Yates v. Wetzel et al
MEMORANDUM (Order to follow as separate docket entry) re 63 MOTION for Reconsideration. Signed by Honorable A. Richard Caputo on 3/8/18. (dw)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
SECRETARY JOHN WETZEL, et al.,
CIVIL ACTION NO. 3:CV-15-0756
Presently before this Court is pro se Plaintiff Clarence Yates’ Motion for
Reconsideration. (ECF No. 63.) Mr. Yates requests reconsideration of this Court’s
August 8, 2017 decision dismissing his complaint due to his failure to exhaust his
administrative remedies. (ECF Nos. 58 - 59.)
Because Mr. Yates fails to satisfy the standard for reconsideration, his motion
will be denied.
Standard of Review
The purpose of a motion for reconsideration is to correct manifest errors of
law or fact or to present newly discovered evidence. See Harsco Corp v. Zlotnicki,
779 F.2d 906, 909 (3d Cir. 1985). A motion for reconsideration may be granted if
the movant establishes: (1)there has been an intervening change in controlling law;
(2) new evidence has become available since the court decided the motion; or (3)
the need to correct a clear error of law or fact or to prevent manifest injustice.
Schumann v. Astrazeneca Pharm., L.P., 769 F.3d 837, 848-49 (3d Cir. 2014)
(quoting Max’s Seafood Café ex rel. Lou-Ann, Inc. v. Quinteros, 176 F.3d 669, 677
(3d Cir. 1999). A motion for reconsideration may not be used to relitigate issues or
present arguments that could have been raised earlier, but were not. Blystone v.
Horn, 664 F.3d 397, 416 (3d Cir. 2011) (citing Howard Hess Dental Lab., Inc. v.
Dentasply Int’l, Inc., 602 F.3d 237, 251 (3d Cir. 2010)).
Mr. Yates initiated this action against the following individuals: John Wetzel,
Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC); Lea Martin,
Grievance Officer at the Dallas State Correctional Institution (SCI-Dallas); and Dr.
Stan Stanish, Medical Director at SCI-Dallas.1 In his Complaint, Mr. Yates claims
that since January 2015, while housed at SCI-Dallas, Defendants were deliberately
indifferent to his serious medical needs by refusing him adequate pain management
and treatment for his arm and left side ailments. (ECF No. 1, Compl.)
Both set of Defendants filed motion to dismiss Mr. Yates’ Complaint due to his
failure to properly exhaust his administrative remedies as required by the Prisoner
Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), 42 U.S.C. § 1997e. (ECF Nos. 16 and 32.) While
noting that Mr. Yates and his very supportive family wrote letters to various people
Secretary Wetzel and Lea Martin are DOC employees. Dr. Stanish is a contract
medical care provider and not a DOC employee. The DOC Defendants and Dr. Stanish
were represented by separate counsel in this matter.
concerning his medical care, Mr. Yates failed to properly exhaust his claim by way of
the DOC’s grievance policy prior to filing this action. (ECF No. 58.) As a prisoner
cannot exhaust claims pending in court and then seek to cure non-compliance with §
1997(e)(a) by filing an amended complaint, see Ahmed v. Dragovich, 297 F.3d 201,
209 (3d Cir. 2002), the Court dismissed the action without leave to amend. (ECF
Mr. Yates now seeks reconsideration of the Court’s order dismissing his case
due to his failure to exhaust his available administrative remedies. (ECF No. 63.)
Mr. Yates argues in his motion for reconsideration that both he and his family
wrote to various prison officials at SCI-Dallas as well as other individuals within the
DOC. (Id.) He adds that he continues to suffer from his shoulder pain but cannot
undergo further surgery due to his heart condition. While Mr. Yates states he “wrote
to grievance at Dallas Ms. Lucas, then sent grievance at Camp Hill when I got it
back from Dallas, and have all receipts that sent out, and also wrote to Sectary
Wetzel and talk to him on the Veteran Block,” he does not provide any evidence or
documentation of his proper exhaustion of his medical claims prior to filing his
federal lawsuit. Rather, he restates the arguments presented in his opposition to the
Defendants’ motions to dismiss.
Unfortunately, as fully set forth in the Court’s
August 8, 2017, Memorandum, prisoners are required to exhaust their conditions of
confinement claims through the channels set forth in the DOC’s grievance policy.
See Woodford v. Ngo, 548 U.S. 81, 89, 126 S.Ct. 2378, 2385, 165 L.Ed.2d 368
(2006); see also Spruill v. Gillis, 372 F.3d 218, 227-32 (3d Cir. 2004). Mr. Yates did
not do so.
Mr. Yates fails to demonstrate a change of law, new evidence, or a need to
correct clear error of law that indicates the Court’s previous order dismissing his
Complaint due to his failure to properly exhaust his administrative remedies prior to
filing his federal lawsuit merits reconsideration. The Court’s dismissal is without
prejudice to Mr. Yates re-asserting his Eighth Amendment medical claims in a new
lawsuit once he properly utilizes the DOC’s three-step grievance process.
Based on the above, Mr. Yates’ motion for reconsideration (ECF No. 63) will
An appropriate order will follow.
/s/ A. Richard Caputo
A. RICHARD CAPUTO
United States District Judge
Date: March 8, 2018
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