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Schreane v. Marr

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

April 3, 2017

ROBERT MARR, et al., Defendants


          A. RICHARD CAPUTO United States District Judge

         I. Introduction

         Plaintiff Clarence D. Schreane, a federal inmate formerly housed at the United States Penitentiary at Lewisburg (USP-Lewisburg), in Lewisburg, [1] Pennsylvania, commenced this Bivens action on June 19, 2015.[2] Named as defendants are the following USP-Lewisburg employees: Corrections Counselor Robert Marr; Disciplinary Hearing Officer (DHO) B. Chambers; T. Lynn; Corrections Counselor Diltz; Supervisory Correctional Systems Specialist D. Olsheskie; and Paramedic Sarah Dees. Mr. Schreane alleges that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs, impaired his access-to-the-courts, issued him a retaliatory misconduct and denied him due process at his disciplinary hearing.

         Presently pending is Defendants' motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b) and motion for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a). (ECF No. 21.) Also pending before the Court is Mr. Schreane's motion for Declaratory Judgment (ECF No. 34), Motion for Extension of Time (ECF No. 52), and Motion for an Order (ECF No. 69).

         For the reasons set forth below, the motion to dismiss will be denied and the motion for summary judgment will be granted. Mr. Schreane's additional motions will be denied as moot and summary judgment will be issued in favor of the Defendants.

         II. Standards of Review

         Defendants' pending dispositive motion is captioned as a motion to dismiss and motion for summary judgment. (ECF No. 21.) It is supported by evidentiary materials outside the pleadings. Mr. Schreane's opposition to Defendants' motion is entitled “Plaintiff's Objection to Defendant Motion for Summary Judgments” and also relies on materials outside of the pleadings. (ECF No. 44.)

         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.

Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(d). Based on the above, Defendants' 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.”)

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 sets forth the standards and procedures for granting a motion for summary judgment. Summary judgment is proper where “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). The court must determine “whether the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, admissions on file, and affidavits show that there is no genuine issue of material fact and whether the moving party is therefore entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” MacFarlan v. Ivy Hill SNF, LLC, 675 F.3d 266, 271 (3d Cir. 2012)(citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 2552, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (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 judgment; the requirement is that there be no genuine issue of material fact.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247 - 48, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2509 - 10, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986).

         A “material” fact is any fact that might affect the outcome of a suit under the governing substantive law. Gonzalez v. Sec'y of Dept. of Homeland Sec., 678 F.3d 254, 261 (3d Cir. 2012). An issue of material fact is “genuine” if supported by evidence such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict in the non-moving party's favor. Id. at 248, 106 S.Ct. at 2510.

         In reviewing a motion for summary judgment, the court must view all facts and draw all reasonable inferences “in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion.” Blunt v. Lower Merion Sch. Dist., 767 F.3d 247, 265 (3d Cir. 2014)(internal quotation marks omitted). To prevail on summary judgment, the moving party must affirmatively identify those portions of the record which demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Santini v. Fuentes, 795 F.3d 410 (3d Cir. 2015) (citing Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323, 106 S.Ct. 2553). If this burden is met, the nonmoving party “must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to material facts.” Big Apple BMW, Inc. v. BMW of N. Am., Inc., 974 F.2d 1358, 1363 (3d Cir. 1992) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted). Rather, the party opposing summary judgment “must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.” Saldana v. Kmart Corp., 260 F.3d 228, 232 (3d Cir. 2001)(citing Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e); Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 89 L.Ed.2d 538 (1986)). Failure to properly support or contest an assertion of fact may result in the court considering the fact undisputed for the purpose of the motion. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e).

         III. Statement of Material Facts

         From the pleadings, declarations and exhibits submitted therewith, the following facts are ascertained as undisputed or, where disputed, reflect Mr. Schreane's version of the facts, pursuant to this Court's duty to view all facts and reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party.[3] Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255, 106 S.Ct. at 2510.

         Mr. Schreane was housed at USP-Lewisburg from July 6, 2011 through July 3, 2013, and then again from October 2, 2013 through July 22, 2015. (ECF No. 32, Defs.' Statement of Material Facts (DSMF), ¶ 2.) He has a disciplinary history that includes, but is not limited to: refusing orders; threatening bodily harm; disruptive conduct; possession of a dangerous weapon; and making sexual proposals/threats. (DSMF ¶ 3.)

