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Moore v. Mann

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

June 16, 2015

BRIAN C. MOORE, Plaintiff
ANGELA D. MANN, et al., Defendants


Kosik, Judge

This civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 was initiated by Plaintiff, Brian C. Moore, an inmate confined at the State Correctional Institution at Smithfield (SCI-Smithfield), Pennsylvania. The matter proceeds on an amended complaint (Doc. 10), wherein employees of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC), who work at SCI-Coal Township and John Wetzel, Secretary of the DOC, are named as defendants. Presently pending is Defendants’ motion to dismiss the amended complaint. (Doc. 28.) For the reasons that follow, the motion will be granted in part and denied in part.

I. Background

Plaintiff files this action against Counselor Mann, former Superintendent David Varano, Unit Manager Foulds, Correctional Officers Briner, Zamboni, Hering and Long, and DOC Secretary Wetzel. He alleges that while confined at SCI-Coal Township in August/ September of 2011, he saw Defendant Mann participating in a sexual act with an inmate. (Doc. 10, Am. Compl. at 2.) During this same period of time, Mann began discussing the details of Plaintiff’s criminal case with other staff members and inmates. In September of 2011, Mann told another staff member, who then told Defendant Foulds, that Plaintiff had an “attitude problem.” (Id. at 3.) Plaintiff believes Mann thereafter attempted to move him to a different unit in the prison.

On or about September/October of 2011, Mann told Defendant Hering loudly in front of other staff members and inmates on B-2 unit that “. . . inmate Moore is out of his mind, he is a child rapist who belongs in a psychiatric hospital.” (Id.) on or about October of 2011, Mann also told Defendant Briner that he would be glad when Plaintiff left the institution, because he was a snitch and a pedophile. While Plaintiff alleges that this statement was made on B-2 unit, he does not specify whether it was made in front of other inmates.

Plaintiff alleges that as a result of Defendants Mann, Zamboni, Briner, Foulds and Long discussing his criminal case with inmates and staff members, he was been threatened with bodily harm at SCI-Coal Township in 2011-2012 and at SCI-Smithfield in 2013. Plaintiff brought his concerns about Mann’s behavior to Defendant Foulds in September of 2011.

On November 14, 2011, Plaintiff again observed Mann engaging in sexual activities on B-2 unit in her office with an inmate. (Id. at 3.) He claims that Defendants Zamboni and Briner were aware that this activity was taking place on said date, but did nothing to stop it. (Id. at 4.) When the inmate left, Plaintiff entered Mann’s office. During the 2 p.m.-10 p.m. shift that same day, Mann wrote a misconduct report (#429102) on Plaintiff charging him with sexual harassment. After being found guilty, Plaintiff was sanctioned to 270 days in the Restricted Housing Unit. Plaintiff claims that because of the misconduct report and the harassment by staff members, he forfeited months of earned wages during 2011-2012 at SCI-Coal Township.

Plaintiff filed a grievance with respect to the above issues (#401780), and Defendant Long was assigned to investigate the matter. Defendant Varano was also made aware of the allegations set forth in this complaint pursuant to Plaintiff’s grievance appeal. Plaintiff also made Defendant Wetzel aware of this information pursuant to a letter he sent to the Office of Professional Responsibility in March of 2012. (Id. at 4.) An officer from the Office of Special Investigations and Intelligence interviewed Plaintiff in March 2012 with respect to the above allegations.

Based on the above, Plaintiff identifies the following claims: (1) substantive due process violation; (2) deliberate indifference to his health/safety; (3) Pennsylvania state law tort claims for defamation and intentional infliction of emotional distress; (4) violations of the Pennsylvania Constitution and the DOC’s sexual harassment policy addressing sexual contact with inmates; and (5) violations of the Pennsylvania and Federal statutes prohibiting sexual contact between prison employees and inmates. (Id. at 5.) He seeks declaratory, injunctive and monetary relief.

II. Standard

A motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) examines the legal sufficiency of the complaint. Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957). The factual allegations must be sufficient to make the claim for relief more than just speculative. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). In determining whether to grant a motion to dismiss, a federal court must construe the complaint liberally, accept all factual allegations in the complaint as true, and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff. Id.; see also D.P. Enters. v. Bucks Cnty. Cmty. Coll., 725 F.2d 943, 944 (3d Cir. 1984).

The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not require a plaintiff to plead in detail all of the facts upon which he bases his claim. Conley, 355 U.S. at 47. Rather, the Rules require a “short and plain statement” of the claim that will give the defendant fair notice of the plaintiff’s claim and the grounds upon which it rests. Id. The “complaint must allege facts suggestive of [the proscribed] conduct.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 564. Neither “bald assertions” nor “vague and conclusory allegations” are accepted as true. See Morse v. Lower Merion Sch. Dist., 132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir. 1997); Sterling v. Se. Pa. Transp. Auth., 897 F.Supp. 893 (E.D. Pa. 1995). “Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.” Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009)(quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009)). The claim must contain enough factual matters to suggest the required elements of the claim or to “raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of” those elements. Phillips v. Cnty. of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 234 (3d Cir. 2008)(quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).

“To decide a motion to dismiss, courts generally consider only the allegations contained in the complaint, exhibits attached to the complaint and matters of public record.” Pension Benefit Guar. Corp. v. White Consol. Indus., Inc., 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir. 1993)(citations omitted); see also Sands v. McCormick, 502 F.3d 263, 268 (3d Cir. 2007). The court may consider “undisputedly authentic document[s] that a defendant attaches as an exhibit to a motion ...

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