Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Hagan v. Chambers

November 19, 2010

DAMONT HAGAN, PLAINTIFF
v.
CHRIS CHAMBERS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Conner

MEMORANDUM

Plaintiff Damont Hagan ("Hagan"), a state inmate incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at Camp Hill, Pennsylvania ("SCI-Camp Hill") at all times relevant, commenced this civil action on September 23, 2008.*fn1 The matter is presently proceeding via a second amended complaint filed on June 11, 2009. (Doc. 60). Contained in the amended complaint are claims that during his confinement in the Special Management Unit ("SMU") at SCI-Camp Hill, defendants John Palakovich ("Palakovich"), Richard Southers ("Southers"), Chris Chambers ("Chambers"), Richard Via ("Via"), Nathan Goss ("Goss"), Keith Carberry ("Carberry"), Paul Bingaman ("Bingaman"), Barry Jones ("Jones"), Mark Spieles ("Spieles"), Thomas Bickert ("Bickert"), Robert Eger ("Eger"), Joe Gemberling ("Gemberling"), Matthew Troutman ("Troutman") and William Warner ("Warner") subjected Hagan to inhumane conditions of confinement in violation of the Eighth Amendment, retaliated against him for exercising his First Amendment rights, and conspired with one another in engaging in the aforementioned constitutional violations. Id. Ripe for disposition is defendants' motion for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. For the reasons set forth below, the motion will be granted.

I. Statement of Material Facts*fn2

During the relevant time period, January 3, 2008, until November 30, 2008, Hagan was housed in the SMU at SCI-Camp Hill, a Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Corrections ("DOC") program that manages inmates who are disruptive and/or violent. (Doc. 72, ¶¶ 7, 9; Doc. 83, ¶ 2.) The SMU Handbook, which is provided to all SMU inmates, informs the inmates of the general rules and regulations to be followed at all times. (Doc. 72, ¶ 10). Showers and exercise are offered during the 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. shift. (Doc. 72, ¶ 12.) Supplies are distributed during the 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. shift in accordance with the schedule set forth in the SMU Handbook. (Doc. 72, ¶ 13). That schedule provides that facial soap is issued once per week with the trade in of the residue bar required; toothpaste is issued once every fourteen days with a trade in of a spent tube required; a toothbrush and washcloth are issued once per month with a trade in of the worn items required; and cell cleaning equipment is issued once per week. (Doc. 72, ¶ 14, Doc. 83, ¶ 17.) Inmates are responsible for the cleanliness of their assigned cell. (Doc. 72, ¶ 15, Doc. 83, ¶ 3.) The handbook further specifies that the rules and regulations contained therein are not all inclusive and that orders that are not mentioned in the handbook are to be followed and failure to follow an order will result in disciplinary action in accordance with Administrative Directive DC-ADM 801. (Doc. 72, ¶ 11.)

Also, SMU staff documents positive or negative behavior on a "DC-17X Quarters Card" ("DC-17X" ) which is used for making recommendations regarding an inmate's continued placement in the SMU. (Doc. 72, ¶ 16.) Hagan's DC-17X is a part of the record. (Doc. 72, ¶ 20, Ex. A-1.) Hagan's DC-17X is replete with notations showing that when he did not receive a toiletry or hygiene material, he refused the item, was restricted from receiving the item due to disciplinary reasons (Exs. B-2, B-4, B-6, B-23, B-25, B-30, E-1, and G-2), was sleeping during distribution of supplies, or did not comply with the SMU Inmate Handbook provisions for receiving supplies. (Doc. 72, ¶ 231, Ex. A-1.)

