United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
February 12, 2004.
LAMONT SCANTLING, Plaintiff
DONALD T. VAUGHN, et al., Defendants
The opinion of the court was delivered by: MARY A. McLAUGHLIN, District Judge
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
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.
II. Procedural History
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
A. Jeffrey A. Beard
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
B. Leslie S. Hatcher
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.
C. Donald T. Vaughn
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
D. Tshanna C. Kyler
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.
E. Donald Frace
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
plaintiff that if he kept complaining he would be "double-locked in." Am.
Compl. ¶ 86.
Later that day, two prison staff members took the plaintiff to the
infirmary. The nurse in the infirmary told the
plaintiff that the doctor had sent for him earlier, but that Frace
had informed medical staff that the plaintiff had refused to see the
F. Edward J. Dennis
Dennis is an Institutional Unit Manager at SCI-Graterford. On July 17,
2002, Mr. Dennis told the plaintiff that he had to walk to get his meals.
He also told the plaintiff that, pursuant to the doctor's orders, meals
would not be brought to him. Mr. Dennis also reviewed the plaintiff's
grievance concerning medical care and Frace's misconduct, and concluded
that the plaintiff was receiving appropriate medical attention. Mr.
Dennis failed to maintain the plumbing adequately, which led to the
plaintiff slipping and falling on a puddle of water.
G. Thomas L. James
James is the Chief Grievance Coordinator for the DOC. He did nothing
about defendant Hatcher's rejection of Mr. Scantling's grievance because
it exceeded the 2-page limit. He also did nothing about defendant Dennis'
failure to discipline defendant Frace for the latter's deliberate
indifference to the plaintiff.
H. Manual Arroyo (the Deputy Superintendent of Inmate Services
and/or the Deputy Superintendent of Management)
Arroyo is identified as being either the Deputy Superintendent of
Inmate Services or the Deputy Superintendent of Management at
SCI-Graterford.*fn5 He is responsible for either the medical staff, as
the Superintendent of Inmate Services, or for the guards and unit
managers, as the Superintendent of Management.
The Deputy Superintendent of Inmate Services together with others
conspired to enact his transfer in spite of his prohibitive medical
needs, and in retaliation for his efforts to file this suit against them.
The Deputy Superintendent of Management failed to respond, in any
capacity, to the complaints filed by the plaintiff and other
SCI-Graterford staff reporting such incidents of misconduct. The
plaintiff points to three violations of his rights that he had complained
I. Julie Knauer
Knauer is the Health Care Administrator at SCI-Graterford. She is
alleged to be the direct supervisor of all medical staff, and the
Grievance Officer for initial review of medical grievances. She delayed
the initial review of a
grievance, permitting the plaintiff to be transferred to SCI-Albion
despite his prohibitive medical needs.
J. Victoria L. Kormanic
Kormanic is a Deputy Superintendent at SCI-Albion. Ms. Kormanic was
sent a copy of the plaintiff's appeal of a grievance that had been
denied. She took no action to remedy the underlying cause of the
K. William J. Barr
Barr is the Facility Grievance Coordinator at SCI-Albion. On October
21, 2002, the plaintiff filled out an inmate request form regarding the
need for better treatment for his pain. He asked Mr. Barr to look into
the problems. In his amended complaint, the plaintiff states that Mr.
Barr "is not implicated in any claims thus far . . . but has not been
dismissed because plaintiff fully expects to implicate him in a
supplemental complaint." Am. Compl. ¶ 20.
L. Dr. Baker
Dr. Baker is the Medical Director at SCI-Albion. Dr. Baker failed to
prescribe adequate pain medicine to the plaintiff despite having been
told of the plaintiff's severe and immobilizing pain. Dr. Baker also
ordered the plaintiff to walk on his injured foot.
