United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
MEMORANDUM ORDER RE: DEFENDANTS' OBJECTIONS FILED
AT DOC. NOS. 186 AND 194 AND PLAINTIFF'S MOTIONS FOR
RECONSIDERATION FILED AT DOC. NOS. 196 AND 197 AND MOTION FOR
EXTENSION OF TIME FILED AT DOC. NO.
J. Schwab, United States District Judge.
trial of this pro se prisoner matter will commence
on July 17, 2017. Doc. No. 152. Pending before the Court are
Motions and Objections filed by both Parties concerning
several pretrial matters.
Defendants' Objections to the Final Jury Instructions
(Doc. Nos. 186 and 194)
object to the Court's ruling providing a spoliation
instruction regarding the destroyed video evidence relevant
to Plaintiff's failure-to-intervene claim. Doc. No. 194.
Defendants also object to the inclusion of a jury instruction
for punitive damages. Id. and Doc. No. 186.
Court will treat Defendants' objection to the spoliation
instruction as a motion for reconsideration. To establish
that a court should reconsider a previous order, a movant
must set forth (1) an intervening change in controlling law;
(2) the availability of new evidence that was not available
when the Court entered judgment; or (3) the need to correct a
clear error of law or fact or to prevent manifest injustice.
Lazaridis v. Wehmer, 591 F.3d 666, 669 (3d Cir.
2010) (quoting Max's Seafood Cafe v. Quinteros,
176 F.3d 669, 678 (3d Cir. 1999)). Here, Defendants do no
more than re-state arguments previously considered by both
the undersigned District Judge and United States Magistrate
Judge Baxter when determining that spoliation of evidence had
occurred and that appropriate sanctions should be imposed.
Although Defendants have repeatedly argued that the vestibule
video showing the assault on Plaintiff is sufficient to show
that Defendant Chernosky responded to the assault within
approximately 15 seconds, the destroyed yard video would have
shown, inter alia, what the Defendant was doing
immediately prior to the assault, and whether 15 seconds was
a reasonable response time under the circumstances.
Accordingly, Defendants' request to remove the spoliation
instruction is DENIED.
objection to the inclusion of the punitive damages
instruction is DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE and may be raised
again at the close of Plaintiff's case in chief or at the
close of trial, as appropriate.
Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration of the Court's
Memorandum Order Concerning Exhaustion of
Administrative Remedies for Grievance Numbers 512413 and
518644 and Dismissal of Defendants Cole and Ennis (Doc. No.
seeks reconsideration of the Court's Memorandum Order,
doc. no. 171, finding that he failed to exhaust
administrative remedies for Grievance Numbers 512413 and
518644. Doc. No. 196. Plaintiff again raises arguments
concerning a box of legal materials allegedly containing the
grievances and responses that went missing on July 17, 2014.
Doc. No. 196. Plaintiff's argument in this motion is
entirely irrelevant to Grievance Number 518644 - - for which
credible evidence was offered to show that he would have
received the response to said grievance sometime August 13,
2014, and it therefore could not have been included in the
box of materials that went missing on July 17, 2014. Doc. No.
Grievance Number 512413, Plaintiff fails to show a change in
controlling law, evidence that was unavailable at the time of
the Small hearing to decide this matter, or the need
to correct a clear error of law or fact. See
Lazaridis, 591 F.3d at 669. Accordingly, his Motion
for Reconsideration of the Memorandum Order at doc. no. 171
also seeks reconsideration of the dismissal of Defendants
Cole and Ennis regarding his claims that the prison Program
Review Committee (“PRC”) did not give him a
prompt hearing and retaliated against him by failing to
investigate his assault or give him a prompt hearing. Doc.
No. 196. These matters were decided in District Judge
Rothstein's Memorandum Order adopting the Magistrate
Judge's Report and Recommendation granting summary
judgment to Defendants for several claims, including the
claims related to the PRC. Doc. No. 127.
argues that only his claim that the PRC failed to give him a
prompt hearing was dismissed, and not the retaliation claim.
Doc. No. 196. That is not the case. The Magistrate Judge
considered “[a] retaliation claim against Haggerty,
Ennis, Horton, Cole, and Oberlander based on the denial of a
program review committee hearing” and found that
“[s]ummary judgment should be granted in favor of
Defendants on this claim.” Doc. No. 122, pp. 13-14.
Accordingly, Plaintiff's Motion for Reconsideration of
the dismissal of Defendants Cole and Ennis is DENIED.
Plaintiff's Notice to Court Concerning Reconsideration of
the Court's Memorandum Order Granting
Plaintiff's Motion for Spoliation Sanctions
Notice to Court, doc. no. 197, is being treated as a Motion
to Reconsider the Court's prior orders denying several
requests by Plaintiff for additional spoliation sanctions
related to the missing box of legal materials. Magistrate
Judge Baxter granted in part Plaintiff's motion for
spoliation sanctions regarding items allegedly contained in
the missing box of legal materials. See Text Order
filed 11/19/2014 and referring to the hearing held on the
matter on the same date. The undersigned District Judge has
previously ordered that all matters regarding sanctions have
been either denied or adequately addressed by the Court.
See Doc. Nos. 163 and 182.
claims that he had several written statements in the missing
box that would prove that Defendants were retaliating against
him. Doc. No. 197. Defendants address this matter in their
Motion in Limine Concerning ...