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Bailey v. McMahon

September 21, 2010

DEMETRIUS BAILEY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MELISSA MCMAHON, ET AL., DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Chief Judge Kane

MEMORANDUM

This civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 proceeds on an amended complaint filed by Demetrius Bailey ("Plaintiff"), an inmate incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at Fayette, Pennsylvania. Named as Defendants are numerous Department of Corrections officials and employees at the State Correctional Institution at Huntingdon. Also named as Defendants are Prison Health Services ("PHS") and Angela Auman, a physician's assistant employed by PHS. The claims in the amended complaint include the denial of access to the courts, inadequate access to the commissary system, unsanitary health conditions, assault and inadequate medical care. Presently there are miscellaneous motions pending on the docket that the Court will address herein.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff complains of numerous incidents that allegedly took place at SCI-Huntingdon, his former place of confinement. Plaintiff claims that he was denied access to the courts, including the use of the law library, an adequate paging system, legal assistance and legal materials. He also complains that he was denied adequate medical and mental health treatment and basic hygiene items, and that he was subjected to abuse, torture and health hazards.*fn1 In addition, he maintains that the grievance system at the prison is unconstitutional, and that the commissary system is inadequate. He also sets forth a claim of retaliation. The majority of these claims are set forth against the Corrections Defendants. Plaintiff seeks monetary, declaratory and injunctive relief.

On April 28, 2008, service of the amended complaint was directed on Defendants. Waivers of Service were returned by the Corrections Defendants on June 30, 2008. (Doc. No. 35). On July 9, 2008, Defendants Auman and PHS filed a motion to dismiss the amended complaint. On March 19, 2009, the Court granted in part and denied in part this motion. (Doc. No. 61.) The motion was granted to the extent that all claims set forth against PHS were dismissed. The motion was denied with respect to the inadequate medical care and retaliation claims set forth against Auman. An answer to the amended complaint was later filed by Auman. (Doc. No. 62.)

Because the Corrections Defendants did not file a response to the amended complaint, Plaintiff filed a Request for Entry of Default and Motion for Entry of Default Judgment. On November 17, 2008, the Clerks Office entered default as to the Corrections Defendants. On December 2, 2008, the Corrections Defendants filed a Motion to Set Aside Default Judgment. On June 2, 2009, the Court construed Defendants' motion as a Motion to Set Aside Entry of Default. In addition, Plaintiff's motion for entry of default judgment was denied, and Defendants' motion to set aside the entry of default was granted. (Doc. No. 70.) Corrections Defendants were ordered to file an answer or other response to the amended complaint within fifteen (15) days.

On June 15, 2009, Plaintiff filed a motion for sanctions of default judgment (Doc. No. 71). This motion is presently pending on the docket. On the same date Plaintiff also filed a Notice of Appeal to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals from this Court's decision of June 2, 2009, denying his motion for entry of default judgment and granting the Corrections Defendants' motion to set aside default. (Doc. No. 73.) On August 13, 2010, the Third Circuit dismissed Plaintiff's appeal. (Doc. No. 90.)

Also pending in this case are the following motions filed by Plaintiff: (1) Motion for Injunctive Relief (Doc. 52); (2) Motion for Relief (Doc. No. 58); (3) Motion to Compel Discovery from Defendant Auman (Doc. No. 66); and (4) Motion to Compel Discovery from Corrections Defendants (Doc. No. 77). In addition, the Corrections Defendants filed a Motion for Enlargement of Time to serve responses to Plaintiff's discovery requests (Doc. No. 80). The Court will now address each of these outstanding motions.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Plaintiff's Motion for Sanctions of Default Judgment

Without unnecessary elaboration, the Court will deny as moot Plaintiff's Motion for Sanctions of Default Judgment (Doc. No. 71.) Plaintiff filed this motion with respect to the Corrections Defendants, and submitted it prior to the issuance of this Court's Memorandum and Order of June 2, 2009, and the Third Circuit Court of Appeal's dismissal of Plaintiff's appeal therefrom.

B. Plaintiff's Motion to Compel Discovery from Corrections Defendants and Corrections Defendants' Motion for Enlargement to Serve Responses to Discovery Requests

Plaintiff filed a motion to compel discovery from the Corrections Defendants on August 26, 2009, with respect to discovery requests served upon them on June 23, 2009. He claims that Defendants failed to provide any response to his requests. On October 13, 2009, Defendants filed a motion seeking an enlargement of time to provide responses to the discovery requests stating that (1) they were not aware Plaintiff had filed a brief in support of his motion; (2) in light of Plaintiff's appeal to the Third Circuit on the default issue, they were unclear as to whether this Court retained jurisdiction over the discovery motion at that time; and (3) counsel for Corrections Defendants was going to be out of the country until October 26, 2009. Based on the foregoing, Defendants sought an enlargement of time nunc pro tunc within which to respond to the outstanding discovery requests.

For the reasons that follow, Defendants' Motion for Enlargement to Respond to the outstanding discovery requests will be granted, and Plaintiff's Motion to Compel Discovery will be denied without prejudice. In this Court's Memorandum and Order of June 2, 2009, the Corrections Defendants were directed to file a response to the amended complaint within fifteen (15) days. (Doc. No. 70.) As such, their answer or response was due on or before June 22, 2009.*fn2 They filed their answer to the amended complaint on June 18, 2009. Several days later, they were served with Plaintiff's discovery requests. ...


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