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PA Prisoner’s Civil Rights Action Viable Because Factual Dispute Exists

Vincent Cortlessa, a Pennsylvania state prisoner, sued guards and Primecare Medical, a private health care company, in federal district court after the guards beat him and the health care company failed to provide adequate care. He argued that these actions violated his rights under the federal constitution and state negligence laws. The defendants moved for summary judgment, controverting Cortlessa’s factual allegations.

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania recognized that summary judgment could not be granted if material disputes existed regarding the facts in the case. The court also found that Primecare, because it was a private company, might be liable for its employees’ behavior on a respondeat superior theory. Although summary judgment was granted to some defendants, it was denied to most. See: Cortlessa v. Doe, U.S.D.C. (E.D. Pa.), Case No. 2:04-cv-01039-MMB (May 25, 2006).

The case proceeded to trial in June 2006, where judgment was entered for the defendants.

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Related legal case

Cortlessa v. Doe