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Stubbs v. DeRose

March 29, 2006


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Jones


Plaintiff Gwendolyn Stubbs ("Plaintiff" or "Stubbs"), an inmate, who at all times relevant to the complaint was incarcerated at the Dauphin County Prison, filed the instant civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Stubbs seeks damages and injunctive relief for violations of her First, Fourth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights, as well as constitutional violations of her minor son, Cleo Stubbs, who was born in the Dauphin County Prison. (Rec. Doc. 1). Named as defendants are Warden Dominick DeRose ("DeRose"), Deputy Warden Elizabeth Nichols ("Nichols"), Corrections Officer Walizer ("Walizer"), Chaplain Calvin Favers*fn1 ("Favers") and five John Doe defendants.

By previous Order of Court, Defendants DeRose and Nichols were dismissed from the action. (Rec. Doc. 11). All claims against Defendant Walizer, with the exception of Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment claim, were dismissed, and Defendant Walizer was directed to file an answer to the complaint. (Rec. Doc. 11). Finally, Plaintiff was granted thirty days within to properly name the John Doe defendants and twenty days within which to show cause why the complaint should not be dismissed as to defendant Favers for failure to prosecute. (Rec. Doc. 11).

Presently before the Court is Defendant Favers' motion to dismiss, in which Favers seeks dismissal of all claims, except Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment claim. (Rec. Doc. 18). The motion is fully briefed and is ripe for disposition. For the reasons set forth below, the motion will be granted.

Additionally, because Plaintiff has failed to name the John Doe defendants, such defendants will be dismissed from the action. Absent compelling reasons, a district court may dismiss such defendants if a plaintiff, after being granted a reasonable period of discovery, fails to identify them. Scheetz v. Morning Call, Inc., 130 F.R.D. 34, 37 (E.D. Pa. 1990) ("Fictitious parties must eventually be dismissed, if discovery yields no identities.").


Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) provides for the dismissal of claims that fail to assert a basis upon which relief can be granted. See FED. R. CIV. P. 12(b)(6).

When deciding a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the court is required to accept as true all of the factual allegations in the complaint and all reasonable inferences that can be drawn therefrom. Langford v. City of Atlantic City, 235 F.3d 845, 847 (3d Cir. 2000) (citing Nami v. Fauver, 82 F.3d 63, 65 (3d Cir. 1996)). "The complaint will be deemed to have alleged sufficient facts if it adequately put[s] the defendant on notice of the essential elements of the plaintiff's cause of action." Id. The court will not dismiss a complaint for failure to state a claim unless it appears beyond a doubt that "no relief could be granted under any set of facts that could be proved consistent with the allegations." Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 514 (2002). Consistent with these principles, the court must grant leave to amend before dismissing a claim that is merely deficient. See Shane v. Fauver, 213 F.3d 113, 116-17 (3d Cir. 2000).


The Plaintiff alleges that from 1998 through August, 2003, Defendant Favers "initiated contact with the plaintiff Gwendolyn Stubbs and solicited her, for purposes of his sexual gratification, both while plaintiff was in prison and while she was out of prison on parole and, or, probation." (Rec. Doc. 1, ¶ 12). Plaintiff alleges that this was a violation of her Eighth and Fourth Amendment rights.

In December, 2002 Plaintiff was recommitted to the Dauphin County Prison as a parole violator. At that time Plaintiff was nearing the end of her pregnancy. On December 13, 2002, Stubbs began having contractions and was taken to the Harrisburg Hospital. (Rec. Doc. 1, ¶ 14). A doctor at the Harrisburg Hospital determined that Plaintiff was approximately 7 centimeters dilated and should remain in the hospital. (Rec. Doc. 1, ¶ 15). Dauphin County Prison officials "countermanded the doctor's wishes that Gwendolyn stay in the hospital and took her back to DCP," where she continued to have intermittent labor pains. (Rec. Doc. 1, ¶¶ 15, 16).

On December 14, 2002, at approximately 9:00 pm, Stubbs' labor pains became severe. She told defendant Walizer of her pain but "Walizer told plaintiff that she was not in labor." (Rec. Doc. 1, ¶¶ 16, 17). At 2:30 A.M. on December 15, 2003,*fn3 "due to Gwendolyn's screams, defendant Walizer called a nurse to plaintiff's cell." (Rec. Doc. 1, ¶ 18). Nurse Doe told plaintiff that she was "hallucinating, would not call a doctor, gave her two Tylenol tablets and said 'lay your ass down.'" (Rec. Doc. 1, ¶ 19). At 4:30 a.m., Cleo Stubbs was born in plaintiff's cell. The baby was delivered by inmate Lisa Hall, as there were "no nurses, no doctors, no equipment and no professional assistant provided." (Rec. Doc. 1, ¶ 21). After the baby was born, Plaintiff heard someone say that the baby was dead and to get a garbage bag so that Lisa Hall could put the dead baby in it. (Rec. Doc. 1, ¶ 21). However, before this occurred, the baby began to cry. (Rec. Doc. 1, ¶ 21). Nurse Ken Doe arrived approximately 45 minutes later. The paramedics arrived at approximately 6:30 a.m. The Plaintiff remained in the Harrisburg Hospital for a week before she was released. She "never heard anything more about the parole violation which caused her to be incarcerated two weeks before baby Cleo was born." (Rec. Doc. 1, ¶ 25).

In August 2003, Stubbs was again incarcerated in the Dauphin County Prison. She alleges that "shortly thereafter her counselor Tiffany was advised that something improper of a sexual nature was going on between her and defendant Favor (sic) in a room at the prison." (Rec. Doc. 1, ¶ 26). Stubbs told Tiffany "of the sexual contacts between her and the Chaplain and all that had happened including the fact that her mother (Gwen's mother) had told her Favor (sic) was the father of an earlier born child (not Cleo). (Rec. Doc. 1, ¶ 27). Plaintiff claims that "very shortly thereafter the Defendant Nichols became personally involved in the matter." (Rec. Doc. 1, ¶ 28). Nichols "purported to take an interest, telling Gwen that she wanted to have the matter investigated, so that she could do something about Favor (sic)." (Rec. Doc. 1, ¶ 28). Stubbs alleges, however, that Nichols' "representations were a ruse" and that "her intention was to suppress and control information about Favor (sic) so that Nichols and DeRose could take action to protect themselves and DCP." (Rec. Doc. 1, ¶ 29). Thus, defendant Nichols and DeRose "victimized plaintiff and violated her federally guaranteed rights of access to the Courts." (Rec. Doc. 1, ¶ 29).

Stubbs further alleges that a short while after Nichols became involved Investigator Doe came to see Gwen at her prison cell to try to "get Gwen to sign a release protecting the defendant and any officers or personnel at DCP from any legal action she might take." (Rec. Doc. 1, ΒΆ 30). Stubbs ...

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