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Goodley v. Folino

September 2, 2009

DARRELL GOODLEY, PLAINTIFF
v.
SUPERINTENDANT LOUIS S. FOLINO, SUPERINTENDENT OF SCI GREENE; PRISON HEALTH SERVICES, INC.; STANLEY E. FALOR, M.D.; BYUNCHAK) JIN, M.D.; HOWARD DIGGS, PA-C; DEBRA GRESS, CRNP; NEDRA WENDELL, RN; RONALD J. LEDWICH, RN; PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT OF) RE: DOC. 27 CORRECTIONS, DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hay, Chief Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Darrell Goodley ("Plaintiff"), an inmate in the custody of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, commenced this case pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging that he suffered an Eighth Amendment violation when he received inadequate medical care at SCI-Greene in 2006. Presently before the Court is the motion to dismiss (Doc. 27) filed by Defendants Prison Health Services, Inc., Stanley E. Falor, M.D., Byunchak Jin, M.D., Michelle Howard-Diggs, PA, and Debra Gress, CRNP (collectively the "Medical Defendants"). For the reasons that follow, the motion will be granted.

Background

On February 12, 2006, while incarcerated at SCI-Greene, Plaintiff slipped on the floor in the prison's kitchen and lost his balance, causing his right arm to become submerged in a large pot of boiling water. (Doc. 6 at ¶ 22). Plaintiff was taken to the infirmary and examined by Dr. Falor, who diagnosed second degree burns. (Id. at ¶ 27). Plaintiff was given a shot for pain and his arm was cleansed and bandaged. (Id.) While in the infirmary, Plaintiff apparently continued to complain of pain to Dr. Falor, who gave Plaintiff Tylenol #3. (Id. at ¶ 28).

Plaintiff was discharged from the infirmary the next day, at which time Dr. Jin prescribed ibuprofen tablets (30) and instructed Plaintiff to return every day to have his bandages changed. (Id. at ¶30; Grievance 145554 (Doc. 36-2 at 14)). On February 15, 2006, Dr. Jin prescribed a three-day regimen of Ultram*fn1 for Plaintiff's pain. (Id. at 15).

The next day, Plaintiff complained to the nurse who was changing his bandages that he was still in pain and that his wound had become infected. (Id. at 15). The following day, i.e., February 17, 2006, Plaintiff again complained of pain to Dr. Jin and requested stronger pain medication. (Id.) Dr. Jin denied Plaintiff's request for stronger pain medication but ordered 4 antibiotic injections. (Id.). As Plaintiff was leaving the treatment area, he complained about his pain to Dr. Fowler, who then prescribed Vicodin for Plaintiff's pain. (Id.).

Plaintiff filed two grievances in this matter.*fn2 In Grievance 144141, Plaintiff asserted that he was denied proper treatment on the date of the accident in that Dr. Falor misdiagnosed Plaintiff's burns as second degree when they were, in Plaintiff's opinion, third degree burns, and Dr. Falor refused to send Plaintiff to an outside physician who specialized in the treatment of third degree burns.*fn3 (Doc. 33 at p.2).

In Grievance 145554, Plaintiff claimed that he was denied proper medical care inasmuch as Dr. Jin refused to prescribe an antibiotic and pain medication stronger than ibuprofen at the time of Plaintiff's discharge from the infirmary on February 13, 2006, and refused Plaintiff's request for stronger pain medication on February 17, 2006, which Dr. Falor ordered moments later. (Doc. 36-2).*fn4

Plaintiff alleges in his Amended Complaint that "[o]n and after February 12, 2006" he made frequent and repeated requests to the Defendants herein for medical treatment and care of his arm, ongoing severe pain and worsening injuries. (Doc. 6 at ¶ 31). He asserts that his requests were denied for no justifiable reason and that he suffered severe pain, mental anguish, scarring and disfigurement as a result. (Id. at ¶¶ 31-32).

C. Standard of Review

As the United States Supreme Court recently held in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), a complaint may properly be dismissed pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12 (b)(6) if it does not allege "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Id. at 570 (rejecting the traditional 12 (b)(6) standard set forth in Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957)). Under this standard, the Court must, as a general rule, accept as true all factual allegations of the complaint and all reasonable inferences must be viewed in the light most favorable to plaintiff. Angelastro v. Prudential-Bache Securities, Inc., 764 F.2d 939, 944 (3d Cir. 1985). Nevertheless, under the 12(b)(6) standard, a "court need not... accept as true allegations that contradict matters properly subject to judicial notice or by exhibit." Sprewell v. Golden State Warriors, 266 F.3d 979, 988 (9th Cir. 2001), amended by, 275 F.3d 1187 (9th Cir. 2001). Nor must the Court accept inferences drawn by plaintiff if they are unsupported by the facts as set forth in the complaint. See California Pub. Employee Ret. Sys. v. The Chubb Corp., 394 F.3d 126, 143 (3d Cir. 2004) (citing Morse v. Lower Merion School Dist., 132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir. 1997)). Nor must the Court accept legal conclusions set forth as factual allegations. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 554 (quoting Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986)).

In addition to the complaint, courts may consider matters of public record and other matters of which a court may take judicial notice, court orders, and exhibits attached to the complaint when adjudicating a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6). Oshiver v. Levin, Fishbein, Sedran & Berman, 38 F.3d 1380, 1385 n.2 (3d Cir. 1994). In addition, the Court of Appeals in Spruill v. Gillis, 372 F.3d 218, 223 (3d Cir. 2004), held that a "defendant may submit an indisputably authentic [document] to the court to be considered on a motion to dismiss[.]"

The question to be resolved is: whether, taking the factual allegations of the complaint, which are not contradicted by the indisputably authentic exhibits and matters of which judicial notice may be had, and taking all reasonable inferences to be drawn from those uncontradicted factual allegations of the complaint, are the "factual allegations... enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level, on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true even if doubtful in fact[.]" Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555-556. Or put another way, a complaint may be dismissed pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) for ...


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