United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
Christopher C. Conner, Chief Judge United States District
Shawn Hampton ("Hampton"), an inmate currently
confined at the Rockview State Correctional Institution in
Bellefonte, Pennsylvania ("SCI-Rockview"),
commenced this action on July 17, 2014 pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. (Doc. 1). The matter is proceeding via
an amended complaint, wherein Hampton alleges that
defendants' failure to provide him adequate medical
services violated his rights under the First, Eighth, and
Fourteenth Amendments, the Americans with Disabilities Act
("ADA"), and the Rehabilitation Act. (Doc. 13).
Remaining defendants are Wetzel, Williams, Harpster, Glunt
and McHenry (collectively, "Commonwealth
defendants"), and Bernard and Koltay, physician
assistants at SCI-Rockview.
the court is a motion (Doc. 71) for summary judgment pursuant
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 by the Commonwealth
defendants, and a motion (Doc. 73) for summary judgment
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 by defendants
Bernard and Koltay. For the reasons set forth below, the
court will grant both motions.
summary adjudication, the court may dispose of those claims
that do not present a "genuine dispute as to any
material fact" and for which a jury trial would be an
empty and unnecessary formality. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The
burden of proof tasks the non-moving party to come forth with
"affirmative evidence, beyond the allegations of the
pleadings, " in support of its right to relief.
Pappas v. City of Lebanon, 331 F.Supp.2d 311, 315
(M.D. Pa. 2004); Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e); see also Celotex
Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). This
evidence must be adequate, as a matter of law, to sustain a
judgment in favor of the non-moving party. See Anderson
v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250-57 (1986);
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp.,
475 U.S. 574, 587-89 (1986). Only if this threshold is met
may the cause of action proceed. Pappas, 331
F.Supp.2d at 315.
Statement of Material Facts 
has been incarcerated at SCI-Rockview since May 2007. (Doc.
72 ¶ 1; Doc. 89 ¶ 1). Hampton has ostensibly
suffered from low back pain for several years. (Doc. 72
¶ 2; Doc. 89 ¶ 2).
first presented to sick call with complaints of back pain on
May 6, 2010. (Doc. 74 ¶ 4). On examination, the medical
provider noted that Hampton had full strength and found no
non-anatomical tenderness. (Id.) The medical
provider ordered an x-ray of the lumbar spine. (Id.)
The x-ray revealed mild degenerative disc disease at the
lumbosacral joint. (Id.)
23, 2010, Hampton presented to sick call with complaints of
left wrist pain after scooping oatmeal. (Id. at
¶ 5). He reported that the pain was exacerbated by
dorsi-flexion exercises, and ibuprofen did not relieve his
pain. (Id.) Examination revealed full range of
motion and strength. (Id.) The medical provider
diagnosed Hampton with left wrist pain and possible
tendonitis and recommended that he continue taking
non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications
("NSAIDs"). (Id.) Hampton returned to sick
call on July 12, 2010, again complaining of left wrist pain.
(Id. ¶ 6). During this visit, Hampton treated
with physician assistant ("PA") Julie Pensiero.
(Id.) Hampton reported that his pain improved when
he stopped the repetitive job of scooping and began wrapping
his wrist with an ACE bandage. (Id.) An examination
of Hampton's wrist revealed full range of motion and full
strength. (Id.) PA Pensiero diagnosed left wrist
pain with possible overuse syndrome and recommended that
Hampton continue using the ACE wrap. (Id.)
August 24, 2010, Hampton presented to sick call requesting a
bottom bunk due to low back pain. (Id. ¶ 7). He
denied a recent injury to his back. (Id.) He stated
that the only prior injuries to his back occurred when he
fell down a flight of stairs when he was ten years old and
thirteen years old. (Id.) Hampton reported that he
was taking Motrin for pain, which he purchased from the
commissary. (Id.) PA Pensiero examined Hampton and
noted that he was able to ambulate without difficulty,
exhibited no muscle spasms, had full range of motion and
strength, and was able to move without pain. (Id.)
PA Pensiero found no indication for a bottom bunk.
(Id.) PA Pensiero ordered Hampton a back brace and
encouraged him to perform stretching and range of motion
exercises. (See id.) Hampton received the back brace
on September 1, 2010. (Id. ¶ 8).
next complained of back pain on February 1, 2011, after a
reported fall. (Id. ¶ 9). Nurse B. Dunlap
treated Hampton, and noted that examination was unremarkable
and Hampton did not appear to be in distress. (Id.)