M. Maxine Overton
Overton is the Health Care Administrator at SCI-Albion. On October 6,
2002, November 4, 2002, and November 11, 2002, the plaintiff sent out
Request to Staff Member forms to Ms. Overton. In the October 6, 2002
form, the plaintiff told Ms. Overton that he had serious injuries
resulting from a car accident and from a fall at SCI-Graterford. He told
Ms. Overton that the injuries were not being looked at seriously enough
by staff at SCI-Albion. He asked for the staff to look more closely at
In the November 4, 2002 form, the plaintiff stated that he had not
received a response to his earlier requests. He complained about the pain
and stated that the therapy he was receiving was making his problems
worse. He also wanted to know why no other forms of therapy were being
The November 11, 2002 form contained a request from the plaintiff to
meet with someone to review his medical records. On November 5, 2002, Ms.
Overton saw the plaintiff with Ms. Rebele. The plaintiff said most of his
injuries occurred at SCI-Graterford. Ms. Overton told the plaintiff that
she would talk to the doctor and try to get the plaintiff an MRI and some
outside therapy for the plaintiff. Ms. Overton refused the plaintiff's
requests for Prednisone.
N. Sueane Rebele
Rebele is a medical staff member at SCI-Albion. Ms. Kormanic had
forwarded one of the plaintiff's inmate request forms to Ms. Rebele. On
October 24, 2002, after having first spoken with the plaintiff about his
treatment, Ms. Rebele responded in writing to the inmate request. In the
letter, Ms. Rebele mentioned that the plaintiff was seen by Dr. Conrad
Fraider on October 16, 2002. All of the plaintiff's records were reviewed
and Dr. Fraider told the plaintiff his pain was muscular and not
skeletal. Ms. Rebele told the plaintiff that a pain management program
was being prepared and that a follow up appointment had been scheduled
for sometime in November.
O. William Wolfe
Wolfe is the Superintendent for SCI-Albion. He is alleged to be
responsible for implementing a health care policy capable of ensuring
that the serious medical needs of prisoners can be adequately treated.
Mr. Wolfe failed to do so because he did not have a policy mandating
retrieval of outside medical records.
P. Bruce T. Marquardt
Marquardt is a Deputy Superintendent at SCI-Albion. He failed to
adequately train officers under his command to care for transporting
prisoners with serious medical needs. He did
nothing to prevent the transfer of the plaintiff from the infirmary
at Albion to the general population.
Q. Sharon Burk
Burk is a Chief Grievance Coordinator. She upheld decisions on two
grievances that had been decided against the plaintiff.
A. Motions to Dismiss
All the moving defendants argue that the complaint should be dismissed
for failure to state a claim against them because there are insufficient
allegations of deliberate indifference to support § 1983 liability. The
moving defendants also claim that they are immune from suit in their
official capacities because of the Eleventh Amendment's grant of
sovereign immunity. Dr. Baker also argues that the claims against him
should be dismissed because the plaintiff failed to exhaust
administrative remedies. The Court will deny Dr. Baker's motion with
respect to his exhaustion argument because the plaintiff has alleged that
he has exhausted his administrative remedies at SCI-Albion. The Court
will discuss below the defendants' arguments that there are insufficient
allegations of deliberate indifference and that sovereign immunity bars
suit against them in their official capacities.
1. Legal Principles for Medical Care Claims
A § 1983 claim based on an alleged violation of the Eighth Amendment is
stated when a prisoner claims that prison officials are deliberately
indifferent to his serious medical needs. The Eighth Amendment can be
violated by the deliberate indifference of: (1) prison doctors in their
response to the prisoner's needs; (2) prison guards intentionally denying
or delaying access to medical care; or (3) prison staff intentionally
interfering with medical treatment once it is prescribed. Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104 (1976).
An Eighth Amendment claim consists of a subjective and an objective
component. To satisfy the subjective component, the prison officials must
be deliberately indifferent to the inmates serious medical needs. The
focus of the subjective component is on whether the defendant acted with
a sufficiently culpable state of mind. The objective component requires
the medical needs to be serious. The focus is on whether the deprivation
of the right to adequate medical care was sufficiently serious.
