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Sadelmyer v. Peltzer

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

April 14, 2014



CYNTHIA REED EDDY, Magistrate Judge.

Presently pending is the "Motion to Dismiss Pursuant to F.R.C.P. 12(b)(6) In The Form of a Motion for Summary Judgment, " with brief in support, filed by Defendants Warden J. Peltzer, Deputy Warden Teamus, Leverne Rossi, Facility Nurse, and Sergeant Chipps (ECF Nos. 45 and 46) and the Opposition filed by Plaintiff (ECF No. 50).

The issues have been fully briefed and the factual record has been developed. See ECF Nos. 47 and 48. After careful consideration of the motion, the filings in support and opposition thereto, the memoranda of the parties, the relevant case law, and the record as a whole, the Court finds that the motion should be granted in part and denied in part.[1]


Plaintiff, Marianne Sadelmyer, is a prisoner currently incarcerated at Albion Correctional Facility, in Albion, New York. This matter involves events that purportedly transpired from August 17, 2012, through October 3, 2012, during the forty-eight (48) days that Plaintiff was confined at Washington County Correctional Facility (the "Correctional Facility"). Complaint at ¶ 1. From August 17, 2012, through September 25, 2012, Plaintiff was confined as a pretrial detainee; on September 26, 2012, however, Plaintiff's status changed to that of a convicted prisoner as she was sentenced to a two (2) year term of probation on that date. She remained in the Correctional Facility until October 3, 2012, at which time she was released to the New York State Police for extradition to New York.[2]

Plaintiff initiated this action on December 7, 2012, by the filing of a Motion for Leave to Proceed in forma pauperis. The motion was granted and the Complaint was filed. (ECF No. 7.) Named as Defendants are Warden J. Peltzer (now the former Warden), Deputy Warden Teamus (now the current Warden), Laverne Rossi, Facility Nurse (name incorrectly spelled in case caption), Sergeant Eli Chipps (hereinafter collectively referred to as the "County Defendants") and Matthew Eisley, M.D., a facility doctor (named incorrectly spelled in case caption).[3] The Complaint does not indicate whether Plaintiff is suing the County Defendants in their individual or official capacities, or both. For purposes of this Opinion only, the Court will assume that Defendants have been named in both their official and individual capacities.

Plaintiff arrived at the Correctional Facility on August 17, 2012, at which time a Nursing Intake Assessment was conducted. Plaintiff reported having hip replacement surgery nine and a half weeks prior and "reported having a fractured pelvis and broken wrists." Affidavit of Autumn Loghman, LPN (ECF No. 48-6, ¶ 8.) Plaintiff was assigned a Medical Clinic Handicap cell because she required the use of aluminum braces on both of her arms. During the early morning hours of August 18, 2012, the nursing staff was advised that Plaintiff had fallen and was complaining of left hip pain. She was transported to Washington Hospital for evaluation. She was discharged from Washington Hospital on the same day with a diagnosis of hip contusion, depression, and anxiety. She was to have a follow up with Family Medicine and a psychiatry consultation. Id.

Later that evening, Plaintiff was discovered hanging from the air vent in an apparent suicide attempt. She was placed on the floor, her vital signs were taken and were noted to be stable. It was determined that Plaintiff did not require any medical treatment. She was transferred to Processing Cell No. 2, where she remained until she was transferred back to the Medical Clinic on August 29, 2012. Plaintiff remained in the Medical Clinic until she was released to the New York State police.

Plaintiff alleges that during her time at the Correctional Facility, the County Defendants (i) subjected her to unsanitary prison conditions; (ii) were deliberately indifferent to her serious medical needs; and (iii) discriminated against her in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA").

The County Defendants filed the instant Motion to Dismiss Pursuant to F.R.C.P. 12(b)(6) In the Form of a Motion for Summary Judgment. (ECF No. 45). The Court advised the parties that the pending motion would be converted into a motion for summary judgment under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 and that the motion would be evaluated under the standard set forth in Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Plaintiff was further advised that she must comply with Local Rule 56.C by filing a brief in response, concise counter statement of facts and any appendix. (Order of October 17, 2013, ECF No. 49). In response to the motion for summary judgment, Plaintiff filed a "Response to Defendants Motion for Summary Judgement In the Form of a Sworn Affidavit." (ECF No. 46.) For the reasons that follow, the motion will be granted in part and denied in part.


Summary judgment is appropriate if, drawing all inferences in favor of the non-moving party, the record indicates that "there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). Summary judgment may be granted against a party who fails to adduce facts sufficient to establish the existence of any element to that party's case and for which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317 (1986). The moving party bears the initial burden of identifying evidence or the lack thereof that demonstrates the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. National State Bank v. Federal Reserve Bank of New York, 979 F.2d 1579, 1582 (3d Cir. 1992). Once that burden has been met, the non-moving party must set forth "specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial" or the factual record will be taken as presented by the moving party and judgment will be entered as a matter of law. Matsushita Elec. Ind. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986). An issue is genuine only if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-moving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242 (1986). The inquiry, then, involves determining "whether the evidence presents a sufficient disagreement to require submission to a jury or whether it is so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of law." Brown v. Grabowski, 922 F.2d 1097, 1111 (3d Cir. 1990) (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 251-52). If a court, having reviewed the evidence with this standard in mind, concludes that "the evidence is merely colorable... or is not significantly probative, " then summary judgment may be granted. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249-50. Finally, while any evidence used to support a motion for summary judgment must be admissible, it is not necessary for it to be in admissible form. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324.


1. Claim of Unsanitary Conditions of Confinement

Plaintiff alleges without any specificity that she was "exposed to other person's body fluids." Complaint at IV.C.1, 2 and 5. The County Defendants have provided record evidence that only on two occasions did Plaintiff complain of unsanitary conditions in her cell.

First, the summary judgment record evidence reflects that on August 24, 2012, while housed in Processing Cell No. 2, Plaintiff filed a "Formal Inmate Grievance, " in which she stated that "Today while on the toilet something hit my leg. It was a bloody tampon from another inmate. The toilet sends feces, urine, vomit and now tampons up into other cells." (ECF No. 48-1, at 3.) According to the Affidavit of Sergeant Eli Chipps, he was on duty that day and Plaintiff reported the incident to him. When Defendant Chipps asked Plaintiff to show him the tampon, she claimed that she had flushed the tampon down the toilet. He looked in her toilet and saw nothing. Defendant Chipps also noted that there were no problems with any ...

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