Case: Shoatz v. Wetzel

2:13-cv-00657 | U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania

Filed Date: May 8, 2013

Closed Date: 2016

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On May 8, 2013, a prisoner in Pennsylvania's state prisons filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. The plaintiff sued the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections as well as the superintendents of SCI-Greene and SCI-Mahanoy under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Represented by private counsel, the plaintiff asked the court for both injunctive relief and damages, alleging that the defendants violated the plaintiff's Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment …

On May 8, 2013, a prisoner in Pennsylvania's state prisons filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. The plaintiff sued the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections as well as the superintendents of SCI-Greene and SCI-Mahanoy under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Represented by private counsel, the plaintiff asked the court for both injunctive relief and damages, alleging that the defendants violated the plaintiff's Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights by keeping him in solitary confinement for 22 consecutive years.

The parties initiated discovery. On July 3, 2013, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss. After numerous extensions for replies, the parties set a date for mediation on October 30, 2013. The mediation was unsuccessful.

On January 27, 2014, Magistrate Judge Cynthia Reed Eddy denied defendants' motion to dismiss. Judge Eddy held that the plaintiff's complaint alleged sufficiently plausible facts on both his Eighth Amendment and Fourteenth Amendment claims. Specifically, the plaintiff plausibly asserted that the conditions of his confinement caused severe physical and mental distress and that the defendants not only knew about his suffering, but were deliberately indifferent to it. His Fourteenth Amendment claim was not barred by claim preclusion from prior litigation challenging his solitary confinement because of new circumstances and the extended duration of the confinement. Further, the administration violated his procedural due process rights by failing to give him adequate information for why he was being kept in solitary confinement. 2014 WL 294988 (W.D. Pa. Jan. 27, 2014).

The parties continued discovery for the next ten months. On November 21, 2014, the plaintiff filed an amended complaint.

On July 15, 2015, the plaintiff filed a motion for summary judgment. On August 6, 2015, the defendants filed their own motion for summary judgment. After numerous extensions for responses to the summary judgment motions, Judge Eddy issued her opinion on February 12, 2016, denying both motions. She held that there were material issues of fact on both the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment claims to warrant a jury trial. 2016 WL 595337 (Feb. 12, 2016).

On May 10, 2015, the parties engaged in successful mediation and reached a settlement-in-principle.The Department of Corrections agreed to not place the plaintiff back in solitary confinement due to his prior disciplinary record or activities, to provide a single cell (and not have to share it for the rest of his life), to provide him with full mental health evaluation, and pay a monetary settlement. On July 25, 2016, Judge Eddy approved the stipulation of voluntary dismissal and the case was dismissed with prejudice. (https://abolitionistlawcenter.org/2016/07/11/media-release-settlement-reached-in-shoatz-v-wetzel/)

During the period of mediation, the Department of Justice announced that it was closing an investigation against the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections for its use of solitary confinement. The PDOC stipulated that it would ensure that prisoners are not sent to solitary confinement, expand mental health classification processes and streamline mental health care delivery, provide more mental health training to staff, and offer more out-of-cell activities for prisoners in solitary confinement. The DOJ letter also indicated that PDOC would commit to ensuring that all inmates with a serious mental health condition either present or in the past would be diverted to treatment units, reduce use of restraints, improve mental health staffing and recordkeeping, expand commitment units, better identify prisoners with intellectual disabilities, and improve quality assurance processes. (DOJ letter)

No further activity has appeared on the docket. Presumably the case is closed.

Summary Authors

Craig Streit (9/25/2016)

People

For PACER's information on parties and their attorneys, see: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4374225/parties/shoatz-v-wetzel/


Judge(s)

Eddy, Cynthia Reed (Pennsylvania)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Burt, Stefanie Lepore (Pennsylvania)

Engel, Harold (Maryland)

Etter, Richard L (Pennsylvania)

Grote, Bret D. (Pennsylvania)

Gupta, Vanita (District of Columbia)

Hickton, David J. (Pennsylvania)

McDaniel, Dustin (Pennsylvania)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Bradley, Scott A. (Pennsylvania)

Friedline, Mary Lynch (Pennsylvania)

Judge(s)

Eddy, Cynthia Reed (Pennsylvania)

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Burt, Stefanie Lepore (Pennsylvania)

Engel, Harold (Maryland)

