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Rodenbaugh v. Santiago

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

July 6, 2017

DAPHNE RODENBAUGH, Plaintiff,
v.
JUDGE SANTIAGO, JASON ADDUDDELL, TRACY BONDALL, [1] and ALEX THOMAS, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          EDWARD G. SMITH, J.

         This action arises from the pro se plaintiff's arrest after she unsuccessfully attempted to use a hospital's telephone and obtain additional medical treatment while there. The plaintiff initially brought constitutional claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the officer that arrested her, the judge that presided over her guilty plea and sentencing, and a case manager and physician that interacted with her while she was incarcerated. The court previously dismissed the claims against the officer, the judge, and the physician. The case manager had also moved to have the court dismiss the claims against her because the plaintiff failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted, and because she failed to exhaust her administrative remedies as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act. The court converted the motion to dismiss to a motion for summary judgment because it relied on matters outside of the pleadings which the court could not properly consider on a motion to dismiss. In connection with converting the case manager's motion, the court granted the parties leave to submit any evidence relevant to (1) whether the plaintiff exhausted her administrative remedies, and (2) the plaintiff's underlying claims.

         The court received a supplemental submission by the case manager, but received nothing from the plaintiff. After reviewing the applicable record, the court granted summary judgment in favor of the case manager, finding that the plaintiff had failed to file a grievance, and thus, there was no genuine issue of material fact regarding whether she failed to exhaust her administrative remedies before filing this lawsuit.

         After the court granted summary judgment in favor of the case manager and dismissed this case, the plaintiff filed a motion for relief from the court's order dismissing the case, indicating that for medical reasons, she was unable to participate in discovery during the period of time provided by the court. After holding a hearing on the plaintiff's motion for relief from the court's order dismissing this case, the court reopened the case and granted the parties an additional 60 days to engage in discovery as to (1) whether the plaintiff exhausted her administrative remedies, and (2) the plaintiff's underlying claims. After the discovery period closed, the case manager filed a renewed motion for summary judgment. After reviewing the supplemental record, the court will again grant summary judgment in favor of the case manager because there is no genuine issue of material fact regarding whether the plaintiff failed to exhaust her administrative remedies prior to filing this lawsuit.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         The court previously set forth most of the factual and procedural history in this matter as follows:

On April 25, 2015, the pro se plaintiff, Daphne Rodenbaugh (“Rodenbaugh”) went to the emergency department at Sacred Heart Hospital (“Sacred Heart”) to obtain treatment for severe blisters on her feet. Second Amended Complaint (“SAC”) at 2, Doc. No. 19. Sacred Heart medical personnel provided her with a prescription for cream and told her to come back if she had further problems. Id. Rodenbaugh left Sacred Heart and attempted to make a phone call, but her cellular phone did not work, so she returned to Sacred Heart, informed the staff that she could barely walk, and asked if she could use the hospital's telephone located in the waiting room. Id. The staff at Sacred Heart did not permit Rodenbaugh to use the hospital's telephone, and Sacred Heart's security called the police.[2] Id. Jason Adduddell (“Adduddell”), a police officer for the city of Allentown, arrived and arrested Rodenbaugh. Id. Rodenbaugh was charged with violating 18 Pa. C.S. § 3503 (defiant criminal trespass), and because she was unable to post bail-which was set at $1500-Rodenbaugh was committed to the Lehigh County Jail pending arraignment. See Defendant Tracy Boandl Rule 12(b)(6) Mot. to Dismiss Pl.'s Second Am. Compl. (“Boandl MTD”) at Ex. 1, Affidavit of Tracy Boandl (“Boandl Aff.”), at Ex. A, Commitment Order, Doc. No. 22.
On May 4, 2015, Rodenbaugh appeared before Lehigh County Magisterial District Judge Rashid Santiago for arraignment. SAC at 7; Boandl Aff. at Ex. B, Order Imposing Sentence (“Sentencing Order”). Based on a discussion between Judge Santiago, the “D.A. and others[, ]” Rodenbaugh pleaded guilty to defiant criminal trespass because she believed she would be released in five days if she pleaded guilty instead of spending three months in jail awaiting trial if she pleaded not guilty. SAC at 2; Sentencing Order. Judge Santiago sentenced Rodenbaugh to “time served to 12 months, parole plan needed, SPORE supervision, fines suspended, pay costs.” Sentencing Order. Rodenbaugh's sentence required that she have a parole plan in place with an address to which the Lehigh County Jail could release her. Boandl Aff. at ¶ 5. Rodenbaugh did not have such an address where she could be released. Id. During her incarceration, Rodenbaugh interacted with Tracy Boandl (“Boandl”), a Lehigh County Jail case manager assigned to her. SAC at 3, 5; Boandl Aff. at ¶ 2. Rodenbaugh believes that Boandl blocked her access to phone calls and mail, and prevented her from communicating with her attorney and the court. SAC at 3, 5. During her incarceration, Rodenbaugh also interacted with Dr. Alex Thomas (“Dr. Thomas”), a physician at the Lehigh County Jail. Id. at 9. On the second day of her incarceration, Rodenbaugh met with Dr. Thomas and stated, “I don't belong here.” Id. Rodenbaugh believes that Dr. Thomas should have transferred her to a mental health institution at that point. Id.
On October 23, 2015, Judge Carol K. McGinley of the Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh County found that Rodenbaugh was severely mentally disabled and in need of treatment, and ordered that she be involuntarily treated at the Wernersville State Hospital. Boandl Aff. at Ex. E, Order for Involuntary Treatment. On November 23, 2015, Judge James T. Anthony of the Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh County ordered that Rodenbaugh be paroled to the Wernersville State Hospital, with an effective date of December 1, 2015. Id. at Ex. F, Order. Rodenbaugh was transferred to the Wernersville State Hospital on December 1, 2015. Id. at Ex. G, Discharge/Transfer Notification.
Rodenbaugh filed the instant lawsuit, apparently asserting claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (“section 1983”) against Judge Santiago, Adduddell, Boandl, and Dr. Thomas, and an application to proceed in forma pauperis, on February 17, 2016, in the Middle District of Pennsylvania. Complaint, Doc. Nos. 1-1, 1-2. On February 19, 2016, the Honorable Joseph F. Saporito, Jr. entered an order transferring Rodenbaugh's case to this court. Order at ECF pp. 3-4, Doc. No. 1.
This matter was not assigned to the undersigned until the Clerk of Court received the original record in this case on May 4, 2016. On May 12, 2016, the court entered an order (1) granting Rodenbaugh's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis, and (2) providing her with leave to file an amended complaint to clarify her allegations and to list all defendants in the caption of the pleading as required by Rule 10 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Order at 1, Doc. No. 2. On May 23, 2016, Rodenbaugh separately filed a motion seeking the appointment of counsel and an amended complaint in which she once again asserted claims against Judge Santiago, Adduddell, Boandl, and Dr. Thomas.
The court entered an order denying Rodenbaugh's motion for counsel without prejudice on June 8, 2016. Doc. No. 6. On June 30, 2016, after screening the amended complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2), the court entered an order dismissing the claims against Judge Santiago with prejudice, and ordering the United States Marshal for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania to serve the summonses and the amended complaint upon the remaining defendants. Doc. No. 7.[3]
Adduddell filed motions to dismiss, to strike, and for a more definite statement on August 25, 2016. Doc. No. 11. Boandl filed a motion to dismiss the amended complaint on August 31, 2016. Doc. No. 13. Rodenbaugh filed a response to Adduddell's and Boandl's motions on September 27, 2016. Doc. No. 16. The court held oral argument on the motions on October 4, 2016. Doc. No. 18.
On October 26, 2016, Rodenbaugh filed a second amended complaint (“SAC”) against Judge Santiago, Adduddell, Boandl, and Dr. Thomas. On October 27, 2016, the court entered an order dismissing the claims in the SAC against Judge Santiago with prejudice, and denying Adduddell's and Boandl's motions to dismiss the amended complaint as moot based on the filing of the SAC. Doc. No. 20. Adduddell and Boandl separately filed motions to dismiss the SAC on November 8, 2016 and November 10, 2016, respectively. Doc. Nos. 21, 22. Rodenbaugh filed responses to the motions to dismiss on November 21, 2016. Doc. Nos. 24, 25. . . .

