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Juan Paulino v. Burlington County Jail

December 14, 2010

JUAN PAULINO, PLAINTIFF,
v.
BURLINGTON COUNTY JAIL, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Kugler, District Judge

NOT FOR PUBLICATION

OPINION

This matter comes before the Court upon the Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 42) of the defendants Cole, Artist, Scholtz and Cain ("Defendants"). Plaintiff opposes the motion. The Court has reviewed the parties' submissions and decided the motion without oral argument pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 78.

For the reasons that follow, the Court will grant Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff filed an amended complaint on January 28, 2008 (docket entry 6). In his amended complaint, Plaintiff alleged that on March 16, 2007, while a pretrial detainee awaiting trial, he was assaulted by three inmates at the Burlington County Detention Center. He states that the three inmates were gang members who tried to extort Plaintiff for his "canteen." Plaintiff had refused to give the inmates anything, and informed Officer Cain "that he had a problem with a few of these inmates," yet Officer Cain did nothing. Shortly after informing the Officer, Plaintiff "was pulled into a cell on E-wing and brutally assaulted." (Am. Complt., ¶¶ 1,3).

Plaintiff sustained several cuts to his face, and his left leg was broken in three places. He notified the administration that he was attacked, and he was written up for fighting and given 10 days in segregation. (Am. Complt., ¶¶ 4, 5). Plaintiff noted that he was taken to Virtua Hospital in Mount Holly that day, received stitches to his head, and was scheduled for surgery on March 22 for his broken leg. He was then taken back to the jail and placed in a medical holding cell, where he was administered Motrin for his pain. He complained of pain to Dr. Evans, who would not give him any other pain medication. (Am. Complt., ¶ 6).

Plaintiff argued in his amended complaint that the administration and jail officers knew that gangs were a problem in the facility, but refused to remedy the situation. (Am. Complt., ¶¶ 2, 7). He sought relief from defendants Cole, Artist, Scholtz and Cain, and Dr. Evans, alleging that Cain did not make the required rounds of the wing, causing the assault to go unnoticed, and that the others knew of the gang problem at the facility, and recklessly disregarded the risk to inmates by not remedying the situation. (Am. Complt., ¶¶ 8, 9, 10). He charges Dr. Evans with giving him "inadequate treatment," and leaving him in pain for six days while he awaited surgery. (Am. Complt., ¶ 11).*fn1

On June 4, 2008, the moving defendants filed an answer to the amended complaint (docket entry 15). On July 21, 2009, Plaintiff was deposed. On May 12, 2010, the moving defendants filed this motion for summary judgment (docket entry 42). Plaintiff filed opposition to the motion on May 26, 2010 (docket entry 43), to which defendants replied on June 2, 2010 (docket entry 44).

DISCUSSION

A. Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment

Defendants argue that they are entitled to summary judgment in this case because Plaintiff's claims against defendands Warden Cole, Captain Artis and Captain Scholtz, are based solely upon their supervisory roles at the jail; because the moving defendants were not aware of a specific threat to the safety of Plaintiff at the hands of other inmates; because Plaintiff was not denied medical treatment; and because Dr. Evans, as the contractor providing medical services to the jail, is fully responsible for all claims concerning medical care.

Defendants submitted a statement of material facts along with their motion. Defendants admit to a number of facts set forth in Plaintiff's amended complaint. However, they add information taken from Plaintiff's deposition, including the fact that Plaintiff never filed a complaint or grievance indicating that he was in fear of any other inmate or his safety, and that Plaintiff's only complaint to defendants concerning other inmates was on the date ...


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