A. Conditions of Confinement Claims

1. Hagan's allegations that he was deprived of all basic toiletries and hygiene materials on January 3-6, 2008, January 8, 2008, January 10-13, 2008, January 15, 2008, January 17-20, 2008, January 22, 2008, January 24-27, 2008, January 29, 2008, and January 31, 2009

On January 3, 2008, Hagan refused exercise, but accepted a shave. (Doc. 72, ¶ 23.) On January 4, 2008, he received laundry exchange, but refused exercise. (Doc. 72, ¶ 24, Ex. A-1.) Later that day, he was placed on exercise, shower, shave, cell cleaning, and commissary restrictions after receiving Misconduct No. A635837 reported by defendant Spieles, for threatening an employee or their family with bodily harm; using abusive, obscene, or inappropriate language to an employee; and refusing to obey an order. (Doc. 72, ¶ 25, Ex. B.) He was found guilty of all charges on January 9, 2008. (Id.) No appeal was taken. (Id.)

On January 5, 2008, he refused a shower and it was noted that he was restricted from cleaning his cell. (Doc. 72, ¶ 26.) On January 6, 2008, he was restricted from shaving and was not standing on his door when toilet paper and soap were distributed in accordance with the SMU Inmate Handbook. (Doc. 72, ¶ 27.) On January 8, 2008, he refused a shower, and later that day, was again placed on exercise, shower, shave, cell cleaning, and commissary restrictions after receiving Misconduct No. A635838 reported by defendant Eger, for threatening an employee and using abusive language to an employee. (Doc. 72, ¶ 28, Ex. B-6; Doc. 72, ¶ 29, Ex. A-1.) He was found guilty at his January 9, 2008, disciplinary hearing. (Doc. 72, ¶ 28, Ex. B-5.) His appeal of the finding of guilt determination was unsuccessful. (Id.)

On January 10, 2008, he refused the offer to exercise and although he accepted a shower, he refused soap and made obscene comments to staff. (Doc. 72, ¶30.) The following day he refused laundry exchange, and the day after that he refused a shower and was restricted from cell cleaning due to misconducts. (Id. at ¶¶ 31-32.) On January 13, 2008, he did not receive a shave because he was on shave restriction. (Id. at ¶ 33.) On January 15, 2008, Hagan refused exercise and a shower and did not receive a shave because it was still restricted. (Id. at ¶ 34) On January 17, 2008, he refused a shower and was restricted from shaving. (Id. at ¶ 35.) The following day he refused exercise, and on January 19, 2008, he refused a shower. (Id. at ¶ 36.) On January 20, 2008, he received soap and toilet paper. (Id. at ¶ 38.) On January 22, 2008, Hagan was restricted from shaving and refused exercise and a shower. (Id. at ¶ 39.)

On January 24, 2008, Hagan was restricted from shaving and refused a shower. (Id. at ¶ 40.) Also on January 24, 2008, Hagan received Misconduct No. A831720 for threatening an employee or their family with bodily harm; sexual harassment; indecent exposure; using abusive language to an employee; and refusing to obey an order. (Id. at ¶ 41.)

On January 25, 2008, Hagan was not at his door for laundry exchange. (Id. at ¶ 42.) On January 26, 2008, he refused a shower, and on January 27, 2008, he was restricted from shaving. (Id. at ¶ 43.) On January 27, 2008, Hagan received Misconduct No. A635852 for threatening an employee; using abusive/obscene language; and refusing to obey an order. (Id. at ¶ 44, Ex. B-9.)

On January 29, 2008, Hagan refused a shower and exercise, and he was restricted from shaving. (Id. at ¶ 45, Ex. A-1.) On January 31, 2008, Hagan was restricted from shaving. (Id. at ¶ 46.)

2. Hagan's allegations that he was deprived of all basic toiletries and hygiene materials on February 1-3, 2008, February 5, 2008, February 7-10, 2008, February 12, 2008, February 14-17, 2008, February 19, 2008, and February 21-22, 2008

