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Brown v. Shrader

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

March 16, 2017

ANDREW BROWN Plaintiff,
v.
SHRADER, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION [1]

          Lisa Pupo Lenihan United States Magistrate Judge.

         This is a civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 filed through counsel by Andrew Brown (“Plaintiff”) alleging violations of his rights under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution. (ECF No. 1.) The following individuals were named as Defendants in Plaintiff's Amended Complaint that was filed on September 10, 2014, (ECF No. 2): Major Haywood, [2] Security Lieutenant Shrader, Unit Manager Lindley, Unit Manager Macknair, Nurse McAnany, and Nurse Fleming (collectively, the “Corrections Defendants”); and Dr. Jin and PA Trimea (collectively, the “Medical Defendants”). Defendant Nurse Fleming was dismissed for Plaintiff's failure to state a claim against her by Order of Court dated September 14, 2015. (ECF No. 20.) Additionally, the Medical Defendants were subsequently dismissed by joint stipulation of the parties on March 25, 2016. (ECF Nos. 31, 32.) Now pending before the Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment filed by the remaining Corrections Defendants, (ECF No. 43), and, for the following reasons, the Motion will be denied as to all Defendants.

         I. Factual Background

         A. Facts Not in Dispute

         At breakfast on the morning on November 5, 2012, Plaintiff was repeatedly punched by another inmate named Arnold (“Inmate Arnold'), (ECF No. 51, ¶ 29; No. 58, ¶ 29), who, as a result of the attack, received 90 days in the Restricted Housing Unit (“RHU”), (ECF No. 51, ¶ 30; No. 58, ¶ 30). Fearing for his safety once Inmate Arnold was released from the RHU and put back into the general population, Plaintiff met with Security Lieutenant Shrader to request a separation from Arnold. (ECF No. 51, ¶ 33; No. 58, ¶ 33.) Plaintiff also made requests for the separation on three separate occasions to his unit manager, Unit Manager Lindley; on December 17, 2012, January 6, 2013, and March 18, 2013. (ECF No. 45, ¶¶ 4, 6, 8; No. 51, ¶¶ 4, 6, 8, 37, 39, 42; No. 58, ¶ 37, 39, 42.) Lindley, who testified in her deposition that she was responsible for coordinating the various needs of the inmates while ensuring compliance with proper procedures, forwarded each request to the security department, which had the authority to grant a separation. (ECF No. 45, ¶¶ 2, 3, 5, 7, 9; No. 51, ¶¶ 2, 3, 5, 7, 9.) Lindley also included Security Captain Haywood in her response to Plaintiff. (ECF No. 51, ¶¶ 38, 43; No. 58, ¶¶ 38, 43.)

         On March 20, 2013, Plaintiff filed a grievance requesting a separation from Inmate Arnold, although Inmate Arnold was not yet in general population, and claiming that Lindley had failed to act on his multiple request slips seeking a separation. (ECF No. 45, ¶ 10; No. 51, ¶¶ 10, 48, No. 58, ¶ 48.) On either March 26, 2013, Lieutenant Shrader responded to Plaintiff's grievance and explained that Inmate Arnold would remain in administrative custody while the investigation into Plaintiff's safety concerns was being conducted. (ECF No. 45, ¶ 11; No. 51, ¶¶ 11, 49, 50; No 58, ¶¶ 49, 50.) On March 28, 2013, Lieutenant Shrader denied Plaintiff's grievance because Inmate Arnold was still in administrative custody. (ECF No. 51, ¶ 56; No. 58, ¶ 56.)

         On April 22, 2013, Plaintiff provided a statement to security in which he stated that he no longer believed that Inmate Arnold wished him harm. (ECF No. 45, ¶ 15; No. 51, ¶ 15.) Inmate Arnold also provided a written statement in which he stated that he did not have any ill-will toward Plaintiff. (ECF No. 45, ¶ 17; No 51, ¶ 17.)