Etter, Richard L (Pennsylvania)

Grote, Bret D. (Pennsylvania)

Gupta, Vanita (District of Columbia)

Hickton, David J. (Pennsylvania)

McDaniel, Dustin (Pennsylvania)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Bradley, Scott A. (Pennsylvania)

Friedline, Mary Lynch (Pennsylvania)

Warshafsky, Yana L. (Pennsylvania)

Expert/Monitor/Master

Kovalik, Daniel (Pennsylvania)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Docket [PACER]

Shoatz v. Wetzl

July 25, 2016 Docket
1

Complaint

Shoatz v. Wetzl

May 8, 2013 Complaint
29

Memorandum Opinion and Order

2014 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 9386

Jan. 27, 2014 Order/Opinion
50

First Amended Complaint

Nov. 21, 2014 Complaint
87

Memorandum Opinion and Order

2016 WL 595337, 2016 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 17515

Feb. 12, 2016 Order/Opinion

Justice Department Closes Investigation After Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Takes Significant Steps to Reform its Use of Solitary Confinement

CRIPA investigation of Cresson and Penn. DOC

No Court

April 14, 2016 Press Release

Closing Letter Re: Investigation of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections' Use of Solitary Confinement on Prisoners with Serious Mental Illness and/or Intellectual Disabilities

CRIPA investigation of Cresson and Penn. DOC

No Court

April 14, 2016 Correspondence

Resources

Title Description External URL

Shoatz v. Wetzel

Abolitionist Law Center

Russell Maroon Shoatz is 70-years-old and was locked in solitary confinement at various state prisons for 22 consecutive years, and nearly 30 years non-consecutively. Shoatz is a father, grandfather,… Feb. 12, 2016 https://abolitionistlawcenter.org/our-work/completed-cases/shoatz-v-wetzel/

Docket

See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4374225/shoatz-v-wetzel/

Last updated May 11, 2022, 8 p.m.

ECF Number Description Date Link
1

COMPLAINT against LOUIS S. FOLINO, JOHN KERESTES, JOHN E. WETZEL (Filing fee, including Administrative fee, $400, receipt number 0315-2780406), filed by RUSSELL SHOATZ. (Attachments: # 1 Civil Cover Sheet, # 2 Summons for John E. Wetzel, # 3 Summons for Louis S. Folino, # 4 Summons for John Kerestes) (ksa) (Entered: 05/08/2013)

1 Civil Cover Sheet

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2 Summons for John E. Wetzel

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3 Summons for Louis S. Folino

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4 Summons for John Kerestes

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May 8, 2013 RECAP
2

NOTICE of Appearance by Stefanie A. Lepore on behalf of RUSSELL SHOATZ. (Lepore, Stefanie) (Entered: 05/09/2013)

May 9, 2013 PACER
3

Notice of Appearance

May 9, 2013 PACER
4

Notice of Appearance

May 30, 2013 PACER
5

Waiver of Service Executed

June 3, 2013 PACER
6

Waiver of Service Executed

June 3, 2013 PACER
7

Waiver of Service Executed

June 3, 2013 PACER
8

Order

June 4, 2013 RECAP
9

Consent to Trial/Jurisdiction by US Magistrate Judge OR District Judge Option

June 18, 2013 PACER
10

Consent to Trial/Jurisdiction by US Magistrate Judge OR District Judge Option

June 18, 2013 PACER
11

Proposed Discovery Plan

June 21, 2013 PACER
12

Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim

1 Proposed Order

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July 3, 2013 PACER
13

Brief in Support of Motion

July 3, 2013 RECAP
14

Notice of Appearance

July 8, 2013 PACER
15

Motion for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply

1 Proposed Order

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July 9, 2013 PACER
16

Case Management Conference

July 9, 2013 PACER
17

Order on Motion for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply

July 9, 2013 PACER
18

Motion to Appear Pro Hac Vice

July 31, 2013 PACER
19

Errata

1 Affidavit

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2 Exhibit A

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3 Proposed Order

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July 31, 2013 PACER
20

Proposed Case Management Order

Aug. 20, 2013 PACER
21

Case Management Order

Aug. 21, 2013 PACER
22

Status Report

Sept. 4, 2013 PACER
23

Brief in Opposition to Motion

Sept. 17, 2013 RECAP
24

Reply to Response to Motion

Oct. 21, 2013 PACER
25

Motion to Amend/Correct

1 Exhibit A

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2 Proposed Order

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Nov. 4, 2013 PACER
26

Proposed Case Management Order

Nov. 8, 2013 PACER
27

Case Management Order

Nov. 12, 2013 PACER
28

Notice of Appearance

Dec. 18, 2013 PACER
29

MEMORANDUM OPINION and ORDER denying 12 Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim. Signed by Magistrate Judge Cynthia Reed Eddy on 1/27/2014. (bsc)