On February 1, 2008, he exchanged his laundry. (Doc. 72, ¶ 47, Ex. A-1.) He was not at his door for cell cleaning on February 2, 2008, but, the following day he received soap and toilet paper, and he accepted a shave. (Id. at ¶¶ 48, 49, Ex. A-1.) On February 5, 2008, and February 7, 2008, he refused a shower and offers to exercise, but accepted a shave; on February 7, 2008, he received soap. (Id. at ¶¶ 50, 51, Ex. A-1.) He accepted his laundry exchange the following day. (Id. at ¶ 52, Ex. A-1.) On February 9, 2008, Hagan refused a shower. (Id. at ¶ 53, Ex. A-1.) On February 10, 2008, he accepted a shave. (Id. at ¶ 54, Ex. A-1.) On February 12, 2008, he refused exercise and a shower, but accepted a shave. (Id. at ¶ 55, Ex. A-1.) On February 14, 2008, Hagan refused exercise and a shower and was restricted from shaving. (Id. at ¶ 57, Ex. A-1.) On February 15, 2008, he refused exercise and accepted the laundry exchange. (Id. at ¶ 58, Ex. A-1.) The following day, Hagan was on cell cleaning restriction and refused a shower. (Id. at ¶ 59, Ex. A-1.) He refused a shave on February 17, 2008. (Id. at ¶ 60, Ex. A-1.) On February 19, 2008, Hagan accepted a shower and was restricted from shaving. (Id. at ¶ 61, Ex. A-1.) On February 21, 2008, Hagan refused exercise and a shower, accepted a shave, and was issued soap. (Id. at ¶ 62, Ex. A-1.) He also refused exercise on February 22, 2008. (Id. at ¶ 63, Ex. A-1.)

3. Hagan's allegations that he was deprived of all basic toiletries and hygiene materials on March 11, 2008, March 13-16, 2008, March 18, 2008, March 20-23, 2008, March 25, 2008, and March 27-30, 2008

On March 11, 2008, Hagan refused a shower and was restricted from shaving. (Doc. 72, ¶ 64, Ex. A-1.) On March 13, 2008, Hagan refused exercise and a shower and was restricted from shaving. (Doc. 72, ¶ 106, Ex. A-1.) He was verbally assaultive during the soap exchange and no soap was given to him. (Id.) On March 14, 2008, he refused exercise and was yelling obscenities during laundry exchange. (Id. at ¶ 107.) On March 15, 2008, Hagan refused a shower and was using abusive language toward staff so no cell cleaning materials were distributed. (Id. at ¶ 108.) The following day, he was restricted from shaving, and he was sleeping during the soap and toilet paper exchange. (Id. at ¶ 109.) Two days after that, he refused exercise and a shower and was restricted from shaving. (Id. at ¶ 110.) On March 20, 2008, Hagan refused exercise and a shower and was restricted from shaving. (Id. at ¶ 111.) On March 21, 2008, he was using racial slurs, yelling during laundry exchange, and refused exercise. (Id. at ¶ 112.) On March 22, 2008, he accepted a shower. (Id. at ¶ 113.) On March 23, 2008, Hagan was restricted from shaving and did not hand in his soap during the soap exchange. (Id. at ¶ 114.) On March 25, 2008, Hagan accepted a shower, but was restricted from shaving. (Id. at ¶ 115.) He refused exercise, a shower, and a shave and soap on March 27, 2008. (Id. at ¶ 116.) The next day he refused exercise and accepted laundry. (Id. at ¶ 117.) The day after that, he accepted a shower. (Id. at ¶ 118). On March 30, 2008, Hagan refused soap and toilet paper, and he also refused a shave. (Id. at ¶ 119.)

4. Hagan's allegations that he was deprived of all basic toiletries and hygiene materials on April, 1, 2008, April 3-6, 2008, April 8, 2008, April 10-12, 2008

