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Crews v. Beaven

September 10, 2010

DAVID CREWS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DOCTOR BEAVEN, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. John E. Jones III

MEMORANDUM

THE BACKGROUND OF THIS MEMORANDUM IS AS FOLLOWS:

On December 6, 2007, Plaintiff David Crews ("Plaintiff" or "Crews"), an inmate presently confined at the Dallas State Correctional Institution ("SCI Dallas") in Dallas, Pennsylvania, initiated the above civil rights action pro se by filing a Complaint under the provisions of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. 1.) By Order dated January 22, 2008, a second civil rights Complaint filed by Crews at Civil No. 4:08-CV-0081 (Doc. 9), in which he makes essentially the same allegations, and identifies the doctor he referred to as a "John Doe" in his first Complaint as Dr. Gadea, was consolidated with this action. (Doc. 10.)

Plaintiff's claims stem from events that occurred while he was incarcerated at the Camp Hill State Correctional Institution ("SCI Camp Hill") in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. He names the following employees of SCI Camp Hill as Defendants: Corrections Officers Joseph S. Klepacz, Kevin S. Mains, Jr., and David B. Crozier ("Corrections Defendants"); and Barry Beaven, M.D. and Ramon Gadea, M.D. ("Medical Defendants").

A detailed recitation of the allegations of Plaintiff's Complaint may be found in our March 17, 2009 Order disposing of a Motion to Dismiss filed on behalf of Defendants Beaven and Gadea. (See Doc. 40 at 3-5.) However, to summarize, Crews alleges that Defendants Klepacz, Mains, and Crozier denied him medication in violation of the cruel and unusual punishment clause of the Eighth Amendment, and that their denial of medication after he filed a grievance constituted retaliation in violation of the First Amendment. (See Doc. 1 at 8.) He further alleges that Dr. Beaven disclosed confidential medical information in violation of the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendments (see Doc. 1 at 7 ¶ 12), and that Dr. Gadea refused to give him his medication in violation of the Eighth Amendment (see Doc. 9 ¶ IV(C).)

Presently before the Court are Motions for Summary Judgment filed on behalf of Medical Defendants (Doc. 79) and Corrections Defendants (Doc. 82). For the reasons set forth below, the Motions will be granted.

PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Following the consolidation of the instant action with the action filed at Civil No. 4:08-CV-0081, by Order dated January 29, 2008, service of the consolidated Complaints (Docs. 1, 9) was directed. (Doc. 11.) On March 14, 2008, a Motion to Dismiss the Complaint was filed on behalf of the Medical Defendants. (Doc. 15.) By Order dated March 17, 2009, the Motion was granted in part and denied in part. (Doc. 40.) Specifically, Plaintiff's Fourth Amendment claim and request for compensatory damages arising out of his Fourteenth Amendment claim were dismissed with prejudice. (See id. at 13.) However, Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment claim against Dr. Gadea, Fourteenth Amendment claim against Dr. Beaven, and requests for nominal and punitive damages were allowed to proceed. (See id.) On March 27, 2009, Defendants Beaven and Gadea filed Answers to the Complaint. (Docs. 42, 43).

Following the establishment of case management deadlines, and the subsequent extension of the dispositive motions deadlines, on September 17, 2009, a Motion for Summary Judgment was filed on behalf of Medical Defendants. (Doc. 79.) A Statement of Material Facts (Doc. 80), supporting exhibits (Docs. 80-2 through 80-15); and a supporting brief (Doc. 81) also were filed.

On September 24, 2009, a Motion for Summary Judgment was filed on behalf of Corrections Defendants. (Doc. 82.) A supporting brief (Doc. 83), Statement of Material Facts (Doc. 84), and Appendices (Docs. 85, 86) also were filed.

In an Order dated December 22, 2009, we granted Plaintiff's first request for an extension of time to file his opposition to the pending Motions. (Doc. 88.) Plaintiff subsequently requested two (2) additional extensions of time in Motions filed on February 8, 2010 (Doc. 92) and March 29, 2010 (Doc. 95), which were granted. However, Plaintiff's fourth request for an extension of time (Doc. 97), filed on April 23, 2010, was denied, and by Order dated April 26, 2010, and he was directed to file his opposition to the pending Motions for Summary Judgment, including an opposing brief and statement of material facts as required by M.D. Pa. LR 56.1, on or before May 5, 2010. (See Doc. 98.)

Thereafter, Crews filed his opposition to Medical Defendants' Motion, including an opposition brief (Doc. 105), a response to Medical Defendants' Statement of Material Facts (Doc. 106), and supporting exhibits (Docs. 106-2 through 106-6). Medical Defendants have filed a reply brief.*fn1 (Doc. 108.)