Jan. 27, 2014 RECAP
30

Motion for Extension of Time to File Answer

1 Proposed Order

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Feb. 10, 2014 PACER
31

Answer to Complaint

Feb. 20, 2014 PACER
32

Status Report

Feb. 24, 2014 PACER
33

Motion to Amend/Correct

1 Scheduling Motion Certificate

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2 Proposed Order #1

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3 Proposed Order #2

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March 13, 2014 PACER
34

Order on Motion to Amend/Correct

March 15, 2014 PACER
35

Motion to Amend/Correct

1 PROPOSED JOINT AMENDED CASE MANAGEMENT ORDER

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2 Proposed Order

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May 12, 2014 PACER
36

Case Management Order

May 12, 2014 PACER
37

Motion to Amend/Correct

1 Proposed Order

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2 Exhibit

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July 1, 2014 PACER
38

Order on Motion to Amend/Correct

July 2, 2014 PACER
39

Motion for Extension of Time to Complete Discovery

1 Proposed Order

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July 31, 2014 PACER
40

Order on Motion for Extension of Time to Complete Discovery

Aug. 1, 2014 PACER
41

Notice of Appearance

Oct. 2, 2014 PACER
42

Motion for Protective Order

1 Exhibit s A-E

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2 Proposed Order

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Oct. 15, 2014 PACER
43

Motion to Amend/Correct

1 Brief in Support

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2 Exhibit

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3 Proposed Order

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Oct. 16, 2014 PACER
45

Brief in Support of Motion

Oct. 16, 2014 PACER
44

Order on Motion to Amend/Correct

Oct. 17, 2014 PACER
46

Reply Brief

1 Exhibit

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2 Exhibit

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4 Exhibit

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Oct. 20, 2014 PACER
47

Notice of Appearance

Oct. 21, 2014 PACER
48

Reply to Response to Motion

Oct. 21, 2014 PACER
49

Order on Motion for Protective Order

Oct. 21, 2014 PACER
50

Amended Complaint

Nov. 21, 2014 RECAP
51

Case Management Order

Nov. 22, 2014 PACER
52

Answer to Amended Complaint

Dec. 5, 2014 PACER
53

Motion to Extend Time

1 Proposed Order

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Jan. 12, 2015 PACER
54

Motion to Extend Time

1 Proposed Order

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April 29, 2015 PACER
55

Errata

1 Proposed Order

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April 29, 2015 PACER
57

Motion to Extend Time

1 Proposed Order

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June 15, 2015 PACER
59

Motion to Extend Time

1 Proposed Order

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July 15, 2015 PACER
61

Motion for Summary Judgment

1 Proposed Order

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2 Brief in Support

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3 Statement of Facts

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4 Exhibit 1

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5 Exhibit 2

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6 Exhibit 3

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24 Exhibit 21

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25 Exhibit 22

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July 15, 2015 PACER
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Brief in Support of Motion

July 15, 2015 PACER
63

Concise Statement of Material Facts

1 Exhibit 1

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2 Exhibit 2

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3 Exhibit 3

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21 Exhibit 21

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22 Exhibit 22

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July 15, 2015 PACER
65

Motion to Extend Time

1 Proposed Order

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July 30, 2015 PACER
67

Motion for Summary Judgment

1 Proposed Order

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Aug. 6, 2015 PACER
68

Brief in Support of Motion

Aug. 6, 2015 PACER
69

Concise Statement of Material Facts

Aug. 6, 2015 PACER
70

Appendix

1 Exhibit Nos. 1-5

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2 Exhibit No. 6

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3 Exhibit No. 7

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4 Exhibit Nos. 8-20

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5 Exhibit Nos. 21-29

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6 Exhibit Nos. 30-34

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7 Exhibit No. 35 (Wetzel Dep)

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8 Exhibit No. 36 (Folino Dep)