Montgomery v. Pinchak, 294 F.3d 492, 499 (3d Cir. 2002); Rouse v. Alien,
182 F.3d 192, 197 (3d Cir. 1999); Reynolds v. Wagner, 128 F.3d 166, 172
(3d Cir. 1997).
The moving defendants concede for the purposes of the motion to dismiss
that the plaintiff's medical needs were
serious. They argue that the plaintiff has not alleged enough facts
to show deliberate indifference on their parts.*fn6
The deliberate indifference standard focuses on the culpability of the
prison official. To be deliberately indifferent, a prison official must
know of and disregard an excessive risk to inmate health or safety. See
Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 837-38 (1994). In the medical care
context, claims of medical malpractice and disagreements as to the proper
course of medical treatment will not satisfy the deliberate indifference
standard. Monmouth County Corr. Institutional Inmates v. Lanzaro,
834 F.2d 326, 346 (3d Cir. 1987). Courts will not second guess whether a
particular course of treatment is adequate or proper. Parham v. Johnson,
126 F.3d 454, 458 n.7 (3d Cir. 1997).
A prison official may be found to be deliberately indifferent when: (1)
reasonable requests for medical treatment are denied and the denial
exposes the inmate to undue suffering; (2) an official intentionally
refuses to provide needed medical care; (3) necessary medical treatment
is delayed for non-medical
reasons; (4) officials erect arbitrary and burdensome procedures resulting
in interminable delays and outright denials of medical care to suffering
inmates; (5) prison officials prevent a prisoner from receiving needed or
recommended medical treatment; (6) prison officials persist in a
particular course of treatment in the face of resultant pain and risk of
permanent injury; and (7) prison officials deny a prisoner access to a
physician capable of evaluating the need for medical treatment. See
Rouse, 182 F.2d at 197; Monmouth County, 834 F.2d at 346-47; Durmer v.
O'Carroll, 991 F.2d 64, 68-69 (3d Cir. 1993).
2. Application of Legal Principles
Application of the principles discussed above leads to different
results for different groups of the defendants. The Court will therefore
discuss application of the legal principles for each of these groups.
a. Medical Staff
It is not beyond doubt that the plaintiff could prove some set of facts
that would entitle him to relief with respect to various medical staff
who have moved for dismissal. These are defendants Overton, Rebele, and
Dr. Baker was made aware of the plaintiff's medical history and knew of
the plaintiff's serious medical needs. Dr. Baker's decision to reduce the
plaintiff's pain medication and
not to increase it, despite the plaintiff's complaints, could be
interpreted as persisting in a particular course of treatment in the face
of resultant pain and risk of permanent injury to the plaintiff.
Mr. Scantling makes sufficient allegations to state claims against
Overton and Rebele. The plaintiff complained to both of these defendants
regarding his pain. Both defendants spoke with the plaintiff. It is
possible that the plaintiff's requests were reasonable and denying him
the treatment he sought caused undue suffering. It is also possible that
these officials were delaying further treatment or different types of
treatment for non-medical reasons. The Court shall deny the motion as to
b. Non-Medical Staff Directly Involved in Denial or Delay of
The plaintiff also states a claim against the defendants who had direct
contact with him and whom he alleges interfered with his ability to get
medical care. Dennis and Frace are among the moving defendants who fall
in this group.
Defendant Dennis told the plaintiff that he had to walk to get his
meals even though the plaintiff complained about his pain. Mr. Dennis
also reviewed one of the plaintiff's grievances and concluded that the
plaintiff was receiving appropriate medical attention. From these
allegations, the plaintiff may be able to show that Mr. Dennis did not
respond to reasonable
requests and the failure to accommodate these requests exposed the
plaintiff to undue suffering. It may also be that Mr. Dennis intentionally
refused to provide medical care even though he knew the plaintiff needed
treatment. Finally, forcing the plaintiff to walk on his injured foot to
get his meals may be a denial of medical care for non-medical reasons.
The Court cannot say that none of these possibilities, either alone or
together, would be sufficient to show deliberate indifference by Mr.
