United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
H. RAMBO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
18, 2018, pro se Plaintiff Robert DeShields
(“Plaintiff”), an inmate currently housed at the
State Correctional Institution, Coal Township, Pennsylvania
(“SCI Coal Township”), initiated this action by
filing a complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the
Court of Common Pleas for Northumberland County,
Pennsylvania. (Doc. No. 1-2.) Defendants Dr. Michael Moclock
(“Dr. Moclock”) and Karen Merritt-Scully
(“Merritt-Scully”) filed a notice of removal on
August 28, 2018. (Doc. No. 1.)
complaint, Plaintiff alleges that on January 4, 2018, he saw
Dr. Moclock for peripheral and central vertigo. (Doc. No. 1-2
¶ 12.) Dr. Moclock examined Plaintiff and noted that he
had “a left ear leak which was not consistent with
inner ear infection.” (Id. at 8.) Plaintiff
asked to be tested for peripheral and central vertigo, but
Dr. Moclock did not provide such testing, noting that
“in most cases these test[s] wouldn't reveal much
[due] to the nature of this condition.” (Id.)
Dr. Moclock offered to prescribe Plaintiff Prednisone, but
Plaintiff declined “due to [past] treatment
failure.” (Id. at 8, 10.) Dr. Moclock also
“agreed to the Epley Maneuver as an effective treatment
plan but informed [Plaintiff] that he was not trained in its
execution therefore he would not order such treatment.”
(Id.; see Id. ¶ 12.)
filed a grievance on January 19, 2018, alleging that Dr.
Moclock had denied his requests for medical treatment.
(Id. ¶ 13; id. at 8.) As relief,
Plaintiff asks that Dr. Moclock be directed to perform the
Epley Maneuver and order testing. (Id. at 8-9.)
Defendant Merritt-Scully denied Plaintiff's grievance on
February 13, 2018. (Id. at 10.) Plaintiff appealed
the denial of his grievance on February 23, 2018.
(Id. ¶ 15; id. at 11-12.) In that
appeal, Plaintiff told the Facility Manager that he was
suffering from constant headaches, dizziness, an
uncomfortable feeling running down to his groin, an
uncomfortable feeling in the base of his skull, slurred
speech, hearing loss, ringing in one ear, and double vision.
(Id. ¶ 15; id. at 11-12.) Plaintiff
claimed to have “[fallen] and collapsed from the pain
several times.” (Id. ¶ 15.) He asked to
be seen by a specialist. (Id. at 11-12.) On February
27, 2018, the Facility Manager upheld Defendant
Merritt-Scully's initial response to Plaintiff's
grievance. (Id. ¶ 18; id. at 13.) On
July 3, 2018, the Chief Grievance Officer upheld the previous
responses. (Id. ¶ 20; id. at 16.)
on the above allegations, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants
violated his rights under the Eighth Amendment to the United
States Constitution by not providing treatment for his
vertigo. (Id. at 5.) Merritt-Scully filed an answer
to the complaint on September 6, 2018. (Doc. No. 8.) Dr.
Moclock filed a motion to dismiss (Doc. No. 10) on October
29, 2018. On April 8, 2019, the Court received a motion for
stay and abeyance from Plaintiff, requesting a stay of this
action until his release from incarceration on May 1, 2019.
(Doc. No. 13.) On April 9, 2019, the Court granted Dr.
Moclock's motion to dismiss and granted Plaintiff leave
to file an amended complaint within thirty (30) days. (Doc.
Nos. 14, 15.)
did not file an amended complaint within that time. By Order
entered on May 2, 2019, the Court denied Plaintiff's
motion for stay and abeyance to the extent he sought a stay
of this matter but granted it to the extent that the Court
provided a thirty (30)-day extension for Plaintiff to file an
amended complaint. (Doc. No. 16.) Plaintiff did not do so.