In opposition to Corrections Defendants' Motion, Crews filed an opposition brief (Doc. 101), a Statement of Material Facts (Doc. 102 at 1-3), and supporting exhibits (Doc. 102 at 4-62). Accordingly, the Motions are fully briefed and ripe for disposition.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Summary judgment is appropriate if the record establishes "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). Initially, the moving party bears the burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). The movant meets this burden by pointing to an absence of evidence supporting an essential element as to which the non-moving party will bear the burden of proof at trial. Id. at 325. Once the moving party meets its burden, the burden then shifts to the non-moving party to show that there is a genuine issue for trial. Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e)(2). An issue is "genuine" only if there is a sufficient evidentiary basis for a reasonable jury to find for the non-moving party, and a factual dispute is "material" only if it might affect the outcome of the action under the governing law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248-49 (1986).

In opposing summary judgment, the non-moving party "may not rely merely on allegations or denials in its own pleadings; rather, its response must... set out specific facts showing a genuine issue for trial." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e)(2). The non-moving party "cannot rely on unsupported allegations, but must go beyond pleadings and provide some evidence that would show that there exists a genuine issue for trial." Jones v. United Parcel Serv., 214 F.3d 402, 407 (3d Cir. 2000). Arguments made in briefs "are not evidence and cannot by themselves create a factual dispute sufficient to defeat a summary judgment motion." Jersey Cent. Power & Light Co. v. Twp. of Lacey, 772 F.2d 1103, 1109-10 (3d Cir. 1985). However, the facts and all reasonable inferences drawn therefrom must be viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. P.N. v. Clementon Bd. of Educ., 442 F.3d 848, 852 (3d Cir. 2006).

Summary judgment should not be granted when there is a disagreement about the facts or the proper inferences that a factfinder could draw from them. Peterson v. Lehigh Valley Dist. Council, 676 F.2d 81, 84 (3d Cir. 1982). Still, "the mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment; the requirement is that there be no genuine issue of material fact." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247-48.

STATEMENT OF MATERIAL FACTS

Before reciting the facts material to the resolution of the instant Motions, we observe that Crews filed a Statement of Material Facts directly responding to the numbered paragraphs set forth in Medical Defendants' Statement, as required by Middle District of Pennsylvania Local Rule ("LR") 56.1.*fn2 (See Doc. 106.) However, Medical Defendants correctly observe in their reply brief (Doc. 108) that the Statement violates LR 56.1 in many instances in that Crews offers general denials and/or fails to cite to the portions of the record that support his statements. Nevertheless, in many other instances, Crews does explain his denials and provides citations to the record to support them. Therefore, we decline to deem all of the facts in Medical Defendants' Statement to be admitted, but instead, in light of Plaintiff's pro se status, and the fact that he is the non-moving party, have reviewed the facts he has submitted that are in compliance with LR 56.1 to determine whether he has succeeded in showing that there are any genuine issues of material fact.

Plaintiff's Statement of Material Facts submitted in opposition to the Corrections Defendants' Motion also fails to fully comply with LR 56.1. (See Doc. 102.) Plaintiff's failure to comply is even more obvious in that the paragraphs in his Statement do not correspond to the numbered paragraphs in Corrections Defendants' Statement, and Plaintiff fails to specify whether he admits or denies each of Defendants' facts. (See id.) Despite these defects, upon careful review, it is apparent that many of the paragraphs in Plaintiff's Statement contain responses in which he disputes statements of fact by Corrections Defendants'. In many instances, Plaintiff also cites to portions of the record to support his statements. Therefore, again, in light of his pro se status, we have reviewed the facts he has submitted that are in compliance with LR 56.1 to determine whether he has succeeded in showing that there are any genuine issues of material fact.

We now present the following statement of facts material to the disposition of the instant Motions:

I. FACTS RELATING TO CLAIMS AGAINST CORRECTIONS DEFENDANTS

At all times material hereto, Crews was an inmate at SCI Camp Hill, where he was confined within the Special Management Unit ("SMU"). (Doc. 84, Corrections Dfts. Statement of Material Facts ("SMF"), ¶ 1; Doc. 102, Pltf. SMF, ¶ 1.) At all times relevant hereto, the Corrections Defendants were employed by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections ("DOC")as Corrections Officers at SCI Camp Hill. (Doc. 84 ¶ 2; Doc. 102 ¶ 2.)

A. Defendant Klepacz

In his Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that, on July 31, 2007, Defendant Klepacz came up to Plaintiff's cell with a nurse who was administering medication to inmates and stated, "He's not ready, he doesn't have his jumpsuit on. (Doc. 84 ¶ 3; Doc. 102 ¶ 3.) According to Plaintiff's allegations, Klepacz also stated, "I don't care if you die Crews." (Doc. 84 ¶ 4; Doc. 102 ¶ 3.) Klepacz has sworn under penalty of perjury that when he arrived at Plaintiff's cell on July 31, 2007, Plaintiff was not wearing his jumpsuit. (Doc. 85 at 5, Klepacz Decl., ¶ 6.) Crews admitted in Grievance No. 195654, and admits in his Statement of Material Facts responding to Medical Defendants' Statement, that he was not wearing his jumpsuit on July 31, 2007, and the officer ...


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