Nurse Dunlap advised Hampton to rest and gave him Motrin for
pain. (Id.) Shortly thereafter, on February 24,
2011, while on a hunger strike, Hampton was evaluated by
Nurse Robert Somich. (Id. ¶ 10). Hampton told
Nurse Somich: "All I want is bottom bunk."
(Id.) He reported that he would eat once given a
bottom bunk restriction. (Id.) Hampton was also seen
by a PA, who reviewed his most recent x-ray and observed that
it revealed only mild degenerative disc disease.
(Id.) Therefore, the PA did not believe that a
bottom bunk restriction was medically necessary.
(Id.) Although the record on this point is unclear,
Hampton did receive a bottom bunk restriction at some point
after the February 2011 visit. (See Doc. 74 ¶
11; see also Doc. 72 ¶ 4; Doc. 89 ¶ 4).
September 2012, Hampton requested to have his activity
restrictions lifted so that he could go to the gym to
exercise and adhere to his treatment program. (Doc. 72 ¶
3; Doc. 89 ¶ 3). The Commonwealth defendants aver that
medical staff offered to lift Hampton's physical
restrictions, but he declined the offer because he did not
want to lose his bottom bunk status and extra pillows.
(See Doc. 72 ¶ 4; Doc. 89 ¶ 4). Hampton
explains that he did not want to sign off on all restrictions
because "ALL of them were not the
problem." (Doc. 89 ¶ 4).
next presented to sick call on January 28, 2013 and was seen
by defendant Bernard. (Doc. 74 ¶ 11). Hampton requested
to sign up for "rehab gym." (Id.) Bernard
advised Hampton that if his activity restrictions were
lifted, his bottom bunk restriction and double pillow order
would likely be discontinued. (Id.) Hampton did not
want to change his housing accommodations, and his
restrictions remained the same. (Id.) On April 17,
2013, medical staff issued Hampton his first back brace, with
a review date of October 17, 2013. (Doc. 72 ¶ 5; Doc. 89
September 4, 2013, Hampton submitted a sick call for a
replacement back brace and treated with defendant Koltay.
(Doc. 74 ¶ 12). Hampton reported that the brace provided
him with pain relief and that, with the brace, he had less
need for NSAIDs. (Id.) After examination, Koltay
ordered Hampton a new back brace. (Id.) Staff issued
a replacement back brace to Hampton on September 18, 2013,
with a reevaluation date of March 18, 2014. (Doc. 72 ¶
6; Doc. 89 ¶ 6).
October 7, 2013, Hampton filed grievance number 480803,
wherein he complained that his restrictions were not up to
date in the prison computer. (Doc. 72 ¶ 7; Doc. 89
¶ 7). Hampton requested that his restrictions be updated
to include no repetitive motion so that his work supervisors
would know which duties he was able to perform.
(Id.) The grievance officer denied Hampton's
initial grievance and found that the restrictions noted in
the computer were correct and no doctor ever ordered "no
repetitive motion" of the hands. (Doc. 72-1 at 347).
Hampton appealed to the Facility Manager, seeking
compensation for pain suffered "when forced to do things
that cause [him] pain." (Doc. 72 ¶ 8; Doc. 89
¶ 8; Doc. 72-1 at 346). The Facility Manager denied the
appeal. (Doc. 72-1 at 345). The institution's findings
were thereafter upheld on final review. (Doc. 72-1 at
October 11, 2013, Hampton returned to sick call and was again
seen by defendant Koltay. (Doc. 74 ¶ 13). Hampton
requested a clarification regarding his medical restrictions.
(Id.) He reported that corrections officers told him
that he was not allowed to have carpal tunnel braces.
(Id.) Hampton therefore wanted to have this
equipment verified. (Id.) Koltay wrote an order with
an instruction to "confirm [that] carpal tunnel braces
are included in patient's equipment list."
