United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
MEMORANDUM OPINION 
Cynthia Reed Eddy United States Magistrate Judge
pending is Plaintiff's Motion for New Trial. (ECF No.
115). The motion has been fully briefed and is ripe for
disposition. For the reasons that follow, the motion is
the facts of the case are well known by the parties, the
court will only recount the facts necessary for the
disposition of the present motion. Plaintiff Quintez Talley
(“Talley”), proceeding pro se, is a state
prisoner currently confined at SCI-Graterford. He alleges
that while incarcerated at SCI-Greene, Defendant Corrections
Officer King used excessive force against him and Defendant
Corrections Officer Orbash failed to protect him. Talley also
asserted claims for due process, equal protection, racial
discrimination, retaliation, assault and battery, and mental
harm. The court granted in part and denied in
part the partial motion for summary judgment filed by
Defendants. (ECF No. 47).
Plaintiff testified that on the morning of September 16,
2015, Defendants, Corrections Officers Robert King
(“King”) and Robert Orbash
(“Orbash”), were distributing breakfast trays in
the SCI-Greene Restricted Housing Unit (“RHU”).
They did not give inmate, Patrick Davis, a breakfast tray.
After Orbash gave Talley his food tray, Talley took his
“food slot hostage” by sticking his arm out the
food aperture. At that point, King repeatedly slammed the
wicket on Talley's arm while yelling racial epithets at
him. According to Talley, Orbash saw the whole thing but
failed to intervene.
testified that they did not serve a tray to Davis because he
failed to show himself in his cell window at meal time. They
also testified that after the incident with Talley, they
continued to feed the prisoners on the pod. King testified
that as he was exiting the pod, Talley's arms were still
outside his food aperture and that as he walked by
Talley's cell, Talley grabbed him at his waist/belt and
attempted to strike him. King gave Talley an oral command to
remove his arms from the aperture. King testified that he
shut the aperture on Talley's arm several times, in
self-defense, in an attempt to free himself from Talley's
grasp. He also testified that Talley threw food and coffee
and other drink items out of the aperture. Much of the
incident was captured on a video that was entered into
evidence by both parties and shown to the jury several times
as witnesses narrated their version of events. While the
video showed the Defendants movements around the pod, the
camera was not directly aimed at Talley's cell and the
confrontation was not captured on the video. The end of the
video also depicted Talley throwing material outside of his
aperture and setting the material on fire; however, this
portion of the video was ordered redacted by the court and
was not shown to the jury.
parties entered another video into evidence showing the
Plaintiff in medical triage after the incident.
(Plaintiff's Exhibit 2 and Defendants' Exhibit B).
The court previewed the video and suggested at the
preliminary conference that the strip search of the Plaintiff
following the medical examination be redacted from the
medical triage video before presenting the video to the jury.
All parties agreed and no further redactions were requested
from the video. Defendants presented the testimony of RN
McAnany, who conducted the medical examination, as well as
the Medical Incident/Injury Report and photographs of
Plaintiff's injuries. (Defendants' Exhibit D and F).
The Report notes that Plaintiff had “superficial
abrasions to left elbow; superficial abrasions to right
forearm; inmate verbally denied any further injury. . . No.
treatment necessary.” Id.
October 17, 2017, following the conclusion of a two-day jury
trial, the jury returned a verdict for Defendants and, thus
necessarily found that Plaintiff had not proven by a
preponderance of the evidence that Defendants King used
excessive force against Plaintiff on September 16, 2017, in
violation of the Eighth Amendment of the United States
Constitution, nor did he prove that Defendant Orbash failed
to intervene to prevent the use of excessive force against
Plaintiff on that date. Further, the jury found that
Defendant King was acting within the scope of his employment
as a corrections officer at SCI-Green at the time of the
incident with Plaintiff, and he was therefore entitled to
qualified immunity as to Plaintiff's tort claims. (ECF
contends that a new trial is warranted for the following
A. Defendants were allowed to testify regarding their prior
B. Defendants' testimony regarding the Department of
Correction's excessive force policy;
C. Plaintiff's statements regarding his mental health in
a video which was admitted into evidence on request of both
D. Defendant Orbash's rebuttal testimony regarding
whether Plaintiff's witness Davis could see
Plaintiff's cell from his cell;
E. The court's ruling sustaining Defendants objection to
testimony regarding various forms of restrictive housing;
F. The admission of Plaintiff's Exhibit 3 without certain
G. The court's instruction to the jury on the affirmative
defense of sovereign immunity to Plaintiff's assault and
battery claim against Defendant King; and
H. The court's ruling that the testimony of
Plaintiff's proposed witness Tonio Rosario was
Plaintiff requests permission to file a supplement to the
present motion in the event the ...