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Rye v. Erie County Prison

August 10, 2010

JOHN EDWAN RYE, JR., PLAINTIFF,
v.
ERIE COUNTY PRISON, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: District Judge Sean J. McLaughlin

Magistrate Judge Susan Paradise Baxter

MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

I. RECOMMENDATION

It is respectfully recommended that the motion for summary judgment filed by Defendant Prison Health Services, Inc. [ECF No. 44] be granted and that the motion for summary judgment filed by Defendant Erie County Prison [ECF No. 50] be granted. The Clerk of Courts should be directed to close this case.

II. REPORT

A. Relevant Procedural History

In July 2008, Plaintiff filed this pro se action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Defendants the Erie County Prison and Prison Health Services ("PHS"). PHS is a private corporation, which has contracted with the Erie County Department of Corrections to be its health care provider. [See ECF No. 51-4 at pp. 12-14; ECF No. 51-6 at pp. 25-46]. The Erie County Department of Corrections has a medical services contract with PHS to provide necessary health care to its inmates. [Id. at p. 12; ECF No. 51-6 at pp. 25-46].

Plaintiff contends that on March 20 through March 30, 2008, during which time he was incarcerated at the Erie County Prison,*fn1 he received inadequate medical treatment for Methicillin- Resistant Staphylococcus Aureau ("MRSA") in violation of his Eighth Amendment rights.*fn2 He also contends that in retaliation for complaining about the inadequate medical treatment, he was placed in the Restrictive Housing Unit ("RHU") for forty-three days.*fn3 [ECF No. 3 at p. 3].

Defendants are represented separately and each previously filed a motion for partial summary judgment. [ECF Nos. 15, 25]. On September 14, 2009, the Court issued a Memorandum Order, Rye v. Erie County Prison, 689 F.Supp.2d 770 (W.D. Pa. Sept. 14, 2009) [also at ECF No. 42] adopting in full the undersigned's Report and Recommendation [ECF No. 37] in which it was recommended that Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment claim against PHS be dismissed. In that same Memorandum Order, the Court denied the Erie County Prison's motion for summary judgment, in which it had argued that Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment claim should be dismissed because he failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. Therefore, the Eighth Amendment claim remains pending against the Erie County Prison, and the retaliation claim, which was not at issue in the previously-filed motions for summary judgment, is still pending against both Defendants.

PHS has filed a second motion for summary judgment [ECF No. 44] on the retaliation claim. The Erie County Prison [ECF No. 50] has filed a second motion for summary judgment regarding both the Eight Amendment and retaliation claims. Plaintiff has not filed an opposition to either motion for summary judgment.

B. Standards Of Review

1. Pro se Pleadings

Pro se pleadings, "however inartfully pleaded,"must be held to "less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers." Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-521 (1972). If the court can reasonably read pleadings to state a valid claim on which the litigant could prevail, it should do so despite failure to cite proper legal authority, confusion of legal theories, poor syntax and sentence construction, or litigant's unfamiliarity with pleading requirements. Boag v. MacDougall, 454 U.S. 364 (1982); United States ex rel. Montgomery v. Brierley, 414 F.2d 552, 555 (3d Cir. 1969) (petition prepared by a prisoner may be inartfully drawn and should be read "with a measure of tolerance"); Smith v. U.S. District Court, 956 F.2d 647 (7 th Cir. 1992); Freeman v. Dep't of Corr., 949 F.2d 360 (10th Cir. 1991). Under our liberal pleading rules, during the initial stages of litigation, a district court should construe all allegations in a complaint in favor of the complainant. Gibbs v. Roman, 116 F.3d 83 (3d Cir. 1997). See, e.g., Nami v. ...


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