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Demetrius Bailey v. Melissa Mcmahon

April 12, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Chief Judge Kane


Demetrius Bailey ("Bailey"), an inmate currently confined at the State Correctional Institution at Coal Township, Pennsylvania, filed the above civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The matter proceeds on an amended complaint. (Doc. No. 27.) Named as Defendants are Department of Corrections officials as well as employees at the State Correctional Institution at Huntingdon ("SCI-Huntingdon"), Bailey's former place of confinement. Also named as Defendants are Prison Health Services ("PHS") and Angela Auman, a physician's assistant employed by PHS. In the amended complaint, Bailey's claims include the denial of access to the courts, retaliation, unsanitary health conditions and inadequate medical and mental health care. He also challenges the prison's commissary system. Presently pending are Bailey's second motion for the appointment of counsel (Doc. No. 150), motion for court order (Doc. No. 154), and motion and supplemental motion for relief/sanctions/to compel discovery (Doc. Nos. 139, 141.) Also pending is the motion of Defendant Auman to dismiss a proposed second amended complaint submitted by Bailey on October 6, 2011. (Doc. No. 155.)

I. Background

Bailey claims that while confined at SCI-Huntingdon, he was denied access to the courts, including the use of the law library, an adequate paging system, legal assistance and legal materials. He further complains that he was denied adequate medical and mental health treatment and basic hygiene items,*fn1 and was required to wear shackles while in the library. He also asserts that he was subjected to health hazards in the Restricted Housing Unit ("RHU") including the lack of an automatic sprinkler system, emergency lighting and fire alarms. Bailey further argues that he and other inmates are forced to inhale rat and mice urine and feces, and that the showers contain roaches, fruit flies and fungus. (Doc. No. 27, Amended Compl. ¶¶ 41-43.) In addition, Bailey contends that the DOC has created a monopoly with respect to the commissary system, and sets forth claims of retaliation for his use of the grievance system and filing lawsuits. He argues that his grievances are all denied and that he was given a retaliatory transfer for filing grievances. The majority of these claims are set forth with respect to the Corrections Defendants.

On March 19, 2009, the Court granted in part and denied in part a motion to dismiss the amended complaint filed on behalf of PHS and Auman. (Doc. No. 61.) The motion was granted to the extent that PHS was dismissed from this action. The motion was denied with respect to the Eighth Amendment inadequate medical care and retaliation claims against Auman. The parties then began engaging in discovery. On September 21, 2010, the Court issued an opinion addressing the lack of a response by the Corrections Defendants to Bailey's discovery requests. (Doc. No. 91.) Defendants were directed to provide Bailey with the outstanding responses within thirty (30) days. In addition, a motion to compel discovery challenging the adequacy of discovery responses provided by Auman was denied. A scheduling order was thereafter issued on October 13, 2010 directing that all discovery be completed within sixty (60) days and any dispositive motions filed within thirty (30) days from the close of discovery. (Doc. No. 93.)

On July 1, 2011, a motion to compel discovery filed by Bailey against the Corrections Defendants was granted. (Doc. No. 134.) Defendants were directed to provide Bailey with the documents they had previously agreed to produce in their response to discovery served on October 21, 2010.*fn2 A new dispositive motions filing date of September 1, 2011 was also imposed. On August 29, 2011, the Court granted a motion by Corrections Defendants to enlarge the dispositive motions deadline in this matter, and stated that a new filing date would be imposed following the resolution of the discovery motions currently outstanding in this action. (Doc. No. 144.)

II. Discussion

A. Motion for Counsel

Presently pending is Bailey's second request for the appointment of counsel in this case. (Doc. No. 150.) In the one (1) paragraph motion, Bailey states that counsel is needed because "it is getting difficult and complex to maintain this lawsuit due to the hurdles that prison officials, Attorney General is putting [him] through to litigate this effectively. . . ." (Id.) In denying Bailey's earlier motion, the Court fully set forth the standard applied in analyzing an inmate's request for counsel. (Doc. No. 61.) As such, these principles will not be repeated herein. However, in applying Montgomery v. Pichak, 294 F.3d 492 (3dCir. 2002) and Tabron v. Grace, 6 F.3d 147, 153 (3d Cir. 1993), it is clear that counsel is still not warranted in this matter. Even assuming Bailey's case has arguable merit, he clearly has the ability to present his claims on his own. A simple review of the docket in this action confirms that he is a literate, coherent and, at times, savvy litigator and is certainly capable of prosecuting this action without the assistance of appointed counsel. In addition, the issues involved are not complex, and Bailey has demonstrated his understanding of the legal process through the filing and opposing of motions. For these reasons, the pending motion for counsel will be denied without prejudice.

