United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
WESLEY A. MASSEY, Plaintiff
MICHAEL HOLMAN, et al., Defendants
PARADISE BAXTER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
AMENDED REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION ON DEFENDANTS'
MOTION TO DISMISS [ECF NO 31]
RICHARD A. LANZILLO UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
respectfully recommended that Defendants' Motion to
Dismiss [ECF No. 31] be granted in part and denied in part.
It is further recommended that Defendants Michael Holman,
D.W. Bryant, and Jason Stevens be dismissed from this action,
with prejudice. Finally, it is recommended that
Plaintiff's demand for specific unliquidated damages be
stricken from the Complaint.
Wesley A. Massey (“Massey”) is a pre-trial
detainee in the custody of the Erie County Prison. ECF No. 22
¶ 4. Massey initiated the instant action on October 30,
2017, seeking redress for alleged violations of his
constitutional rights as secured by the First, Fifth, Sixth,
Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States
Constitution. ECF No. 22. ¶¶ 3, 35. As Defendants,
Massey names Deputy Warden Michael Holman, Deputy Warden D.W.
Bryant, and Correctional Officers Jason Stevens, Lt. Lindsey,
and B. DeFranco. Id. ¶¶ 5-9. Plaintiff
seeks relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
pending before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss
Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). ECF No.
31. Although Defendants' motion does not explicitly
request alternative relief pursuant to Rule 56, Defendants
have attached a host of exhibits to their motion to dismiss,
none of which appears to have been attached to or relied upon
in Plaintiff's Complaint. Because this action is still in
the pleadings stage, the Court will reject Defendants'
implicit invitation to consider matters outside of the
pleadings in resolving the instant motion. Instead, each of
Plaintiff's allegations will be evaluated pursuant to the
familiar 12(b)(6) standard elucidated below.
September 8, 2017, Massey helped another inmate, Roman
Bronson, file a civil rights complaint against the Erie
County Prison. ECF No. 22 ¶ 11. Massey also aided
several other inmates in filing grievances against staff
members at the prison. Id. ¶ 12. Shortly
thereafter, Holman and Gardner approached Massey in his
housing unit and asked why he was helping other inmates file
grievances. Id. ¶ 16. Massey explained that
other inmates did not understand the grievance process.
Id. Holman replied, “What's next? Are you
going to help [Bronson] file a lawsuit?” Id.
Massey indicated that he was “ok with helping”
other inmates if they needed help. Id. Holman
responded by moving Massey to another housing unit, away from
Bronson. Id. ¶ 17.
Massey's arrival in his new housing unit, several inmates
again requested his assistance with grievances. Id.
¶ 18. On September 25, 2017, Bryant approached Massey
and asked, “why are you helping inmates file civil
rights lawsuits?” Id. ¶ 19. Massey stated
that he was simply helping them to fill out and file the
correct forms. Id. Bryant declared that Massey was
“not to help inmates file lawsuits against the
facility” and that, if he persisted, Bryant and Holman
would “take action.” Id.
October 1, 2017, Plaintiff returned to his cell after a cell
search and discovered that his legal materials had been
moved. Id. ¶ 21. When Plaintiff threatened to
file a grievance, DeFranco stated, “I don't like
your tone, and if you want to grieve, I'll put your ass
in the hole. Turn around and put your hands behind your
back.” Id. ¶ 22. DeFranco escorted Massey
to the Restricted Housing Unit (RHU), stating: “This is
because you think you can continue to help people sue
‘us' with no repercussion! Now how are you going to
help people from the Hole?” Id. ¶ 23.
spent the following eighteen days in a “stripped
cell” while being forced to sleep on a metal bunk with
no mattress or blankets. Id. ¶¶ 24-26.
When Massey requested an explanation, Lindsey stated,
“We have friends in Crawford County who [you're]
suing, and we don't like that, and now you bring your
crap up here!” Id. ¶ 25.
addition to the incidents described above, Massey also
alleges that Defendants deprived him of his right to access
the courts and withheld necessary medical care. These claims,
tucked into a single paragraph at the end of Massey's
Complaint, consist entirely of the following averment:
The defendants campaign of harassment continues, with the
denial of access to the courts, denial of access to law
library as a pro se litigant in my criminal case, that has
cause me to miss deadlines, with the federal courts and
habeas corpus with the criminal courts, they intermittently
deny access to medical care for my diabetes, with deliberate
Id. ¶ 27.
respect to exhaustion, Massey alleges that he requested a
grievance form from prison officials on the following
occasions: October 7, 2017 (from a prison
“counselor”); October 12, 2017 (again, from the
counselor); October 15, 2017 (from Holman); and October 22,
2017 (from the warden of Erie County Prison, a
non-defendant). Id. ¶¶ 30-33. Massey did
not receive a response to any of his requests. Id.
¶ 34. As detailed above, Massey also alleges that