Brazelton v. Holt et al
ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS - Accordingly, this 29th day of Sept., 2011, upon con. of the report 94 of the mag. judge, filed 8/4/11, the objs. 96 that were filed, & upon independent review of the record, it is ordered that: 1. The m ag. judge's report is adopted. 2. Plf.'s mtn. 29 for sanctions is denied. 3. Defts.' mtn. to dismiss & for SJ 78 is granted. 4. This action is dism'd as against deft. Holt. 5. The Clerk of Crt. shall enter jgm. in favor of deft. Orner & against plf. 6. The Clerk of Crt. shall close this file. (See order for complete details.) Signed by Honorable William W. Caldwell on 9/29/11. (am, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
RONNIE R. HOLT, and C.O. ORNER,
: CIVIL NO. 4:10-CV-1223
THE BACKGROUND OF THIS ORDER IS AS FOLLOWS:
This is a Bivens action1 filed by the pro se plaintiff, Stephen Brazelton, an
inmate at USP-Canaan, Waymart, Pennsylvania. The suit arises from an injury Plaintiff
suffered to the ring finger and little finger of his left hand when defendant, C.O. Orner,
attempted to close Plaintiff’s cell door for an inmate count, resulting in swelling and
bruising of the fingers. The other defendant is Ronnie R. Holt, the prison’s warden.
We are considering the report and recommendation of the magistrate
judge, recommending that: (1) Plaintiff’s motion for sanctions based on alleged spoliation
of evidence be denied; (2) Defendants’ motion to dismiss be granted as to defendant
Holt; and (3) Defendants’ motion for summary judgment be granted as to defendant
Plaintiff has filed objections to the report. Since objections were filed, the
court must “make a de novo determination of those portions of the report or specified
Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents, 403 U.S. 388, 91 S.Ct. 1999, 29 L.Ed.2d
proposed finding or recommendations to which objection is made.” 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1)(c). In regard to Plaintiff’s motion, Plaintiff’s objection is that the magistrate
judge erred in not granting Plaintiff summary judgment on the basis that six videotapes of
the incident were deliberately destroyed by Defendants. In regard to Defendant’s motion
for summary judgment, Plaintiffs objections are: (1) Plaintiff did in fact cite to portions of
the record so that the magistrate judge erred in accepting Defendants’ statement of
material facts on summary judgment; (2) Orner and the prison medical staff have
minimized the extent of Plaintiff’s injury as his fingers were crushed and his fingers, wrist
and hand were dripping blood; and (3) Orner was deliberately indifferent because he did
not follow the procedure for taking a count, did not check that the door and casing were
clear, deliberately rushed, and was indifferent to Plaintiff’s person.
In regard to Plaintiff’s motion for sanctions, we have reviewed the parties’
briefs and submissions, and we agree with the magistrate judge’s analysis as to why
Plaintiff is not entitled to entry of judgment in his favor on this motion. In regard to
Plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment, we must agree with the magistrate judge that
Plaintiff failed to cite to the record and hence it was proper to accept Defendants’
statement of material fact, including facts based on his medical records as to the extent
of Plaintiff’s injury. Additionally, we cannot accept Plaintiff’s contention that Orner was
deliberately indifferent. As the magistrate judge’s citation to the record shows, Plaintiff
testified at his deposition that Orner’s conduct was not intentional, that he was simply not
paying attention while closing the cell door. (Doc. 94, Report at pp. 25-27).2 This
defeats the requirement of deliberate indifference for an Eighth Amendment claim, as set
forth in the report.
Accordingly, this 29th day of September, 2011, upon consideration of the
report (doc. 94) of the magistrate judge, filed August 4, 2011, the objections (doc. 96)
that were filed, and upon independent review of the record, it is ordered that:
1. The magistrate judge’s report is adopted.3
2. Plaintiff’s motion (Doc. 29) for sanctions is denied.
3. Defendants’ motion to dismiss and for summary
judgment (Doc. 78) is granted.
4. This action is dismissed as against defendant Holt.
5. The Clerk of Court shall enter judgment in favor of
defendant Orner and against Plaintiff
6. The Clerk of Court shall close this file.
/s/ William W. Caldwell
William W. Caldwell
United States District Judge
Plaintiff’s penalty-of-perjury declaration (Doc. 89) is to the same effect.
However, we decline to adopt that part of the report which equates a Bivens action
with an action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 by inserting into section 1983 language extending
liability to the federal government. (See Doc. 94, report at pp. 12-13).
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