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Everett v. Donate

March 22, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Thomas I. Vanaskie United States District Judge




James Everett, an inmate presently confined at the Rockview State Correctional Institution, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania (SCI-Rockview), filed this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.*fn1 By Order dated September 19, 2008, this Court construed Plaintiff's September 5, 2008 filing (Dkt. Entry # 12) as an amendment to his original complaint and indicated that the standing complaint would consist of both his original complaint and the aforementioned amendment.

Named as Defendants are the following officials at Plaintiff's prior place of confinement, the Lackawanna County Prison, Scranton, Pennsylvania: Warden Janine Donate; Nurse Thomas Lgin;*fn2 and Correctional Officers Kevin Janeski, George Calpin, and Robert Brown.

Plaintiff was incarcerated at the Lackawanna County Prison from January 12, 2008 until November 20, 2008.*fn3 Everett states that on April 18, 2008, a fellow prisoner attempted to sexually assault him. When Plaintiff resisted, the assailant "brutally attacked me causing serious bodily harm." (Dkt Entry # 1, ¶IV(1).) He describes his resulting injuries as consisting of a head contusion, recurring headaches, swollen left knee, anxiety attacks, nose bleeds, and broken teeth. Following the assault, Everett claims that he was denied adequate medical care. Specifically, he asserts that neither x-rays nor an MRI were taken and his resulting injuries, which are still adversely affecting his health, have not been addressed.

Plaintiff's complaint additionally contends that Defendants failed to protect his safety in that they were aware that the inmate assailant "had a violent past" and neglected to undertake adequate supervision. (Id. at (2).) He adds that due to an inadequate inmate classification process, his attacker was placed in the same unit as Plaintiff, who describes himself as being a non-violent offender. Everett seeks injunctive relief as well as compensatory, punitive, and nominal damages.

Presently pending is Defendant Lapinski's motion for summary judgment. (Dkt. Entry # 39.) Although Plaintiff has not submitted a proper opposing brief, in light of the liberal treatment afforded pro se litigants, Everett's letter filed December 24, 2009 (Dkt. Entry # 66) will be deemed as his opposing brief.*fn4 The motion is ripe for consideration.


Defendant Lapinski describes himself as being a Registered Nurse who provided medical services to the inmate population at the Lackawanna County Prison "through Correctional Care, Inc., his employer." (Id. at ¶ 1.) It is noted that Nurse Lapinski is the only medical provider named as a defendant in this action. The moving Defendant argues that he is entitled to entry of summary judgment on the grounds that Plaintiff has failed to state a claim that Lapinski was either negligent or violated Everett's civil rights.

Standard of Review

Summary judgment is proper if "the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c);Seealso Saldana v. Kmart Corp., 260 F.3d 228, 231-32 (3d Cir. 2001). A factual dispute is "material" if it might affect the outcome of the suit under the applicable law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A factual dispute is "genuine" only if there is a sufficient evidentiary basis that would allow a reasonable fact-finder to return a verdict for the non-moving party. Id. at 248. The court must resolve all doubts as to the existence of a genuine issue of material fact in favor of the non-moving party. Saldana, 260 F.3d at 232; see also Reeder v. Sybron Transition Corp., 142 F.R.D. 607, 609 (M.D. Pa. 1992).

Once the moving party has shown that there is an absence of evidence to support the claims of the non-moving party, the non-moving party may not simply sit back and rest on the allegations in its complaint. See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986). Instead, it must "go beyond the pleadings and by [its] own affidavits, or by the depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, designate specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Id. (internal quotations omitted); seealsoSaldana, 260 F.3d at 232 (citations omitted).

Summary judgment should be granted where a party "fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden at trial." Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322-23. "'Such affirmative evidence -- regardless of whether it is direct or circumstantial -- must amount to more than a scintilla, but may amount to less (in the evaluation of the court) than a preponderance.'" Saldana, 260 F.3d at 232 (quoting Williams v. Borough of West Chester, 891 F.2d 458, 460-61 (3d Cir. 1989)). ...

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