United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
MALACHY E. MANNION United States District Judge
James Thomas Tuner, an inmate confined in the United States
Penitentiary, Lewisburg, (“USP-Lewisburg”),
Pennsylvania, filed the above captioned
Bivens action pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§1331. (See Doc. 1, complaint).
The named Defendants are the following Correctional Officers
employed at SCI-Canaan, Plaintiff’s prior place of
confinement: J. Tuttle, D. Clark and four Jane and John Doe
Defendants. Id. However, J. Tuttle is the only
individual who could be identified with certainty, and for
whom service was accepted. (See Doc. 17).
Because the waiver of service of summons for the remaining
Defendants could not be executed, as the Defendants could not
be identified as named by the Plaintiff, these Defendants
will be dismissed pursuant to Rule 4(m), for
Plaintiff’s failure to properly identify these
Defendants and effectuate service within 120 days of the
filing of the complaint. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 4(m).
alleges that on June 24, 2015, at approximately 12:00 pm,
while being processed into USP-Canaan, Defendant Tuttle
entered the exam room and “lean[ed] on the high exam
bed looking at [Plaintiff] while Jane Doe was asking [him] a
lots of questions about [his] seizures” and states to
Plaintiff “I think you are lying”, so
“I’m going to take you off this
medication”. (Doc. 1, complaint). Plaintiff
claims that when he responded “isn’t that the
doctor’s job to take me off my meds”, J. Tuttle
stated “close your suck hole”. Id.
Plaintiff states that he “found that remark to be very
disrespectfully, so [he] responded man what’s your
problem, what’s wrong with you.” Id.
Plaintiff claims that Defendant Tuttle approached him while
he was sitting in the chair, and “walked all the way up
on [him] with his private parts in [his] face, trying to
provoke [him].” Id. When Plaintiff asked
Defendant Tuttle to “please move, you’re in my
space” and “he refused to move”, Plaintiff
“stood up and moved in front of the examination room
door so the officers can see [him].” Id.
Plaintiff states that “when Officer D. Clark and CO
John Doe-4 saw that there was a problem in the exam room they
entered the room, asking what’s the problem”.
Id. Plaintiff told Defendant Clark that “this
nurse is disrespecting me and C.O. Clark look at LPN J.
Tuttle and J. Tuttle was denying it.” Id. So,
Defendant Clark “ask[ed] [Plaintiff] to turn around and
summit (sic) to hand cuff” and Plaintiff did as he was
told. Id. Plaintiff claims that once the cuffs were
on him “J. Tuttle hit [him] from the back in the back
of [his] head, then C.O. Clark said take him down so Jane
Doe-3, John Doe-4 and C.O. D. Clark slam [him] down on top of
a small trash can, causing the corner of the trash can to cut
deep into [Plaintiff’s] upper right chest and shoulder
leaving three stab wounds.” Plaintiff contends that
“after hitting or landing on the trash can they pull
[him] out of the exam room on the floor faced down on [his]
chest, the whole time the restraints were on [him].”
Id. Once he was pulled out of the exam room into the
hallway, Plaintiff claims “C.O. Clark lean[ed] down to
[his] ear and stated while beating [his] face around [his]
left eye, ‘you been talking shit all day’ and
then beat [him] some more.” Id.
was then taken to medical, where “an older male nurse
examined and treated [him] for [his] injury, [his] left eye
was very swollen, [his] upper chest was cut deep in three
places, the bone in [his] left knee is out of place from the
CO stepping on the leg restraints, causing [Plaintiff] to
fall, landing on [his] knees.” Id. The nurse
who examined Plaintiff “took pictures of [his] shoulder
and [his] face, [his] whole body was hurting so bad but he
took pictures of the scars he could see and all or most of
this was caught on videotape.” Id.
February 16, 2016, Plaintiff filed the instant action in
which he alleges that the named Defendants violated his
Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel and unusual
punishment. Id. For relief, Plaintiff seeks
compensatory and punitive damages. Id.
before the Court is Defendant Tuttle’s motion to
dismiss and/or for summary judgment. (Doc. 18). The
motion has been fully briefed and is ripe for disposition.
For the reasons that follow, Defendant’s motion for
summary judgment will be granted.
Standards of Review
claims are filed pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1331, in
accordance with Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of the
Fed. Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388, (1971). Under
Bivens, the District Court has federal question jurisdiction
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1331 to entertain an action
brought to redress alleged federal constitutional or
statutory violations by a federal actor. Bivens, supra.
Pursuant to Bivens, “a citizen suffering a compensable
injury to a constitutionally protected interest could invoke
the general federal question jurisdiction of the district
court to obtain an award of monetary damages against the
responsible federal official.” Butz v.
Economou, 438 U.S. 478, 504 (1978). A Bivens-style civil
rights claim is the federal equivalent of an action brought
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983 and the same legal
principles have been held to apply. See, Paton v.
LaPrade, 524 F.2d 862, 871 (3d Cir. 1975); Veteto v.
Miller, 829 F.Supp. 1486, 1492 (M.D.Pa. 1992); Young
v. Keohane, 809 F.Supp. 1185, 1200 n. 16 (M.D.Pa. 1992).
In order to state an actionable Bivens claim, a plaintiff
must allege that a person has deprived him of a federal
right, and that the person who caused the deprivation acted
under color of federal law. See West v. Atkins, 487
U.S. 42, 48 (1988); Young v. Keohane, 809 F.Supp.
1185, 1199 (M.D.Pa. 1992).
Motion to Dismiss
pending dispositive motion is supported by evidentiary
materials outside the pleadings. Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(d) provides in part as follows:
If, on a motion under Rule 12(b)(6) or 12(c),
matters outside the pleading are presented to and not
excluded by the court, the motion must be treated as one for
summary judgment under Rule 56. All parties must be given
reasonable opportunity to present all the material that is
pertinent to the motion.
Court will not exclude the evidentiary materials accompanying
the Defendant’s motion. Thus, the motion will be
treated as solely seeking summary judgment. See Latham v.
United States, 306 Fed. Appx. 716, 718 (3d Cir. 2009)
(when a motion to dismiss has been framed alternatively as a
motion for summary judgment such as in the present case, the
alternative filing “is sufficient to place the parties
on notice that summary judgment might be entered.”)
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a)
“[t]he court shall grant summary judgment if the movant
shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material
fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of
law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see also Celotex
Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986).
“[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