November 6, 2013, Hampton was seen by defendant Bernard in
sick call. (Doc. 74 ¶ 14; see Doc. 72 ¶ 9; Doc. 89
¶ 9; Doc. 72-1 at 72). Hampton complained that he was
unhappy with his new back brace because it was not tight
enough. (Doc. 74 ¶ 14). Upon examination, Bernard noted
that Hampton was not wearing the brace correctly and
instructed him how to use the brace properly. (Id.;
see Doc. 72 ¶ 9; Doc. 89 ¶ 9; Doc. 72-1 at
72). Bernard noted that there was no need to replace the
brace at that time. (Doc. 74 ¶ 14). Hampton contends
that he was not wearing the brace incorrectly. (Doc. 89
¶ 9). On November 19, 2013, defendant Koltay wrote a
renewed instruction reminding the nurses to include the
carpal tunnel braces and back brace in Hampton's
equipment list. (Doc. 74 ¶ 15).
Koltay next saw Hampton on January 21, 2014, for complaints
of pain due to carpal tunnel syndrome. (Id. ¶
16). Hampton stated that he recently started a new job
involving repetitive movement. (Id.) He further
stated that he was never issued carpal tunnel braces.
(Id.) Hampton reported bilateral pain that was
greater in his dominant right wrist. (Id.) Koltay
noted no recent complaints of carpal tunnel syndrome and
ordered a trial of wrist splints. (Id.; see
Doc. 72 ¶ 10; Doc. 89 ¶ 10). Koltay also updated
Hampton's medical restrictions to reflect that Hampton
should avoid activities with repetitive motion.
(Id.) On February 7, 2014, wrist splints were issued
to Hampton, with a review date of August 7, 2014. (Doc. 72
¶11; Doc. 89 ¶11).
February 18, 2014, Hampton was placed in the RHU at
SCI-Rockview. (Doc. 72 ¶ 12; Doc. 89 ¶ 12). Prior
to entering the RHU, Hampton was subjected to a strip search.
(Doc. 72 ¶ 13; Doc. 89 ¶ 13). During the search,
Hampton gave his back brace to correctional officer
Montgomery under the supervision of Lieutenant Smith. (Doc.
72 ¶ 14; Doc. 89 ¶ 14). Defendant McHenry was not
present for Hampton's search on February 18, 2014. (Doc.
72 ¶ 15; Doc. 78 ¶ 15). The parties dispute whether
defendant McHenry was ever in possession of Hampton's
back brace and wrist splints. (Doc. 72 ¶ 16; Doc. 78
¶ 16). According to Hampton, his back and wrist braces
were confiscated by prison staff pursuant to DOC policy. (See
Doc. 74 ¶17).
parties agree that Hampton packed his own property in
preparation for transfer to the State Correctional
Institution at Benner ("SCI-Benner"). (Doc. 72
¶ 17; Doc. 89 ¶ 17). On February 25, 2014, Hampton
was transferred to the RHU at SCI-Benner and remained there
until he was transferred back to SCI-Rockview on March 14,
2014. (Doc. 72 ¶ 18; Doc. 89 ¶ 18). Hampton's
property was inventoried at SCI-Rockview on March 18, 2014.
(Doc. 72 ¶ 19; Doc. 89 ¶ 19). Hampton contends that
his belongings were sent to the property room because he
refused to downsize his property within a time frame ordered
by defendant McHenry. (Doc. 89 ¶ 19).
first noticed that he did not have his back brace and wrist
splints during the March 18, 2014 inventory. (Doc. 72 ¶
20; Doc. 89 ¶ 20). He immediately filed grievance number
504282 complaining that McHenry had confiscated and destroyed
his braces and failed to provide him with a notice of
confiscation form. (Doc. 72 ¶ 21; Doc. 74 ¶ 18;
Doc. 89 ¶ 21). Hampton also requested replacement
braces. (Doc. 72 ¶ 21; Doc. 89 ¶ 21).
Department of Corrections ("DOC") received the
grievance on April 4, 2014. (Doc. 72 ¶ 21; Doc. 89
¶ 21). The Grievance Coordinator rejected same as
untimely and for failure to provide required documentation.
(Doc. 72 ¶ 22; Doc. 89 ¶ 22). Hampton appealed to
the Facility Manager and then to the Secretary's Office
of Inmate Grievances and Appeals, and both upheld the
Grievance Coordinator's response. (Doc. 72 ¶ 23;
Doc. 89 ¶ 23). The Facility Manager noted that Hampton
failed to resubmit his appeal with proper documentation.