B. Motion for Court Order

On October 6, 2011, Bailey submitted a proposed amended complaint in this action. (Doc. No. 153.) In this document he seeks to add seventeen (17) individuals to this action who are employees at SCI-Smithfield (SCI-Smithfield), Pennsylvania. He claims that he was given an intentional retaliatory transfer out of SCI-Somerset to SCI-Smithfield. He states that once he arrived at SCI-Smithfield it was a hostile atmosphere where these individuals denied him his legal materials and he was locked in the RHU where he was subjected to abuse and denied medical care. He also claims he was subjected to retaliation for filing lawsuits. On October 25, 2011, Bailey filed a motion for order requesting this Court to direct the individuals named in his proposed Amended Complaint to provide him with his legal property. (Doc. No. 154.) For the reasons that follow, the Clerk of Court will be directed to strike the proposed amended complaint from the record, and Bailey's motion for court order will be denied.

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 15 addresses the issue of Amended and Supplemental Pleadings. Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a)(1), a party may amend its pleading once as a matter of course within 21 days after serving it, or if the pleading is one to which a responsive pleading is required, 21 days after service of a responsive pleading or 21 days after service of a motion under Rule 12(b), (e) or (f), whichever is earlier. In all other cases, a party may amend its pleading only with the opposing party's written consent or the court's leave. Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(a)(2).

In light of the procedural status of the instant case, it is clear that Bailey would be required to seek leave to submit a second amended complaint. He has filed no such motion and, on that basis alone, the Clerk of Court will be directed to strike the proposed document submitted on October 6, 2011.*fn3 (Doc. No. 153.) This ruling, in turn, moots Bailey's pending motion for a court order as it exclusively involves only those individuals named in the stricken proposed amended complaint. The Court will also deny as moot the motion of Defendant Auman to dismiss the proposed amended complaint. (Doc. No. 155.)

C. Motion/Supplemental motion for relief/sanctions

1. Relevant procedural history

Pending are motions Bailey has filed challenging responses the Corrections Defendants have provided to his discovery requests. (Doc. Nos. 139, 141.) Bailey submitted a Request for the Production of Documents on June 23, 2009, wherein he sought the following:

(1) DOC policy and procedures manuals with respect to DCADM 001, 003, 007, 008, 201, 203, 801, 804, 815, 6.1.0, 6.3.1, 6.5.1, 13.1.1, 13.2.1 and 4.1.1.

(2) All mental health and medical records from time at SCIHuntingdon from March 2007 through October 2007.

(3) Huntingdon's RHU mini law library policies on being shackled and not allowing two people to use the library together.

(4) All DC-14 and DC-15 files and notes at Huntingdon.

(5) Grievances #183912, #187318, #187558, #188856, #202112, #199098, #201025, #201419, #202113, #202754, #203323, #182853, #183329, #185414.

(6) DOC contract for commissary and RHU commissary list, complete records why commissary was changed, Grievances #197757 and #206286.

(7) Request Defendants to order staff to allow Bailey to gather affidavits from witnesses: Richard Sutton AM5242, Dwayne Combs FX2071, Jamiel Johnson GK4813, Josh Griffin, Timothy Schofield, Joseph Smith GE4240.

(Doc. No. 145, Ex. 1, 6/23/09 Request for Production of Documents.) Following an order from this Court, Defendants responded to the requests on October 21, 2010. (Doc. No. 145, Ex. 2.) In response to Request #1, Defendants agreed to produce the administrative directives, but objected to producing the procedure manuals on the basis they contained confidential security information that was not relevant to Bailey's claims. Defendants objected to Requests #2 and #4 on the basis of confidentiality, relevancy and because the requests were overbroad. Defendants did agree to produce any non-confidential documents that were responsive to said requests. In response to Request #3, Bailey was informed that no such written policies exist. Defendants did agree to ...

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