The opinion of the court was delivered by: William W. Caldwell United States District Judge
The pro se plaintiff, Keynen Guider, filed a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 complaint alleging Eighth Amendment violations arising from a slip-and-fall occurring while he was imprisoned at the Quehanna Boot Camp operated by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC). Plaintiff avers that non-medical DOC personnel failed to warn him of slippery conditions in a walk-in refrigerator at the facility, resulting in his fall. He also avers that DOC medical personnel then improperly treated his injury. Plaintiff named the following as defendants: the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections; George Patrick, Quehanna's superintendent; Ms. E. Gaines, a DOC kitchen worker at Quehanna; Mr. Mauer, the kitchen supervisor; Joe Kalinoski, a DOC nurse at Quehanna;*fn1 and J. Romeo, M.D., a doctor working at Quehanna but employed by an outside medical service.
We are considering the motion to dismiss of the self-styled "Corrections Defendants," all of the defendants except Dr. Romeo. We are also considering Plaintiff's motion to amend, which seeks to add as defendants superintendent Patrick; Kimberly Merrow, a DOC medical grievance officer; and D. Amos, DOC food service manager.*fn2
In deciding the Corrections Defendants' motion to dismiss, we must accept as true the factual allegations in the complaint and construe any inferences to be drawn from them in Plaintiff's favor. See Morrison v. Madison Dearborn Capital Partners III L.P., 463 F.3d 312, 314 (3d Cir. 2006). With this standard in mind, we set forth the background to this litigation, as Plaintiff alleges it.
According to the complaint, while Plaintiff was working in the prison kitchen on November 27, 2006, at about 7:30 a.m., defendant Gaines told him to put some food in a walk-in refrigerator. After about two steps in, Plaintiff "slipped and landed directly on [his] back." (Compl., pp. 3-4). There were no floor signs out, or any other warning, about a wet floor.
About fifteen minutes later, at 7:45 a.m., Plaintiff was sent to medical, where he was seen by Defendant Kalinoski. Kalinoski asked him where it hurt and to pull up his shirt while he observed Plaintiff's back from ten feet away, sitting in his chair. Kalinoski then told Plaintiff he was done after only two minutes of observation and that Plaintiff could go back to work. Plaintiff told him he needed something for the pain and Kalinowski gave him six 200 mg. Ibuprofen pills.
About three days later, on November 30, 2006, Plaintiff returned to medical because he was still having pain in his lower back. They told him he had to pay for that visit even though he informed them his injury was work-related. "The medical department stated that they could not see why [his] back was still hurting after two days, and that injuries like the one that [he] ha[s] the pain is gone by now." (Id., p.4).
About a week later, on December 7, 2006, Plaintiff was seen by a physician's assistant named W. Civiello. Civiello told him he had "a lower back muscular strain." (Id., p. 5). Plaintiff "was put on pain medication for 30 days (AKYMA 600 mg substitute for Motrin)." (Id.).
On December 15, 2006, Plaintiff went to medical to obtain approval for lower bunk status. He was seen by defendant Dr. Romeo. Dr. Romeo did not examine him and told him there was no way he would approve him for bottom bunk status. In his "brief in support of civil rights complaint," Plaintiff contends that Dr. Romeo told him his problem was only muscular. (Doc. 11, p. 5)
Before the accident, Plaintiff never had any trouble with his back. Now he has pain on a daily basis. In his brief in support of his complaint (doc. 11) at page 5, he avers that the medical department admitted that between November 27, 2006, and January 8, 2007, the date of his release from Quehanna, Plaintiff was examined for back complaints numerous times but was only given Ibuprofen 600 mg. Plaintiff alleges he should have had an MRI. In his opposition brief to Defendants' dismissal motion, he adds that he has now been diagnosed with three dislocated discs. (Doc. 31, p. 3).
A. The Corrections Defendants' Motion ...