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PATTON v. DORAN

September 20, 2005.

NORMAN J. PATTON, Plaintiff
v.
THOMAS DORAN, ET AL., Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: JAMES MUNLEY, District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Norman J. Patton, a former inmate at the Clinton County Prison, originally filed this action on October 8, 2004. An amended complaint was filed on October 13, 2004. (Doc. 2). Presently pending are the motion to dismiss pursuant to FED. R. CIV. P. 12(b) filed on behalf of Defendants Duran, Motter, Harkey, Kyle, Bossert, Yost, McKnight, Ankney, Edwards and Frederick(Doc. 5) and motion to dismiss pursuant to FED. R. CIV. P. 12(b) filed on behalf Defendant Greenburg. (Doc. 23). For the reasons set forth below, the motion to dismiss filed on behalf of Duran, Motter, Harkey, Kyle, Bossert, Yost, McKnight, Ankney, Edwards and Frederick will be granted in part and denied in part and Defendant Greenburg's motion will be granted.

I. Factual background.

  Patton alleges that on October 9, 2002, while he was incarcerated at the Clinton County Prison he fell from an unprotected upper bunk bed and broke his left arm. He seeks to impose liability on Defendants Duran, Motter, and Harkey, and the prison board members, Kyle, Bossert, Yost, McKnight, Ankney, and Edwards based upon the absence of safety equipment on upper bunks which would prevent such a fall.

  Following his fall from the bunk, Patton was taken to the local hospital emergency room. He was treated by an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Davis, who performed a reduction on the broken arm, and discharged Patton to the prison with a prescription for pain medication. Patton alleges that the pain medication was not given to him by Defendant Frederick, a prison nurse.

  On October 17, 2002, he was again seen by Dr. Davis. The doctor was concerned about a "non-union" of his left arm. He prescribed a brace, which was to be made at Lock Haven Hospital, and discharged Patton to the Clinton County Prison. Upon his return to the prison, Patton alleges that Frederick commented that "Lock Haven Hospital did not do this work." (Doc. 2, p. 6). There was then a two-week delay from the time the brace was prescribed to when the order for the brace was placed. This resulted in a four-week wait for the brace. Patton alleges that by the time the brace was received, any healing benefit of the brace was lost. As a result, Patton was required to have two surgeries to correct the non-union. The first surgery took place on January 9, 2003, and the second one occurred on May 9, 2003. Patton alleges that all Defendants are responsible for the inadequate medical treatment received while he was at the Clinton County Prison.

  II. Motions to Dismiss.

  A. Standard of Review.

  When evaluating a motion to dismiss, the court must accept all material allegations of the complaint as true and construe all inferences in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974). The court assumes the truth of plaintiff's allegations, and draws all favorable inferences therefrom. See, Rocks v. City of Philadelphia, 868 F.2d. 644, 645 (3d. Cir. 1989). A complaint should not be dismissed for failure to state a claim unless it appears "beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief." Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 44-46 (1957); Ransom v. Marrazzo, 848 F.2d 398, 401 (3d Cir. 1988). A complaint that sets out facts which affirmatively demonstrate that the plaintiff has no right to recover is properly dismissed without leave to amend. Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 107-108 (1976).

  B. Discussion.

  1. Exhaustion of administrative remedies.

  Defendants move to dismiss the complaint for failure to exhaust administrative remedies pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1997(e)a. However, as correctly noted by Patton, the exhaustion requirement does not apply to Patton as he is a former inmate. See, Ahmed v. Dragovich, 297 F.3d 201, 210 (3d Cir. 2002). The motions will be denied on this ground.

  2. Conditions of confinement claim.

  In order to state an Eighth Amendment claim, Patton must have alleged facts that, if proven, would show that prison officials acted with "deliberate indifference" toward conditions at the prison that created a substantial risk of serious harm. Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 834 (1994). This test involves both an objective and subjective component. The objective component requires an inmate to show that the alleged deprivation is "sufficiently serious." Farmer, 511 U.S. at 834 (citations omitted). As the Supreme Court explained in Farmer, "[t]he inmate must show that he is incarcerated under conditions posing a substantial risk of serious harm." Id. To satisfy the subjective component, an inmate must show that prison officials had "a sufficiently culpable state of mind." Id. (citations omitted). "In prison-conditions cases that state of mind is one of `deliberate indifference' to inmate health or safety." Id. (citations omitted). Although the deliberate indifference standard "describes a state of mind more blameworthy than negligence," this standard is ...


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