On April 1, 2008, he refused exercise and accepted a shower, but was restricted from shaving. (Id. at ¶ 120.) On April 2, 2008, Hagan received Misconduct Nos. A940210, A940211, A940212, for unauthorized use of the mail after he sent letters with attached affidavits via third parties to three inmates asking each inmate to have the enclosed affidavits notarized and thereafter, mail them to the address he provided in the letters. (Doc. 72, ¶¶ 121, 122, Exs. B-15 through B-17.) In one of the letters, he states that he "did all of this 'intentional.' I had to find a route to roll out so I 'created' a problem so I can go through the courts." (Doc. 72, ¶ 123, Ex. B-15.) He was found guilty of all three misconducts. (Doc. 72, ¶ 124, Exs. B-15 through B-17.) He did not appeal the misconducts. (Doc. 72, ¶ 126.) On April 3, 2008, Hagan refused soap, accepted exercise and a shower, and was restricted from shaving. (Doc. 72, ¶ 127, Ex. A-1.). The following day, he was lying in his bed for laundry exchange and refused exercise. (Id. at ¶ 128.) The day after that, he refused cell cleaning, but accepted a shower. (Id. at ¶ 129.) The next day, he refused toilet paper and soap and was restricted from shaving. (Id. at ¶ 130.) On April 8, 2008, and April 10, 2008, Hagan refused exercise and a shave, but accepted a shower. (Id. at ¶ 131.) He refused laundry exchange on April 11, 2008, but accepted exercise. (Id. at ¶ 132.) On April 12, 2008, he accepted a haircut. (Id. at ¶ 133.)

5. Hagan's allegations that he was deprived of all basic toiletries and hygiene materials on June 1, 2008, June 3, 2008, June 5-8, 2008, June 10, 2008, June 12-15, 2008

On June 1, 2008, he was restricted from shaves, and subsequently, on June 3, 2008, when he was given the opportunity to shave, he did not get out of bed. (Doc. 72, ¶ 139, Ex. A-1.) On June 5, 2008, he refused exercise and was sleeping for shaves and soap distribution. (Id. at ¶ 140.) The next day, Hagan refused exercise. (Id. at ¶ 141.) He received commissary, but he was verbally abusive and loud and therefore, he did not receive laundry exchange. (Id.) On June 7, 2008, he refused a shower. (Id. at ¶ 142.) On June 8, 2008 and June 10, 2008, he refused shaves. (Id. at ¶ 143.) On June 12, 2008, he refused exercise, a shower, and a shave, (Id. at ¶ 144). On June 13, 2008, Hagan refused exercise. (Doc. 72, ¶ 147, Ex. A-1.) On June 14, 2008, he was verbally abusive when cell cleaning materials were distributed. (Id. at ¶ 148.) On June 15, 2008, Hagan was restricted from shaving and did not receive toilet paper and soap because he was vulgar during distribution. (Id. at ¶ 149.)

B. False Misconduct, Retaliation, and Conspiracy Claims

1. January 3, 2008 through June 13, 2008

Hagan alleges that Troutman, Eger, Spieles, Bickart, and Gemberling retaliated against him by depriving him of all hygiene materials from January 3, 2008, through June 13, 2008. (Doc. 60, at 2, ¶ 7.

He also alleges that Eger and Spieles urinated on his belongings on February 26, 2008. On February 26, 2008, he was escorted back to the SMU from a medical psychiatric observation cell ("POC") by defendants Troutman, Carberry, and Gemberling, and was placed in cell 02-19 on E-block. (Doc. 72, ¶ 65; Doc. 83 ¶ 20.) Hagan claims that when he returned from the POC he found all his property drenched in urine. (Doc. 60, ¶ 26.) He contends that Spieles and Eger urinated on his property in retaliation for his filing of grievances and complaints against them. (Doc. 60, ¶ 26, Doc. 83, ¶ 23.) Spieles and Eger declare that they did not did not urinate on his belongings. (Doc. 72, ¶ 67.) The record reflects that Hagan did not show defendants Carberry and Bingaman clothing, bedding or other property "drenched in urine." (Doc. 72, ¶ 66.)

Hagan's toothbrush, toothpaste, soap and toilet paper were not in his cell when he returned from POC. (Doc. 72, ¶ 69.) Carberry directed defendant Bingaman to replace the missing items. (Doc. 72, ¶ 70.) Hagan then began flooding the tier (Doc. 72, ¶ 71) and, as a result, defendant Carberry instructed defendant Bingaman to temporarily suspend Hagan's toothpaste, toothbrush, soap, and toilet paper supplies. (Doc. 72, ¶ 72.) He was subsequently provided with the hygiene items. (Id. at ¶ 73; Doc. 83, ¶ 33.)