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9 Exhibit No. 37 (Kerestes Dep)

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10 Exhibit No. 38 (Winfield Dep)

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Aug. 6, 2015 PACER
71

Motion to Strike

1 Proposed Order

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Aug. 7, 2015 PACER
72

Motion for Leave to File Excess Pages

1 Proposed Order

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Aug. 7, 2015 PACER
76

Motion for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply

1 Proposed Order

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Aug. 31, 2015 PACER
79

Brief in Opposition to Motion

Sept. 18, 2015 PACER
80

Counter Statement of Facts

Sept. 18, 2015 PACER
81

Appendix

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Sept. 18, 2015 PACER
82

Response to Motion

Sept. 30, 2015 PACER
83

Counter Statement of Facts

Sept. 30, 2015 PACER
84

Counter Statement of Facts

Oct. 6, 2015 PACER
85

Reply Brief

Oct. 8, 2015 PACER
87

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER denying 61 Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment and denying 67 Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment as the Court finds that disputes of material fact exist which must be resolved by a jury. Signed by Magistrate Judge Cynthia Reed Eddy on 2/12/2016. (bsc)

Feb. 12, 2016 RECAP
89

Pretrial Order

March 3, 2016 PACER
91

Report of Mediation

May 10, 2016 PACER
92

Order for Statistical Case Closing

May 12, 2016 PACER
93

Stipulation of Dismissal

July 7, 2016 PACER
94

Order

July 25, 2016 PACER
56

TEXT ORDER granting 54 Defendants' Motion to Extend Time to file summary judgment motion. Defendants' are granted an extension until 6/15/2015 to file their summary judgment motion and Plaintiff's deadlines are adjusted accordingly. Signed by Magistrate Judge Cynthia Reed Eddy on 4/29/2015. Text−only entry; no PDF document will issue. This text−only entry constitutes the Order of the Court or Notice on the matter. (bsc) Modified on 5/1/2015 to correct typo. (ksa) (Entered: 04/30/2015)

April 30, 2015
58

TEXT ORDER granting 57 Motion to Extend Time to file summary judgment motion. Defendants are granted an extension until 7/15/2015 to file their summary judgment motion and Plaintiff's deadlines are adjusted accordingly. Signed by Magistrate Judge Cynthia Reed Eddy on 6/15/2015. Text−only entry; no PDF document will issue. This text−only entry constitutes the Order of the Court or Notice on the matter. (bsc) (Entered: 06/15/2015)

June 15, 2015
60

ORDER granting 59 Motion to Extend Time to file summary judgment motion. Defendants' are granted an extension until 7/30/15 to file their summary judgment motion and Plaintiff's deadlines are adjusted accordingly. Signed by Magistrate Judge Cynthia Reed Eddy on 7/15/15. Text−only entry; no PDF document will issue. This text−only entry constitutes the Order of the Court or Notice on the matter. (Eddy, J) (Entered: 07/15/2015)

July 15, 2015
64

TEXT ORDER Response/Briefing Schedule re 61 Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment. Defendants shall file a brief in opposition on or before 8/31/2015. Plaintiff, if he so chooses, may file a Reply by 9/4/2015. Signed by Magistrate Judge Cynthia Reed Eddy on 7/21/2015. Text−only entry; no PDF document will issue. This text−only entry constitutes the Order of the Court or Notice on the matter. (bsc) (Entered: 07/21/2015)

July 21, 2015
66

TEXT ORDER granting 65 Defendants' Motion to Extend Time to file summary judgment. Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment is due on or before August 6, 2015. Plaintiff's response deadline is adjusted accordingly. Signed by Magistrate Judge Cynthia Reed Eddy on 7/30/2015. Text−only entry; no PDF document will issue. This text−only entry constitutes the Order of the Court or Notice on the matter. (bsc) (Entered: 07/30/2015)

July 30, 2015
74

ORDER denying as moot 71 Motion to Strike 68 Brief in Support of Motion. Plaintiff may exceed the page limitation if necessary in his Response. Signed by Magistrate Judge Cynthia Reed Eddy on 8/10/15. Text−only entry; no PDF document will issue. This text−only entry constitutes the Order of the Court or Notice on the matter. (Eddy, J.) (Entered: 08/10/2015)

