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Henderson v. Manning

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

September 5, 2019

AMY FLATT MANNING, et al., Defendants



         Plaintiff Edvis Henderson (“Henderson”), an inmate who was housed at all relevant times at the State Correctional Institution at Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, (“SCI-Camp Hill”), initiated this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. 1). The matter is proceeding via an amended complaint. (Doc. 10). Named as defendants are Timothy Rutherford, Theodoor Voorstad, Hans Reisinger (hereinafter referred to as the “corrections defendants”), Sri Burger, M.D. (“Dr. Burger”), Amy Flatt Manning, and Mariya Kadier. Before the court are two Rule 12(b) motions (Docs. 22, 24) to dismiss filed by the corrections defendants and Dr. Burger, respectively.[1]Henderson failed to respond to defendants' motions and the time for responding has now passed.[2] Therefore, the motions are deemed unopposed and ripe for resolution. For the reasons set forth below, the court will grant each pending motion. The court will also dismiss the action against defendants Manning and Kadier pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 4(m).

         I. Allegations of the Amended Complaint

         Henderson alleges that he injured his knee after a slip and fall at SCI-Camp Hill. (Doc. 1). After the fall, Henderson underwent an x-ray. (Doc. 10 at 1, 3).

         On July 6, 2018, defendant Voorstad treated Henderson and observed his walk. (Id. at 4). Henderson avers that defendant Voorstad did not provide an adequate examination of his knee and did not order an MRI. (Id.)

         Henderson alleges that defendant Rutherford did not provide adequate medical care and gave him crutches instead of a wheelchair. (Id. at p. 5). Henderson similarly alleges that Dr. Burger did not provide any medical care and that a wheelchair was not issued to him for three days. (Id. at 5). As a result, Henderson had to walk with crutches, which caused pain. (Id.)

         After he was transferred to the State Correctional Institution at Rockview (“SCI-Rockview”), defendant Reisinger treated Henderson in the medical department, but “did not have the necessary things to take fluid off knee or give [him] a shot.” (Id. at 4). While housed at SCI-Rockview, another x-ray was ordered. (Id.).

         II. Legal Standard

         Through summary adjudication, the court may dispose of those claims that do not present a “genuine dispute as to any material fact” and for which a jury trial would be an empty and unnecessary formality. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). The burden of proof tasks the non-moving party to come forth with “affirmative evidence, beyond the allegations of the pleadings, ” in support of its right to relief. Pappas v. City of Lebanon, 331 F.Supp.2d 311, 315 (M.D. Pa. 2004); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986). The court is to view the evidence “in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and draw all reasonable inferences in that party's favor.” Thomas v. Cumberland County, 749 F.3d 217, 222 (3d Cir. 2014). This evidence must be adequate, as a matter of law, to sustain a judgment in favor of the non-moving party on the claims. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 250-57 (1986); Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587-89 (1986). Only if this threshold is met may the cause of action proceed. See Pappas, 331 F.Supp.2d at 315.

         III. Discussion

         A. Failure to Exhaust

         All defendants argue that Henderson failed to properly exhaust his administrative remedies prior to filing the instant action. (Doc. 23 at 3-8; Doc. 25 at 3-6). The Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1996 (the “PLRA”) requires a prisoner to pursue all avenues of relief available within the prison's grievance system before bringing a federal civil rights action concerning prison conditions. See 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a); Booth v. Churner, 206 F.3d 289, 291 (3d Cir. 2000). Section 1997e(a) establishes the requirement of administrative exhaustion:

No action shall be brought with respect to prison conditions under section 1983 of this title, or any other Federal law, by a prisoner confined in any jail, prison, or other correctional facility until such administrative remedies as are available are exhausted.

42 U.S.C. § 1997e(a). The PLRA “exhaustion requirement applies to all inmate suits about prison life, whether they involve general circumstances or particular episodes, and whether they allege excessive force or some other wrong.” Porter v. Nussle, 534 U.S. 516, 532 (2002). It has been made clear that the exhaustion requirement is mandatory. See Williams v. Beard, 482 F.3d 637, 639 (3d Cir. 2007); see also Booth v. Churner, 532 U.S. 731, 741 (2001) (holding that the exhaustion requirement of the PLRA applies to grievance procedures “regardless of the relief offered through administrative procedures”); Nyhuis v. Reno, 204 F.3d 65, 67 (3d Cir. 2000) (same). “[I]t is beyond the power of [any] ...

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