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Ibarra v. U.S.P. Allenwood

February 9, 2007


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Conner


Presently before the court is a motion to dismiss (Doc. 16) plaintiff Felix Ibarra's ("Ibarra") civil rights complaint (Doc. 1), or, in the alternative, for summary judgment, filed on behalf of the United States Penitentiary at Allenwood ("USPAllenwood"), White Deer, Pennsylvania, and the United States Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri ("MCFP Springfield"). (Doc. 16). Also pending are plaintiff's motions to amend the complaint. (Docs. 27, 35). For the reasons set forth below, the motion to dismiss will be granted and the motions to amend will be denied.

I. Statement of Facts

A. Bivens*fn1 Claim

At all relevant times, Ibarra was incarcerated at USP-Allenwood. He alleges that MCFP Springfield "did blood work exams and full lab reports of when I got infected with Hepatitis A & C on or about April 2002 thru 2006." (Doc. 1, p. 2). At the time, USP-Allenwood was falsely documenting his medical issues and complaints and was not addressing his disease. (Id.). He also alleges that he was assaulted by three USP-Allenwood staff members while handcuffed, that his property was confiscated and he was placed in a cell for approximately sixteen days with only a mattress and the clothes he was wearing, and upon its return, his confiscated property was damaged and items were missing. (Doc. 5-2, p. 18).

Inmates may challenge any aspect of his or her confinement using the Bureau of Prison's ("BOP") administrative remedy procedure, which is set forth at 28 C.F.R. §§ 542 et seq. Inmates first must informally present their complaints to staff, and staff shall attempt to informally resolve any issue before an inmate files a request for administrative relief. 28 C.F.R. § 542.13(a). If unsuccessful at informal resolution, the inmate may raise his complaint with the warden of the institution where he is confined. Id. at §542.14(a). If dissatisfied with the response, he may then appeal an adverse decision to the Regional Office and the Central Office of the BOP. Id. at §§542.15(a) and 542.18. No administrative appeal is considered finally exhausted until a decision is reached on the merits by the BOP's Central Office.

On February 1, 2006, Ibarra attempted to informally resolve his concerns regarding the medical treatment he was receiving for Hepatitis A & C. (Doc. 18-2, Exhibit ("Ex.") 1, Ex. 1-B). On February 3, 2006, he was advised that he was "scheduled for chronic care in February 2006." It was also suggested that he follow-up with his medical provider regarding his conditions. (Id.). On February 27, 2006, he filed a request for administrative remedy with the warden. (Id. at Ex. 1-C). On March 3, 2006, his request was denied. (Id. at Ex. 1-D). Ibarra then unsuccessfully appealed the grievance to the Regional Director. (Id. at Ex. 1-E, Ex. 1-F). He filed a final appeal with the Central Office. (Id. at Ex. 1-G). The Central Office concurred with the finding and decisions of the Institution and Regional Office and denied the appeal. (Id. at Ex. 1-H).

Plaintiff also pursued administrative remedies with respect to his excessive use of force claim. On May 23, 2006, he filed a request for administrative relief, which was denied. (Doc. 18-2, Ex. 1, p. 3, ¶ 13). On July 24, 2006, he attempted to appeal to the Regional Office, but his appeal was rejected because he filed in the Northeast Regional Office, as opposed to the Southeast Regional Office, where he was designated. (Id. at ¶ 14). He did not pursue the appeal any further. (Id. at ¶ 15). No other administrative remedies were pursued. (Id. at ¶ 16).

B. Federal Tort Claims Act

According to a search of the computerized indexes of all administrative tort claims filed by inmates, Ibarra failed to file an administrative tort claim concerning the issues raised in the complaint. (Doc. 18-2, Ex. 1, p.3, ¶ 17).

II. Motion to Dismiss

A. Standard of Review

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) provides for dismissal of a claim that fails to assert a basis upon which relief can be granted. FED. R. CIV. P. 12(b)(6). In the context of a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the court must 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)). Although the court is generally limited in its review to the facts alleged in the complaint, it "may also consider matters of public record, orders, exhibits attached to the complaint and items appearing in the record of the case." Oshiver v. Levin, Fishbein, Sedran & Berman, 38 F.3d 1380, 1384 n.2 (3d Cir. 1994); see also In re Burlington Coat Factory Sec. Litig., 114 F.3d 1410, 1426 (3d Cir. 1997) (stating that, although a district court ruling on a motion to dismiss may not generally] consider matters extraneous to the pleadings, a "document integral to or explicitly relied upon in the complaint" may be considered "without converting the motion [to dismiss] into one for summary judgment") (quoting Shaw v. Digital Equip. Corp., 82 F.3d 1194, 1224 (1st Cir. 1996)).

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) (quoting Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69, 73 (1984)). "The complaint will be deemed to have alleged sufficient facts if it adequately put the defendants on notice of the essential elements of the plaintiffs' cause of action." Langford, 235 F.3d at 847. The court ...

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