He was given misconduct A740328 for refusing to obey an order and was placed on exercise, shower, shave, cell cleaning, and water restriction. (Doc. 72, ¶ 71, Ex. E; Doc. 83, ¶ 28.) Water restriction was in place for approximately four and one-half days, from midnight on February 26, 2008, until noon on March 3, 2008, but he was offered water at regular increments for purposes of drinking and/or flushing the toilet in his cell. (Doc. 72, ¶ 81; Ex. E-2.) According to the water restriction report, he accepted water seven out of thirty-six times offered (Doc. 72, ¶ 81.) For instance, on February 26, 2008, the day the water restriction began Hagan refused a flush and/or drink of water at 2400 hours and 0400 hours. (Doc. 72, ¶ 82, Ex. E-2.) The next day, he accepted a flush and/or drink at 1600 and 0400 but refused both the remaining four times he was offered. (Id. at ¶ 83, Ex. E-2.) On February 28, 2008, he accepted a flush and/or drink of water at 0800 and 1200 hours, but refused it at 1600 and 2000 hours. (Id. at ¶ 84, Ex. E-2.) Additionally, he refused his soap exchange and was verbally abusive toward staff. (Doc. 72, ¶ 85, Ex. A-1.) On February 29, 2008, he refused a flush and/or drink of water all four times he was offered the service. (Doc. 72, ¶ 86, Ex. E-2.) On March 1, 2008, he accepted a drink of water and/or flush at 0800 hours and refused same at 1200, 1600, and 2000 hours. (Id. at ¶ 87.) On March 1, 2008, he received a new jumpsuit, whites, linens and a mattress. (Id. at ¶ 88, Ex. E-2.) On March 2, 2008, he accepted a drink of water and/or flush at 0800 hours, but refused it five other times. (Id. at ¶ 89, Ex. E-2.) He also refused a haircut and a shave and was threatening to throw feces on staff. (Doc. 72, ¶ 90, Ex. A-1.) On March 3, 2008, Hagan refused a flush and/or drink of water at 0800 hours and accepted a flush and/or a drink of water at 1200 hours, at which time the water restriction ended. (Id. at ¶ 91.)

Defendants Troutman, Bickert, Spieles, Eger, Bingaman, and Carberry vigorously dispute Hagan's claim that they conspired to leave him in "inhuman" conditions, left him in inhumane conditions, or retaliated against him, during this time period. (Doc. 72, ¶¶ 92, 95, 97.) Via and Jones have no recollection of Hagan's expression of concern about his conditions of confinement on two different days in February 2008, and Chambers specifically denies allegations that he refused to help Hagan because he filed grievances and complaints. (Doc. 72, ¶ 98.) Goss states that Hagan never informed him of inhumane conditions. (Id.)

Conversely, inmate Jackson states that Hagan was left in his cell during this time period without a drink of water or flush of the toilet and "given nothing dispite [sic] him addressing staff continuously about his condition, physical discomfort and mental deterioration." (Doc. 83, ¶ 32; Doc. 84-4, Jackson Decl., at 45-46, ¶ 3; Doc. 84-8, Jackson Decl., at 4, ¶ 7.) Inmate Gary Tucker states that he "witnessed all SMU staff refuse to give Hagan a drink of water or a flush (toilet), despite Hagan requesting such daily." (Doc. 83, ¶ 32; Doc. 84-3, Declaration of Gary Tucker ("Tucker Decl."), at 52 ¶ 4.) Inmate Terry Brooks states that he "witnessed correctional officers Bickert, Troutman, Spieles, Eger, Weis, and Gemberling... deprive inmate Damont Hagan of toiletries, 'frequently' dispite [sic] Hagan informing them of skin irritation, rashes and other things but these staff's [sic] replied with comments such as 'Hagan, you're not getting shit" or 'just write it up again pussy,' or 'when you quit snitching on us, we'll start giving you your shit.' Mr Hagan, also addressed superiors such as Chris Chambers, Lt. Goss, Lt. Via, and the Superintendent, but Hagan still received nothing and was even threatend [sic] by Lt. Goss and Chris Chambers." (Doc. 83, ¶ 32; Doc. 84-4, Declaration of Terry Brooks ("Brooks Decl."), at 48, ¶ 2.) Hagan alleges that as a result of the conditions to which he was exposed, he suffered bleeding rashes. (Doc. 72, ¶ 100; Doc. 83, ¶ 45.) He concedes that he was treated for the rashes. (Id.)

