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Robert Guadagno v. Warden Craig A. Lowe

July 21, 2011

ROBERT GUADAGNO, PLAINTIFF,
v.
WARDEN CRAIG A. LOWE, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. John E. Jones III

MEMORANDUM

THE BACKGROUND OF THIS MEMORANDUM IS AS FOLLOWS:

On May 5, 2011, Plaintiff Robert Guadagno ("Plaintiff" or "Guadagno"), an inmate presently confined at the Pike County Correctional Facility ("PCCF") in Lords Valley, Pennsylvania, initiated the above civil rights action pro se by filing a Complaint under the provisions of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. 1.)

After screening his Complaint under the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915, in a Memorandum and Order dated May 19, 2011, we dismissed the Complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted without prejudice to Guadagno's ability to file an amended complaint within twenty-one (21) days. (Doc. 7.) Guadagno's Amended Complaint, filed on June 1, 2011, is before us for screening. (Doc. 8.) For the reasons set forth below, the Amended Complaint will be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).

I. ALLEGATIONS OF AMENDED COMPLAINT

In his Amended Complaint, Guadagno names as Defendants the following employees of the PCCF in their official capacities: Warden Craig A. Lowe, Lieutenant Wincovitch; Sergeant Hugo DeMarco; and Corrections Officer Barry. (Doc. 8 at 1.) He alleges that his constitutional rights, including his rights to due process and to be free from cruel and unusual punishment, were violated when false misconduct charges were filed against him and when, after he was found guilty of those charges, he was confined to the Restricted Housing Unit ("RHU").

At the outset of his Amended Complaint, Guadagno addresses his efforts to exhaust administrative remedies. He states that he filed requests for grievances with Lieutenant Wincovitch and with Warden Lowe and was denied. (Id. ¶ 1.) Guadagno states that he has been threatened by the administration not to file any further requests or he will be reprimanded for misuse of county property and sanctioned to the hole, where he has been since he filed the Complaint in this action. (Id. at 2 ¶ 5.) Attached to his Amended Complaint is a copy of an inmate request form he submitted on May 12, 2011 requesting all videos and documentary evidence pertaining to his May 3, 2011 disciplinary board hearing, which he wished to have saved as evidence for the instant civil action. (Id. at 13.) The response of the same date advises Guadagno that he does not need to put in a request for this and not to do it again or he will be charged with misconduct for misuse of county property and paperwork. (Id.)

However, Guadagno states that he filed an appeal with the Warden from the misconduct at issue. (Id. at 2 ¶¶ 4, 8.) Attached to his Amended Complaint are copies of documents relating to his May 3, 2011 disciplinary board hearing and his appeal from the finding of guilt. These documents include a copy of the Disciplinary Board's Action, which reflects that, following a hearing on May 3, 2011, the Board took the following action:

Based on the fact that you are witnessed exiting cell 3 and entering cell 1 the board finds you guilty of class II #19 (Being in an unauthorized area). This is substantiated by video surveillance.

Based on the fact that you were observed by Officer Barry cutting another inmates [sic] hair and seen on video surveillance shaking out your shirt when you testified that you were tucking in your shirt the board finds you guilty of class II #27 (Misuse of razor or shaver (cutting hair anywhere in housing unit). (Id. at 9.) The Disciplinary Board Action also indicates that Guadagno was sanctioned to 14 days in the RHU with a scheduled release date of May 17, 2011. (Id.)

Also attached to the Amended Complaint is a copy of a Disciplinary Board Review dated May 13, 2011 indicating that Guadagno's sanction had been suspended.(Id. at 10.) A copy of the Warden's May 13 response to Guadagno's May 9 request for a grievance also is attached to the Amended Complaint. (Id. at 11, 14-16.) In the response, the Warden states that the sanction was suspended pending the outcome of an investigation. (Id.)

Guadagno makes the following allegations in his Amended Complaint: Guadagno was found guilty at his disciplinary board hearing even though he claims that the video tapes he reviewed were inconclusive to finding him guilty of any violations that govern the PCCF.(Id. at 2 ¶ 6.) He was sanctioned with fourteen (14) days in the RHU where he is shackled to take a shower and is not able to make phone calls other than legal-related phone calls. (Id. ¶ 7.)

Officer Barry, who was the corrections officer on Guadagno's block at the time of the incident in question (see id. at 8), was on vacation at the time of his disciplinary hearing, but when he arrived back, Guadagno confronted him as to why his reports were changed, and he informed Guadagno that he was "made to lie and perjure himself by Sgt DeMarco." (Id. ¶ 9.) Barry informed him that Sergeant DeMarco made him change his reports three times in order to ensure the outcome of the disciplinary hearing. (Id. at 3 ¶ 11.) Guadagno then filed another request with the Warden for a grievance explaining what Officer Barry said, but he never received a grievance, which is a violation of his right to due process. (Id. at 2 ¶ 10.) Officer Barry informed Lieutenant Campos that he was forced to falsify a legal document because Sergeant DeMarco had it out for Guadagno from a "previous engagement." (Id. at 3 ¶ 12.) But, when Lieutenant Campos presided over Guadagno's disciplinary hearing, he would not listen to the facts of his defense or the fact that a video showed that Guadagno was innocent. (Id. ¶ 13.) He also neglected the testimony of Guadagno's witnesses. (Id.)

Three PCCF employees also were part of Guadagno's D-Board, and one of the officers told Guadagno that two of the employees found him not guilty, but Campos ...


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