United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
OPINION PPS DEFENDANTS' MOTION FOR SUMMARY
JUDGMENT, ECF NO. 46 - GRANTED DEFENDANT
CORIZON'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT, ECF NO. 47 -
GRANTED PLAINTIFF'S MOTION TO DENY
SUMMARY JUDGMENT, ECF NO. 49 - DENIED
F. LEESON, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Robert Williams alleges that during his term of incarceration
at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility
(“CFCF”) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,
was triple-celled in violation of his constitutional rights,
received inadequate medical care after sustaining injuries in
a fall from the top bunk bed, and was retaliated against for
filling grievances regarding the same. Named as Defendants
are Michael Nutter, formerly the Mayor of the City of
Philadelphia; Louis Giorla, formerly the Commissioner of the
Philadelphia Prison System (“PPS”); John Delaney,
formerly the Warden of CFCF; and Corizon Medical Services, a
private company contracted to provide medical care for
inmates. For the reasons discussed below, there is no
evidence showing that any Defendant violated Williams's
constitutional rights and summary judgment is granted in
favor of all Defendants on all claims.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
judgment is appropriate “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). A disputed fact is “material”
if proof of its existence or nonexistence might affect the
outcome of the case under applicable substantive law.
Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248
(1986). An issue of material fact is “genuine” if
the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the nonmoving party. Id. at 257.
party moving for summary judgment bears the burden of showing
the absence of a genuine issue as to any material fact.
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986).
Once such a showing has been made, the non-moving party must
go beyond the pleadings with affidavits, depositions, answers
to interrogatories or the like in order to demonstrate
specific material facts which give rise to a genuine issue.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Celotex, 477 U.S. at 324;
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp.,
475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986) (stating that the non-moving party
“must do more than simply show that there is some
metaphysical doubt as to the material facts”). The
party opposing the motion must produce evidence to show the
existence of every element essential to its case, which it
bears the burden of proving at trial, because “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.
initial complaint was dismissed for failure to state a claim,
with leave to amend. See Order dated March 20, 2017,
ECF No. 4. Williams thereafter filed an amended complaint,
see Am. Compl., ECF No. 9, which all Defendants
moved to dismiss. However, the proceedings were stayed when
the case was referred to the Prisoner Civil Rights Panel to
attempt to aid Williams in finding an attorney. See
ECF Nos. 12, 16, 21. When no attorney agreed to represent
Williams, the stay was lifted and the case proceeded to
discovery. PPS Defendants and Corizon have since filed
motions for summary judgment. See ECF Nos. 46-51.
Amended Complaint asserts three counts. See Am.
Compl. First, Williams alleges that PPS Defendants breached
their duty to protect him by triple-celling him in unsanitary
living conditions, and subjected him to constant lock-downs.
See Id. Second, Williams alleges that Corizon was
deliberately indifferent to his medical needs by delaying
treatment for his rib injury until the evening after his
early morning fall and then providing only pain relief but no
diagnostic testing. See Id. Third, Williams alleges
that he was subjected to retaliatory transfers within the PPS
for filing grievances. See Id. He also alleges that
he filed grievances but received no response, and that
Delaney and Giorla implemented a policy to dissuade inmates
from filing grievances by ordering CFCF guards to confiscate
and destroy copies of all grievances and complaints. See
was incarcerated in the PPS from February 2015 to July 12,
2016. See Pl.'s Dep. 8:8-18, ECF No. 46-2.
During his incarceration, Williams never saw or had any
interactions with Nutter or Giorla. See Pl.'s
Dep. 10:5 - 11:5. Williams did see Delaney walk through the
prison, but testified that Delaney did not “even walk
on the blocks to see how the blocks are running [he] just
walk[ed] around the bubble and le[ft] right out.”
See Pl.'s Dep. 10:5 - 11:20. Williams
never had any personal interaction with Delaney. See
is little or no evidence in the record regarding how long
Williams was housed in each type of detention and/or cell. In
fact, the Amended Complaint only refers to Williams being
triple-celled between February 2015 and June 2015.
See Am. Compl. ¶¶ 9-23, 41-42. Over the
course of those four months, Williams was in a three-man cell
for approximately one month until he was transferred to a
four-man cell, allegedly in retaliation for filing
grievances. See Id. ¶¶ 9-13, 16-17. Two
months later, Williams was transferred to the Detention
Center, again allegedly in retaliation for filing grievances.
See Id. ¶ 41. After a one-day stay in medical a
few weeks later, Williams was transferred back on June 4,
2015, to the same four-man cell. See Id.
