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Rodenbaugh v. Santiago

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

February 14, 2017

DAPHNE RODENBAUGH, Plaintiff,
v.
JUDGE SANTIAGO, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          EDWARD G. SMITH, J.

         This action arises from the pro se plaintiff's arrest after she unsuccessfully attempted to use a hospital's telephone and obtain additional medical treatment while there. The plaintiff brought constitutional claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the officer that arrested her, the judge that presided over her guilty plea and sentencing, and a case manager and physician that interacted with her while she was incarcerated. The court previously dismissed the claims against the officer, the judge, and the physician at the pleading stage of this case. As such, the only remaining defendant is the case manager, who the plaintiff alleges deprived her of access to phone calls and mail, and prevented her from communicating with her attorney and the court.

         Currently before the court is the case manager's motion to dismiss for failure to exhaust administrative remedies as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act, and for failure to state a claim, which the court converted to a motion for summary judgment because it relied on matters outside of the pleadings which the court could not properly consider on a motion to dismiss. In connection with converting the case manager's motion, the court granted the parties leave to submit any evidence relevant to (1) whether the plaintiff exhausted her administrative remedies, and (2) the plaintiff's underlying claims. The court received a supplemental submission by the case manager, but did not receive anything from the plaintiff. After reviewing the applicable record, the court will grant summary judgment in favor of the case manager because there is no genuine issue of material fact regarding whether the plaintiff failed to exhaust her administrative remedies before filing this lawsuit.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         The court previously set forth most of the factual and procedural history in this matter as follows:

On April 25, 2015, the pro se plaintiff, Daphne Rodenbaugh (“Rodenbaugh”) went to the emergency department at Sacred Heart Hospital (“Sacred Heart”) to obtain treatment for severe blisters on her feet. Second Amended Complaint (“SAC”) at 2, Doc. No. 19. Sacred Heart medical personnel provided her with a prescription for cream and told her to come back if she had further problems. Id. Rodenbaugh left Sacred Heart and attempted to make a phone call, but her cellular phone did not work, so she returned to Sacred Heart, informed the staff that she could barely walk, and asked if she could use the hospital's telephone located in the waiting room. Id. The staff at Sacred Heart did not permit Rodenbaugh to use the hospital's telephone, and Sacred Heart's security called the police.[1] Id. Jason Adduddell (“Adduddell”), a police officer for the city of Allentown, arrived and arrested Rodenbaugh. Id. Rodenbaugh was charged with violating 18 Pa. C.S. § 3503 (defiant criminal trespass), and because she was unable to post bail-which was set at $1500-Rodenbaugh was committed to the Lehigh County Jail pending arraignment. See Defendant Tracy Boandl Rule 12(b)(6) Mot. to Dismiss Pl.'s Second Am. Compl. (“Boandl MTD”) at Ex. 1, Affidavit of Tracy Boandl (“Boandl Aff.”), at Ex. A, Commitment Order, Doc. No. 22.
On May 4, 2015, Rodenbaugh appeared before Lehigh County Magisterial District Judge Rashid Santiago for arraignment. SAC at 7; Boandl Aff. at Ex. B, Order Imposing Sentence (“Sentencing Order”). Based on a discussion between Judge Santiago, the “D.A. and others[, ]” Rodenbaugh pleaded guilty to defiant criminal trespass because she believed she would be released in five days if she pleaded guilty instead of spending three months in jail awaiting trial if she pleaded not guilty. SAC at 2; Sentencing Order. Judge Santiago sentenced Rodenbaugh to “time served to 12 months, parole plan needed, SPORE supervision, fines suspended, pay costs.” Sentencing Order. Rodenbaugh's sentence required that she have a parole plan in place with an address to which the Lehigh County Jail could release her. Boandl Aff. at ¶ 5. Rodenbaugh did not have such an address where she could be released. Id. During her incarceration, Rodenbaugh interacted with Tracy Boandl (“Boandl”), a Lehigh County Jail case manager assigned to her. SAC at 3, 5; Boandl Aff. at ¶ 2. Rodenbaugh believes that Boandl blocked her access to phone calls and mail, and prevented her from communicating with her attorney and the court. SAC at 3, 5. During her incarceration, Rodenbaugh also interacted with Dr. Alex Thomas (“Dr. Thomas”), a physician at the Lehigh County Jail. Id. at 9. On the second day of her incarceration, Rodenbaugh met with Dr. Thomas and stated, “I don't belong here.” Id. Rodenbaugh believes that Dr. Thomas should have transferred her to a mental health institution at that point. Id.
On October 23, 2015, Judge Carol K. McGinley of the Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh County found that Rodenbaugh was severely mentally disabled and in need of treatment, and ordered that she be involuntarily treated at the Wernersville State Hospital. Boandl Aff. at Ex. E, Order for Involuntary Treatment. On November 23, 2015, Judge James T. Anthony of the Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh County ordered that Rodenbaugh be paroled to the Wernersville State Hospital, with an effective date of December 1, 2015. Id. at Ex. F, Order. Rodenbaugh was transferred to the Wernersville State Hospital on December 1, 2015. Id. at Ex. G, Discharge/Transfer Notification.
Rodenbaugh filed the instant lawsuit, apparently asserting claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (“section 1983”) against Judge Santiago, Adduddell, Boandl, and Dr. Thomas, and an application to proceed in forma pauperis, on February 17, 2016, in the Middle District of Pennsylvania. Complaint, Doc. Nos. 1-1, 1-2. On February 19, 2016, the Honorable Joseph F. Saporito, Jr. entered an order transferring Rodenbaugh's case to this court. Order at ECF pp. 3-4, Doc. No. 1.
This matter was not assigned to the undersigned until the Clerk of Court received the original record in this case on May 4, 2016. On May 12, 2016, the court entered an order (1) granting Rodenbaugh's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis, and (2) providing her with leave to file an amended complaint to clarify her allegations and to list all defendants in the caption of the pleading as required by Rule 10 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Order at 1, Doc. No. 2. On May 23, 2016, Rodenbaugh separately filed a motion seeking the appointment of counsel and an amended complaint in which she once again asserted claims against Judge Santiago, Adduddell, Boandl, and Dr. Thomas.
The court entered an order denying Rodenbaugh's motion for counsel without prejudice on June 8, 2016. Doc. No. 6. On June 30, 2016, after screening the amended complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), the court entered an order dismissing the claims against Judge Santiago with prejudice, and ordering the United States Marshal for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to serve the summonses and the amended complaint upon the remaining defendants. Doc. No. 7.[2]
Adduddell filed motions to dismiss, to strike, and for a more definite statement on August 25, 2016. Doc. No. 11. Boandl filed a motion to dismiss the amended complaint on August 31, 2016. Doc. No. 13. Rodenbaugh filed a response to Adduddell's and Boandl's motions on September 27, 2016. Doc. No. 16. The court held oral argument on the motions on October 4, 2016. Doc. No. 18.
On October 26, 2016, Rodenbaugh filed a second amended complaint (“SAC”) against Judge Santiago, Adduddell, Boandl, and Dr. Thomas. On October 27, 2016, the court entered an order dismissing the claims in the SAC against Judge Santiago with prejudice, and denying Adduddell's and Boandl's motions to dismiss the amended complaint as moot based on the filing of the SAC. Doc. No. 20. Adduddell and Boandl separately filed motions to dismiss the SAC on November 8, 2016 and November 10, 2016, ...

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