Accordingly, in an Order entered on June 11, 2019, the Court,
observing that the discovery deadline as to Plaintiff's
claims against Defendant Merritt-Scully had closed, directed
that the parties file any dispositive motions they wished to
file within forty-five (45) days. (Doc. No. 18.)
Merritt-Scully filed a motion for summary judgment (Doc. No.
19) and supporting materials (Doc. Nos. 20, 21) on July 26,
2019. To date, Plaintiff has neither filed a brief in
opposition nor a motion for an extension of time to do so.
Accordingly, because the time period for filing an
oppositional brief has expired, Defendant
Merritt-Scully's motion for summary judgment is ripe for
Rule of Civil Procedure 56(a) requires the court to render
summary judgment “if 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). “[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 (1986).
disputed fact is “material” if proof of its
existence or nonexistence would affect the outcome of the
case under applicable substantive law. Id. at 248;
Gray v. York Newspapers, Inc., 957 F.2d 1070, 1078
(3d Cir. 1992). An issue of material fact is
“genuine” if the evidence is such that a
reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving
party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 257; Brenner v.
Local 514, United Bhd. of Carpenters and Joiners of Am.,
927 F.2d 1283, 1287-88 (3d Cir. 1991).
determining whether there is a genuine issue of material
fact, the court must view the facts and all reasonable
inferences in favor of the nonmoving party. Moore v.
Tartler, 986 F.2d 682 (3d Cir. 1993); Clement v.
Consol. Rail Corp., 963 F.2d 599, 600 (3d Cir. 1992);
White v. Westinghouse Electric Co., 862 F.2d 56, 59
(3d Cir. 1988). In order to avoid summary judgment, however,
the nonmoving party may not rest on the unsubstantiated
allegations of his or her pleadings. When the party seeking
summary judgment satisfies its burden under Rule 56 of
identifying evidence which demonstrates the absence of a
genuine issue of material fact, the nonmoving party is
required by Rule 56 to go beyond his pleadings with
affidavits, depositions, answers to interrogatories or the
like in order to demonstrate specific material facts which
give rise to a genuine issue. Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 324 (1986). The party opposing
the motion “must do more than simply show that there is
some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.”
Matsushita Electric Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio, 475
U.S. 574, 586 (1986). When Rule 56 shifts the burden of
production to the nonmoving party, that party must produce
evidence to show the existence of every element essential to
its case which it bears the burden of proving at trial, for
“a complete failure of proof concerning an essential
element of the nonmoving party's case necessarily renders
all other facts immaterial.” Celotex, 477 U.S.
at 323. See Harter v. G.A.F. Corp., 967 F.2d 846,
851 (3d Cir. 1992).
determining whether an issue of material fact exists, the
court must consider the evidence in the light most favorable
to the nonmoving party. White, 826 F.2d at 59. In
doing so, the Court must accept the nonmovant's
allegations as true and resolve any conflicts in his favor.
Id. (citations omitted). However, a party opposing a
summary judgment motion must comply with Local Rule 56.1,
which specifically directs the oppositional party to submit a
“statement of the material facts, responding to the
numbered paragraphs set forth in the statement required [to
be filed by the movant], as to which it is contended that
there exists a genuine issue to be tried”; if the
nonmovant fails to do so, “[a]ll material facts set
forth in the statement required to be served by the moving
party will be deemed to be admitted.” L.R. 56.1. A
party cannot evade these litigation responsibilities in this
regard simply by citing the fact that he is a pro se
litigant. These rules apply with equal force to all parties.
See Sanders v. Beard, No. 09-CV-1384, 2010 WL
2853261, at *5 (M.D. Pa. July 20, 2010) (pro se
parties “are not excused from complying with court
orders and the local rules of court”); Thomas v.
Norris, No. 02-CV-01854, 2006 WL 2590488, at *4 (M.D.
Pa. Sept. 8, 2006) (pro se parties must follow the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure).
STATEMENT OF MATERIAL FACTSDefendant Merritt-Scully is a
Health Care ...