The allegations concerning defendant Frace are also sufficient to show
deliberate indifference at this stage. The plaintiff's allegations that
Mr. Frace kept him from getting needed medical treatment by telling him
that the medical staff did not want to see him could support a finding of
Mr. Frace argues that even if the plaintiff's allegations are
sufficient to show his deliberate indifference, the plaintiff's claims
against him are barred by 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(e). Section 1997e(e)
prohibits prisoners from recovering from mental or emotional injuries when
they do not show that a physical injury was suffered. The plaintiff
constantly complained about pain while he was incarcerated and the
failure to get him adequate medical care caused further physical
injuries. Frace's interference with the plaintiff's medical care could be
shown to have aggravated the plaintiff's existing
physical injury. The Court shall deny the motion with respect to these
c. Non-medical Staff Whose Only Involvement Was in the Grievance
The defendants whose only contact with the plaintiff involved denying
his grievances or upholding such denials on appeal are: Vaughn, Hatcher,
James, Knauer, Kyler, and Burk. There are no allegations that would
support a finding that any of these defendants were deliberately
indifferent. Indeed, there are no allegations that any of them were
personally involved in the denial or inadequacy of the plaintiff's
medical care.*fn7 The plaintiff nevertheless alleges supervisory
liability on their part.
A supervisor without direct personal involvement may be held liable
under § 1983 under certain circumstances, none of which apply here.
Personal direction or actual knowledge of the act violating the
constitutional right is necessary for supervisory liability. The
supervisor must have had knowledge of and acquiesced in his subordinates'
violations. Baker v. Monroe Township, 50 F.3d 1186, 1190-91 (3d Cir.
1995). The misconduct
of the subordinate must be affirmatively linked to the action or inaction
of the supervisor. Rizzo v. Goode, 423 U.S. 362, 371 (1976). In the
context of medical care claims, prison administrators who are not doctors
are not liable for failing to respond to a prisoner's medical complaints
where the prisoner is receiving treatment. Durmer v. O'Carroll, 991 F.2d
These defendants are not doctors, and Mr. Scantling's pleadings show
that he has been receiving medical care on a regular and on-going basis.
Their failure to respond favorably to the plaintiff's complaints cannot
be considered deliberate indifference.
There are also no allegations showing that these defendants knew of
Mr. Scantling's constitutional deprivations before they saw his
grievances, or that their failure to decide favorably on his grievances
affirmatively caused any constitutional violations on the part of the
The motion to dismiss shall be granted as to these defendants.
d. Non-Medical Staff Having Little or No Contact With the Plaintiff
Several defendants had no contact with the plaintiff at all, or merely
relayed written requests from the plaintiff to others. These are Beard,
Arroyo, the Deputy Superintendent of Management or Inmate Services
(depending on which of these Arroyo turns out to be), Wolfe, Marquardt,
Kormanic and Barr. There are no factual allegations to support a finding
of deliberate indifference on their part. The plaintiff makes conclusory
allegations of supervisory liability against most of them.
Kormanic and Barr received requests from the plaintiff informing them
of his pain. They passed the requests on to others. They are not alleged
to be responsible for addressing the problems therein or in directly
reviewing the grievances. The plaintiff himself acknowledges that Barr is
not implicated in any claims at this point. Am. Compl., § III, ¶
Beard is alleged to have enacted an Inmate Abuse Allegation Monitoring
policy that excepted claims of inadequate medical or intentionally denied
medical care from the definition of "Abuse." There is a general
allegation that the policy caused the plaintiff to suffer without
protection from a systematic violation of his Eighth Amendment rights.
There are no allegations that any of the prison officials who denied him
medical care, or that denied his grievances, did so because of this
purported redefinition of "cruel and unusual punishment."*fn9
Mr. Wolfe, together with Beard and Vaughn, failed to have a policy
mandating retrieval of outside medical records. The plaintiff does not
allege that, but for this policy, any of the medical staff would have
provided the plaintiff with adequate care. There are no allegations that
either Wolfe or Beard had any knowledge of or acquiesced in Dr. Smith's
actions or failure to obtain outside medical records.
