The opinion of the court was delivered by: MARY A. McLAUGHLIN, District Judge
This case is brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 by a pro se prisoner who
alleges that the defendants failed to provide him adequate medical care.
Several of the defendants have filed a motion to dismiss the claims
against them. In the alternative, the moving defendants seek to have the
claims against the defendants who work at State Correctional
Institute-Albion ("SCI-Albion") severed and transferred to the Western
District of Pennsylvania. The Court will grant in part and deny in part
the motion. Defendant Baker filed a separate motion to dismiss or in the
alternative to transfer. The Court will deny Baker's motion. The
plaintiff has filed a Motion to Add Defendants and a Motion for Leave to
File a Supplemental Complaint. The Court will deny
the motion to file a supplemental complaint, and will deny in part
and grant in part the motion to add defendants.
The plaintiff, Lamont Scantling, recounts in great detail what happened
to him at State Correctional Institute-Graterford ("SCI-Graterford") and
SCI-Albion.*fn1 His basic claim is that he received inadequate medical
care and was denied certain medical treatment at both SCI-Graterford and
SCI-Albion in violation of his constitutional rights. He has sued
numerous prison staff. He also alleges supervisory liability and
retaliatory action against various prison administrators. These latter
allegations center around the manner in which the plaintiff's grievances
The defendants work or worked for various entities. Defendants Donald
T. Vaughn, Manuel Arroyo, Edward J. Dennis, Leslie S. Hatcher, Julie
Knauer, Donald Frace, "Nurse Jim," various unknown medical staff, an
unknown person who is either Deputy Superintendent of Management or
Deputy Superintendent of Inmate Services, and an unknown female
correctional officer work
for SCI-Graterford. Defendants William A. Wolfe, Bruce T. Marquardt,
Victoria L. Kormanic, William J. Barr, Maxine Overton, Susan Rebele, and
various unknown medical staff work for SCI-Albion. Defendants Tshanna C.
Kyler, Thomas L. James, Sharon M. Burk*fn2 and Jeffrey A. Beard do not
work for any particular correctional institute, but are employed by the
Pennsylvania Department of Corrections ("DOC").
At a status conference, counsel for Dr. Baker and counsel for all the
other moving defendants represented that defendant doctors, Drs. Ralph
Smith, Baker, and Conrad Fraider were not employees of either
SCI-Graterford or SCI-Albion. Dr. Smith was an employee of the medical
contractor for SCI-Graterford at the time the incidents took place. Dr.
Baker is an employee of Wexford, the current medical contractor for
SCI-Albion. Dr. Fraider is an independent contractor to whom SCI-Albion
medical staff sometimes refers patients. Dr. Bashline is alleged to be a
staff doctor at SCI-Albion.*fn3
A. Overview of Events at SCI-Graterford
According to the amended complaint, Mr. Scantling was brought to
SCI-Graterford less than two weeks after having been discharged from
Frankford Hospital. His right ankle had been operated on as a result of a
car accident. Three screws were placed in the ankle during this
operation. He arrived at SCI-Graterford in a wheelchair, and had a
non-weight bearing cast on his right foot. The plaintiff also had a set
of crutches which were later stolen. He was seen by medical staff upon
arriving at SCI-Graterford.
The plaintiff's medical needs were ignored or minimized in a number of
ways. Dr. Smith and all other doctors at SCI-Graterford, with one
exception, gave the plaintiff over-the-counter painkillers instead of the
prescription painkillers a doctor at Frankford Hospital had prescribed. He
was given no therapy for his foot and was transferred to a cell in an
upper-tier. Dr. Smith ordered that no meals be brought to the plaintiff's
cell, forcing him to walk a quarter mile to reach the mess hall. Medical
staff refused to give him the Motrin that Dr. Smith had prescribed him.
On July 12, 2002, a female correctional officer refused to give the
plaintiff a chair for him to use in the shower and refused to mop-up
water on the floor surrounding the showers.
The plaintiff slipped on this water after his shower and fell. He
injured his hip, back, neck, and re-injured his right ankle. The
plaintiff was taken to the infirmary for this fall.
He was treated roughly by Nurse Jim. X-rays were taken only of his
back. The plaintiff was sent to an isolation cell without his crutches.
When he got back to the cell, the plaintiff asked for assistance in
getting to the bathroom because he was in too much pain to do so. The
prison staff refused to help him.
Between July 13, 2002 and the time he was transferred to SCI-Albion,
the plaintiff alleges numerous other instances of inadequate medical care
and the denial and delay of medical care. He also alleges inadequate
supervision of staff and retaliatory transfer.
B. Overview of Events at SCI-Albion
On September 24, 2002, Mr. Scantling was transferred from
SCI-Graterford to SCI-Albion, in alleged violation of the Department of
Corrections' policy that prohibited someone in the plaintiff's condition
from being moved to a different facility.
