United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
REPORT & RECOMMENDATION DEFENDANTS' MOTION
FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (DOC. 29)
William I. Arbuckle U.S. Magistrate Judge.
November 21, 2016, state inmate Thomas Lee Edrington
(“Plaintiff”) initiated this pro se
civil rights action against Defendants Larry Mahally, Rebecca
Mooney, C.J. McKeown, C.O. Sedeski, and John Duffy
(collectively “Defendants”) after he was stabbed
in the eye by follow-inmate Quinnmar Cooper. (Doc. 1). On
March 1, 2017, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint. (Doc.
10). On December 7, 2017, Defendants filed an Answer. (Doc.
before the Court is Defendants' Motion for Summary
Judgment. (Doc. 29). Along with their Motion, Defendants
filed a Statement of Facts and Brief in Support. (Docs. 30,
31). Although Plaintiff was informed of his obligation to
respond (Doc. 32), advised of the consequences of the failure
to respond (Docs. 32, 40), and was given multiple extensions
of time to respond (Docs. 34, 40), he has failed to do so.
Accordingly, it is recommended that Defendants' Motion be
deemed unopposed pursuant to L.R. 7.6, or in the alternative,
that Plaintiff's Amended Complaint be dismissed pursuant
to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
BACKGROUND & PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Amended Complaint (Doc. 10) contains virtually no factual
allegations about the incident underlying his claims. For the
benefits of the Court I have summarized Plaintiff's
account of the events that led to, and followed, the physical
altercation which resulted in the loss of Plaintiff's
has been housed at the State Correctional Institution in
Dallas, Pennsylvania (“SCI-Dallas”) since August
of 2000. (Doc. 31-1, p. 12). He is currently serving a
twenty-five-year sentence. (Doc. 31-1, p. 16).
deposition, Plaintiff testified that Rebecca Mooney
(“Defendant Mooney”) oversees a drug treatment
program at the prison. (Doc. 31-1, p. 15). Plaintiff reported
that every year at his annual review Plaintiff was encouraged
to participate in this program. (Doc. 31-1, p. 16). Plaintiff
testified at deposition that he did not enroll in the program
because he preferred to wait until closer to the end of his
sentence. Id. Then, in 2014, “around Christmas
Day, ” Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Mooney took
Plaintiff's job away. Id. On or around December
30, 2014, Plaintiff was told that he had been transferred to
“TC”-a four-month drug treatment program. (Doc.
31-1, pp. 17, 20). It appears that participation in this
program required that Plaintiff be housed on “M/TC
Block”-an area of the prison specifically devoted to
reported that the M/TC Block was not heated. (Doc. 31-1, p.
January 27, 2015, Plaintiff reported to a group meeting.
Plaintiff had been assigned the task of reading the rules
before each meeting. That day, he passed this task on to
another inmate he identifies as “Satchel.” (Doc.
31-1, p. 23). Satchel was having trouble reading the rules.
(Doc. 31-1, p. 24). A third inmate, Smith, began to help
Satchel while Plaintiff played sudoku. Id.
that day, John Duffy (“Defendant Duffy”), a
counselor in the TC program issued a “written pull-up
form” to Plaintiff because “when you've
carried out any position within the M/TC environment, it is
your responsibility to train the next person taking over that
rule.” (Doc. 31-1, p. 25). Plaintiff was instructed to
write an essay as a punishment for not helping Satchel read
the meeting rules. (Doc. 31-1, p. 26).
January 28, 2015, Plaintiff speculated to other inmates that
Smith and Satchel must have reported him to Defendant Duffy.
(Doc. 31-1, p. 27). Inmate Quinnmar Cooper (“inmate
Cooper”) overheard that conversation and yelled at
Plaintiff because Plaintiff was “putting a snitch label
on some guys . . . and that might get around in jail.”
Id. Their argument escalated and Plaintiff-who was
65 at the time-became embroiled in a physical altercation
with, much younger, inmate Cooper. (Doc. 31-1, p. 28).
the physical altercation, Plaintiff sustained, what he
thought to be a black eye. He reported to his morning group
but used a medical pass to go to the infirmary. (Doc. 31-1,
p. 32). When he arrived there, however, he began to feel
unwell and it became apparent that his eye injury was more
severe than he first believed. (Doc. 31-1, pp. 32-33). When
he was being examined, a member of the medical staff said,
“you've been stabbed.” (Doc. 31-1, p. 33).
Prison Medical Staff recommended that he be taken to the
hospital. (Doc. 31-1, p. 33).
at the prison, Plaintiff was stripped of his usual clothes
and dressed in a thin yellow jumpsuit for transport to the
hospital. (Doc. 31-1, p. 34). Plaintiff was not given a
winter coat to wear despite the cold temperatures. (Doc.
31-1, p. 34). Plaintiff had to wait thirty minutes for the
medical transport vehicle to arrive. Plaintiff was kept at
the hospital overnight and had between fifteen and eighteen
sutures around his eye. (Doc. 31-1, p. 35). Plaintiff was not
given a winter coat to wear during his trip back to the
prison. (Doc. 31-1, p. 35).
