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Cornell L. Warren v. Mardi I. Vincent

September 22, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Magistrate Judge Lisa Pupo Lenihan


Plaintiff, Cornell L. Warren, is a state inmate currently confined at the State Correctional Institution at Laurel Highlands, Pennsylvania. He commenced this action pursuant to the Civil Rights Act of 1871, 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the superintendent and a sergeant at SCI-Laurel Highlands raising claims of harassment, excessive force used during a cell extraction that occurred on May 16, 2008, at which time his right ring finger was broken, a transfer to SCI-Somerset where he was physically and mentally assaulted, and a transfer back to SCI-Laurel Highlands on September 3, 2008 where he claims he is subject to mental, physical, and emotional abuse.

Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint on November 6, 2008 (ECF No. 14). In this Document Plaintiff alleged that, on December 13, 2007, he was involved in a physical altercation with four corrections officials at SCI-Laurel Highlands: Captain Wilt, Sergeant Lester, Sergeant Lickdenfeld, and C.O. Acey. As a result of this altercation, Plaintiff pleaded guilty to two counts of simple assault in the Court of Common Pleas of Somerset County, Pennsylvania.

Plaintiff alleges that he has been harassed both mentally and physically by unnamed assailants in response to the 2007 assault. Because of this alleged harassment, Plaintiff wrote to both Defendant Vincent and DOC Secretary Jeffrey Beard, requesting to be transferred to another correctional facility. This request was denied because Plaintiff has a medical condition that requires dialysis, and SCI-Laurel Highlands is the only DOC facility capable of providing that treatment. Plaintiff responded that it was possible for him to be transferred to a federal facility pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 5003, or to send him to a prison in another State. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Vincent knew about these avenues through which Plaintiff could be transferred to another facility that was capable of providing medical treatment to him. However, because of Defendant Vincent's deliberate indifference to his plight, Plaintiff remained at SCI-Laurel Highlands, where he avers he continued to suffer physical and mental harassment, including being the target of racial slurs.

Plaintiff further alleged that, on or about May 16, 2008, he was the subject of a cell extraction. He claims that while he was in a prone position during the extraction, an unnamed corrections officer laid the electrical shield on him and shocked him. Plaintiff alleges that after the shield was removed, Defendant Cardenza climbed on his back, whispered "this is for Captain Wilt" in his ear, and broke the ring finger on his right hand while handcuffing him.

After the cell extraction incident, Plaintiff was transferred to the State Correctional Institution at Somerset (SCI-Somerset). While housed at SCI-Somerset, he was routinely sent back to SCI-Laurel Highlands for dialysis, during which time Plaintiff avers he was subjected to physical and mental harassment at the hands of unnamed corrections officers who were "friends or cohorts of Sgt. Cardenza." On September 3, 2008, Plaintiff was transferred back to SCI- Laurel Highlands. Plaintiff alleges that he continues to be subjected to "mental, physical and emotional abuse" at the hands of unnamed assailants at that correctional facility.

On May 8, 2009, Defendants filed a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (ECF No. 37). On January 10, 2010, the Motion was granted as to Plaintiff‟s equal protection claim and denied in all other respects (ECF No. 58). On May 13, 2010, the Court entered an order directing the Clerk of court to try to find counsel to represent Plaintiff on a pro bono basis (ECF No. 74). On April 21, 2011, counsel accepted representation and entered an appearance.

On July 5, the Court re-opened discovery and entered an order that discovery would close on September 13, 2011. (ECF No. 102). Shortly thereafter, on July 28, 2011, Plaintiff, through newly appointed counsel, filed a Motion for Leave to Amend Complaint (ECF No. 104) to add the following.

* Failure to protect claim against Defendant Vincent;

* Delay of medical treatment claim against Defendants Vincent, Meyer, and John Doe;

* Violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); and

* Addition of Defendants David Meyer and John Doe for the delay of medical treatment claim.

For the reasons that follow, Plaintiff‟s Motion will be granted in ...

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