Between October 17 and 28, 2002, the plaintiff complained to the prison
staff about his pain. He was seen by the prison nurses, prison doctors,
and other prison staff. Generally, he was either given more
over-the-counter medications, told to take the medications he had already
been given, or told
that he could not have more or stronger medication at that time.
Staff doctors ordered him to keep walking on the injured foot.
The plaintiff was eventually referred to outside doctors and was given
physical therapy. From December 2002 through January 2003, nursing staff
interfered with this therapy, and correctional officers transported him
to and from therapy in a rough manner. He also alleges that he was denied
basic accommodations by being transferred out of the infirmary during the
winter months, forcing him to walk in slippers through the snow to get
his meals. On March 27, 2003, an outside podiatrist stated that he should
not have been walking on the foot.
C. Overview of the Plaintiff's Use of the Prison Grievance System
During his time at SCI-Graterford, the plaintiff filed three
grievances. The first grievance was about the inadequate medical care he
was receiving. The second was about defendant Frace's misconduct and the
inadequacy of his medical care, and the third was about prison conditions
leading to his slipping and falling.
The first grievance was returned by defendant Hatcher because it
exceeded the two-page limit imposed by DOC regulations. This decision was
upheld by the prison superintendent, defendant Vaughn. The other
grievances were ruled on unfavorably. The grievance reviewers found that
plaintiff had received medical attention and that the medical and
correctional staff had been acting appropriately to the plaintiff's
needs. Prison officials upheld these findings on appeal, finding that the
staff had been very accommodating to the plaintiff's medical needs. See
Letter from Thomas L. James to Lamont Scantling (Nov. I, 2002) at
unnumbered Ex. to Compl.
The plaintiff also filed grievances at SCI-Albion. He appealed the
decisions on those grievances, but they were upheld. He alleges that
various administrative officials condoned or ratified various violations
by upholding negative decisions on his grievances.
The plaintiff filed his original complaint on December 12. 2002. A
motion to dismiss and/or sever and transfer the case was filed by
defendants Vaughn, Arroyo, Dennis, Hatcher, Knauer, Frace, Wolfe,
Marquardt, Kormanic, Overton, Rebele, James, and Kyler on April 2, 2003
(the "initial motion"). The plaintiff responded to the initial motion on
April 25, 2003. Defendant Baker filed a separate motion to dismiss or
transfer on August 11, 2003. On August 28, 2003, defendant Barr joined in
the initial motion to dismiss.
On September 4, 2003, the Court held a telephone conference. After a
discussion of the various motions and other
issues, the plaintiff was given 60 days in which to respond in writing to
the various motions.
The plaintiff requested and received extensions of time in which to
respond to Dr. Baker' motion. In January 2004, the plaintiff filed an
amended complaint before any responsive pleading had been filed. The
amended complaint adds four defendants, Beard, Burk, Dr. Bashline, and an
unknown person who is either the Deputy Superintendent of Management or
of Inmate Services at SCI-Graterford, and makes some additional
allegations. The amended complaint expressly incorporates the original
complaint and its exhibits. At the same time, the plaintiff filed a
motion to add those four defendants. He also filed a Motion For Leave to
File a Supplemental Complaint.
The moving defendants, except for Dr. Baker, filed an opposition to the
Motion For Leave to File a Supplemental Complaint. In that opposition
they argue that the amended complaint does not state a claim against two
of the newly added defendants, Burk and Beard. The opposition also
states: "the additional pleadings do not enhance plaintiff's allegations
to the extent necessary to defeat the respective defendants' motion to
dismiss which are still pending." The Court shall therefore
take this opposition as a renewal of the initial motion to dismiss.*fn4
III. Involvement of the Moving Defendants
Beard is the Secretary of the Department of Corrections. The plaintiff
alleges that he authored a policy redefining "cruel and unusual
punishment" as meaning only the use or threat of excessive force. Beard is
also alleged to have failed to implement an intake health care policy
that required obtaining outside medical records for chronically or
acutely ill prisoners, and to have failed to investigate the plaintiff's
Hatcher is a Facility Grievance Coordinator at SCI-Graterford. On July
22, 2002, Ms. Hatcher returned the plaintiff's grievance because it
exceeded the two-page limit.
Vaughn is the Superintendent at SCI-Graterford. On August 20, 2002,
Mr. Vaughn responded to the plaintiff's appeal regarding the two-page
limit for grievances. He upheld Hatcher's decision to reject the
grievance. Mr. Scantling also alleges he permitted the plaintiff's
transfer to SCI-Albion and authored or ratified an unconstitutional
Kyler is a Grievance Review Officer for the DOC. On September 3, 2002,
Ms. Kyler wrote the plaintiff a letter regarding his appeal of a
grievance decision. She told the plaintiff that no action would be taken
on his appeal because he had not provided photocopies of his prior
filings with respect to that grievance.
Frace is a correctional officer at SCI-Graterford. On July 21, 2002,
the plaintiff asked for an appointment to see a doctor. Mr. Frace said
that the medical staff did not want to see the plaintiff because there
was nothing they could do for the plaintiff. Mr. Frace also told the