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Bowens v. Employees of Department of Corrections

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

February 26, 2015



THOMAS N. O'NEILL, Jr., District Judge.

Plaintiff Montez M. Bowens, proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, is an inmate housed at the State Correctional Institute at Graterford. On May 13, 2014, plaintiff filed a complaint naming 68 defendants and asserting claims against them for alleged violations of his rights under the Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983; the Prison Rape Elimination Act, 42 U.S.C Section 15601[1]; and "the Mental Health Procedures Act of Pennsylvania, [2] 50 P.S. § 7101 of 1975, Act # 143 as amended by Act 524 of 1978." Dkt. No. 1. Now before me are a motion to dismiss brought on behalf of defendants Dr. P. Bratton and Dr. Martinez, Dkt. No. 20, and plaintiff's opposition thereto. Dkt. No. 28. For the reasons that follow I will dismiss plaintiff's claims against Bratton and Martinez with leave to amend. Further, upon a screening review of plaintiff's claims against the other defendants[3] consistent with 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) and 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, I find that dismissal of his claims is also warranted against them.

Also, now pending in this action are two motions by plaintiff seeking temporary restraining orders and protection from abuse orders (Dkt. Nos. 8 and 42), two motions by plaintiff for depositions and or interrogatories (Dkt. Nos. 39 and 40), his motion for production of documents (Dkt. No. 41) and plaintiff's motion to amend his complaint (Dkt. No. 43). No defendants have filed responses to any of these motions. My rulings on these motions are further set forth below.

I. Bratton and Martinez's Motion to Dismiss

A. Background

Plaintiff claims that "despite his complaint to the prison administration that he was being sexually abused by corrections officers, prison officers sought measures to cover up plaintiff['s] allegations." Dkt. No. 1 at ECF p. 4. Relevant here, Bratton and Martinez are psychiatrists at SCI-Graterford.[4] Dkt. No. 20-2 at ECF p. 2. The only allegations in the body of plaintiff's complaint that specifically address psychiatry or psychology are: in paragraph 58, that "on November 8[, ] 2013 plaintiff was admitted to the psychiatric observation cell, " Dkt. No. 3 at ECF p. 9, citing Ex. 3; and in paragraph 67, that "on December 26, 2013 plaintiff sent a request to Dr. Fix of the department of psychology seeking aid and assistance in filling out a sexual abuse question[naire]. Dr. Fix recommended that I speak with my counselor." Id. at ECF p. 10, citing Ex. 5. Finally, in paragraph 77, plaintiff alleges that "on April 3, 2014 plaintiff filed a memorandum [r]egarding being denied mental health care. This memo was sent to the Department of Corrections Bureau of Healthcare and chief psychologist, the deputy of internal security and to treatment specialist Suzanne Kaprinski. Plaintiff has not received any relief as of current date." Id. at ECF p. 11, citing Ex. 17. No factual allegations in the body of plaintiff's complaint are specifically directed to either Bratton or Martinez.

In his response to the instant motion to dismiss, plaintiff argues that he "alleges that the defendants namely, Dr. P. Bratton and Dr. Martinez, refused to provide him with access to mental healthcare. In order to aid and assist correctional officers in their continuance of sexual harassment and or sexual abuse of him." Dkt. No. 28 at ECF p. 6. He contends that "exhaustion of grievance [493326] directly incorporates Dr. P. Bratton as the psychiatrist who aided correctional officers. In changing plaintiff[']s mental health status, thereby aiding and assisting the sexual abuse that plaintiff had undergone." Id. In the grievance, which is attached as an exhibit, plaintiff states that

staff put pressure on Dr. P. Bratton to change my mental health level from[ ]a (C) to a (B). Not because I[']m making progress and have become mentally stable, rather the change was made to hav[e] me removed from the special needs unit. Because I observed the above mentioned staff engaging in acts of sexual exploita [sic] with inmates that have ch[ro]nic to se[vere] mental health disorders. Who really don't understand that they are being exploited socially, emotionally or otherwise.

Id. at ECF p. 7, citing Ex. 1 at ECF p. 24.

In support of his claims in his response to the motion to dismiss plaintiff also cites the initial review response to his grievance 489823 which he claims states that "the signs and gestures you claim are sexual harassment.. etc." Dkt. No. 28 at ECF p. 8. In fact, in the grievance response M. Cox wrote:

The signs and gestures which you claim are sexual harassment do not meet the guidelines for sexual harassment. Video footage did not show any male officers spending substantial amount of time at your cell nor did they show or appear to show the "gestures" that you identified in your grievance and explained in your official statement.

Dkt. No. 28 at ECF p. 22. The grievance response references Dr. Martinez, saying that "as agreed upon in our interview you are being recommended to speak with Dr. Martinez and should hear from him soon. I encourage you to accept any help offered from Dr. Martinez's office." Id. Plaintiff's response to the motion to dismiss claims that Martinez "deliberately declined to speak with the plaintiff regarding issues related to sexual harassment and or sexual abuse or any issues dealing with sexual victimization which gives rise to the issue plaintiff cited in his complaint paragraph # 77...." Dkt. No. 28 at ECF p. 8.

Plaintiff's complaint alleges that he has exhausted his administrative remedies with respect to certain of his grievances, see Dkt. No. 3 at ¶¶ 15, 38, 45, 47, 63, 66, 68, and that, at least in some instances, there has been a "deliberate failure to reply back to grievances." Id. at ¶ 51. He appears to admit, however, that with respect to certain grievances he is currently awaiting final review of his appeals. See id. at ¶ ...

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