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Martinez v. Jones

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

March 24, 2014

SGT. B JONES, et al., Defendants.


A. RICHARD CAPUTO, District Judge.

I. Introduction

Juan Martinez, a former state inmate previously housed at the Camp Hill State Correctional Institution (SCI-Camp Hill), in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, filed this civil rights action on August 6, 2012. (Doc. 1, Compl.) Named as defendants are twenty-seven (27) employees of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) and Joshua Yohe, an Assistant District Attorney of Cumberland County Pennsylvania. Presently pending is the DOC defendants' motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b). (Doc. 10.) For the reasons the follow, the DOC defendants' motion to dismiss will be granted in part and denied in part.

II. Allegations of the Complaint

On March 28, 2010, following a verbal exchange, Sgt. Jones followed Mr. Martinez to his cell. (Doc. 1, Compl., ECF pp. 63-64, ¶37.) After Sgt. Jones ordered Mr. Martinez's cellmate out of the cell, he started to bait Mr. Martinez into a physical altercation. ( Id. ) When Mr. Martinez refused to fight Sgt. Jones, he was ordered to wait outside the cell while Sgt. Jones searched it. ( Id. ) During the course of the cell search some of Mr. Martinez's property was destroyed. ( Id. )

While waiting outside his cell, Mr. Martinez conversed with other inmates. Mr. Martinez said that "Sgt. Jones is crazy, he came up here to fight me, this niggas out of pocket." ( Id. ¶ 38.) Hearing this, Sgt. Jones grabbed Mr. Martinez by the neck and dragged him back into the cell while punching him. ( Id. ) Only intending to defend himself, Mr. Martinez struck Sgt. Jones twice. Sgt. Jones fell to one knee. ( Id. ) Mr. Martinez immediately stepped away from Sgt. Jones and asked him if he was "O.K.". ( Id. ) At that moment, CO Cooksey entered the cell. ( Id. ) Sgt. Jones said "fuck him up." CO Cooksey tackled Mr. Martinez who was then placed in restraints. He was handcuffed behind his back. ( Id. ) Sgt. Jones then commenced to kick and punch Mr. Martinez in the face. ( Id. ) CO Ayers, CO Arbogast and CO Simpson entered the cell and joined in the assault of Mr. Martinez. ( Id. )

Sgt. Jones, CO Arbogast, CO Simpson, CO Ayers, CO Francoise, Unit Manager Chambers and CO Long are alleged to have issued Mr. Martinez a fabricated misconduct for the March 28, 2010 event claiming he assaulted Sgt. Jones. They also cleaned up the blood in his cell before photographing the area. Prior to photographing Mr. Martinez's face, they placed a clear bag over his head to distort his facial injuries. ( Id. ¶ 40.) As a result of the assault, Mr. Martinez suffered severe injuries to his face and both eyes as well as severe pain. ( Id. ¶ 41.)

Later that day, Sgt. Snook and CO Simpson refused to provide Mr. Martinez with his "supper" tray. ( Id. ¶ 42.) CO Francoise also destroyed some of his property. ( Id. ¶ 43.) The following day, CO Oister refused to give Mr. Martinez a breakfast tray. ( Id. ¶ 44.)

On March 30, 2010, Mr. Martinez went before Hearing Examiner K. P. Reisinger and plead not guilty to the assault misconduct. ( Id. ¶ 45.) He explained his actions were in self defense. ( Id. ) Mr. Martinez claims the Hearing Examiner was not impartial because she told him that "if it was me I would have rung your little neck." ( Id. ) Ms. Reisinger also refused Mr. Martinez's request to review the B-Block surveillance camera footage in connection with this incident. ( Id. )

Mr. Martinez appealed the Ms. Reisinger's guilty findings to the Program Review Committee (PRC). ( Id. ¶ 46.) His appeal was denied by the PRC without any investigation. ( Id. )

Mr. Martinez claims Superintendent Murray, Secretary Jeffrey Beard, Lt. Reading, Shirley Moore-Smeal, Dorina Varner, James Barnacle, and several John and Jane Does, had prior knowledge of the defendants' assaultive behavior and their efforts of falsifying assault misconducts against other inmates in effort to cover up their own malfeasance. ( Id. ¶ 47.) The Chief Hearing Examiner failed to conduct an investigation into Mr. Martinez's claims that he was issued a false misconduct or that the Hearing Examiner was biased.

Mr. Martinez also names Cumberland County of Pennsylvania Assistant District Attorney Joshua Yohe as a defendant. He asserts that ADA Yohe conspired with the DOC defendants to cover up the events of March 28, 2010 because he refused to file criminal charges against them as requested by Mr. Martinez. ( Id. ¶ 49.) Finally, Mr. Martinez avers the DOC defendants violated several state criminal statutes ranging from assault to theft.

On February 21, 2013, the Commonwealth Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the Complaint as time barred. (Doc. 10.) Mr. Martinez filed his opposition brief on July 8, 2013. (Doc. 14.) The motion to ...

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