         January 18, 2017 Mem. Op. (“Opinion on MTD”) at 2-5 (footnote no. 2 omitted), Doc. No. 26.

On January 18, 2017, the court entered a memorandum opinion and order (1) dismissing the claims against Dr. Thomas with prejudice for the failure to state a claim, (2) granting Adduddell's motion to dismiss and dismissing the claims against him with prejudice, (3) denying Boandl's motion to dismiss without prejudice and converting it to a motion for summary judgment, and (4) notifying Boandl and Rodenbaugh that they had 20 days to file all relevant material relating to Boandl's motion.[4] Doc. Nos. 26, 27. On February 6, 2017, Boandl filed an addendum in support of her converted Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss which reraised the arguments set forth in her motion to dismiss as a motion for summary judgment. See Addendum to Def. Tracy Boandl's Rule 12(b)(6) Mot. and Brief which was Converted by the Court to a Mot. for Summ. J. by Order Dated Jan. 18, 2017 (“Boandl Addendum”) at 2-6, Doc. No. 28. . . .

         February 14, 2017 Mem. Op. (“Opinion on MSJ”) at 4-5, Doc. No. 29.

         On February 14, 2017, the 20-days leave that the court granted the parties to file all material relevant to Boandl's motion having passed, and Rodenbaugh having filed no supplemental memoranda or evidence in support of her claims, the court entered a memorandum opinion and order granting summary judgment in favor of Boandl because there was no genuine issue of material fact with respect to Rodenbaugh's failure to exhaust her administrative remedies as required by the Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). Doc. Nos. 29, 30. On February 22, 2017, Rodenbaugh filed a motion for relief from the court's order granting Boandl's motion for summary judgment and dismissing the case. Doc. No. 31. Boandl filed a response in opposition to Rodenbaugh's motion on March 10, 2017. Doc. No. 33. After holding a hearing and oral argument on Rodenbaugh's motion for relief on March 16, 2017, the court entered an order, which (1) granted the motion to reopen and (2) directed the clerk of the court to re-open this case, (2) provided the parties with 60 days to complete limited discovery, and (3) set forth a schedule for Boandl to file a renewed motion for summary judgment and for the plaintiff to file a response to the motion.[5] Order, Doc. No. 35.

         Rodenbaugh filed a motion to conduct polygraph exams of Boandl and Warden Janine Donate of the Lehigh County Jail (“Warden Donate”), in conjunction with their depositions, on April 5, 2017, which the court subsequently denied on April 6, 2017. Doc. Nos. 37-39. Rodenbaugh filed a motion for reconsideration of the court's order denying her motion to conduct polygraph exams on April 17, 2017, which the court subsequently denied on April 18, 2017. Doc. Nos. 40, 41.

         Boandl timely filed a renewed motion for summary judgment on May 26, 2017. Doc. No. 42. Rodenbaugh timely filed a response in opposition to Rodenbaugh's renewed motion for summary judgment on June 7, 2017. Doc. No. 43. Boandl's renewed motion for summary judgment is now ripe for disposition.

         II. ...


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