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Reilly v. DeRose

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

June 16, 2015

KELLI REILLY a/k/a MICHAEL RUPP, Plaintiff
v.
WARDEN DOMINICK DeROSE, et al., Defendants

MEMORANDUM

Kosik, Judge

The above civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 was filed by Kelli Reilly, also known as Michael Rupp, a transgender inmate[1] Named as defendants are several officials and employees at the Dauphin County Prison, Pennsylvania, where the alleged incidents took place. Pending before the court are Plaintiffs motions for the appointment of counsel (Docs. 27, 34), to amend the complaint (Doc. 31) and a request for default (Doc. 24). Also pending is a motion to dismiss filed by several of the named Defendants (Doc. 21).

I. Allegations in the Complaint

Plaintiff alleges that prison officials at the Dauphin County Prison, her former place of confinement, failed to protect her from multiple assaults. Named as Defendants are Dominick DeRose, Warden; Deputy Warden Nichols; Mike Welker, Treatment Coordinator, and Correctional Officers Doe, Mayberry and Brown.[2] (Doc. 1, Compl. 1, 5.)

Plaintiff is a “100% feminine appearing transgender person” and claims that her Rhode Island state-issued identification and United States passport reflect that she is “female.” (Id. at 6.) Plaintiff was committed to the Dauphin County Prison on March 24, 2013. She states that her record documents assaults back to 2006.

On March 31, 2013, Plaintiff was housed in an open dorm setting on G-Block, where she was sexually assaulted by another inmate. (Id.) Thereafter, Plaintiff gave a request slip about the incident to Defendant Doe. Doe removed Plaintiff from the unit, and took her to the Harrisburg Hospital.

From March 31, 2013 through April 8, 2013, Plaintiff was housed on A Block. The inmate who had assaulted Plaintiff was housed 4 cells away. Plaintiff claims that this caused her severe anxiety. Plaintiff also overheard other officers and inmates joking about the assault. Plaintiff sent grievances to Defendants Welker and Nichols seeking to be removed from the male population, because she felt like she was an obvious target for further assaults, even if confined in protective custody there. Welker and Nichols denied her grievance requests, and appeals therefrom were also denied by Defendant DeRose and Commissioner Haste.

At the end of April 2013, Plaintiff was moved to protective custody on Block Q, where she was housed in a single cell. Another inmate who had previously assaulted another transgender inmate was housed one cell away. Plaintiff claims that she complained to staff about other inmates on the block harassing and threatening her, but no action was taken. (Id.)

On May 31, 2013, Plaintiff claims that she was punched by Inmate Ussary while using the phone. Defendant Mayberry was notified and only laughed at Plaintiff and ordered her to “lock in.” Mayberry later came to Plaintiff’s cell and stated that a white shirt reviewed the video and it revealed that Ussary did not strike Plaintiff. When Plaintiff tried to show Mayberry the marks on her face, Mayberry ignored her.

Despite written and verbal requests, Plaintiff was not moved from the block until 3 days later. She was moved to P-S-8 and housed alone for 2 weeks. Thereafter, she was moved to Block P-5 and placed in a cell with Inmate Craig Michael Jordon. According to Plaintiff, Jordon had been deemed a “Sexually Violent Predator” by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and this is known by the staff.

On or about July 18, 2013, Plaintiff claims that she was punched by Inmate Miles, and suffered cuts and bleeding to the mouth. (Id. at 7.) Defendant Brown thereafter moved Plaintiff to “the hole” and charged her with fighting. Based on the foregoing, Plaintiff seeks injunctive and monetary relief.

II. Discussion

A. Motions for counsel

Plaintiff has filed two motions seeking the appointment of counsel in this matter. (Docs. 27, 34.) In support of the motions, Plaintiff contends she is: (1) unable to afford/secure counsel; (2) limited by her imprisonment; (3) has limited access to the law library; (4) the ...


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