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Maruca v. Hynick

February 27, 2007

JAMES MARUCA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DR. HYNICK, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Caputo

MEMORANDUM

Presently before the Court are Magistrate Judge J. Andrew Smyser's Report and Recommendation (Doc. 37) and Plaintiff James Maruca's Motion for Reconsideration (Doc. 40). The Court will construe Plaintiff's motion as an Objection to the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation. For the reasons set forth below, the Court will adopt the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation and overrule Plaintiff's Objection.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, proceeding pro se, is currently an inmate at the State Correctional Institution at Camp Hill ("SCI-Camp Hill"). (Doc. 37 at 2.) Plaintiff commenced this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 action by filing a Complaint (Doc. 1) in this Court on April 4, 2006. Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint (Doc. 13) on May 1, 2006. Plaintiff named as defendants the Snyder County Prison and Dr. Hynick. (Doc. 13 at 1.) In his Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that, as a result of an assault by another prisoner, he suffered a serious injury to his right arm and shoulder while he was incarcerated at the Snyder County Prison. (Id.) Plaintiff further alleges that he saw Dr. Hynick and that Hynick showed "deliberate indifference to [his] medical needs by doing nothing more [than] giv[ing] him a tube of Ben-Gay . . . [and] stating that it was only a bruise and would eventually go away." (Doc. 13 at 2.) Plaintiff also states that an x-ray was taken but that he was never informed of the results. (Doc. 13 at 3.) Plaintiff avers that he should have been seen by an orthopedist or that an MRI should have been performed. (Id.) The Plaintiff alleges that, after he was transferred to SCI-Camp Hill, he was diagnosed with a severe tear of his right bicep. (Doc. 13 at 6.)

On June 12, 2006, Plaintiff filed a motion (Doc. 19) for relief in the amount of $1,750,000. This motion was construed by the Magistrate Judge as a motion for summary judgment. (Doc. 37 at 8-9.)

By Order dated August 2, 2006, all claims against the Snyder County Prison were dismissed, leaving Dr. Hynick as the only remaining defendant in Plaintiff's action. (Doc. 37 at 2.)

On August 11, 2006, Dr. Hynick filed a Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint, as well as a Brief in Support of his motion. (Docs. 29, 31.) On August 17, 2006, Plaintiff filed a document entitled "Motion." (Doc. 34.) This document was construed by the Magistrate Judge as Plaintiff's Brief in Opposition to Dr. Hynick's Motion to Dismiss. (Doc. 37 at 2.)

On October 12, 2006, the Magistrate Judge filed his Report and Recommendation. (Doc. 37), recommending that Dr. Hynick's motion to dismiss be granted in part and denied in part. (Doc. 37 at 9.) The Magistrate Judge recommended that Plaintiff's negligence claim be dismissed on the basis that Plaintiff had not filed a certificate of merit as required in a medical malpractice case under Pennsylvania law. (Doc. 37 at 9-10); see PA. R. CIV. P. 1042.3(a). The Magistrate Judge further recommended that Plaintiff's section 1983 claim not be dismissed, and that the case be remanded to him for further proceedings. (Doc. 37 at 10.) The Magistrate Judge also denied Plaintiff's motion (Doc. 19) for relief in the amount of $1,750,000, which, as previously mentioned, the Magistrate Judge construed as a request for summary judgment. (Id.)

In response, on October 24, 2006, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Reconsideration (Doc. 40) which the Court will construe as an Objection to the Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation.

This matter is fully briefed and ripe for disposition.

LEGAL STANDARD

When objections to a magistrate judge's report are filed, the Court must conduct a de novo review of the contested portions of the report, Sample v. Diecks, 885 F.2d 1099, 1106 n. 3 (3d Cir. 1989) (citing 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(C)), provided the objections are timely and specific. Goney v. Clark, 749 F.2d 5, 6-7 (3d Cir. 1984). In making its de novo review, the Court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the factual findings or legal conclusions of the magistrate judge. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1); Owens v. Beard, 829 F. Supp. 736, 738 (M.D. Pa. 1993). Although the review is de novo, the statute permits the Court to rely on the recommendations of the magistrate judge to the extent it deems proper. See United States v. Raddatz, 447 U.S. 667, 675-76 (1980); Goney, 749 F.2d at 7; Ball v. United States Parole Comm'n, 849 F. Supp. 328, 330 (M.D. Pa. 1994). Uncontested portions of the report may be reviewed at a standard determined by the Court. See Thomas v. Arn, 474 U.S. 140, 154 (1985); Goney, 749 F.2d at 7. At the very least, the Court should review uncontested portions of the report for clear error or manifest injustice. See, e.g., Cruz v. Chater, 990 F. Supp. 375, 376-77 (M.D. Pa. 1998).

DISCUSSION

Plaintiff objects to the Magistrate Judge's recommendation that Plaintiff's claim for negligence be dismissed for failure to file a certificate of merit, as required by Pennsylvania law. ...


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