United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
John E. Jones III Judge
Ronald Horne (“Horne”), a Pennsylvania state
inmate, incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at
Huntingdon (“SCI-Huntingdon”) at all times
relevant, commenced this civil rights action on October 16,
2014. (Doc. 1). Remaining for disposition is Horne's
claim that Defendants Richard Goss (“Goss”) and
J. Ake (“Ake”) personally delayed or denied
medical treatment for pain in his abdomen and kidneys. (Doc.
39, pp. 5, 8).
pending is a motion (Doc. 64) for summary judgment pursuant
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 filed on behalf of
Defendants Goss and Ake. For the reasons set forth below, the
motion for summary judgment will be granted.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
judgment “should be rendered if the pleadings, the
discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any
affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any
material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as
a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Turner v.
Schering-Plough Corp., 901 F.2d 335, 340 (3d Cir. 1990).
“[T]his standard provides that the mere existence of
some alleged factual dispute between the parties
will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for
summary judgment; the requirement is that there be no
genuine issue of material fact.”
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242,
247-48 (1986) (emphasis in original); Brown v.
Grabowski, 922 F.2d 1097, 1111 (3d Cir. 1990). A
disputed fact is “material” if proof of its
existence or nonexistence would affect the outcome of the
case under applicable substantive law. Id.; Gray
v. York Newspapers, Inc., 957 F.2d 1070, 1078 (3d Cir.
1992). An issue of material fact is “genuine” if
the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the nonmoving party. Anderson, 477 U.S.
at 257; Brenner v. Local 514, United Brotherhood of
Carpenters and Joiners of America, 927 F.2d 1283,
1287-88 (3d Cir. 1991).
party moving for summary judgment bears the burden of showing
the absence of a genuine issue as to any material fact.
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986);
Orson, Inc. v. Miramax Film Corp., 79 F.3d 1358,
1366 (3d Cir. 1996). Once such a showing has been made, the
non-moving party must go beyond the pleadings with
affidavits, depositions, answers to interrogatories or the
like in order to demonstrate specific material facts which
give rise to a genuine issue. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56;
Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324; Matsushita Elec.
Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio, 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986)
(stating that the non-moving party “must do more than
simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the
material facts”); Wooler v. Citizens Bank, 274
F. App'x 177, 179 (3d Cir. 2008). The party opposing the
motion must produce evidence to show the existence of every
element essential to its case, which it bears the burden of
proving at trial, because “a complete failure of proof
concerning an essential element of the nonmoving party's
case necessarily renders all other facts immaterial.”
Celotex. at 323; see also Harter v. G.A.F.
Corp., 967 F.2d 846, 851 (3d Cir. 1992). “[T]he
non-moving party ‘may not rely merely on allegations or
denials in its own pleadings; rather, its response must . . .
set out specific facts showing a genuine issue for
trial.'” Picozzi v. Haulderman, 2011 WL
830331, *2 (M.D. Pa. 2011) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)(2)).
“Inferences should be drawn in the light most favorable
to the non-moving party, and where the non-moving party's
evidence contradicts the movant's, then the
non-movant's must be taken as true.” Big Apple
BMW, Inc. v. BMW of North America. Inc., 974 F.2d 1358,
1363 (3d Cir. 1992).
STATEMENT OF MATERIAL FACTS
arrived at SCI-Huntingdon via transfer from
SCI-Rockview on or about October 6, 2011. (Doc. 65, ¶ 1;
Doc. 76-1, ¶ 1). His health problems at issue in this
case began in January 2012. (Id. at 2: Id.
at 2). On February 2, 2012, Physician's Assistant Trimai
treated Horne for excessive urination and bilateral flank
pain. (Id. at 4; Id. at 4). He ordered
various blood and urine tests. (Id.; Id.).
On February 3, 2012, Defendant Ake, a Registered Nurse, noted
in Horne's medical record that Horne failed to appear for
the urine dip which had been scheduled by Trimai.
(Id. at 5, 18; Id. at 18). Horne contends
that on this date, he informed Ake that he was in need of
medical attention; Ake told him he “was crazy and if
[he] did not shut up he would put [him] in POC.” (Doc.
76-1, ¶ 6; Doc. 76-2, ¶ 3).
February 9, 2012, Ake noted that Horne's Psychological
Review Team met to discuss his mental health care and
indicated /that it would meet again the following year.
(Id. at 22; Id. at 22). Ake never
physically examined Horne during the relevant time period.
(Id. at 19; Id. at 19). Physician's
Assistants Trimai and Riscigno treated Horne for complaints
of right flank pain on February 8, February 17, and March 1,
2012. (Doc. 65, ¶¶ 6, 8, 9).
to confidential mental health records, on October 24, 2012,
Horne's unit manager became concerned by Horne's
abnormal behavior which included, inter alia,
urinating and defecating on the cell floor. (Id. at
11; Id. at 11). Certified registered nurse
practitioner (CRNP) Linda Lane (“Lane”) admitted
Horne to a psychological observation cell (“POC”)
on that date. (Doc. 65, ¶ 11). Lane released him the
next day with a directive to follow up in a week. (Doc. 65,
¶ 12; Doc. 76-1, ¶ 12).
Assistant Chew responded to a sick call request on November
7, 2012, and observed Horne lying on his hands and knees
underneath a feces-covered blanket. (Doc. 65, ¶ 15).
Chew referred Horne for an immediate psychiatric evaluation.
Licensed Psychology Manager, is only involved in
psychological care. (Doc. 66-11, ¶ 4). He is not
“credentialed” to treat inmate's medical
problems. (Id.) On November 7, 2012, Goss placed
Horne in psychological observation status due to Horne's
mental decompensation after he continued to be nonverbal, was
lying in a fetal position naked, and had defecated and
urinated in his cell. (Doc. 65, ¶¶ 23, 26; Doc.
76-1, ¶¶ 23, 26). At the time, Horne displayed
symptoms of catatonia. (Id. at 26; Id. at
26). Goss executed an “Application for Involuntary
Emergency Examination and Treatment” pursuant to
Section 302 of the Mental Health Procedures Act of 1976.
(Id. at 27, 29). Dr. Dolphin, a psychiatrist,
examined Horne for the purpose of determining whether an
involuntary commitment was indicated and certified that Horne
was severely mentally disabled and in need of treatment.
(Id. at 28). The following day, November 8, 2012,
based on Goss's application and Dolphin's
certification, Horne was committed to the State Correctional
Institution at Cresson (“SCI-Cresson”) mental
health unit on an involuntary commitment. (Id. at
at SCI-Cresson Horne received a CT scan of his abdomen that
revealed a small bowel obstruction. (Id. at 17).