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Mitchell v. Quick

February 17, 2010

LEROY MITCHELL
v.
CORRECTIONS OFFICER QUICK, ET AL.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Juan R. Sánchez, J.

MEMORANDUM

Plaintiff Leroy Mitchell claims his Fourth Amendment rights were violated when the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections subjected him to an investigative, non-random urinalysis without a reason to suspect he was using drugs. The urinalysis revealed Mitchell had opiates in his system. After a disciplinary hearing, Mitchell was found guilty of misconduct and sanctioned with 90 days of disciplinary custody. He now seeks to overturn the finding of misconduct*fn1 and enjoin the prison's practice of not recording its grounds for conducting investigative drug tests.

Because Defendants have adequately proven there were grounds to perform the investigative test, this Court will enter judgment in favor of Defendants.

FINDINGS OF FACT

1. In August 2007, inmate Leroy Mitchell and inmates whose last names are Adams and Rivera resided in D block of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) in Graterford, Pennsylvania.

2. Prior to August 22, 2007, Major Thomas Dohman received a tip from a confidential informant indicating a shipment of drugs was recently delivered to cell block D. Major Dohman examined the records of cell block D inmates, and discovered Mitchell had tested positive for opiates in 2003. Major Dohman ordered an investigative urinalysis of several inmates of cell block D, including, but not limited to, Mitchell, Adams, and Rivera.

3. On August 22, 2007, at approximately 6:00 a.m., Mitchell, Adams, and Rivera were escorted to the prison Internal Security Department (Security) by Corrections Officers Ronald Quick and Jeffrey McCusker. Officer Shane Cuddeback also escorted at least one of the three prisoners.

4. Pursuant to Major Dohman's order, McCusker collected the three inmate's urine samples for investigative analysis. Because the testing was conducted as part of an investigation and was non-random, the Security Urine Log identified the three tests with the letter "I."

5. None of the corrections officers involved in the inmate escort or urine sampling knew why Major Dohman had requested the testing.

6. The inmates were not informed of the reason for the testing.

7. Mitchell's sample was sent to the San Diego Reference Laboratory, where it tested positive for opiates.

8. After reading the lab report, Cuddeback asked the Medical Department whether Mitchell was taking any medication that could cause a false positive test result. On August 25, 2007, a nurse certified that Mitchell was not taking any such medication. Cuddeback then prepared a misconduct charge against Mitchell.

9. At his disciplinary hearing, Mitchell pled not guilty. He was told he could have his urine retested, but he refused.

10. The hearing examiner found Mitchell guilty of misconduct and sanctioned him with 90 days ...


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