The opinion of the court was delivered by: SYLVIA RAMBO, Senior District Judge
Plaintiff, David W. Tripp, an inmate at the State Correctional
Institution-Forest in Marienville, Pennsylvania, commenced this
action pro se with a civil rights complaint filed pursuant to
the provisions of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Defendants are: (1)
Pennsylvania State Correctional Institutions at Camp Hill
("SCI-Camp Hill"), Chester ("SCI-Chester"), and Dallas
("SCI-Dallas"); (2) Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; (3)
Pennsylvania Department of Corrections; and (4) SCI-Camp Hill
dentist, Dr. Philps. Plaintiff claims that Defendants have been
deliberately indifferent to his dental needs (provision of
dentures and related dental care) in contravention of the Eighth
Amendment proscription of cruel and unusual punishment.
Specifically, he claims that in 2001, Dr. Philps, in his official
capacity as prison dentist at SCI-Camp Hill, pulled some of
Plaintiff's top teeth, and since that procedure Plaintiff has not
received requested dentures, and he is suffering from chronic
bleeding gums. Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief, directing
Defendants to provide dentures and dental work, as well as
monetary damages for "(2) two years of pain and suffering." (Doc.
1 at 4.) Presently pending is Defendants' motion to dismiss
Plaintiff's Complaint. (Doc. 12.) The motion has been briefed and
it is ripe for disposition. For the reasons set forth,
Defendants' motion to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint will be
granted in part and denied in part.
II. 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 Am., 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
Sch. 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 Hosp, 293 F.3d 103,
106 (3d Cir. 2002). Nevertheless, the Court is mindful that pro
se complaints are to be liberally construed. Haines v. Kerner,
404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972).
A. Statute of Limitations
Defendants argue that Plaintiff's claims are barred by the
applicable statute of limitations. In reviewing the applicability
of the statute of limitations to an action filed pursuant to §
1983, a federal court must apply the appropriate state statute of
limitations that governs personal injury actions. North Star
Steel Co. v. Thomas, 515 U.S. 29, 34 (1995); Kingvision
Pay-Per-View, Corp., Ltd. v. 898 Belmont, Inc., 366 F.3d 217,
220 (3d Cir. 2004). Pennsylvania's applicable personal injury
statute of limitations is two years. See 42 Pa. Cons. Stat. §
5524(7); Kost v. Kozakiewicz, 1 F.3d 176, 190 (3d Cir. 1993).
The statute of limitations "begins to run from the time when the
plaintiff knows or has reason to know of the injury which is the
basis of the Section 1983 action." Gentry v. Resolution Trust
Corp., 937 F.2d 899, 919 (3d Cir. 1991) (citations omitted).
Plaintiff's allegations of mistreatment by Defendants begin
with his incarceration at SCI-Camp Hill in 2001. Nevertheless,
Plaintiff's claims of neglect continue to the present time. "Till
this day my food is still [tasting] like blood . . . from my top
gums when eating." (Doc. 1 at 4.) "[W]hile eating, pain and
bleeding caused by simple foods can be unbearable and this pain
is caused by the [neglect] of the Dental Department." (Doc. 14 at
1.) "In most federal causes of action, when a defendant's conduct
is part of a continuing practice, an action is timely so long as
the last act evidencing the continuing practice falls within the
limitations period. . . ." Brenner v. Local 514, United Bhd. of
Carpenters and Joinders of Am., 927 F.2d 1283, 1295 (3d Cir.
1991). Therefore, since Plaintiff alleges a continuing violation
of his Eighth Amendment rights, Defendants' argument that
Plaintiff's claims are time-barred will be denied.
B. Eleventh Amendment Immunity
As the Complaint relates to Plaintiff's claim for monetary
damages, Defendants argue that they are entitled to Eleventh
Amendment immunity. To state a viable § 1983 claim, Plaintiff
must establish (1) that the alleged wrongful conduct was
committed by a "person" acting under color of state law, and (2)
that the conduct deprived the plaintiff of a right, privilege, or
immunity secured by the Constitution or laws of the United
States. Nicini v. Morra, 212 F.3d 798, 806 (3d Cir. 2000). Both
elements must be present to sustain a § 1983 action. It is
well-settled that neither a state nor its agencies are considered
a "person" as that term is defined under § 1983 and, therefore,
are not subject to § 1983 suit. Hafer v. Melo, 502 U.S. 21,
25-27 (1991). In Will v. Michigan Dep't of State Police,
491 U.S. 58 (1989), the United States Supreme Court reiterated its
position that state agencies are not "persons" subject to
financial liability in § 1983 actions brought in federal court.
The Court noted that a § 1983 suit against a state official's
office was "no different from a suit against the State itself."
Id. at 71. "Will establishes that the State and arms of the
State, which have traditionally enjoyed Eleventh Amendment
immunity, are not subject to suit under § 1983 in either federal
or state court." Howlett v. Rose, 496 U.S. 356, 365 (1990).
After Will, the Third Circuit held that in determining
whether a state agency is entitled to Eleventh Amendment
immunity, a federal court should consider: (1) whether the state
would be responsible for the payment of any judgment rendered
against the agency; (2) the source of the agency's funding; and
(3) the degree of autonomy enjoyed by the agency, as well as
other similar factors. Bolden v. Southeastern Pa. Transp.
Auth., 953 F.2d 807, 818 (3d Cir. 1991).
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania specifically enjoys the
insulation of Eleventh Amendment immunity. Moreover, payment of
any monetary judgment rendered against the Department of
Corrections, an agency of the Commonwealth, and three state
prisons, institutions within a the state agency (See 71 Pa.
Cons. Stat. § 310-0) as well as the dentist in his official
capacity, would have to be paid out of the Pennsylvania state
treasury. Furthermore, these Defendants receive all of their
funding from the state, and do not enjoy any ...