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Sadelmyer v. Peltzer

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

November 25, 2014

MARIANNE SADELMYER, Plaintiff,
v.
WARDEN J. PELTZER, DEPUTY WARDEN TEAMUS, FACILITY DOCTOR ISLEY, M.D., LEVERNE ROSSI, FACILITY NURSE, AND SERGEANT CHIPPS, Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

CYNTHIA REED EDDY, Magistrate Judge.

Presently pending is the "Supplemental 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. 56 and 57), the Motion for Summary Judgment, with brief in support, filed by Defendant Facility Doctor Isley, M.D. (ECF Nos. 60 and 61), and the Opposition filed by Plaintiff, Marianne Sadelmeyer (ECF No. 64).

The issues have been fully briefed and the factual record has been developed. See ECF Nos. 58, 59, 62 and 64. After careful consideration of the motions, 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 motions should be granted.[1]

FACTUAL BACKGROUND

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 ΒΆ 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 "Washington County Defendants") and Matthew Eisley, M.D., a facility doctor (named incorrectly spelled in case caption).

Defendant Matthew Eisley, M.D., previously filed a Motion to Dismiss, as did the Washington County Defendants who filed a 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 Washington County Defendants' 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.

The Court dismissed Plaintiff's claims under the Eighth Amendment regarding unsanitary conditions of confinement, her claim under the Fourteenth Amendment, and her claim that she was discriminated against in violation of the American with Disabilities Act. The Court denied without prejudice Plaintiff's claim of medical deliberate indifference under the Eighth Amendment, with the exception that Plaintiff's claim that she was required to sleep without a mattress was dismissed.

At the time the Court ruled upon the Motions to Dismiss, it had not been provided with any of Plaintiff's medical records. As explained in the Memorandum Opinion, the Court found that Plaintiff's medical records were relevant to the Defendants' claim that Plaintiff received proper care and that a determination on this issue could not be made until the Court had an opportunity to review these medical records.

The Court has now been provided with Plaintiff's medical records, [3] and the Washington County Defendants and Defendant Eisley move for summary judgment on Plaintiff's sole remaining claim: medical deliberate indifference under the Eighth Amendment.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

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.

DISCUSSION

In accordance with the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment, the government is obliged "to provide medical care for those whom it is punishing by incarceration." Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 103 (1976). "[D]eliberate indifference to serious medical needs of prisoners constitutes the unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain'... proscribed by the Eighth Amendment." Id. at 104 (citation omitted). "[W]hether the indifference is manifested by prison doctors in their response to the prisoner's needs or by prison guards in intentionally denying or delaying access to medical care or intentionally interfering with the ...


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