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Williams v. Lackawanna County Prison

September 14, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: McClure, J.

Mannion, M.J.



On June 25, 2007, plaintiff Andre Christopher Williams, then a prisoner at Lackawanna County Prison ("LCP"),*fn1 commenced this civil action pro se under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Williams complained that, while he was located at the LCP, he was provided insufficient food; assaulted by corrections officers; denied access to a telephone to speak to family, friends, and his attorney; denied reading materials, including access to the law library; and allowed only one haircut a month and one


The matter initially was referred to United States Magistrate Judge Malachy E. Mannion. In his initial complaint, Williams named the LCP and Janine Donate, the Warden at LCP, as defendants. In an amendment to his complaint, filed on July 2, 2007 (Rec. Doc. No. 6), Williams added Correctional Officers Barry Craven and Scott Blume as defendants. On July 5, 2007, Williams filed a motion in which he sought leave to amend his complaint so as to provide Correction Officer Blume's full name and add a new defendant, Sergeant Chris Masci. (Rec. Doc. No. 8). Magistrate Judge Mannion granted this motion on July 17, 2007. (Rec. Doc. No. 13). On October 8, 2007, defendants Craven, Blume, Masci, the LCP, and Donate ("Lackawanna Defendants") filed an answer with affirmative defenses. (Rec. Doc. No. 31).

Williams filed an amended complaint on April 24, 2008, in which he named as a defendant Aramark Correctional Services, LLC ("Aramark"), a company he claimed provided food to the LCP.*fn2 (Rec. Doc. No. 44).

The Lackawanna Defendants filed an answer on June 26, 2008 (Rec. Doc. No. 52). Aramark filed an answer, with affirmative defenses, to the amended complaint on July 30, 2008. (Rec. Doc. No. 54).

On July 31, 2009, Aramark filed a motion for summary judgment. (Rec. Doc. No. 78). Magistrate Judge Mannion, on February 25, 2010, issued a nine (9) page report and recommendation. (Rec. Doc. No. 88). In his report and recommendation, the magistrate judge concluded that Aramark's motion should be granted, as Williams failed to put forth any evidence that would support his claim that Aramark had violated his constitutional rights based upon the food served to him while at LCP. Id. at 9. By a Memorandum and Order dated April 13, 2010, this court adopted Magistrate Judge Mannion's report and recommendation in full. (Rec. Doc. No. 89).

However, in our April 13, 2010 Memorandum and Order, we also exercised our power pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) to re-screen Williams' complaint and amended complaint. Upon engaging in such re-screening, we dismissed Williams' claims as to all defendants alleging the denial of telephone access to his family, friends, and attorney; the denial of access to reading materials and the law library; the allowance of only one haircut a month; and the denial of clean razors. Id. at 23. However, we let stand Williams' claim against Correctional Officers Craven and Blume, and Sergeant Masci, for their alleged assault on the plaintiff and indicated that a non-jury trial would be scheduled at the convenience of the court. Id. at 24.

Prior to trial, on May 6, 2010, Williams filed a motion to compel (Rec. Doc. No. 93), in which he sought the court to direct the remaining defendants to supplement their responses to Williams' interrogatories (Rec. Doc. No. 82) and request for production of documents (Rec. Doc. No. 46). In our May 12, 2010 Order, we noted the long history of Williams' requests that the defendants in this case be required to respond to his interrogatories. (See Rec. Doc. Nos. 41, 50, 61, and 83). Pursuant to our May 12, 2010 Order, we directed defendants Blume, Craven, and Masci to respond to Williams' motion (Rec. Doc. No. 93) within ten days of the date of our Order. (Rec. Doc. No. 94). On May 20, 2010, the defendants' counsel, Thomas B. Helbig, Esq., certified that copies of the defendants' answers to Williams' interrogatories were mailed to Williams on May 20, 2010. (Rec. Doc. No. 95).*fn3

A non-jury trial was held on May 27, 2010. As directed by the court, both parties filed proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law. (Rec. Doc. Nos. 104 and 107). In addition, the plaintiff filed a response to the defendants' proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law on July 26, 2010. (Rec. Doc. No. 109). This opinion represents this court's decision on the merits of the instant case.


As noted above, at the time relevant to the instant action, plaintiff Andre Christopher Williams was an inmate at the LCP. The remaining defendants, Correctional Officers Scott Blume and Barry Craven ...

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