United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
E. SCHWAB CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
a prisoner civil rights case in which the plaintiff, Kevin
Williams (“Williams”) alleges that his rights
were violated through a series of seemingly disconnected
events involving the confiscation of his watch, damage to his
typewriter, denial of a spot in an educational program, and a
botched haircut. The case is presently before the court on
the defendants' motion to dismiss Williams's amended
complaint. Because the amended complaint is essentially
indistinguishable from Williams's original complaint and
similarly fails to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted, the undersigned ultimately recommends that the case
Background and Procedural History.
a prisoner in the custody of the Pennsylvania Department of
Corrections (“DOC”), initiated this case on
September 15, 2015 by filing a complaint against John
Kerestes (“Kerestes”), Dorina Varner
(“Varner”), Jane Hinman (“Hinman”),
Nelson A. Iannuzzi (“Iannuzzi”), Lieutenant Hart
(“Hart”), Ms. Jones (“Jones”), Deputy
Warden Beggs (“Beggs”), “McKnight, ”
“Vougahta, ” the DOC, the Program Review
Committee (“PRC”) at SCI Mahanoy, and the
educational and medical departments at SCI Mahanoy. Doc. 1 at
complaint alleged a series of seemingly disconnected events
that purportedly amounted to a violation of his civil rights.
The events began when he was transferred from SCI Somerset to
SCI Mahanoy on January 28, 2013, at which point “two
defendants in another civil action” inventoried his
belongings. Id. at 3. He alleges that during this
inventory, those defendants confiscated his Casio G-Shock
Watch. Id. Williams alleges that shortly after the
incident involving his watch he spoke with Hart, who informed
him that he would not be getting the watch back. Id.
at 4. Williams then asked Beggs why his watch was confiscated
while other inmates had the same watch. Id. Beggs
told him this was because the other inmates had been at the
prison when it first opened. Id.
his transfer, Williams's other possessions were taken to
the prison. Id. Upon unpacking his belongings,
Williams allegedly discovered that his
typewriter did not work. Id. Williams then
filed a grievance related to the typewriter. Id. at
4-5. Around this time, Williams was placed in the Restricted
Housing Unit (“RHU”) and threatened by Hart and
Kerestes. Id. at 5. Hart allegedly told Williams
that the Aryan Brotherhood “runs” SCI Mahanoy,
while Kerestes said that Williams “need[ed] to get some
alleged that he was given a haircut while in the RHU and was
cut on his neck by the clippers that the barber used.
Id. Williams went to the medical unit about the cut,
at which point “puss [sic] was discharging from [his]
face.” Id. Instead of treating the cut,
however, the attendant in the medical unit allegedly told
Williams that his face was “just dirty” and that
he needed to wash his face more thoroughly. Id.
Williams alleged that the untreated cut eventually resulted
in a “staph or MRSA infection / unknown
infection.” Id. at 6. Despite the infection,
however, the prison did not provide him any medical care.
alleges that he “wrote several request slips . . .
requesting to be put into a vocational trade class, ”
but was repeatedly denied on the grounds that he did not have
the proper qualifications. Id. Williams then spoke
about this issue with Beggs, who allegedly told him that he
did have the proper qualifications but that it would likely
be a significant wait time before he could attend the class
because he was serving a life sentence. Id. at 7.
alleged that the defendants' actions violated his rights
under the First, Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments of
the U.S. Constitution. Id. at 8. He sought
declaratory and injunctive relief, “permanent
separation” from SCI Mahanoy, SCI Coal Township, and
SCI Frackville, and damages in the amount of $50, 000
“against each defendant jointly and severally.”
Id. at 10-11.
same day as his complaint, Williams filed an application for
leave to proceed in forma pauperis, but did not do
so according to the court's procedures. See doc.
2. Responding to that motion, the court issued a 30-day
administrative order on May 26, 2015, requiring Williams to
either pay the filing fee within thirty days or file a proper
application for leave to proceed in forma pauperis.
Doc. 6. Thereafter, Williams filed a renewed
application for leave to proceed in forma pauperis
in which he checked a box indicating that he had previously
brought three or more actions or appeals in federal court
that had been dismissed as frivolous, malicious, or for
failure to state a claim. Doc. 8 at 1.
to Williams's admission regarding his previous cases in
federal court, the undersigned issued an order on August 4,
2015 denying his application for leave to proceed in
forma pauperis pursuant to the Three Strikes Rule under
28 U.S.C. § 1915(g) and directing him to either (1) pay
the filing fee, (2) show that he was under imminent danger,
or (3) show that he had not actually amassed three strikes.
Doc. 13. Williams objected to that order on August 14, 2015,
and United States District Judge Sylvia H. Rambo then
affirmed the order on August 17, 2015. Docs. 14-16.
Judge Rambo directed Williams to pay the filing fee on or
before September 4, 2015. Doc. 16 at 1.
early 2016, Williams, without having paid the filing fee,
filed two dispositive motions: a motion for summary judgment
on January 25, 2016, and a motion for judgment as a matter of
law on February 22, 2016. Docs. 21, 23. The undersigned then
issued a report and recommendation on March 31, 2016,
recommending that the case be dismissed for Williams's
failure to pay the filing fee. Doc. 26 at 3. The report and
recommendation further recommended that Williams's two
pending dispositive ...