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Martin Luther Peynado v. Mary Sabol

December 20, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: (Judge Conner)


Plaintiff Martin Luther Peynado ("Peynado"), formerly a detainee of the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement detained at the York County Prison, filed this civil rights action on February 26, 2009, alleging "deliberate indifference when prison officials delayed treatment "for his heart condition." (Doc. 1, at 1.) Presently pending are motions for summary judgment filed on behalf of defendant Dr. William Young ("Young") (Doc. 27) and York County defendants Warden Mary Sabol ("Sabol"), Deputy Warden Steiner ("Steiner"), Donald L. Reihart ("Reihart"), Michael Flannelly ("Flannelly"), Charles L. Noll ("Noll"), Doug Hoke ("Hoke"), Christopher Reilly ("Reilly"), Steve Chronister ("Chronister"), and Roger Thomas ("Thomas") (Doc. 30). For the reasons set forth below the motions for summary judgment will be granted.

I. Statement of Facts

The facts are largely undisputed.*fn1 Upon his initial arrival at the York County Prison on August 28, 2007, Peynado received a medical screening, at which time it was noted that he was on Isordil, a heart medication. (Doc. 29, at ¶¶ 2, 3.) On February 18, 2008, defendant Young discontinued the Isordil because, in his professional medical opinion, it was not necessary. (Id. at ¶¶ 4-7.) The next day, Peynado requested to speak to a doctor about the decision to discontinue the Isordil. (Id. at ¶ 8.) He was seen on February 20, at which time it was explained to him that defendant Young discontinued the medication because it was not medically necessary. (Id. at ¶ 9.) On February 21, 2008, he submitted a second sick call request concerning the discontinuance of the medication. It was noted that the issue had been "taken care of." (Id. at ¶ 10.) A few days later, he filed a third request. (Id. at ¶ 11.)

On February 26, 2008, he was experiencing chest pain and requested medical attention. (Id. at ¶ 12.) He was evaluated in the medical department on that same day and an ECG was administered.*fn2 (Id. at 13.) His vital signs were normal and the ECG, which was read by defendant Young, was also normal. (Id. at ¶¶ 13-14.) Thereafter, he was placed in a medical cell for monitoring. (Id. at ¶ 15.) Between February 27 and 29, he was evaluated eight times. (Id. at ¶ 16.) He was also asked to sign a release so that his medical records could be obtained from the Adams and Perry County prisons. (Doc. 29, at ¶ 17.) He refused. (Id.) On February 29, 2008, a second ECG was administered and Peynado was "cleared" and medical observation was discontinued. (Id. at ¶¶ 18-19.) The medical records do not establish that Peynado had a mild heart attack or complained of symptoms that would suggest a mild heart attack during February of 2008. (Doc. 32-2, at ¶ 7.)

On March 2, 2008, he filed another sick call request complaining of chest pain, which was received in the medical department on March 3, 2008. (Id. at ¶ 20.) His vital signs were checked and he was given another ECG. (Id. at ¶ 21.) He also informed medical staff that he had a Thalium Stress Test while he was incarcerated at the Perry County Prison in 2007, but refused to sign a medical release form which would enable the medical department to obtain and review his past medical records. (Id.) The following day, defendant Young read the ECG and reviewed the results of the 2007 stress test, all of which further confirmed that Isordil was not medically necessary. (Id. at ¶ 23.)

Peynado was seen again on March 10, 2008, with complaints of chest pain. (Id. at ¶ 24.) There was a finding of "non cardiac chest pains." (Id.) On March 25, 2008, he again presented to the medical department with chest pains. His vital signs were checked and an ECG was taken. (Id. at ¶¶ 25, 26.) No treatment was indicated. (Id. at 26.) On March 29, 2008, Peynado was provided a thirty-day prescription of Nitro for complaints of chest pain.*fn3 (Id. at ¶ 28.)

He was also seen in the medical department on September 15, 2008, for complaints of chest pain. (Id. at ¶ 29.) An ECG was administered and resulted in normal findings. (Id. at ¶ 30.) Peynado was given Naprosyn for pain. (Id. at ¶ 29.)

Prior to initiating the instant action on February 26, 2009 (Doc. 1), Peynado utilized the prison complaint review system, which included filing a complaint with the complaint supervisor, an appeal of the complaint supervisor's response to the deputy warden, and a request for solicitor's review, which resulted in a hearing. (Doc. 32, at ¶¶ 2-7.) In addition, his complaint was investigated and it was concluded that the complaint was without merit. (Id. at ¶ 13.) Named as defendants based on their roles in the prison complaint review system are Sabol, Steiner, Reihart, Flannelly, Noll, Hoke, Reilly, Chronister, and Thomas. (Doc. 1, at 2, "Parties" ¶¶ 3-9.)

II. Standard of Review

Through summary adjudication the court may dispose of those claims that do not present a "genuine issue as to any material fact" and for which a jury trial would be an empty and unnecessary formality. See FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c). The burden of proof is upon the non-moving party to come forth with "affirmative evidence, beyond the allegations of the pleadings," in support of its right to relief. Pappas v. City of Lebanon, 331 F. Supp. 2d 311, 315 (M.D. Pa. 2004); FED. R. CIV. P. 56(e); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). This evidence must be adequate, as a matter of law, to sustain a judgment in favor of the non-moving party on the claims. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250-57 (1986); Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587-89 (1986); see also FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c), (e). Only if this threshold is met may the cause of action proceed. Pappas, 331 F. Supp. 2d at 315.

III. Discussion

Section 1983 of Title 42 of the United States Code offers private citizens a cause of action for violations of federal law by state officials. See 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The statute provides, in pertinent part, as follows:

Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the ...

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