Plaintiff was brought back to the prison he was kept in a
small room in the infirmary. (Doc. 31-1, p. 36). Plaintiff
was still staying in the infirmary when the guards came to
get him for the disciplinary hearing related to the January
28, 2015 physical altercation. (Doc. 31-1, p. 36). However,
on the date of that hearing, Plaintiff's glasses had not
been returned. Id. Plaintiff told Defendant McKeown
that he needed his glasses, and Defendant McKeown responded
that Plaintiff “could get them later.” (Doc.
31-1, p. 38). Plaintiff was forced to write out his account
of the January 28, 2015 fight without the use of his glasses.
Id. After Plaintiff finished this task, Defendant
McKeown gave Plaintiff a copy of Inmate Cooper's account
of the altercation. (Doc. 31-1, pp. 39-40). Plaintiff was
sentenced to sixty (60) days in the RHU for fighting, which
he served in the prison infirmary. (Doc. 31-1, p. 43).
Duffy and Sedeski both visited Plaintiff in the infirmary,
and Plaintiff told them about everything that happened. (Doc.
31-1, p. 56).
completing his sixty-day sentence, Plaintiff was transferred
to J-Block, a handicapped accessible unit. (Doc. 31-1, p.
55). Although Inmate Cooper was housed on a different block
than Plaintiff, one day Plaintiff encountered Inmate Cooper
while Inmate Cooper was working in the dining hall. (Doc.
31-1, p. 56). Plaintiff made a complaint and Inmate Cooper
was removed from his dining hall work assignment.
makes the following allegations against Defendant Mooney:
1. Violation of 8th Amendment right against cruel
and inhumane treatment; abuse of power; intentional
infliction of emotional distress; deliberate indifference.
a. Plaintiff was caused pain, suffering, physical injury
(loss of one eye), and continuing emotional distress and
irreparable harms as the result of the arbitrary and
capricious actions of Defendant Mooney in being coerced
and/or forced into the drug program (M/TC Block) which was
unheated at the time and had no safeguards in place that
would guarantee a certain amount of protection for
Plaintiff's life and property.
(Doc. 10, pp. 1-2).
makes the following allegations against Defendant Sedeski:
1. Violation of the 8th Amendment right against
deliberate indifference and intentional infliction of
a. Plaintiff was caused suffering and emotional distress as
the result of the deliberate indifference of Defendant
Sedeski in failing to immediately report his superiors the
observation of blood on Plaintiff's face.
(Doc. 10, p. 2).
makes the following allegations against Defendant McKeown
1. Violation of 1st Amendment right to free
a. Plaintiff was caused irreparable harm, suffering, and
intentional infliction of emotional distress as a result of
Defendant McKeown, s [sic] arbitrary and capricious act of
not giving Plaintiff a copy of the inmate version
statement and not placing the said copy of the inmate
version statement in Plaintiff's institutional record
file. Defendant's action has guaranteed that
Plaintiff's chance for parole in the future has been
effectively sabotaged because the parole board will not have
a chance to view Plaintiff's side of the stabbing
2. Violation of 5th Amendment right to due
a. Plaintiff was caused irreparable harm, suffering, and
emotional distress when he was subjected to cruel and
inhumane treatment, deliberate indifference, abuse of power,
and intentional infliction of emotional distress as a result
of Defendant's actions in conducting the disciplinary
hearing on February 6, 2015. Defendant knew Plaintiff was
under pain medication because of recent eye surgery;
Defendant refused to allow Plaintiff to have access to his
eyeglasses and insisted that Plaintiff write out to the best
of his ability the Plaintiff's version of the stabbing
incident on the Inmate Version Statement Form - DC
b. Because of very poor vision in his remaining eye Plaintiff
was compelled to lean over and place his face about two to
three inches above the paper and write out his version of the
incident. Through extreme effort Plaintiff managed to
complete three (3) pages.
(Doc. 10, pp. 2-3).
makes the following allegations against Defendant Mahally:
1. Violation of 8th amendment right against cruel
and inhumane treatment; deliberate indifference.
a. Plaintiff was caused pain, suffering, and emotional
distress when Defendant Mahally maintained a prison policy of
not allowing Plaintiff to wear a coat or thermal underwear in
severe and cold weather while being transported outside
b. Plaintiff was caused pain, suffering, and emotional
distress when Defendant knew or should have known the M/TC
Block was unheated at the time Plaintiff was transferred
c. Plaintiff was caused pain, suffering, and emotional
distress when Defendant Mahally allowed inmate Quinnmar
Cooper to go virtually unpunished for stabbing Plaintiff in
the eye which resulted in Plaintiff losing the eye.
d. Plaintiff was caused pain, suffering, and emotional
distress when Defendant Mahally refused to turn over to the
Plaintiff the medical records of the stabbing incident. The
medical records would serve as source material for trial in a
court of law ...