         In June of 2013, Unit Manager Macknair and Nurse McAnany participated in a staffing during which Plaintiff was removed from his employment in the medical department due to job performance. (ECF No. 45, ¶ 18; No. 51, ¶¶ 18, 76; No. 58, ¶ 76.) The rationale proffered by Nurse McAnany for his decision to seek Plaintiff's removal from his job was because Plaintiff insisted on having conversations with inmates in the infirmary and psychiatric observation cells, which was not permitted, and because Plaintiff did not get along with another inmate in the infirmary. (ECF No. 45, ¶ 19; No. 51, ¶, 19.)

         On June 9, 2013, Plaintiff submitted a request slip to Ms. Sokol in Inmate Employment, asking for assistance in addressing the issues he raised at the employment hearing. (ECF No. 51, ¶ 85; No. 58, ¶ 85.) On June 19, 2013, Plaintiff received a response from Ms. Sokol saying that she notified Captain Haywood of his concerns. (ECF No. 51, ¶ 86; No. 58, ¶ 86.)

         On June 9, 2013, Plaintiff submitted a request slip to Macknair stating, “I/M Arnold said if I don't pay up on commissary pay, I'm getting fucked up for snitching on him. I'm requesting an immediate separation from Arnold!!” (ECF No. 51, ¶¶ 83, 84; No. 58, ¶¶ 83, 84.) On June 19, 2013, Plaintiff submitted another request slip to Macknair requesting that he check on the status of his separation. (ECF No. 51, ¶ 87; No. 58, ¶ 87.) However, there are no notations on either request slip indicative of receipt by any staff member. (ECF No. 51, ¶ 88; No. 58, ¶ 88; No. 52-7, p.2; No. 52-8, p.2.)

         On July 5, 2013, Plaintiff sent a request slip to Deputy Winfield with “URGENT!” written on top and explaining that his life was in immediate danger because without a job he could no longer afford to pay Inmate Arnold's associates. (ECF No. 51, ¶ 89; No. 58, ¶ 89.) Captain Haywood responded to Plaintiff's request slip but did not do so until July 12, 2013. (ECF No. 51, ¶ 91; No. 58, ¶¶ 90, 91.) A day earlier, on July 11, 2013, Inmate Arnold and Plaintiff were involved in another altercation. (ECF No. 45, ¶ 26; No. 51, ¶ 26.) In Captain Haywood's response to Plaintiff's request slip, he stated that there was “evidence that the fight with Arnold was staged to facilitate a transfer.” (ECF No. 58, ¶ 92; No. 52-3, p.63.)

         Plaintiff filed a grievance on July 26, 2013, regarding the Security Department's failure to protect him from the second assault by Inmate Arnold. (ECF No. 51, ¶ 109; No. 58, ¶ 109.) During the investigation into this grievance, Defendants and members of the Security Department stated that they believed the assault was a set up to obtain money. (ECF No. 51, ¶ 111; No. 58, ¶ 111.)

         B. Facts in Dispute

         Plaintiff maintains that Inmate Arnold ran an illicit gambling ring at SCI Greene, and, on the morning of November 5, 2012, Arnold's cell was searched for contraband. (ECF No. 51, ¶¶ 27, 28.) He also maintains that during the attack at breakfast on November 5, 2012, Inmate Arnold yelled, “I'm going to kill you, rat.” (ECF No. 51, ¶ 29.)

         Plaintiff states that in an interview after the attack, he explained to prison officials that Inmate Arnold attacked him because he believed Plaintiff informed on him. (ECF No. 51, ¶ 31.) Plaintiff does not identify these prison officials, but he states that they told him that they would protect him from Inmate Arnold. (ECF No. 51, ¶ 32; ECF No. 58, ¶¶ 31-21.) According to Plaintiff, he met with Lieutenant Shrader the next day, and he assured Plaintiff that he would put a separation on Inmate Arnold. (ECF No. 51, ¶ 33.) However, Lieutenant Shrader maintains that he never made such a promise because he cannot unilaterally issue a separation, and he cannot recall whether he or Lieutenant Grego conducted the investigation pertaining to the altercation on November 5, 2012. (ECF No. 58, ¶ 33.)

