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Jones v. Hashagen

November 10, 2010

CHRISTOPHER JONES, PLAINTIFF,
v.
C.O. HASHAGEN, ET AL., ET. AL. DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge McClure

Magistrate Judge Carlson

MEMORANDUM

I. INTRODUCTION

On May 11, 2009, plaintiff Christopher Jones, an inmate at the State Correctional Institution at Mahanoy ("SCI-Mahanoy"), proceeding pro se, commenced this action by filing a complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Rec. Doc. No. 1). At the time of the events in question, the plaintiff was an inmate incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at Dallas ("SCI-Dallas"). In his complaint, plaintiff named as defendants SCI-Dallas Corrections Officers Hashagen and Linhart, Unit Manager Joseph Semon, Superintendent Michael D. Klopotoski, and a Dr. Dempsey.*fn1

II. FACTUAL HISTORY

In his complaint, plaintiff asserted that the above defendants violated the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution when they failed to protect him from an assault by another inmate at SCI-Dallas on February 5, 2008. As recited by the magistrate judge in his report and recommendation:

. . . On [February 5, 2008], as Jones was leaving his cell and proceeding to the guards' desk, another inmate, Woodrow Mitchell, threw a television set from the top tier of the cell block, striking Jones on the head and rendering him unconscious. (Compl. ¶ 15) Mitchell then returned to his own cell and retrieved some hot water, which he also threw down upon Jones as he lay prone on the cell block floor. (Id. ¶ 16.) Apparently, during this assault, Mitchell also threw a shoe at Jones.

After hurling these items at Jones, Mitchell retreated to his cell and locked himself inside. Prison officials responded to the scene, transported Jones to the infirmary, and treated his injuries. (Compl. ¶¶ 20, 21.) Jones was later taken to a hospital, where he received additional medical treatment before being returned to the prison infirmary. (Id. ¶¶ 21-23.) Jones continued to receive treatment for his injuries, in the form of prescription pain relievers, until February 18, 2008. (Id. ¶ 25.) (Rec. Doc. No. 49 at 2-3).

III. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On February 12, 2008, pursuant to Department of Corrections Administrative Directive 804 ("DOC-ADMIN 804"), the plaintiff filed a grievance with the prison's unit manager, Joseph Semon. This grievance was denied. Next, plaintiff filed an appeal with Superintendent Klopotoski, who denied the plaintiff's appeal on March 28, 2008. Finally, prison officials dismissed the plaintiff's final appeal on May 12, 2008, because of its being filed in an untimely manner. Plaintiff claims that this final appeal was in fact timely, as he alleges that he was not provided with the Superintendent's denial of his appeal until April 17, 2008.

On May 11, 2009, plaintiff filed his pro se complaint against defendants Hashagen, Linhart, Semon, Klopotoski, and Dempsey. (Rec. Doc. No. 1). The matter initially was assigned to United States Magistrate Judge Mannion, though it eventually was reassigned to Magistrate Judge Carlson. (Rec. Doc. No. 14). On August 24, 2009, defendants Hashagen, Semon, and Klopotoski ("Corrections Defendants") filed a motion to dismiss. (Rec. Doc. No. 13).

After briefing by the parties (Rec. Doc. Nos. 16, 17), Magistrate Judge Carlson filed a twenty-one page report and recommendation on September 30, 2009. (Rec. Doc. No. 18). Magistrate Judge Carlson recommended dismissal of the plaintiff's claims against the Corrections Defendants to the extent that those claims sought damages from the defendants for acting in their official capacities. (Id. at 19). Second, the magistrate judge recommended that the claim against Superintendent Klopotoski be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted.*fn2 Third, the magistrate judge recommended denial without prejudice of that portion of the Corrections Defendants' motion which sought dismissal of the plaintiff's complaint based upon the failure to exhaust administrative remedies. (Id. at 20). On November 11, 2009, the plaintiff filed a document in which he objected to the magistrate judge's report and recommendation. (Rec. Doc. No. 23).

Upon our review of the complaint and documents in the case and applicable law, we agreed with the magistrate judge's analysis and recommendations. Therefore, we adopted the magistrate judge's report and recommendation in full. (Rec. Doc. No. 26). As such, we dismissed the plaintiff's claims seeking damages based upon the Corrections Defendants' actions undertaken in their official capacity and dismissed without prejudice plaintiff's complaint against Superintendent Klopotoski for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted.*fn3 In addition, we denied without prejudice the Corrections Defendants' motion to the extent that they sought dismissal of the plaintiff's claims for failure to exhaust administrative remedies. We then remanded the case to Magistrate Judge Carlson for further proceedings consistent with our Memorandum and Order.

On February 12, 2010, defendants Hashagen, Semon, and Klopotoski filed an answer to the plaintiff's complaint, with a jury demand. (Rec. Doc. No. 29). On July 7, 2010, defendants Hashagen and Semon filed a motion for summary judgment. (Rec. Doc. No. 40). On July 21, 2010, these defendants filed a brief in support of their motion for summary judgment, as well as a statement of material facts. (Rec. Doc. Nos. 43, 44). In their brief, defendants contend that there are two bases for this court's granting the defendants' motion for summary judgment. First, defendants contend that the plaintiff has failed to exhaust those administrative remedies available to him and, therefore, has procedurally defaulted on the claims he raises. (Rec. Doc. No. 43 at 5-8). Second, ...


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