There is no allegation that Marquardt knew of and acquiesced in the
behavior of the correctional officers who roughly transported the
plaintiff to see outside doctors. Similarly, the plaintiff makes no
factual allegations that the Deputy Superintendent of Management knew of
and acquiesced in the actions of his subordinates. Nor are there
allegations of a direct causal link between any act or failure to act and
the denials of medical care.
The Deputy Superintendent of Inmate Services is alleged to have
conspired with defendants Vaughn, Knauer, Hatcher, Smith and some unknown
Orthopaedic doctor to transfer the plaintiff in retaliation for his
filing grievances and complaining about
inadequate medical care. The plaintiff also fails to allege sufficient
facts to support such a claim.*fn10
The motion to dismiss shall be granted with respect to these
3. Sovereign Immunity
The moving defendants argue that they cannot be sued in their official
capacities because of sovereign immunity. Suits against states are barred
by the Eleventh Amendment's grant of sovereign immunity. Koslow v.
Pennsylvania, 302 F.3d 161, 167-68 (3d Cir. 2002). State agencies,
such as the Department of Corrections, SCI-Graterford, and SCI-Albion,
enjoy the same level of immunity as the state. See Cloverland-Green
Spring Dairies, Inc. v. Pennsylvania Milk Mktg. Bd., 298 F.3d 201,
205 n.2 (3d Cir. 2002). A suit against an individual in the individual's
official capacity is treated as a suit against the agency for whom the
individual works. Sovereign immunity is, therefore, a
valid defense to an official capacity suit. Kentucky v. Graham,
473 U.S. 159, 165-67 (1984).*fn11
Sovereign immunity does not apply when a plaintiff sues for purely
prospective relief against state officials for ongoing violations of
federal law. Koslow, 302 F.3d at 168; see Ex parte Young, 209 U.S. 123
(1908). The motion is therefore denied to the extent the plaintiff seeks
such prospective relief against defendants in their official capacity.
The motion is granted to the extent that the plaintiff seeks damages from
remaining defendants in their official capacities.
B. Motion to Transfer
The moving defendants from SCI-Albion ask that the claims against them
be severed or transferred.*fn12 The Court will not grant severance.
SCI-Graterford defendants (Frace, Dennis, Dr. Smith, Nurse Jim, and the
unknown female correctional officer) and SCI-Albion defendants (Overton,
Rebele, Bashline, Fraider, and Baker) remain in the case. Severing the
defendants would force Mr. Scantling, who is incarcerated and proceeding
se, to litigate many of the same facts in two separate cases and,
The remaining issue then is whether or not the entire case should be
transferred to the Western District. Under 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a), a
district court may transfer a civil action to any other district where it
might have been brought "for the convenience of the parties and
witnesses." The party requesting the transfer has the burden of
establishing that transfer is warranted. Jumara v. State Farm Ins. Co.,
55 F.3d 873, 879 (3d Cir. 1995).
The Court must consider private and public interests to determine in
which forum the interests of justice and convenience would be best
served. Private factors of relevance here include: (1) the plaintiff's
choice of venue; (2) the defendants' preference; (3) where the claim
arose; (4) the relative physical and financial condition of the parties;
(5) the extent to which witnesses may be unavailable for trial in one of
the forums; and (6) the extent to which books and records would not be
produced in one of the forums. Id. at 879.
For the purposes of this motion, the relevant public factors are: (1)
practical considerations that could make the trial easy, expeditious, or
inexpensive; (2) the relative administrative difficulty resulting from
court congestion; (3) the local interest in deciding the controversy; and
(4) the public policies of the forums. Id.
The first private factor weighs heavily in favor of the plaintiff. A
plaintiff's choice of forum should not be disturbed lightly. Id. It is
entitled to less weight only in cases where few of the operative facts
took place in the forum and the defendants have indicated a strong
preference for another district. See Gallant v. Trustees of Columbia
Univ., Ill F. Supp.2d 638, 646-47 (E.D. Pa. 2000); 17 James Wm. Moore, et
al., Moore's Federal Practice, § 111.13 [c] [iii] (3d ed. 2000). Many
of the operative facts took place at SCI-Graterford. The medical care
problems at SCI-Albion are intertwined with, and arguably in part arise
from the medical care problems at SCI-Graterford.
