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Ayers v. Bradford County

March 25, 2009

CLINTON AYERS, PLAINTIFF
v.
BRADFORD COUNTY, ET AL., DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Conner

MEMORANDUM

Plaintiff Clinton Ayers ("Ayers"), a Pennsylvania state inmate formerly incarcerated at the Bradford County Prison in Troy, Pennsylvania, commenced this civil rights action on June 17, 2008. (Doc. 1.) Shortly thereafter, he supplemented the complaint with the addition of a new defendant and exhibits. (Docs. 10, 19.) Presently pending are two separate motions to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). The first motion was filed on behalf of defendants Bradford County, Nancy Schrader ("Schrader"), Bradford County Correctional Facility ("BCCF"), and Kevin Losinger ("Losinger"). (Doc. 21.) The second was filed on behalf of defendant Joeeph Cama, M.D. ("Dr. Cama"). (Doc. 32.) For the reasons set forth below, the motions will be granted and the complaint will be dismissed in its entirety.

I. Rule 12(b)(6) Standard of Review

Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides for the dismissal of complaints that fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. FED. R. CIV. P. 12(b)(6). When ruling on a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the court must "accept as true all [factual] allegations in the complaint and all reasonable inferences that can be drawn therefrom, and view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff." Kanter v. Barella, 489 F.3d 170, 177 (3d Cir.2007) (quoting Evancho v. Fisher, 423 F.3d 347, 350 (3d Cir. 2005)). Although the court is generally limited in its review to the facts 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).

Federal notice and pleading rules require the complaint to "give the defendant notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Sershen v. Cholish, No. 3:07-CV-1011, 2007 WL 3146357, at *4 (M.D. Pa. Oct. 26, 2007) (quoting Erickson v. Pardus, --- U.S. ---, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 2200 (2007)). The plaintiff must present facts that, if true, demonstrate a plausible right to relief. See FED. R. CIV. P. 8(a) (stating that the complaint should include "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief"); Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, ---, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1965 (2007) (requiring plaintiffs to allege facts sufficient to "raise a right to relief above the speculative level"); Victaulic Co. v. Tieman, 499 F.3d 227, 234 (3d Cir. 2007). Thus, courts should not dismiss a complaint for failure to state a claim if it contains "enough factual matter (taken as true) to suggest the required element. This does not impose a probability requirement at the pleading stage, but instead simply calls for enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of the necessary element." Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 234 (3d Cir. 2008) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at ---, 127 S.Ct. at 1965). Under this liberal pleading standard, courts should generally grant plaintiffs leave to amend their claims before dismissing a complaint that is merely deficient. See Grayson v. Mayview State Hosp., 293 F.3d 103, 108 (3d Cir. 2002); Shane v. Fauver, 213 F.3d 113, 116-17 (3d Cir. 2000).

II. Allegations of the Complaint*fn1

On June 19, 2006, while being pursued by the Pennsylvania State Police, Ayers fell and injured his left wrist and sustained a cut to his forehead. (Doc. 1, at 2; Doc. 1-2 at 17.) He was transported to Towanda Memorial Hospital. (Doc. 1, at 2.) Upon arrival, his wrist was X-rayed and his forehead was stitched. (Id.) He was informed that he broke his wrist and alleges that he was told to go to Robert Packer Memorial Hospital the following day to have a cast placed on the wrist. According to the discharge sheet, he was directed to follow-up with an orthopedist in one to two days. (Doc. 1-2, at 27.) He was also provided aftercare instructions for cast care. (Id. at 29.) He was discharged to the custody of the state police and taken to BCCF. On June 21, 2006, he was taken to Dr. Cama's office in Towanda, not the Robert Packer Memorial Hospital. (Doc. 1, at 3.) Dr. Cama placed a cast on his wrist.

On August 5, 2006, Dr. Cama removed the cast. (Doc. 1-2, at 7.) Ayers noticed a lump on his wrist and Dr. Cama informed him it was from the cast. (Doc. 1, at 3.) On August 22, 2006, he requested to have his wrist looked at again because the lump was still present and he was in discomfort. (Doc. 1-2 at 7.) Dr. Cama came to BCCF and saw Ayers on August 26, 2006. (Doc. 1, at 3.) Plaintiff inquired about the lump and was informed that it was the location of the fracture. (Id.) Ayers questioned this explanation because he was told that the break was on the other side. (Id.) Dr. Cama replied that it was just swollen and the swelling would go down. Ayers was dissatisfied with this response and requested that he be taken to Robert Packer Hospital. (Doc. 1, at 3.) Dr. Cama informed him that he did not work for the county, but he would give Ayers a copy of the X-rays. (Id.)

Thereafter, he was seen in the medical department on several occasions. (Doc. 1-2, at 9-10.) In response to an August 28, 2006, request for sick call for his wrist, a call was placed to Dr. Cama. On August 29, 2006, the doctor ordered an Xray and a left wrist splint and suggested that Ayers begin range of motion exercises. (Id. at 8.) The splint arrived the following day, but was unable to be used because it contained metal. (Doc. 1-2, at 10.) On that same day, the medical department received permission from the deputy warden to use the splint. (Id.) Ayers refused the splint, stating that he would wait for the one without the metal to arrive. (Id.) The medical department placed an order for a "non-metal" splint with the medical provider. (Doc. 1-2, at 10.) On August 31, 2006, he was taken to Memorial Hospital and three X-ray views of the left wrist were taken. (Doc. 1-2, at 26; 10.) He alleges that he "was told in front of Sheriff Hart by the X-Rayer do you know he has a broken wrist and its [sic] healing broke." (Doc. 1, at 4.)

On September 29, 2006, Dr. Cama called to report the findings that Ayers sustained "damage to the cartilage disc on ulna side d/t the way his palm went into the ground when he fell." (Id.) He prescribed Ibuprofen to be taken twice per day for pain and ordered physical therapy. A physical therapist came to BCCF and taught both Ayers and a registered nurse wrist exercises and the benefits of the exercising with a wrist band. (Doc. 1-2 at 10-13.) He continued to suffer pain and limited use and, despite numerous sessions of physical therapy, and the application of heat and ice, his condition remained unchanged. (Doc. 1-2, at 13, 15-16.) He was transferred from BCCF in January 2007. (Doc. 1, at 4.)

He alleges that he has "been suffering continuously in pain for over 9/months and 274/days, because the doctor at Bradford County overruled the original Doctor from the Towanda Hospital, and Dr. Cama placed a cast on my wrist without referring to the provider to measure the cast like it should have been. I completely denied medical care when they aware of my medical needs, where they the staff keep-on denying me to see a specialist to have my wrist taken care of in the manner it should have been like the doctor at Towanda Hospital said." (Doc. 1, at 5.)

He states that he sent multiple grievances to defendant Losinger, but received no response. (Doc. 1, at 4.) Attached to his complaint is a copy of an inmate request to the warden concerning the decision to send him to Dr. Cama, rather than to Robert Packer Hospital. (Doc. 1-2, at 31.) No other documentation is attached.

In his complaint, Ayers also details the treatment he received once he was transferred from BCCF. He received follow-up X-rays and was provided pain medication. Additionally, he has been informed that it there is no improvement within a ...


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