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Jesse Caryl James Wolfgang v. John Doe and C.O. Labesky

December 1, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Cathy Bissoon



Pending before the Court is Defendants John Doe and C.O. Labesky‟s Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 22). For the reasons stated herein, the Court will grant in part and deny in part Defendants‟ motion.


A.Factual Background

Plaintiff Jesse Caryl James Wolfgang currently is incarcerated at the State Correctional Institute at Coal Township, Pennsylvania. Am. Compl. ¶ 3 (Doc. 26). At the time of the events giving rise to this action, Plaintiff was incarcerated in the Warren County Prison in Warren, Pennsylvania. Id.

On November 16, 2008, Plaintiff called Defendant Correctional Officer Julie Labesky to his cell. Am. Compl. ¶ 31 (Doc. 26); Labesky Decl. ¶ 8 (Doc. 25-9).*fn1 Plaintiff claims that he asked Defendant Labesky for a "slip" to make a written complaint about another inmate, Kevin Brown. Am. Compl. ¶ 30 (Doc. 26). Plaintiff wanted to quietly inform prison staff that he believed Brown had not been showering and that his body odor was permeating the cell block. Id. According to Plaintiff, Defendant Labesky refused to give Plaintiff a slip and insisted that Plaintiff tell her his complaint orally, which he did. Id. at ¶ 30-31. Defendant Labesky agrees that Plaintiff orally conveyed his complaint, but denies that Plaintiff first requested a slip to make a written complaint. Labesky Decl. ¶¶ 7-8 (Doc. 25-9).

Defendant Labesky then went to Brown‟s cell and asked Brown if he had been showering. Am. Compl. ¶ 33 (Doc. 26); Labesky Decl. ¶ 9 (Doc. 25-9). Brown responded that he had been showering and that "people better stop running their f***ing mouths." Am. Compl. ¶ 33 (Doc. 26); Labesky Decl. ¶ 10 (Doc. 25-9). According to Plaintiff, Defendant Labesky then told Brown, "well, if you don‟t, then Wolfgang is going to drop a slip on you." Am. Compl. ¶ 33 (Doc. 26). According to Defendant Labesky, she did not tell Brown that Plaintiff complained about Brown‟s failure to shower. Labesky Decl. ¶ 11 (Doc. 25-9).

On November 17, 2008, Brown used his fists to strike Plaintiff in the face and head while Plaintiff was watching television. Am. Compl. ¶ 35 (Doc. 26); Answer ¶ 35 (Doc. 15). At least one corrections officer witnessed this attack and responded to the event, resulting in the removal of Brown. Am. Compl. ¶ 35 (Doc. 26); Answer ¶ 35 (Doc. 15). Correctional officers then initiated a lockdown of all but Plaintiff‟s cell. Am. Compl. ¶ 36 (Doc. 26); Answer ¶ 36 (Doc. 15).

Plaintiff "was in a state of shock" and had trouble seeing. Am. Compl. ¶ 37 (Doc. 26). Plaintiff‟s nose was bleeding and he attempted to use toilet paper to stop the bleeding. Am. Compl. ¶ 37 (Doc. 26); Answer ¶ 37 (Doc. 15). According to Plaintiff, his right cheek and nose began to swell and the bridge of his nose and eyes became black and blue. Am. Compl. ¶ 37 (Doc. 26).

No medical staff was present at the Warren County Prison at this time. Am. Compl. ¶ 39 (Doc. 26); Answer ¶ 39 (Doc. 15). Prison personnel contacted the on-call medical staff member who, upon hearing of Plaintiff‟s symptoms, directed that Plaintiff be taken to a hospital. Britton Decl. ¶ 6 (Doc. 25-8).*fn2 Plaintiff was taken to Warren General Hospital approximately two and a half hours after the attack. See Warren General EDM Patient Record at 1 (Doc. 25-1 at 16) (noting "Stated Complaint PUNCHED IN FACE AT 1245PM" and "Arrival Date 11/17/08 Time 1528"); Britton Decl. ¶ 8 (Doc. 25-8).*fn3

At Warren General Hospital, Plaintiff was referred to a facial reconstructive surgeon. Am. Compl. ¶ 40 (Doc. 26); Answer ¶ 40 (Doc. 15). Facial fractures were found and Plaintiff eventually underwent surgery. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 40-41 (Doc. 26); Answer ¶¶ 40-41 (Doc. 15).

According to Plaintiff, since the attack and resultant surgery, he has suffered from severe headaches, emotional distress, and aggravation of a previous traumatic brain injury. See Am. Compl. ¶ 43 (Doc. 26).

B.Procedural Background

Plaintiff‟s original complaint (Doc. 3) was filed on September 14, 2010. Plaintiff was ordered to provide proper instructions for service of his complaint, along with a copy of the complaint for service on each Defendant. Order, Oct. 1, 2010 (Doc. 6). The complaint Plaintiff provided for service differed from his original complaint and was served on Defendants. See Am. Compl. (Doc. 26). The Court treats this second, served complaint as an amended complaint.*fn4 Defendants filed ...

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