The opinion of the court was delivered by: A. RICHARD CAPUTO, District Judge
Ryan Rohrbaugh, formerly an inmate successively confined at the
York County Prison ("YCP") in York, Pennsylvania, the State
Correctional Institution at Camp Hill ("SCI-Camp Hill"),
Pennsylvania, and State Correctional Institution at Albion
("SCI-Albion"), Pennsylvania, commenced this action, through
counsel, with a civil rights complaint filed pursuant to the
provisions of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Named as Defendants are, inter
alia, (a) Millcreek Community Hospital ("Millcreek"), (b)
Wexford Health Sources, Inc. ("Wexford"), and (c) Prison Health
Services, Inc. ("PHS") (collectively "moving Defendants").
Presently pending are (1) Millcreek's motion to dismiss party
(Doc. 31) for lack of jurisdiction, (2) Millcreek's motion to
dismiss for lack of prosecution (Doc. 33), (3) Wexford's motion
to dismiss for failure to prosecute (Doc. 43), (4) Wexford's
motion for judgment of non pros (Doc. 44), (5) PHS' motion for
judgment of non pros (Doc. 45), (6) PHS' motion to dismiss for
lack of prosecution (Doc. 46), (7) Plaintiff's motion to set
aside Millcreek's judgment of non pros (Doc. 56), (8)
Plaintiff's motion to set aside Wexford's judgment of non pros
(Doc. 61), and (9) Plaintiff's motion to set aside PHS' judgment
of non pros (Doc. 63). For the following reasons, Millcreek's
motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction will be denied, moving Defendants' motions to dismiss for failure to prosecute
will be granted, moving Defendants' motions for entry of judgment
of non pros will be dismissed as moot, and Plaintiff's motions
for relief from judgments will be granted.
In January, 2003, Plaintiff was incarcerated at YCP for parole
violation. Plaintiff alleges that during his confinement at YCP,
he discovered a black mole on his back, which prompted him to
seek medical attention. Plaintiff consulted with a nurse, who
instructed him to wait to receive medical treatment until he was
transferred to a state correctional facility. In May, 2003,
Plaintiff was transferred to SCI-Camp Hill, and he was
subsequently transferred to SCI-Albion in August, 2003. Plaintiff
underwent medical examinations during the intake procedures at
both institutions, and he noted the black mole on his back to the
medical personnel at both examinations. Although the mole was
surgically removed from Plaintiff's back in November of 2003,
Plaintiff alleges that the mole was malignant, and the delay in
removal allowed the cancer to spread to other parts of his body.
Consequently, Plaintiff alleges that as a result of Defendants'
inadequate medical care he has endured substantial pain and
suffering, numerous surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation
treatments, and a shortened life expectancy, among other damages.
(Doc. 1 at ¶¶ 74-92.)
Millcreek claims that it is entitled to dismissal from the
action for lack of jurisdiction as well as Plaintiff's failure to
comply with Local Rule 8.1 (M.D.Pa.L.R. 8.1), and moving
Defendants seek judgment of non pros, or alternatively
involuntary dismissal for Plaintiff's failure to file a
certificate of merit, as required for Plaintiff's state tort
claims. Plaintiff asserts that the motions should be denied
because the Court may exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the
state court claims, and involuntary dismissal is inappropriate.
If dismissal is granted, Plaintiff seeks relief from the dismissal
of his state claims. The motions have been fully briefed and they
are ripe for disposition.
A. Motion to Dismiss Standard
In rendering a decision on a motion to dismiss, the Court must
accept the Plaintiff's allegations as true. White v. Napoleon,
897 F.2d 103, 106 (3d Cir. 1990). Moreover, a motion to dismiss
may only be granted if there is no reasonable reading of the
facts that would entitle Plaintiff to relief. Lum v. Bank of
America, 361 F.3d 217, 223 (3d Cir. 2004). The Court should
consider the allegations in the complaint, the exhibits attached
thereto, matters of public record, and "undisputedly authentic"
documents. See Angstadt v. Midd-West School Dist.,
377 F.3d 338, 342 (3d Cir. 2004); Pension Guar. Corp. White Consol.
Indus., Inc., 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir. 1993). A complaint
that does not establish entitlement to relief under any
reasonable interpretation is properly dismissed without leave to
amend. Grayson v. Mayview State Hospital, 293 F.3d 103, 106 (3d
B. Supplemental Jurisdiction
Millcreek claims that the only averments against it relate to
state tort claims of negligence and medical malpractice, and
Millcreek should be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction over these
claims. Under 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a), subject to exceptions not
applicable here (See 28 U.S.C. § 1367 (b) and (c)), "in any
civil action of which the district courts have original
jurisdiction, the district courts shall have supplemental
jurisdiction over all other claims that are so related . . . that
they form part of the same case. . . ." 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a). All of the tort claims relate to inadequacy of medical
treatment provided to (or withheld from) Plaintiff by Defendants.
The issues of law and fact for each claim are intertwined. After
review of the complaint, the Court concludes that it may properly
exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the state tort claims in
this action. See Borough of West Mifflin v. Lancaster,
45 F.3d 780 (3d Cir. 1995).
C. Failure to Comply With M.D.Pa.L.R. 81
Millcreek also claims that Plaintiff's complaint should be
dismissed for Plaintiff's failure to comply with M.D.Pa. Local
Rule 8.1. Under Rule 8.1, the demand for judgment "shall not
claim any specific sum where unliquidated damages are involved."
Although Plaintiff has pled an amount in excess of $150,000.00,
he has not pled a sum certain in contravention of the local rule,
and the amount sought is not ...