Aug. 10, 2015
75

TEXT ORDER Response/Briefing Schedule re 67 Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment. Plaintiff shall file a Brief in Opposition on or before 9/18/2015. Defendants' Reply may be filed on or before 10/2/2015. Signed by Magistrate Judge Cynthia Reed Eddy on 8/19/2015. Text−only entry; no PDF document will issue. This text−only entry constitutes the Order of the Court or Notice on the matter. (bsc) (Entered: 08/19/2015)

Aug. 19, 2015
77

TEXT ORDER granting 76 Motion for Extension of Time to File Response to Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment 61 . Responses due by 9/30/2015; Reply due by 10/8/2015. No future requests for extensions will be granted. Signed by Magistrate Judge Cynthia Reed Eddy on 9/1/2015. Text−only entry; no PDF document will issue. This text−only entry constitutes the Order of the Court or Notice on the matter. (bsc) (Entered: 09/01/2015)

Sept. 1, 2015
78

ORDER : The Presumptive trial date of 11/16/2015 has been canceled until further ORDER of COURT. Signed by Magistrate Judge Cynthia Reed Eddy on 9/18/15. Text−only entry; no PDF document will issue. This text−only entry constitutes the Order of the Court or Notice on the matter. (jlh) (Entered: 09/18/2015)

Sept. 18, 2015
86

TEXT ORDER − Based on Plaintiff's representation that he withdraws his claims for relief against Defendant Kerestes, see ECF No. 79 foot note 1, Defendant Kerestes is hereby DISMISSED from this lawsuit. Signed by Magistrate Judge Cynthia Reed Eddy on 2/1/2016. Text−only entry; no PDF document will issue. This text−only entry constitutes the Order of the Court or Notice on the matter. (bsc) Modified on 2/2/2016 to edit docket text. (ksa) (Entered: 02/01/2016)

Feb. 1, 2016
88

ORDER: A Status Conference is scheduled for 3/3/16 at 2:00 PM in Room 10160 before Magistrate Judge Cynthia Reed Eddy for the purpose of scheduling further proceedings. All counsel must attend and bring their calendars to the conference. Signed by Magistrate Judge Cynthia Reed Eddy on 2/18/16. Text−only entry; no PDF document will issue. This text−only entry constitutes the Order of the Court or Notice on the matter. (Eddy, J.) (Entered: 02/18/2016)

Feb. 18, 2016

Minute Entry for proceedings held before Magistrate Judge Cynthia Reed Eddy: Status / Scheduling Conference held on 3/3/2016. In attendance for Plaintiff were: Richard L. Etter, Stefanie Lepore Burt, Bret Grote, Dustin McDaniel, and Harold J. Engel. In attendance for Defendants were Mary Lynch Friedline and Scott A. Bradley. The parties indicated a willingness to return to mediation before Judge Kenneth Benson. The Court discussed the Pretrial Order which will be entered on this date. (Court Reporter: none) Text−only entry; no PDF document will issue. This text−only entry constitutes a Minute of the Court or Notice on the matter. (bsc) (Entered: 03/03/2016)

March 3, 2016
90

ORDER : A Conference Call has been scheduled for 5/12/2016 at 02:00 PM before Magistrate Judge Cynthia Reed Eddy. Counsel for the plaintiff shall initiate the call. Signed by Magistrate Judge Cynthia Reed Eddy on 5/5/16. Text−only entry; no PDF document will issue. This text−only entry constitutes the Order of the Court or Notice on the matter. (jlh) (Entered: 05/05/2016)

May 5, 2016

State / Territory: Pennsylvania

Case Type(s):

Prison Conditions

Special Collection(s):

Solitary confinement

Key Dates

Filing Date: May 8, 2013

Closing Date: 2016

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

A Pennsylvania state prisoner who alleges that his 22 years in solitary confinement violated his 8th and 14th Amendment rights.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (Mechanicsburg, Cumberland), State

Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (Frackville, Schuylkill), State

Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (Waynesburg, Greene), State

Defendant Type(s):

Corrections

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

Constitutional Clause(s):

Cruel and Unusual Punishment

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Non-settlement Outcome

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Mixed

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Settlement

Form of Settlement:

Private Settlement Agreement

Voluntary Dismissal

Issues

General:

Administrative segregation

Conditions of confinement

Disciplinary segregation

Solitary confinement/Supermax (conditions or process)

Medical/Mental Health:

Mental health care, general

Untreated pain

Type of Facility:

Government-run