behalf of Defendants, (Doc. 19), and thereafter filed an answer to the complaint, (Doc. 20).

On September 2, 2008, during the period of discovery, Cidone filed a request for production of documents, seeking, inter alia, prison disciplinary and medical records related to the incident he claimed occurred on September 22, 2007. (Doc. 23.) It is not clear from the record whether Cidone served this request upon Defendants or Attorney Helbig.

On October 23, 2008, the court issued a notice rescheduling the trial for June 9, 2009. (Doc. 24.) No activity occurred in the case for several months. As a result, on March 18, 2009, the court issued an order directing Defendants to inform the court within ten (10) days of the date of the order of the procedural posture of the case, including, but not limited to, the status of discovery and the status of any dispositive motions. (Doc. 26.)

Defendants failed to respond to the court order. On April 3, 2009, the court issued another order directing Defendants to inform the court of the procedural posture of the case by April 10, 2009. (Doc. 28.) Attorney Helbig filed a status report on April 7, 2009, informing the court that he did not have a record of receiving Cidone's discovery request (Doc. 23), but had since obtained a copy of it and planned to respond promptly. (Doc. 29.) He stated that no other discovery was pending at that time. (Id.) He also indicated that he planned to file a dispositive motion on behalf of some or all Defendants within the next twenty (20) days. (Id.) As a result, the court issued a revised case management order directing that discovery be completed by April 24, 2009; dispositive motions and supporting briefs be filed by May 26, 2009; and indicating that if no dispositive motions are filed by that date, the case will be listed on the next available trial list following the dispositive motions deadline. (Doc. 30.)

After the period of discovery ended, but before dispositive motions were due, Cidone filed another request for production of documents. (Doc. 33.) In that request, Cidone again requested, inter alia, the disciplinary and medical reports related to the incident, which he now claimed occurred on September 27, 2007. (Doc. 33.) The request was dated May 5, 2009 and served upon Attorney Helbig by first class mail. (See id.)

Defendants did not file a dispositive motion on or before the deadline of May 26, 2009. Accordingly, the court issued an order affording Defendants until June 30, 2009 to file a dispositive motion and supporting brief. (Doc. 34.) The order also directed that the case be listed on the next available trial list following that June 30, 2009 deadline should no dispositive motion be filed. (Id.)

Prior to the June 30, 2009 dispositive motion deadline, Cidone filed a motion for an order compelling discovery and another request for production of documents. (Docs. 35 & 36.) Purportedly Defendants have failed to respond to Cidone's previous requests for discovery, and thus, Cidone now seeks a court order directing the production of documents previously requested. In fact, ...


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