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Rieco v. Bronsburg

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

April 5, 2018

LT. BRONSBURG, et al., Defendants



         I. Background

         On January 11, 2013, Plaintiff, Dwayne L. Rieco, an inmate formerly confined in the Retreat State Correctional Institution, Hunlock Creek ("SCI-Retreat"), Pennsylvania[1], filed the above captioned civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983. (Doc. 1). Plaintiff named as Defendants, Lt. Bronsburg, Sgt. Maustellar, Captain Fowler, Correctional Officers Osmullski and Ferretti and Dr. Chiavacci. Id.

         Plaintiff alleged that on January 3, 2013 he was subjected to excessive force in violation of the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment when he was forcibly removed from his cell. Id. Plaintiff further claims that the purpose of moving him to a different cell was to house him to a cell-block that is not monitored by video cameras, which is violative of the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses. Id. Plaintiff also alleges that his legal materials were illegally seized in violation of the Fourth Amendment during the cell extraction, Id. In addition, Plaintiff contends that he was issued a false misconduct for allegedly kicking and punching his cell door, and threatening an employee in retaliation, Id.

         Subsequent to the cell extraction, Plaintiff sought treatment from Defendant, Dr. Chiavacci, alleging that a guard stomped on his foot. Id. Plaintiff claims that Dr. Chiavacci told Plaintiff he would have to wait until the next day to be X-rayed and offered him a bandage and Tylenol. Id.

         On March 28, 2013, the Corrections Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the complaint for, inter alia, Plaintiffs failure to exhaust administrative remedies. (Doc. 28). On April 8, 2013, Dr. Chiavacci filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiffs complaint. (Doc. 32). In response to Defendants' motions to dismiss, Plaintiff filed a motion to file an amended complaint. (Doc. 38). Plaintiffs motion to amend was granted and Defendants' motions were dismissed as moot. (Doc. 52).

         On December 26, 2013, Plaintiff filed his amended complaint, (Doc. 57), which was stricken from the docket for failing to comply with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (Doc. 61). Plaintiff filed another amended complaint on August 11, 2014. (Doc. 65). Plaintiff named the following SCI-Retreat employees as Defendants: Facility Manager James McGrady, Psychiatric Doctors Kapoza and Jeddick and Psychology staff member Maureen Matiska, and Physicians Assistant Clemens and Maintenance Supervisor Harding.

         Rieco alleged that on January 17, 2013, he was "retaliated against and (sic) all Defendants by an actual fraud falsified a petition to unlawfully commit [him] under §7302" and that he was "not notified of their malicious intent by our courts." (Doc. 65). Plaintiff claimed, however, that he "was not a clear and present danger and petition §7303 was withdrawn for a lack of evidence and witnesses." Id. Thus, he was "not subject to involuntary treatment and released from SCI-Graterford Mental Health Unit." Id- Plaintiff filed the instant action claiming his "due process, equal protections (sic) were violated and an act of malfeasance was commissioned against [him] for a non penological interest by a malicious prosecution and §3703 hearing was not processed within the scope of 120 hours but was 288 or more in violation of [Plaintiffs] due process official oppression." Id.

         For relief, he sought compensatory and punitive damages, as well as "release from mental health program" and criminal charges against Defendants, resulting in loss of their positions. Id.

         Defendants responded to Plaintiffs amended complaint with separate motions to dismiss. (Docs. 66, 83).

         By Memorandum and Order dated March 30, 2015, the Court granted Defendants' motions to dismiss Plaintiffs amended complaint for failure to allege personal involvement of all Defendants, failure to allege a cognizable violation of the MHPA and for failing to allege claims of retaliation, malicious prosecution or official oppression. (Docs. 86, 87).

         On April 21, 2015, Plaintiff filed a notice of appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. (Doc. 88)

         In an April 12, 2017 mandate, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit affirmed in part and vacated in part, this Court's March 30, 2015 Memorandum and Order. (Doc. 97). While affirming the dismissal of all claims raised in Plaintiffs amended complaint, the Third Circuit remanded with instruction that "the District Court should adjudicate the Eighth Amendment claims raised in Rieco's original complaint." Id. Specifically, the Court of Appeals found that "Rieco's original complaint is well-pleaded, his Eighth Amendment claims are not frivolous on the face of the complaint, and it is clear that he did not intend to abandon them." Id.

         By Order dated April 13, 2017, the instant action was reopened, Defendants Sgt. Maustellar, Captain Fowler, Lt. Bronsburg, and Correctional Officers Osmullski, Ferretti and Teasdale were reinstated as named Defendants and the ...

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