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Richardson v. United States

June 22, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge McClure



Plaintiff Dewayne Richardson ("Plaintiff" or "Richardson"), an inmate confined at the Federal Correctional Institution - Allenwood ("FCI Allenwood") in White Deer, Pennsylvania, initiated the above action pro se by filing a Complaint under the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1331. He also has filed a motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (Rec. Doc. No. 8.) Based upon the request to proceed in forma pauperis, the Complaint is before the Court for screening under 28 U.S.C. § 1915.

For the reasons set forth below, the Complaint will be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii). Two of Richardson's claims will be dismissed with prejudice.

The other two claims will be dismissed without prejudice, and Richardson will be given the opportunity to file an amended complaint as to those claims. ALLEGATIONS OF COMPLAINT Richardson identifies the following four "causes of action" in his Complaint:

I. First Cause of Action: Administration of Wrong Medication

Richardson states his first cause of action as "Being given the wrong medication out of deliberate indifference to the Plaintiff's health and attempting to cover the Medical Mistake." (See Doc. 1 ¶ 20.) In this section of his Complaint, Richardson alleges that, on October 21, 2008, Defendant Rocess, a Physician Assistant ("PA"), gave him the wrong medication during the noon pill line and that Richardson did not realize that he had another inmate's medication until after he had taken it. (See id. ¶¶ 20-28.) Richardson explains that he and the other inmate have the same last name, and different first names. (See id. ¶ 24.) Richardson alleges that, upon realizing the medication was not his at approximately 3:45 that afternoon, he immediately returned to the medical unit and informed Defendants Weldlich, Powanda, as well as Lieutenants Stalls and Shepard, that he had taken the wrong medication. (See id. ¶¶ 24, 27.) He claims that, although he requested to know what he had been given, that the incident be documented, and that he be provided with an injury assessment and follow-up form, he was "denied." (See id. ¶ 28.)

In a subsection labeled "Retaliation", Richardson further alleges that, after informing these FCI Allenwood staff members that he had been given the wrong medication, he was "treated in a very disrespectful manner and refused medical treatment." (See id. ¶ 30.) He claims that, after he started to exhaust his administrative remedies concerning this issue, "staff started harassing him and shaking down his cell and removing items which were personal, such as grievances, mail (Legal) opening (legal Mail) and denying him treatment for a sleep disorder." (See id. 31.) Richardson alleges that Defendants Powanda, Weldlich, Dewald, and Lieutenant Stalls, who is not named as a Defendant in the caption of the Complaint, "attempted to cover up this medical mistake by writing in the medical report that the plaintiff stated that he was alright and was not having symptoms when the plaintiff informed staff that he felt dizzy, disoriented, stomach was upset, and have since been having memory loss." (See id. ¶ 32.)

II. Second Cause of Action: Retaliation for Filing Grievances

In his second cause of action, Richardson alleges that "the Defendants" retaliated against him for filing grievances by confiscating his personal property, refusing to pay him the money he requested in an Administrative Tort claim, and failing to return or mail home his personal property. (See id. ¶ 33.) He elaborates by alleging that, on May 11, 2008, "three (b) Staff Counselor" entered his cell out of retaliation for his having filed grievances. (See id. ¶ 34.) He claims that a staged shake down occurred during which all inmates were removed from the unit such that staff members could confiscate, destroy, and steal their property without being held accountable. (See id. ¶ 35.) Richardson alleges that Defendant Sweithelm, a Correctional Counselor at FCI Allenwood, informed Richardson that he had confiscated both Richardson's and his cellmate's shoes, and that three (3) pairs of Richardson's shoes would have to be either mailed home or destroyed. (See id. ¶ 36.) Richardson claims that his shoes were confiscated out of retaliation and that, despite his request that his shoes be mailed to his mother, the shoes never arrived at her home. Richardson alleges that Property Lieutenant Barber investigated and informed him that he never received Richardson's shoes and they were never mailed out. (See id. ¶¶ 41, 42.) Richardson then filed an Administrative Tort Claim on August 5, 2008 requesting to be compensated in the amount of $172.30 for his property loss. (See id. ¶ 43). Although he was offered a settlement in the amount of $69.00, Richardson rejected the offer as unacceptable. (See id. ¶ 44).

III. Third Cause of Action: Denial of Adequate Medical Treatment

Richardson describes his third cause of action as "Denial of adequate medical treatment, evaluation and or the opportunity to be seen by a professional to determine what treatment is needed for plaintiff's sleeping disorder." (See id. ¶ 45.) Richardson identifies his sleeping disorder as "excessive snoring," and claims that he has either been denied or ignored when he has sought relief for his snoring from Defendants Sweithelm Rackovan, and Dewald. (See id. ¶¶ 45-48.)

IV. Fourth Cause of Action: Opening of Legal Mail Outside Plaintiff's Presence

In his fourth cause of action, Richardson alleges that Defendants Wolver, Pawlings, Shanks, Ebbert, Clemens, Raleigh, Ey, Lara, and Nickline have, on several occasions, opened, read, and copied legal documents that were mailed to him from his attorney, the courts, the U.S. Attorney's Office, and the U.S. Department of Justice. (See id. ΒΆ 49.) He claims that this opening of mail violates his First Amendment rights to attorney-client privilege and to confidentiality. (See id., Fourth Cause of Action.) Richardson further alleges that Defendants Ebbert, Clemens, ...

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