¶¶42-43. Although there are no other details about
the housing placements in the record, in light of
Williams's pro se status,  the Court assumes that when
Williams testified about his treatment in the PPS, his
complaints pertain to the entire period of incarceration:
February 2015 to July 2016.
is also a lack of evidence regarding Williams's living
conditions. Aside from Williams's statement that he was
subjected to “constant lock-downs, ” see
Am. Compl. ¶ 19, he offers no details about the length
or frequency of such lock-downs. It is clear from the record,
however, that “constant” does not literally mean
every day, as Williams testified about leaving his cell for
breakfast and for lunch on the day of his fall in June 2015.
See Pl.'s Dep. 17:10-14, 21:3-17. Similarly,
although Williams states that he was placed in a
“boat” to sleep on the floor, see Am.
Compl. ¶ 34, he slept in a bunk bed on the day of his
fall, see Pl.'s Dep. 14:25 - 16:9.
day of his fall in June 2015,  according to the undisputed
facts, Williams rolled off the top bunk in the early morning
hours. See Pl.'s Dep. 16:7-12. He testified that
he repeatedly pushed the call button but it “didn't
work” so, in an effort to avoid waking his cellmates,
Williams climbed back into bed and waited until the next
morning. See Id. at 16:19-25. A few hours later when
all inmates were let out for breakfast, Williams first
informed one of the correctional officers that he was
injured, and that officer promptly called for medical.
See Id. at 16:20 - 18:9. Williams went to medical,
but could not be seen without an incident report. See
Id. at 16:13 - 17:24, 19:1 - 23:15. After having lunch,
Williams returned to his cell to wait. See Id. at
21:3-14. While waiting, he did not take pain medication or
make any efforts to obtain the same. See Id. at
23:2-12. Williams returned to medical that evening, at which
time Dr. DiLauro examined him, gave him a shot of morphine,
which helped his pain, and ordered x-rays. See Id.
at 23:13 - 24: 22; DiLauro Progress Notes 6/17/2015, ECF No.
48-3 (listing Williams's vitals at 8:00 p.m.). Dr.
DiLauro, who explained to Williams why it was not appropriate
to wrap his ribs, also prescribed a dose of pain medication
for that night, which was administered. See id.;
Marinho Note 06/17/2015, ECF No. 48-3.
addition to these undisputed facts, there is also disputed
evidence regarding Williams's injuries and treatment
following his fall from the top bunk bed. Specifically,
Williams testified that Dr. DiLauro informed him that he had
three fractured ribs, but that he did not get x-rays until
two months later and he continued to have pain.
See Pl.'s Dep. at 25:1 - 26:12. However, Dr.
DiLauro's Progress Notes dated June 17, 2015, describing
Williams's fall and medical treatment, state that
Williams was diagnosed with “very bad contusions of
ribs, ” but that it was “less likely
fracture.” See DiLauro Progress Notes. Also,
medical records from Bustleton Radiology Associates, Ltd.
show that x-rays were performed on June 19, 2015, two days
after the fall, and revealed no evidence of a fracture.
See ECF No. 48-3. Williams was treated again by
medical on June 22, 2015, and June 25, 2015. The Progress
Notes of PA Karen McKinney dated June 25, 2015, indicate that
the x-rays were negative for rib fractures. See
McKinney Progress Notes, ECF No. 48-3. The Progress Notes of
PA Helen Sarskaya dated July 21, 2015, also mention the
negative x-rays. See Sarskaya Progress Notes, ECF
No. 48-3. Between June 2015 and May 2016, Williams received
medical attention on twenty separates dates,  never more than
two months apart. See Medical Records, ECF No. 48-3.
However, the rib injury was not mentioned in the records
beyond the second month of treatment.
The evidence does not support a constitutional claim for
triple-celling against any Defendant.
for the sake of argument that the conditions of
Williams's triple-celling rose to the level of a
constitutional violation,  there is no evidence that any
PPS Defendant was personally involved.
“defendant in a civil rights action must have personal
involvement in the alleged wrongs; liability cannot be
predicated solely on the operation of respondeat
superior.” See Rode v. Dellarciprete, 845 F.2d
1195, 1207 (3d Cir. 1988). “Personal involvement can be
shown through allegations of personal direction or of actual
knowledge and acquiescence. Allegations of participation or
actual knowledge and acquiescence, however, must be made with
appropriate particularity.” Id. at 1207-08.
Additionally, a supervisory defendant may be liable under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 if the defendant, “with deliberate
indifference to the consequences, established and ...