Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

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.

Dawn Ball v. Sgt. Campbell

March 6, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Magistrate Judge Carlson

Chief Judge Kane



The plaintiff, Dawn Ball, is an inmate housed in the Restricted Housing Unit at the State Correctional Institution (SCI) Muncy, who by her own account suffers from a cascading array of severe mental illnesses, and candidly acknowledges that she is profoundly disturbed, informing the Court that:

My mental health is declining. I suffer from OCD so bad I scrub my hands till they bleed, confusion, PTSD, disassociative disorder, I smell, see and hear things not there, severely stressed, phobias, agoraphobia, severe anxiety, lack of interest in things, lack of arousal in thing, racing thoughts, suicidal, cognitive problems and disorders, lack of interest in life, disoriented, dizzyness, paranoid--schizophrenic, constant worry, frightened scared, can't properly care for myself, tics, bipolar, manic depressive, mood swings that are so severe, can't think clearly....

Furthermore, Ball is also an inmate who has reported to the Court that she engages in multiple episodes of destructive, self-defeating and senseless behavior. For example, recurring themes in Ball's lawsuits include Ball's penchant for smearing feces on herself and her cell, her destruction of her own clothing, and her use of her clothing to plug her toilet and flood her cell with water and human waste. Ball is also, by her own admission, an inmate with a propensity of sudden, explosive rages, as illustrated by the civil complaint which she has filed Ball v. Barr, No.1:11-CV-2240 (M.D.Pa.). In this complaint, Ball describes an episode in which a discussion regarding the aesthetic qualities of a piece of cornbread escalated in a matter of moments into a profanity-laced wrestling match over a food tray.

While she suffers from paranoia, schizophrenia, and experiences these visual and auditory hallucinations, Ball is also a prodigious federal court litigant, bringing numerous lawsuits based upon her perception of the events that take place around her in prison. Indeed, at present Ball has more than twenty lawsuits pending before this Court.*fn1

It is against this backdrop that Ball chose to pursue the instant case. The narrative thread Ball's initial complaint, which was filed on December 2, 2011, began with an extraordinary admission. In this complaint Ball confessed to attempting to cover-up institutional misconduct by another prisoner. (Doc. 1)

In prison, inmates occasionally use fishing line to surreptitiously pass contraband between cells. Because of the security threats which this behavior presents, this practice is forbidden, inmates are prohibited from possessing fishing line, and fishing line is defined as illegal contraband in an institutional setting. Rudacille v. Hoke, No. 08-1718, 2009 WL 464480 (M.D. Pa. Feb. 24, 2009).

On September 7, 2011, Ball attempted to cover-up and conceal the possession and use of such contraband by a fellow inmate. As Ball recited in her complaint: "On 9-7-11 I told inmate Crystal Chaplin to pull her fishing line in because Sgt. Campbell walked on the pod." (Doc. 1, ¶IV. 1) Not surprisingly, given the wholly illicit nature of this behavior, Ball reports in her complaint that Sergeant Campbell "got very angry because I told her [follow inmate] to pull her fishing line in." (Id.)

While Ball's complaint contained this clear admission to a significant institutional infraction on her part, the balance of her pleading, which made claims of wrongdoing against correctional staff, was somewhat more murky. According to Ball, at some later date, Sergeant Campbell reported to Lieutenant Hummel that Ball was refusing to return her lunch tray to staff. (Id., ¶IV. 2.) Although Ball denied that she resisted staff efforts to retrieve her lunch trays in the Fall of 2011, Ball has filed a companion case with this court, Ball v. Barr, No. 11-CV-2240 (M.D.Pa.), in which she attached documents which actually confirmed this assertion, acknowledging that when a correctional officer ordered Ball to return a lunch tray after a dispute over a piece of cornbread, it was alleged that she refused stating "Don't touch that tray you skinny limped dick mother fucker." Ball v. Barr, No. 11-CV-2240 (M.D.Pa.)(Doc. 1)

According to Ball's complaint, when Lieutenant Hummel learned of this fracas regarding Ball's refusal to return meal trays, he directed that she receive bagged meals instead of food trays. Ball's complaint alleged that her receipt of bagged meals in lieu of food trays led to yet another controversy. Prison staff reported that Ball, who had previously refused to return lunch trays, was now refusing to return her meal bags to staff after consuming these bagged meals, a charge that Ball denied.(Id.)

Presented with these allegations of renewed mealtime misconduct by Ball, prison officials directed that Ball receive meals consisting of food loaf for three days, for a total of nine food loaf meals. (Id.) "A Food Loaf is a 29-30 ounce loaf (raw weight) made of various food ingredients as specified by the Department's standardized recipe ..., that when blended together and baked, contains all the necessary caloric and nutritional requirements." Brown v. Sobina, No. 08-128, 2009 WL 5173717, *6 (W.D.Pa. Dec. 29, 2009).

Ball plainly does not like food loaf, complaining that "its so dry . . . it got stuck in my throat and I could not breath and I almost died. It is dangerous." (Id.) Ball alleged that on one of these nine occasions she received a "food loaf with fish in it," which she declined to eat because of a food allergy. While Ball leveled these dietary complaints regarding the packaging and content of her meals, notably lacking from her pleadings was any assertion that she was ...

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.