United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
Christopher C. Conner, Chief Judge
Shawn Hampton (“Hampton”), an inmate currently
confined at the Rockview State Correctional Institution in
Bellefonte, Pennsylvania (“SCI-Rockview”),
commenced this action on May 8, 2015 pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. (Doc. 1). Remaining defendants are Wetzel,
Lewis, Glunt, Eby, Young, and Bernard and Koltay, physician
assistants at SCI-Rockview. Before the court is a motion
(Doc. 40) for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 56 by defendants Bernard and Koltay. For the
reasons set forth below, the court will grant the motion.
summary adjudication the court may dispose of those claims
that do not present a “genuine issue as to any material
fact” and for which a jury trial would be an empty and
unnecessary formality. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The burden of
proof is upon the non-moving party to come forth with
“affirmative evidence, beyond the allegations of the
pleadings, ” in support of its right to relief.
Pappas v. City of Lebanon, 331 F.Supp.2d 311, 315
(M.D. Pa. 2004); Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e); see also Celotex
Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). This
evidence must be adequate, as a matter of law, to sustain a
judgment in favor of the non-moving party. See Anderson
v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250-57 (1986);
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp.,
475 U.S. 574, 587-89 (1986); see also Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a),
(e). Only if this threshold is met may the cause of action
proceed. Pappas, 331 F.Supp.2d at 315.
Statement of Material Facts
first presented to sick call with complaints of back pain on
May 6, 2010. (Doc. 41 ¶ 4; Doc. 42-1 at 10; Doc. 44
¶ 4). On examination, the medical provider noted that
Hampton had full strength and found no non-anatomical
tenderness. (Id.) The medical provider ordered an
x-ray of the lumbar spine. (Id.) The x-ray revealed
mild degenerative disc disease at the lumbosacral joint.
23, 2010, Hampton presented to sick call with complaints of
left wrist pain after scooping oatmeal. (Doc. 41 ¶ 5;
Doc. 44 ¶ 5). He reported that the pain was exacerbated
by dorsi-flexion exercises, and ibuprofen did not relieve his
pain. (Id.) Examination revealed full range of
motion and strength. (Id.) Physician assistant
(“PA”) Julie Pensiero treated Hampton and
diagnosed him with left wrist pain and possible tendonitis
and recommended that he continue taking non-steroidal
anti-inflammatory medications (“NSAIDs”).
(Id.) Hampton returned to sick call on July 12,
2010, again complaining of left wrist pain. (Id. at
¶ 6). During this visit, Hampton again treated with PA
Pensiero. (Id.) Hampton reported that his pain
improved when he stopped the repetitive job of scooping and
began wrapping his wrist with an ACE bandage. (Id.)
An examination of Hampton's wrist revealed full range of
motion and full strength. (Id.) PA Pensiero
diagnosed left wrist pain with possible overuse syndrome and
recommended that Hampton continue using the ACE wrap.
August 5, 2010, Hampton presented to sick call for an eye
injury that was sustained as a result of being hit by a
softball. (Doc. 41 ¶ 7; Doc. 44 ¶ 7). He was
examined by nurse Brianne Gillmen, who found him in no acute
distress, with a swollen right eye, some small abrasions, and
normal vital signs. (Id.) Nurse Gillmen gave Hampton
ice for his face and advised him to take Motrin for any pain
and return if his vision worsened. (Id.)
August 24, 2010, Hampton presented to sick call requesting a
bottom bunk due to low back pain. (Doc. 41 ¶ 8; Doc. 44
¶ 8). He denied a recent injury to his back.
(Id.) He stated that the only prior injuries to his
back occurred when he fell down a flight of stairs when he
was ten years old and thirteen years old. (Id.) The
parties dispute whether Hampton reported that he was taking
Motrin for pain, which he purchased from the commissary.
(Id.) PA Pensiero examined Hampton and noted that he
was able to ambulate without difficulty, exhibited no muscle
spasms, had full range of motion and strength, and was able
to move without pain. (Id.) PA Pensiero found no
indication for a bottom bunk. (Id.) PA Pensiero
ordered Hampton a back brace and encouraged him to perform
stretching and range of motion exercises. (See id.)
next complained of back pain on February 1, 2011, after a
reported fall. (Doc. 41 ¶ 9; Doc. 44 ¶ 9). Nurse B.
Dunlap treated Hampton, and noted that an examination was
unremarkable and Hampton did not appear to be in distress.
(Id.) Nurse Dunlap advised Hampton to rest and gave
him Motrin for pain. (Id.) Shortly thereafter, on
February 24, 2011, while on a hunger strike, Hampton was
evaluated by Nurse Robert Somich. (Doc. 41 ¶ 10; Doc. 44
¶ 10). Hampton told Nurse Somich: “All I want is
bottom bunk.” (Id.) He reported that he would
eat once given a bottom bunk restriction. (Id.)
Hampton was also seen by a PA, who reviewed his most recent
x-ray and observed that it revealed only mild degenerative
disc disease. (Id.) Therefore, the PA did not
believe that a bottom bunk restriction was medically
September 4, 2013, Hampton submitted a sick call for a
replacement back brace and treated with defendant Koltay.
(Doc. 41 ¶ 11; Doc. 42-1 at 24; Doc. 44 ¶ 11). The
parties dispute whether Hampton reported that the brace
provided him with pain relief and that, with the brace, he
had less need for NSAIDs. (Id.) After examination,
Koltay ordered Hampton a new back brace. (Doc. 41 ¶ 11).
She also instructed him on weight loss and exercise and told
him to return as needed. (Id.)
October 11, 2013, Hampton returned to sick call and was again
seen by defendant Koltay. (Doc. 41 ¶ 12; Doc. 42-1 at
25; Doc. 44 ¶ 12). Hampton requested a clarification
regarding his medical restrictions. (Id.) He
reported that corrections officers told him that he was not
allowed to have carpal tunnel braces. (Id.) Hampton
therefore wanted to have this equipment verified or approved.
(Id.) Koltay wrote an order with an instruction to
“confirm [that] carpal tunnel braces are included in
patient's equipment list.” (Doc. 41 ¶ 12).
Koltay next saw Hampton on January 21, 2014, for complaints
of pain due to carpal tunnel syndrome. (Doc. 41 ¶ 13;
Doc. 42-1 at 22; Doc. 44 ¶ 13). Hampton stated that he
recently started a new job involving repetitive movement.
(Id.) He further stated that he was never issued
carpal tunnel braces. (Id.) Hampton reported
bilateral pain that was greater in his dominant right wrist.
(Id.) Koltay noted no recent complaints of carpal
tunnel syndrome and ordered a trial of wrist splints.
(Id.) Koltay also updated Hampton's medical
restrictions to reflect that Hampton should avoid activities
with repetitive motion. (Id.)
February 18, 2014, Hampton was placed in the RHU at
SCI-Rockview following an altercation with the Library
“Trusty.” (Doc. 41 ¶ 14; Doc. 44 ¶ 14).
Prison staff confiscated Hampton's ...