Appeal from the Order October 27, 2008, In the Court of Common Pleas of Somerset County, Civil Division at No. 1020 Civil 2008.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Popovich, J.
BEFORE: LALLY-GREEN, FREEDBERG, and POPOVICH, JJ.
¶ 1 Gabriel G. Ocasio appeals from the October 27, 2008 order entered in the Court of Common Pleas, Somerset County, which denied his petition to proceed in forma pauperis and dismissed his complaint with prejudice as being frivolous. Upon review, we affirm.
¶ 2 On July 29, 2008, the trial court received from Ocasio a petition to proceed in forma pauperis (IFP) and a civil complaint filed pro se against Prison Health Services.*fn1 Ocasio was an inmate at SCI-Somerset, and Prison Health was the medical services provider at SCI-Somerset contracted by the Department of Corrections.
¶ 3 In the complaint, Ocasio alleged the following. On February 3, 2008, he completed the therapy prescribed by Prison Health but still experienced back pain. On February 5, 2008, Prison Health saw Ocasio and indicated to him that he was too young to have back pain. Thereafter, Ocasio filed a grievance, which was subsequently denied by the grievance officer, the prison's superintendent, and the Secretary's Office of Inmate Grievances and Appeals. Ocasio presented a claim for breach of contract and a claim for violation of his Eighth Amendment rights under the United States Constitution.
¶ 4 On October 27, 2008, the trial court denied Ocasio's IFP request pursuant to Pa.R.C.P. 240(j) and dismissed his complaint with prejudice as frivolous. This timely appeal followed.
¶ 5 On appeal, Ocasio presents the following issues, which were preserved in his court-ordered Pa.R.A.P. 1925(b) statement, for our review:
1. Did the lower court err in denying [Ocasio's] petition to proceed in forma pauperis?
2. Did the lower court err in dismissing [his] civil action "with prejudice"?
3. Did the lower court err in ruling that [his] civil action complaint "failed to set forth any arguable basis for a cause of action"?
¶ 6 Our review of a decision dismissing an action pursuant to Pa.R.C.P. 240(j) is limited to a determination of whether the plaintiff's constitutional rights have been violated and whether the trial court abused its discretion or committed an error of law. Bell v. Mayview State Hospital, 853 A.2d 1058, 1060 (Pa. Super. 2004) (citing McGriff v. Vidovich, 699 A.2d 797, 798 n.2 (Pa. Commw. 1997)). Rule 240 provides for a procedure by which a person who is without the financial resources to pay the costs of litigation may proceed IFP. The obligation of the trial court when a party seeks to proceed under Rule 240 is as follows:
(j) If, simultaneous with the commencement of an action or proceeding or the taking of an appeal, a party has filed a petition for leave to proceed in forma pauperis, the court prior to acting upon the petition may dismiss the action, proceeding or appeal if the allegation of poverty is ...