         Plaintiff states that on December 11, 2012, he informed his counselor that Inmate Arnold was threatening to kill him. (ECF No. 51, ¶ 34.) He counselor allegedly informed him that he did not have a separation from Inmate Arnold and advised that Plaintiff send his unit manager, Lindley, a request for a separation.[3] (ECF No. 51, ¶ 35.)

         It is not disputed that Plaintiff sent request slips to Lindley on December 17, 2012, January 6, 2013, and March 18, 2013 and that she did, in fact, forward the request slips to security. (ECF No. 51, ¶¶ 37- 43; ECF No. 58, ¶¶ 37-43.) It is disputed, however, that Plaintiff approached Lindley and verbally informed her that he was receiving threats from Inmate Arnold and feared for his life should the two come into contact again. (ECF No. 51, ¶ 45; ECF No. 58, ¶ 45.) It is also disputed that Lindley replied that she didn't know what Plaintiff was talking about and instructed him to stop sending request slips and talk to his counselor about the issue. (ECF No. 51, ¶ 46; ECF No. 58, ¶ 46.) According to Lindley, she does not remember Plaintiff or any conversations she had with him. (ECF No. 51, ¶ 47; ECF No. 58, ¶ 47.)

         As to the investigation into Inmate Arnold's assault on Plaintiff, it is not disputed that Inmate Arnold remained in administrative custody pending the investigation. (ECF No. 58, ¶ 50.) However, it is disputed as to what occurred in the interview Plaintiff had with Lieutenant Shrader on March 26, 2013. Plaintiff maintains that Lieutenant Shrader instructed him to write another request for separation, which he did, but Shrader maintains that he requested that Plaintiff provide a statement to the security department, not a request for separation. (ECF No. 51, ¶ 51; ECF No. 58, ¶ 51.) Plaintiff states that Lieutenant Shrader informed him that he would get the separation and that Inmate Arnold would not be in the general population with him; however, Lieutenant Shrader states that he told Plaintiff that the security department was looking into the claims and that a determination would be made whether or not to issue a separation. (ECF No. 51, ¶ 52; ECF No. 58, ¶ 52.) Lieutenant Shrader admits that he told Plaintiff that Inmate Arnold would be housed in administrative custody during the pendency of the investigation so that the two inmates would not cross paths. (ECF No. 58, ¶ 52.) However, Plaintiff states that Lieutenant Shrader told him to “man-up” because the requests were unnecessary paperwork. (ECF No. 51, ¶ 53.)

         According to Plaintiff, two days after the interview, Lieutenant Shrader approached him on the walkway and told him that he was placing a separation on Inmate Arnold. (ECF No. 51, ¶ 54.) He thus requested that Plaintiff drop his grievance or at least not file an appeal once the grievance was denied. (ECF No. 51, ¶ 55.)

         Plaintiff states that two of Inmate Arnold's associates approached him and told him that they were informed by Lieutenant Shrader that Plaintiff was the reason that Inmate Arnold could not get out of the RHU. (ECF No. 51, ¶ 57.) Lieutenant Shrader denies making such statements to Inmate Arnold's associates because he would not discuss sensitive topics like that in front of other inmates. (ECF No. 51, ¶ 57.) The two associates threatened Plaintiff with injury, explained that they had a deal worked out with Lieutenant Shrader, and stated that Plaintiff should do what Lieutenant Shrader told him to when he visited Plaintiff at work. (ECF No. 51, ¶ 58.) The next day, Lieutenant Shrader visited Plaintiff at work and said, “I heard we're going to make this go away. I heard ...


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