         A. Mr. Schreane's Disruptive Behavior and Calculated Use of Force Event

         On February 20, 2014, at approximately 11:45 a.m., Counselor Marr approached Mr. Schreane in his cell to return legal mail he had tried to send out without postage. During the discussion, Mr. Schreane became agitated and threatened Counselor Marr and his family with violence. (DSMF ¶ 5.) Mr. Schreane stated “if you think I am playing fucking games with you, your family will find out what fucking games are when my people get in contact with them, then we will see what fucking games are.” (ECF No. 32-1, Incident Report 2550915, p. 34.) Due to Mr. Schreane's disruptive behavior, his display of imminent violence and not being in control of himself physically or emotionally, the Acting Warden was notified and authorized staff to place Mr. Schreane in ambulatory restraints. (DSMF ¶ 6; ECF No. 32-1, pp. 26 - 29.) A use of force team was assembled to conduct the calculated use of force of extracting Mr. Schreane from his cell and placing him in ambulatory restraints. (Id.) The event was videotaped. ECF No. 32-1, p. 28.)

         Following the cell extraction and application of restraints, a health services staff member (J. Robertson) performed an injury assessment of Mr. Schreane. (DSMF ¶ 23; ECF No. 32-1, pp. 31 - 32.) No significant findings or apparent distress was noted. (Id.) It was noted that the ambulatory restraints were applied appropriately to permit adequate blood flow to the inmate's extremities, and that Mr. Schreane sustained no injuries and offered no chief complaint. (Id.)

         B. Restraint Checks

         In accordance with BOP Program Statement (PS) 5666.06 (ECF No. 32-1, pp. 47 - 69), prior to any calculated use of force, the ranking custodial official, a designated mental health professional, and others confer and gather pertinent information about the inmate and the immediate situation. Based on their assessment of that information, they identify staff to attempt to obtain the inmate's voluntary cooperation, and using the knowledge they gained about the inmate and the incident, determine if use of force is necessary. (DSMF ¶ 7.) The policy authorizes staff “to apply physical restraints necessary to gain control of an inmate who appears to be dangerous because the inmate: (a) Assaults another individual; (b) Destroys government property; (c) Attempts suicide; (d) Inflicts injury upon self; or (e) Becomes violent or displays signs of imminent violence.” (DSMF ¶ 11.) Pursuant to the policy “[r]estraints should remain on the inmate until self-control is regained.” (DSMF ¶ 12.) Restraints are not to be used in a manner to cause unnecessary physical pain or extreme discomfort. (DSMF ¶ 13.) When applied, “staff will use sound correctional judgment to ensure unnecessary pressure is not applied to the inmate.” (DSMF ¶ 15.) “Ambulatory restraints are defined as approved soft and hard restraint equipment which allow the inmate to eat, drink, and take care of human basic needs without staff intervention.” (DSMF ¶ 14.) Fifteen-minute scheduled checks are required for inmates place in restraints. (DSMF ¶ 16.) Two-hour scheduled checks by Lieutenants are required and “qualified health personnel ordinarily are to visit the inmate at least twice during each eight hour shift.” (DSMF ¶ 18 and ¶ 24.)

         Counselor Marr issued Mr. Schreane Incident Report 2550915 following the incident and calculated use of force. (DSMF ¶ 8.) Plaintiff was kept in ambulatory restraints from 1:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. on February 20, 2014. (DSMF ¶ 9 and ¶ 10.) In accordance with the BOP's restraint policy, staff made fifteen-minute checks on Mr. Schreane while he was in restraints. Fifteen-minute checks were completed between 1:06 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. (DSMF ¶ 17; ECF No. 32-1, pp. 38-39.) At one point in time Mr. Schreane is alleged as saying “That counselor had it coming.” (Id., p. 39.) The required two-hour Lieutenant checks were also completed in accordance with policy. (DSMF ¶ 19; ECF No. 32-1, pp. 41 - 42.) During each two-hour Lieutenant check, Mr. Schreane was offered use of the toilet. (DSMF 32; ECF No. 32-1, pp. 41 - 42.) A Lieutenant checked Mr. Schreane's restraints at 2:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m. and at 8:00 p.m. when they were removed. (DSMF ¶ 20.) Mr. Schreane was agitated, ...

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