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Jones v. Hashagen

January 12, 2010

CHRISTOPHER JONES, PLAINTIFF,
v.
C.O. HASHAGEN, ET AL., ET. AL. DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge McClure

Magistrate Judge Carlson

MEMORANDUM

INTRODUCTION

On May 11, 2009, plaintiff Christopher Jones, a state inmate now residing at the State Correctional Institution at Mahanoy ("SCI-Mahanoy"), proceeding pro se, commenced this action by filing a complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Rec. Doc. No. 1). At the time during which the events relevant to the instant action occurred, the plaintiff was a state inmate incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at Dallas ("SCI-Dallas"). In his complaint, plaintiff named as defendants SCI-Dallas Corrections Officers Hashagen and Linhart,*fn1 Unit Manager Joseph Semon, Superintendent Michael D. Klopotoski, and a Dr. Dempsey.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff asserts that his federally-protected rights were violated by the above defendants when he was assaulted by another inmate at SCI-Dallas on February 5, 2008. Plaintiff alleges that, as he was leaving his cell, fellow inmate Woodrow Mitchell, from the cell block's top tier, threw a television at the plaintiff that struck him on the head. Plaintiff claims that Mitchell returned to his cell to retrieve hot water, which he subsequently threw onto the plaintiff, who was now lying on the floor. Plaintiff also alleges that Mitchell returned to his cell for a second time, only to return with another object that he threw at plaintiff, which struck the plaintiff on his elbow and shoulder. Plaintiff eventually received treatment at both an outside hospital and the prison's infirmary.

On February 12, 2008, pursuant to Department of Corrections Administrative Directive 804 ("DOC-ADMIN 804"), the plaintiff filed a grievance with the prison's unit manager, Joseph Semon. This grievance was denied. Next, plaintiff filed an appeal with Superintendent Klopotoski, who denied the plaintiff's appeal on March 28, 2008. Finally, prison officials dismissed the plaintiff's final appeal on May 12, 2008, because of its being filed in an untimely manner. Plaintiff claims that this final appeal was in fact timely, as he alleges that he was not provided with the Superintendent's denial of his appeal until April 17, 2008.

On May 11, 2009, plaintiff filed his pro se complaint against defendants Hashagen, Linhart, Semon, Klopotoski, and Dempsey. (Rec. Doc. No. 1). The matter initially was assigned to Magistrate Judge Mannion, though it eventually was reassigned to Magistrate Judge Carlson. (Rec. Doc. No. 14). On August 24, 2009, defendants Hashagen, Semon, and Klopotoski ("Corrections Defendants") filed a motion to dismiss. (Rec. Doc. No. 13). On September 8, 2009, the Corrections Defendants filed a brief in support of their motion to dismiss. (Rec. Doc. No. 16). Plaintiff Jones filed a brief in opposition to the Corrections Defendants' motion to dismiss on September 29, 2009. (Rec. Doc. No. 17).

Magistrate Judge Carlson filed a twenty-one page Report and Recommendation on September 30, 2009. (Rec. Doc. No. 18). First, in his Report and Recommendation, Magistrate Judge Carlson recommended dismissal of the plaintiff's claims against the Corrections Defendants to the extent that those claims seek damages from the defendants for acting in their official capacities. Id. at 19. Second, the magistrate judge recommended that the claim against Superintendent Klopotoski be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.*fn2 Third, the magistrate judge recommended denial without prejudice of that portion of the Corrections Defendants' motion which sought dismissal of the plaintiff's complaint based upon the failure to exhaust administrative remedies. Id. at 20.

On November 11, 2009, the plaintiff filed a document in which he objected to the magistrate judge's Report and Recommendation on two grounds. (Rec. Doc. No. 23). First, the plaintiff disputes the magistrate judge's conclusion that the plaintiff failed to state a claim as to Superintendent Klopotoski upon which relief can be granted. Id. at 2. The plaintiff claims that he properly alleged, in his brief opposing the Corrections Defendants' motion to dismiss, that the inmate who injured him "had a pattern of assaults which . . . Superintendent's [sic] in which he is housed would be aware of," and that, as such, "the risk was known or should have been known to the defendants including Klopotoski." Id. at 2. Second, the plaintiff claims that the magistrate's decision not to consider evidence presented by the plaintiff regarding the exhaustion of remedies was improper; instead, the plaintiff argues that "[t]he matters presented . . . merely clarifies [sic] the facts presented in the pro se complaint." Id. at 3.

Upon our review of the complaint and documents in the case, which include the Report and Recommendation and the plaintiff's objections to this Report and Recommendation, as well as applicable law, we agree with the magistrate judge's thorough analysis and recommendations. As such, we will adopt the magistrate judge's Report and Recommendation in full. (Rec. Doc. No. 18). Therefore, we will dismiss plaintiff's claims against the Corrections Defendants that seek damages based upon those defendants' actions undertaken in their official capacity and dismiss without prejudice plaintiff's complaint against Superintendent Klopotoski for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. In addition, we will deny without prejudice the Corrections Defendants' motion to the extent that it seeks dismissal of plaintiff's claims for failure to exhaust administrative remedies.

For the purposes of judicial economy, we will not rehash the sound reasoning employed by the magistrate judge. Instead, we will respond to only those objections to the magistrate judge's Report and Recommendation properly raised by the plaintiff.

DISCUSSION

A district court reviews de novo those portions of a magistrate judge's Report and Recommendation to which a party objects. See Middle District Local Rule 72.3. The court may "accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the ...


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