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Adderly v. Harry

United States District Court, Middle District of Pennsylvania

September 29, 2014

SUPT. LAUREL HARRY, et al., Defendants


Kosik Judge

I. Introduction

Plaintiff, Nathaniel L. Adderly, an inmate currently confined at the State Correctional Institution at Houtzdale, Pennsylvania, filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. In the complaint, he challenges conditions of confinement at the State Correctional Institution at Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, his former place of incarceration. Named as Defendants are numerous SCI-Camp Hill employees. Presently pending is Defendants' motion to dismiss the complaint. (Doc. 13.)

II. Standard of Review

Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) provides for the dismissal of complaints that fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. A court considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) must "accept all factual allegations as true, construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and determine whether, under any reasonable reading of the complaint, the plaintiff may be entitled to relief." Eid v. Thompson, 740 F.3d 118, 122 (3d Cir. 2014)(internal quotations omitted). "Dismissal is appropriate where the plaintiff has not alleged" sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A complaint satisfies the plausibility standard when there is enough factual content "that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. In resolving a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), a court generally should consider only the allegations in the complaint, "exhibits attached to the complaint, [and] matters of public record, as well as undisputedly authentic documents if the complainant's claims are based upon these documents." Mayer v. Belichick, 605 F.3d 223, 230 (3d Cir. 2010)(citing Pension Benefit Guar. Corp. v. White Consol. Indus., Inc., 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir. 1993)).

Additionally, pro se pleadings are held to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by attorneys and are to be liberally construed. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007); Mala v. Crown Bay Marina. Inc., 704 F.3d 239, 244-45 (3d Cir. 2013). Pro se litigants are to be granted leave to file a curative amended complaint even when a plaintiff does not seek leave to amend, unless such an amendment would be inequitable or futile. See Connelly, 706 F.3d at 217 (quoting Phillips v. Cnty. of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224. 236 (3d Cir. 2008)). However, dismissal without leave to amend is justified on the grounds of bad faith, undue delay, prejudice or futility. Alston v. Parker, 363 F.3d 229, 235-36 (3d Cir. 2004). Thus, a complaint that sets forth facts which affirmatively demonstrate that the plaintiff has no right to recover is properly dismissed without leave to amend. Grayson v. May view State Hospital, 293 F.3d 103, 106 (3d Cir. 2002). With this standard in mind, the court will now set forth the allegations contained in Plaintiffs complaint.

III. Background

Named as Defendants in the complaint are the following employees at SCI-Camp Hill: Defendants Briggs, Cook, Davy, Harry, Kerstetter, Klopotoski, Lewis, Meintel, McNeal[1], Mitchell, Reisinger, Schultz, Gramble and the Program Review Committee.[2] On November 16 and 17, 2012, Defendant Gramble did not allow Plaintiff to go out to yard. Plaintiff thinks it may have been in retaliation for other lawsuits he filed against correctional officers in 2011 and 2012. When yard was called on November 18, 2012, Plaintiffs cell door remained locked. Defendants Davy and Mitchell placed cuffs on Plaintiff and escorted him to a strip cell. Defendants Mitchell and McNeal conducted a strip search and Plaintiff claims McNeal roughly propelled him into the cell. Mitchell failed to provide Plaintiff with lunch. Plaintiff claims that he has a prescribed high caloric diet because he has been found to be underweight.

Defendants Briggs and Mitchell made derogatory verbal slurs to Plaintiff and ignored his complaints about a running toilet in the cell. Briggs, McNeal and Kerstetter later relocated Plaintiff to the most restrictive cell (DA-27) that had only a concrete bed frame, plexi-glass door shield and a modified food aperture. McNeal ordered Briggs to cut off the water to the cell. Plaintiff claims he was confined in this cell for 3 months.

According to Plaintiff, Defendant Schultz issued him a retaliatory misconduct (#B 106961). A copy of the misconduct is attached to the complaint and indicates that Plaintiff did not have his ID card on November 18, 2012, despite being told he needed it to go to yard. (Doc. 1-1, at 8.) He was charged with failing to comply with an order and threatening an employee. He received a second retaliatory misconduct from Defendant Mitchell, #B476509. In this misconduct, he was charged with threatening an employee or their family with bodily harm and destroying or damaging property. (Doc. 1-1 at 3.)

On November 19, 2012, Plaintiff was denied breakfast and lunch by Defendant Briggs. On the same date, hearings were conducted on the misconducts by Defendant Reisinger. Plaintiff states he submitted his written versions of what occurred, as well as witness forms.

Plaintiff raises procedural due process challenges with respect to the misconduct hearings that were conducted. With respect to each hearing on the above misconducts, Plaintiff complains that Hearing Examiner Reisinger began writing out his sanction before hearing Plaintiffs version of the incident or ever looking at the witness forms. He claims he was denied all witnesses and received findings of guilty in each instance. With respect to #B 106961, he received consecutive sentences of 60 and 30 days. With respect to #B476509, he received 90 days of consecutive disciplinary, confinement. Plaintiff claims he collapsed after the hearings because he was malnourished. Although Defendants McNeal, Reisinger and Briggs did not check him, medical personnel were summoned and checked Plaintiffs vitals. Plaintiff complained about the malnourishment to them. Plaintiff claims he was subjected to a "rough escort" back to his cell by Briggs where he twisted his arms and forcefully pushed him.

Sometime between November 21 and November 24, 2012, Plaintiff claims Defendant Cook influenced Defendant Briggs to dump his food out of the tray onto the unsanitary door aperture. When Plaintiff complained, Cook issued him a misconduct (#B476514) for threatening an employee or their family with bodily harm and destroying or damaging property. (Doc. 1-1 at 19.) Defendant Reisinger was the Hearing Examiner, and again made a decision before ever listening to Plaintiffs version or witnesses. A sanction of 150 days DC was imposed consecutive to the earlier sanctions.

Appeals of all three misconducts were pursued and upheld by Defendants Harry, Lewis, Klopotoski and Meintel. Plaintiff challenges their conduct in upholding the findings of guilt.

On December 26, 2012, Plaintiff claims he had an appointment in the Medical Department. He claims that Defendant Cook was going to make him walk there only wearing boxer shorts. This was not the clothing protocol the previous day when Plaintiff was escorted to the Medical Department. Plaintiff claims he complied, but that Cook pushed him "brusquely back into the cell" and slammed the door, thereby denying him medical treatment. (Id. at 3.) Plaintiff filed a grievance (#441287) with ...

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