He contends that the misconduct that was issued was fabricated and written in retaliation for him filing complaints and grievances. (Doc. 60, ¶¶ 16, 26.) The DOC operates a disciplinary process that provides clear notice of prohibited behavior, outlines a fair hearing process, and establishes consistent sanctions for violations of DOC rules and regulations provided in the DC-ADM 801. (Doc. 72, ¶ 77.) DC-ADM 801 provides a process for resolution of alleged inmate violations; the initial misconduct is heard by a Hearing Examiner, if the violation is determined to need formal resolution, an appeal from the Hearing Examiner's decision can be made to the Program Review Committee ("PRC"), within fifteen days of the hearing; an appeal from the PRC decision to the Superintendent, within seven days of the PRC decision; and the final appeal to the Chief Hearing Examiner, within seven days of the decision of the Superintendent. (Doc. 72, ¶ 78.) Hagan refused to attend the hearing and he was found guilty. (Doc. 72, ¶ 76.) He did not appeal the misconduct to the PRC. (Id. at ¶ 79.) Because he failed to appeal the misconduct to final review, he failed to exhaust his administrative remedies. (Id. at ¶ 80.)

On March 10, 2008, seven extra photos were found and confiscated during a cell search. (Doc. 72, ¶ 102.) Hagan alleges that, following this cell search, he did not receive soap or a toothbrush until March 20, 2008. (Doc. 60, ¶ 4.) However, on March 12, 2008, Hagan was placed on exercise, shower, shave, and cell cleaning restrictions following receipt of Misconduct No. A740333 for threatening an employee or other family with bodily harm, using abusive, obscene, or inappropriate language to an employee, and refusing to obey an order. (Doc. 72, ¶ 105, Ex. B-14.) Thereafter, on March 13, 2008, he was verbally abusive during soap exchange and no soap was given; on March 16, 2008, Hagan was sleeping during soap exchange; on March 23, 2008, Hagan did not hand in his soap during soap exchange in accordance with the SMU Inmate Handbook; on March 27, 2008, Hagan refused soap; on March 30, 2008, Hagan refused soap; on April 3, 2008, Hagan refused soap; and on April 6, 2008, Hagan refused soap. (Doc. 72, ¶ 104, Ex. A-1.)

2. May 31, 2008 through August 1, 2008

On May 30, 2008, Hagan received Misconduct No. A831732 for sexual harassment and using abusive, obscene, or inappropriate language to an employee. (Doc. 72, ¶ 134; Ex. B-18.) On May 31, 2008, he received Misconduct No. A730107 for refusing to obey an order. (Doc. 72, ¶ 135; Ex. B-19.) Hagan filed a grievance charging that defendant Warner used excessive force on him on May 31, 2008. (Doc. 83, ¶ 31; Doc. 76, at 94.) In response to his grievance, he was informed that "... you're [sic] claim that you were physically assaulted on 5-31-08 by Sgt. Warner was videotaped, having reviewed this video tape several times it is clear from my observation that you were not assaulted by Sgt. Warner." (Doc. 76, at 96.) This conclusion was upheld on appeal. (Doc. 76, at 98, 102.) He alleges that because of this grievance, Warner retaliated against him by refusing to turn off the bright light in his cell from May 31, 2008, through August ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.