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Shelton v. Bledsoe

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

July 7, 2017

WARDEN BLEDSOE, et al., Defendants


          MALACHY E. MANNION United States District Judge.

         Presently before the Court is Defendants' motion in limine to exclude evidence of previous lawsuits and complaints, including any settlements, administrative remedies, internal Bureau of Prisons complaints, federal complaints or other executive agency complaints filed against them or the United States, (Doc. 228); and Plaintiff's motions in limine to exclude evidence of Plaintiff's alleged prison misconduct, (Doc. 230), evidence of Plaintiff's other lawsuits, (Doc. 232); evidence of Plaintiff's criminal convictions, (Doc. 234), evidence of Plaintiff's religions, including portions of the videotape debriefing showing Plaintiff praying, (Doc. 236); evidence of other administrative grievances filed by Plaintiff, (Doc. 238); and to exclude video and other evidence of September 22, 2010 use of force incident, (Doc. 248).

         For the following reasons, the Court will GRANT Defendants' motion in limine and GRANT, in part, and DENY, in part, Plaintiff's motions in limine.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On February 25, 2011, Norman N. Shelton, an inmate confined in the United States Penitentiary, Lewisburg (“USP-Lewisburg”), Pennsylvania, filed the above captioned Bivens[1] action, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1331. Named as Defendants were thirty-two (32) employees of USP-Lewisburg. Shelton raises claims of deliberate indifference to his safety and excessive use of force with regard to events surrounding an alleged August 29, 2010 assault upon him by his cellmate, and claims regarding his resulting medical care. (Doc. 1, complaint). In addition, Shelton generally alleges racial discrimination by staff and complains of various forms of mistreatment, including “corporal punishment, ” the use of restraints, harassment, and being deprived of water, lights and sleep. Id.

         Acting on a series of motions to amend/correct his complaint, the Court, by Order dated June 30, 2011, permitted Shelton an opportunity to file an amended complaint. (See Doc. 55). To that end, Shelton was provided with two copies of this Court's civil-rights complaint form. Id.

         On July 11, 2011, Shelton filed two completed civil-rights complaint forms with the Court, both captioned with the docket number in this case. (See Docs. 58, 60). Along with the complaints, Shelton filed a brief in support of his amended complaints. (Doc. 59).

         On August 10, 2011, upon review of Shelton's amended complaint, the following Order was issued:

1. The Clerk of Court is directed to extract pages 1 - 4 from Plaintiff's first amended complaint (Doc. 58), consider them as the amended complaint of record, file and docket them as same.
2. The Clerk of Court is directed to return the remaining sixteen pages of the first amended complaint (Doc. 58) to the Plaintiff.
3. Plaintiff's amended complaint is permitted to proceed with respect to Defendants, Correctional Officers Raup and Whittaker, Lieutenants Heath and Galletta, and Medical Examiner Potter. The remainder of the Defendants are to be dismissed from the instant action.
4. The Clerk of Court is directed to serve Plaintiff's amended complaint on the five (5) Defendants named therein.
5. Plaintiff's second amended complaint (Doc. 60) is STRICKEN from the record as duplicative of the first three pages of Plaintiff's first amended complaint.
6. Defendants' motion for enlargement of time to respond to the amended complaint, (Doc. 61) is


         7. Defendants may respond to the amended complaint within sixty (60) days after service of the amended complaint.

8. Defendants' motion to dismiss and motion for summary judgment, directed at Plaintiff's original complaint, (Doc. 42) is DISMISSED as moot.
9. Plaintiff's motion for default judgment (Doc. 50) and motion requesting issuance of subpoena (Doc. 62) are DENIED.

(Doc. 74, Order).

         As a result of the Court's August 10, 2011 Order, the following claims contained in Plaintiff's amended complaint (Doc. 58) were permitted to proceed:

On August 30, 2009, [Plaintiff] was “forced to go into a cell with a gang member against [his] will”. The gang member and [Plaintiff] “told the officials that it would not work out between [them]”.
On cell rotation of August 30, 2009, “[Plaintiff] was placed in handcuffs and inmate Graham #11510-031 began assaulting [Plaintiff] with multiple punches and kicks to [his] face and body”.
SMU officials stood there and watch for a whole three minutes and did nothing to stop it. Once inmate stopped, C/O Raup, C/O Whittaker and Lt. Heath came into the cell and “slammed [Plaintiff] to the ground while [he] was cuffed behind [his] back, after they sprayed [him] in the face with gas”.
Defendant Lt. Heath, “act[ing] intentionally and purposefully place[d] her knee on the back of Plaintiff's neck, cutting off his breathing”.
C/O Whittaker “slammed Plaintiff to the floor while Plaintiff was passively and handcuffed behind his back and Defendant Whittaker punched and kicked Plaintiff in his left side of his body.”
C/O Raup “punched [and] kicked Plaintiff in his right side of his body” and “Plaintiff could not breath and yelled he could not get any air.” The gas was “burning Plaintiff's skin on his face, neck and back and Defendant C/O Raup stated ...

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