Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Batista v. Eckard

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

March 22, 2018

JOSÉ BATISTA, Plaintiff
v.
J.A. ECKARD, et al., Defendants

          MEMORANDUM

          JAMES M. MUNLEY, JUDGE

         I. Background[1]

         Plaintiff José Batista (“Batista” or “Plaintiff”), an inmate at the Huntingdon State Correctional Institution (“SCI-Huntingdon”), in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, filed this civil rights action alleging that Sergeant (“Sgt.”) K. Williams violated his First and Eighth Amendment rights by denying him access to physician prescribed medical care and then issuing him a misconduct in retaliation for his filing of a grievance. (Doc. 1, Compl.) He also claims Superintendent (“Supt.”) J.A. Eckard and Unit Manager (“UM”) K. Granlund violated his Eighth Amendment rights by failing to investigate his grievance concerning Sgt. Williams' interference with his medical care. (Id.)

         Presently before the Court is Defendants' motion for summary judgment, as well as their statement of material facts, supporting brief and exhibits. (Docs. 97 - 99). Plaintiff filed a brief in opposition to Defendants' motion for summary judgment and supporting exhibits. (Doc. 102). Defendants did not file a reply brief. Accordingly, this matter is ripe for disposition.

         For the reasons that follow, the Court will grant Defendants' motion for summary judgment.

         II. Procedural History

         On September 11, 2016, José Batista filed the present action alleging Defendants' deliberate indifference to his medical needs and Sgt. William's issuance of a retaliatory misconduct. (Doc. 1, Compl.) Batista named two groups of Defendants, each represented by separate counsel. The first group, the Medical Defendants, consisted of contract medical providers employed at SCI-Huntingdon (Dr. Kollman, Physician Assistant (PA) McConnell and PA Gomes). The second group is comprised of the moving Defendants who are employed by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) working at SCI-Huntingdon (Supt. Eckard, UM Granlund and Sgt. Williams). The Court will refer to this group as the DOC Defendants.

         On January 27, 2016, the Medical Defendants moved to dismiss all Eighth Amendment claims against them based on Batista's failure to exhaust his available administrative remedies. (Doc. 47, Med. Defs.' Mot. to Dismiss). February 5, 2016, the DOC Defendants filed an Answer and Affirmative Defenses to the Complaint. (Doc. 51, Answer).

         On August 30, 2016, the Honorable William W. Caldwell granted the Medical Defendants' motion to dismiss. (Doc. 84, Order). Following the close of discovery, the DOC Defendants filed their motion for summary judgment. (Doc. 97, DOC Defs.' Mot. for Summ. J.).

         III. Summary Judgment Standard of Review

         Summary judgment is proper where “the movant shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). “To prevail on a motion for summary judgment, the moving party must demonstrate that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Pearson v. Prison Health Serv., 850 F.3d 526, 533 (3d Cir. 2017). “[T]his standard provides that the mere existence of some alleged factual dispute between the parties will not defeat an otherwise properly supported motion for summary judgment; the requirement is that there be no genuine issue of material fact.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247 - 48, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2509 - 10, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986).

         “A genuine issue is present when a reasonable trier of fact, viewing all of the record evidence, could rationally find in favor of the non-moving party in light of his burden of proof.” Doe v. Abington Friends Sch., 480 F.3d 252, 256 (3d Cir. 2007) (internal citations omitted). A fact is “material” if it might affect the outcome of the suit under the applicable law. Scheidemantle v. Slippery Rock Univ. State Sys. of Higher Educ., 470 F.3d 535, 538 (3d Cir. 2006). Where contradictory facts exist, the court may not engage in credibility determinations or weigh the evidence, all facts and reasonable inferences are viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Pearson, 850 F.3d at 533 - 34.

         To prevail on summary judgment, the moving party must affirmatively identify those portions of the record that demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Santini v. Fuentes, 795 F.3d 410 (3d Cir. 2015) (citing Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 2553, 91 L.Ed.2d 265 (1986)). “A party asserting that a fact cannot be or is genuinely disputed must support the assertion by citing to particular parts of materials in the record ... or showing that the materials cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine dispute, or that an adverse party cannot produce admissible evidence to support the fact.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A) - (B). To withstand summary judgment, the non-moving party must “go beyond the pleadings” and “designate ‘specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial.'” Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324, 106 S.Ct. at 2553 (citation omitted); see also Jones v. United Parcel Serv., 214 F.3d 402, 407 (3d Cir. 2000). The non-moving party cannot rest on speculation and conjecture when opposing a motion for summary judgment. In re Wellbutrin SL Antitrust Litigation Indirect Purchaser Class, 868 F.3d 132, 167 (3d Cir. 2017). As such, the non-moving party cannot satisfy the summary judgment burden with an affidavit or declaration that sets forth opinions or conclusions rather than supported facts. Gonzalez v. Sec'y. of Dept. of Homeland Sec., 678 F.3d 254, 263 (3d Cir. 2012). Unsubstantiated arguments made in briefs are not evidence considered by the court. Versarge v. Township of Clinton, 984 F.2d 1359, 1370 (3d Cir. 1993).

         In deciding the merits of a party's motion for summary judgment, the Court's role is not to evaluate the evidence and decide the truth of the matter, but to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249, 106 S.Ct. at 2511. Credibility determinations are the province of the factfinder. Big Apple BMW, Inc. v. BMW of N. Am., Inc., 974 F.2d 1358, 1363 (3d Cir. 1992).

         IV. Statement of Undisputed Material Facts[2]

         A. Parties

         Batista was housed at SCI-Huntingdon at all times relevant to this action. (Doc. 98, Defs.' Statement of Material Facts (“DSMF”), ¶ 5). James Eckard, now retired, was the Superintendent of SCI-Huntingdon at all times relevant to this lawsuit. (DSMF ¶ 2). Kurt Granlund, now retired, was a Unit Manager at SCI-Huntingdon at all times relevant to this lawsuit. (DSMF ¶ 3). Kerry Williams was a Sergeant at SCI-Huntingdon at all times relevant to this action. (DSMF ¶4).

         B. June 16 - 17, 2015, Day 1 & 2 of Treatment

         On June 16, 2015, a SCI-Huntingdon physician prescribed Batista breathing treatments for his Bronchitis. The physician directed that Batista receive four breathing treatments a day (7:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m., and 6:00 p.m.) for one week. (DSMF ¶¶ ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.