(Doc. 72 ¶ 23). Hampton responds that he could not
afford to make required copies. (Doc. 89 ¶ 23).
failed to show up for sick call on March 20, 2014. (Doc. 72
¶ 24; Doc. 89 ¶ 24). Hampton contends that he did
not personally put in a sick call slip on this date; rather,
a nurse submitted the call on his behalf after he suffered an
asthma attack. (Doc. 89 ¶ 24). Hampton explains that he
suffered an asthma attack, he was provided an inhaler which
resolved his problem, and he was "fine."
(Id.) Thus, Hampton did not show up for the
scheduled sick call because he did not want to "waste
the PA[']s time with an under control issue."
8, 2014, Hampton reported to defendant Koltay that his
medical equipment was confiscated when he was in the RHU.
(Doc. 74 ¶ 19). Hampton requested a replacement back
brace and wrist splints. (Doc. 72 ¶ 25; Doc. 89 ¶
25). Koltay explained that, pursuant to DOC policy, she could
not provide him with new braces unless he had a confiscation
slip. (Doc. 74 ¶ 19). Koltay advised Hampton to contact
the security office for a confiscated items receipt to obtain
replacement braces. (Id.) Hampton states that this
was not the first occasion that he requested a replacement
for his back brace and wrist splints. (Doc. 89 ¶ 25).
19, 2014, Dr. Michael Ekizian wrote a progress note in
response to Hampton's request for the return of his back
brace. (Doc. 74 ¶ 20). Dr. Ekizian did not see Hampton
but did review his chart. (Id.) His review indicated
complaints of chronic lumbago and degenerative disc disease
and that Hampton was taking NSAIDs. (Id.) Dr.
Ekizian concluded that Hampton should "continue back
brace for now." (Id.) He noted that
Hampton's "significant [complaints of] back pain
were out of proportion to [the] objective findings."
Ekizian evaluated Hampton on June 3, 2014 for complaints of
lumbago. (Doc. 72 ¶ 26; Doc. 74 ¶ 21; Doc. 89
¶ 26). Dr. Ekizian noted that Hampton did not want
medication and was already using a back brace. (Doc. 74
¶ 21). He observed that previous lumbar spine x-rays
revealed only minimal findings of degenerative disc disease
and that Hampton reported muscle spasms. (Id.) Dr.
Ekizian ordered a back brace, prescribed Tylenol and NSAIDs,
and recommended physical therapy. (Id.; see
also Doc. 72 ¶ 26; Doc. 89 ¶ 26). Dr. Ekizian
noted that Hampton's previous brace was confiscated
during his transfer to the RHU. (Doc. 74 ¶ 21). Dr.
Ekizian also submitted a consultation request for a physical
therapy evaluation. (Id. ¶ 22). Therein, Dr.
Ekizian explained that Hampton suffered from mild
degenerative disc disease of the lumbosacral spine with
muscle spasms and was using a back brace for chronic pain.
(Id.) Dr. Ekizian's order was reviewed and
approved for physical therapy the following day. (Doc. 72
¶ 28). Hampton admits that he received the Tylenol and
back brace ordered by Dr. Ekizian. (Doc. 89 ¶ 28). The
parties dispute whether Hampton spoke to Dr. Ekizian about
wrist pain or wrist splints during the June 3 visit. (Doc. 72
¶ 27; Doc. 89 ¶ 27).
23, 2014, Hampton was seen by defendant Bernard for
complaints of migraines. (Doc. 74 ¶ 23). Hampton
requested that Bernard specially designate his Tylenol as
"keep on person" in lieu of compelling Hampton to
go to the pill line. (Id.) Bernard informed Hampton
that, because he was on the D mental health roster, he was
not permitted to have any medications as "keep on
person" with the exception of inhalers. (Id.)
The progress note does not indicate that Hampton requested a
prescription for Tylenol or that Bernard instructed him to
purchase Tylenol from the commissary. (Id.)
was seen by Bernard for a refill of his inhalers on July 19,
2014, at which time he inquired about his back brace and
wrist splints. (Doc. 72 ¶ 29; Doc. 74 ¶ 24; Doc. 89
¶ 29). Hampton reported that he did not have his braces
for a few months, and Bernard observed that Hampton had been
without braces since May 2014. (Doc. 74 ¶ 24). The
parties dispute whether Hampton told Bernard he was able to
use a typewriter and write letters. (See Doc. 72
¶ 30; Doc. 89 ¶ 30). Bernard advised Hampton that
there was no indication for wrist splints and encouraged him
to use Tylenol. (Doc. 72 ¶ 31; Doc. 74 ¶ 24; Doc.