The other private factors do not shift the balance in favor of
transfer. Although the defendants' preference favors transfer somewhat,
private factor three, where the claim arose, favors keeping the case
here. Private factor four favors the plaintiff. None of the defendants
has identified any limiting physical or financial factors that make
litigating this case in the Eastern District any more inconvenient than
it would be for the plaintiff to litigate it in the Western District.
Private factor five is neutral. There are at least as many remaining
SCI-Graterford defendants as there are SCI-Albion defendants. Private
factor six is neutral. The plaintiff's medical records are at SCI-Albion;
however, the issue for factor six is whether the records can be produced
in the Eastern District. See Jumara,
55 F.3d at 879. There is no apparent reason why such records cannot
be produced here.
The relevant public factors do not support transfer either. Different
sets of key witnesses would have to travel long distances in either
forum; no evidence has been presented that there are differences in court
congestion between the forums sufficiently great enough to matter; each
venue has some interest in the controversy; and there has been no showing
of a difference in public policies between the two venues. The Court will
therefore deny the motion to transfer.
C. Motion For Leave to File Supplemental Complaint
The Court will deny the plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File a
Supplemental Complaint at this time. The motion was only two pages long
and did not include enough specific information. It did not name any of
the defendants the plaintiff sought to sue or the allegations that he
would make against them.
D. Motion to Add Defendants
The amended complaint fails to state a claim against three of the
defendants the plaintiff sought to add: Beard, Burke, and the Deputy
Superintendent of Inmate Services or Management. The plaintiff's motion
to add these defendants is
therefore denied. The Court will allow the plaintiff to add Dr.
Bashline, without prejudging the allegations against Dr. Bashline.
An appropriate Order follows.
AND NOW, this ___ day of February, 2004, upon consideration of the
defendants Vaughn, Arroyo, Dennis, Hatcher, Knauer, Frace, Wolfe,
Marquardt, Kormanic, Overton, Rebele, James and Kyler's Motion to Dismiss
or Transfer (Docket No. 11); Defendant Baker's Motion to Dismiss or
Transfer (Docket No. 18); Defendant Barr's Motion to Dismiss or Transfer
(Docket No. 20); Plaintiff's Motion to For Leave to File a Supplemental
Complaint (Docket No. 36); and Plaintiff's Motion to Add Defendants
(Docket No. 37); and the responses thereto, IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that
Vaughn, Arroyo, Dennis, Hatcher, Knauer, Frace, Wolfe, Marquardt,
Kormanic, Overton, Rebele, James and Kyler's Motion to Dismiss or
Transfer is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part; Barr's Motion to Dismiss
is GRANTED; Baker's Motion to Dismiss or Transfer is DENIED; the
Plaintiff's Motion For Leave to File a Supplemental Complaint is DENIED;
and the Plaintiff's Motion to Add Defendants is DENIED in part and
GRANTED in part.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that:
1. The following moving defendants are dismissed from this case:
Vaughn, Arroyo, Hatcher, Knauer, Wolfe, Marquardt, Kormanic, James,
Kyler, Barr, Burk, Beard, and the Deputy Superintendent of Management
and/or the Deputy Superintendent of Inmate Services of SCI-Graterford;
2. The following moving defendants are not dismissed from this case:
Dennis, Frace, Overton, Rebele, and Baker. These defendants may be sued
for damages only in their individual capacities; but may be sued in their
official capacities to the extent that the plaintiff seeks purely
prospective relief against them.
3. The plaintiff may not add Beard, Burk, and the Deputy Superintendent
of Inmate Services or Management at SCI-Graterford as defendants. The
plaintiff may add Dr. Bashline as a defendant in this case.
4. The case shall not be severed and shall not be transferred.