The opinion of the court was delivered by: A. RICHARD CAPUTO, District Judge
Plaintiff, Angel R. Ocasio, formerly*fn1 an inmate at the
Dauphin County Prison in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, commenced this
pro se civil rights action with a complaint filed pursuant to
the provisions of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Named as Defendants are
Dauphin County, Pennsylvania; Dauphin County Prison ("DCP");
Prime Care, Inc.; and DCP Warden, D. Derose. Plaintiff alleges
that Defendants exposed him to unhealthy prison conditions and
that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious
medical needs, in violation of the Eighth Amendment proscription
of cruel and unusual punishment.
Presently before the Court is the motion of Prime Care, Inc.
(Doc. 16) to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint, and the motion for
summary judgment (Doc. 19) filed by Dauphin County and Warden
DeRose. The motions have been briefed, and they are ripe for disposition. For the following reasons, the motions will be
granted, and the complaint will be dismissed under
28 U.S.C. § 1915 as it relates to DCP.
Plaintiff alleges that he suffers from a "chronic skin
condition that [had] not been taken care of appropriately" (Doc.
1 at 2) while he was incarcerated in DCP (December 9, 2003 to
July 27, 2004). He claims that although he was treated for his
condition (acute contact dermatitis (Doc. 18 at ¶ 2)), it was
allowed to "worsen and develop to a painful internal infection
without consulting a specialist." (Id.) He also alleges that
conditions at DCP are "horrendous[:] paint chips and peeling
paint abound, . . . dust & dirt are everywhere, . . . [a]t times
the drinking water comes out yellow and there is a big problem
with mice, roaches & other rodents at [DCP]." (Doc. 1 at 3,
Attachment B). For relief he seeks: (1) cessation of deductions
from his prison account for room and board; (2) monetary damages
in the amount of $250,000.00, together with legal fees and
payment of medical bills; and (3) injunctive relief*fn2 in
the form of "independent analysis of the environmental conditions
at [DCP]. . . ." (Doc. 1 at 4.)
A. Motion to Dismiss Prime Care, Inc.
Defendant, Prime Care, Inc., has filed a motion to dismiss
Plaintiff's complaint (Doc. 16). The motion is based, in part,
upon a contention that there are no specific allegations of wrongdoing by Primecare, Inc., and § 1983
liability may not be premised on a theory of respondeat superior.
The Court agrees.
1. 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). In Nami v. Fauver,
82 F.3d 63, 65 (3d Cir. 1996), the United States Court of Appeals for the
Third Circuit added that when considering a motion to dismiss,
based on a Rule 12(b)(6) argument, a court should "not inquire
whether the plaintiffs will ultimately prevail, only whether they
are entitled to offer evidence to support their claims."
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). 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
Cir. 2002). However, the Court is mindful that pro se
complaints are to be liberally construed. Haines v. Kerner,
404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972).
2. Deliberate Indifference
In order to state a viable § 1983 claim, a Plaintiff must plead
two essential elements: (1) that the conduct complained of was
committed by a person acting under color of state law, and (2)
that said conduct deprived the Plaintiff of a right, privilege,
or immunity secured by the Constitution or laws of the United
States. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988); Nicini v.
Morra, 212 F.3d 798, 806 (3d Cir. 2000). The Constitutional
issue implicated in this case is the Eighth Amendment requirement that
prison officials provide adequate medical care to inmates, and
make reasonable efforts to assure prisoner health and safety.
Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 832 (1994). That duty is
violated when prison officials know of and disregard an excessive
risk to inmate health or safety. Id. at 837. Not every illness or
injury enjoys constitutional protection; only serious medical
needs or injuries will give rise to constitutional scrutiny.
Gerber v. Sweeney, 292 F.Supp.2d 700, 706 (E.D. Pa. 2003).
In Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97 (1976), as here, the
prisoner/plaintiff claimed that inadequate medical treatment
violated his Eighth Amendment protection from cruel and unusual
punishment. The Supreme Court acknowledged that the government
has an obligation to provide medical care to its prisoners, but
held that a constitutional violation does not occur unless the
Plaintiff can show Defendants had a "deliberate indifference to