89 ¶ 31). She noted that Hampton did not complain of
symptoms related to carpal tunnel. (Doc. 74 ¶ 24). She
also noted that a physical therapy consultation was pending
and she would wait for the evaluation before making any
determinations regarding a back brace. (Id.;
see Doc. 72 ¶ 31; Doc. 89 ¶ 31). Hampton
contends that Bernard discontinued his Tylenol prescription
during this visit. (Doc. 89 ¶ 31).
treated with a physical therapist on July 30, 2014. (Doc. 74
¶ 25; see Doc. 72 ¶ 32; Doc. 89 ¶
32). The physical therapist noted that Hampton experienced
right lower back pain that sometimes traveled to the right
scapular region. (Doc. 74 ¶ 25). Hampton reported
suffering from this pain for twelve to thirteen years.
(Id.) He did not report wrist pain during this
visit. (Id.) No recommendation was made for back or
wrist braces, and no follow-up was recommended.
physical therapist also instructed Hampton about a low back
flexibility program and provided him with a rehabilitative
exercise program. (Id.; Doc. 72 ¶ 32; Doc. 89
¶ 32). Hampton asserts that he was interested in
"any" program that would help his back and wrist
pain. (Doc. 89 ¶ 32). The order for the rehabilitative
exercise program stated: "An inmate involved in this
program may not participate in Varsity Sports, Intramural
Activities, Indoor Weights, over 40 gym sessions or over 50
gym sessions." (Doc. 72 ¶ 33; Doc. 89 ¶ 33;
Doc. 72-1 at 38).
September 22, 2014, defendant Koltay treated Hampton for
complaints of bilateral wrist pain and headaches. (Doc. 72
34, Doc. 74 ¶ 26; Doc. 89 ¶ 34). She noted a
history of carpal tunnel syndrome and that Hampton's
symptoms were aggravated by recurrent, repetitive motion.
(Doc. 74 ¶ 26). Hampton reported no relief from
non-aspirin medication available at commissary.
(Id.) Koltay issued an order for bilateral wrist
splits and a trial of Tegretol for pain relief.
(Id.; Doc. 72 ¶ 34; Doc. 89 ¶ 34). Koltay
otherwise continued Hampton's current restrictions and
advised him to follow-up as needed. (Doc. 72 ¶ 34; Doc.
89 ¶ 34). Hampton would continue taking Tegretol through
June 3, 2015. (Doc. 74 ¶ 26).
again treated with defendant Koltay for complaints of
headaches on October 20, 2014. (Id. ¶ 27). He
did not report any other pain to Koltay at that time.
(Id.) Koltay continued Hampton's Tegretol
prescription for pain. (Id.) On December 3, 2014,
defendant Bernard advised Hampton to treat his headaches with
Tylenol, which he could obtain from the commissary. (IcL
February 26, 2015, Hampton saw PA Hans Reisinger for
complaints of headaches. (Doc. 72 ¶ 35; Doc. 89 ¶
35; Doc. 72-1 at 45; see Doc. 74 ¶ 29). Hampton
requested a review of his restrictions and documentation of
the wrist and back brace orders from the medical department.
(Doc. 72 ¶ 35; Doc. 89 ¶ 35). Hampton reported that
he was taking Tegretol and Tylenol for his headaches, and
Reisinger added Excedrin PM to his regimen. (Doc. 74 ¶
29). The February 26, 2015 visit was the first time Hampton
was seen in medical for back complaints since July 30, 2014.
(Doc. 72 ¶ 36; Doc. 89 ¶ 36).
April 19, 2015, Hampton submitted an Inmate Request to Staff
Form requesting treatment for back and wrist issues. (Doc. 72
¶ 37; Doc. 89 ¶ 37). In response, Hampton was
scheduled to see Dr. Philip Scaglione, with whom he treated
on April 27, 2015. (Doc. 72 ¶ 39; Doc. 89 ¶ 39).
Dr. Scaglione ordered a lumbosacral brace, a double mattress