The opinion of the court was delivered by: Magistrate Judge Susan Paradise Baxter
Pending before the Court are several motions. The first is Defendants' motion to dismiss Plaintiff's original complaint [ECF No. 13]. After they filed this motion, Plaintiff filed a document entitled "Motion For Quash Of Defendants' Dismissal Claim and Enter Declaration Of Evidence To Support Claim" [ECF No. 17], which the Court construes as a response to Defendants' initial motion. Plaintiff also filed an Amended Complaint [ECF No. 18]. Defendants then filed a supplemental motion to dismiss the Amended Complaint [ECF No. 19].
Defendants' motion to dismiss Plaintiff's original complaint [ECF No. 13] is moot because that complaint has been superceded by the allegations made in the Amended Complaint. Plaintiff's motion [ECF No. 17] is granted to the extent that he is requesting permission to file a response to Defendants' initial motion. Finally, for the reasons set forth below, the Court will grant Defendants' supplemental motion to dismiss the Amended Complaint [ECF No. 19].
Plaintiff, Tony Lee Mutschler, is a state prisoner who is currently incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution ("SCI") in Albion, Pennsylvania. He has filed this civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Sandy Malena, a Registered Nurse working at SCI-Albion, and the Chief Health Care Administrator of that institution, Maxine Overton. In his Amended Complaint, he contends that Defendants violated his rights under the Eighth Amendment, Fifth Amendment, and the Fourteenth Amendment. He also claims that Defendants violated his rights under Title II of the Americans With Disabilities Act (the "ADA").
In support of his claims, Plaintiff alleges that he informed the medical department at SCIAlbion that he was allergic to latex. In October of 2008, Defendant Malena issued him a product that contained latex. He used the product at night and fell asleep with it on and/or while using it. When he awoke, he discovered that the product had caused him to blister, resulting in scarring to his penis. He contacted Defendant Overton and told her about the incident and she assured him that it would not happen again. Around five months later, on March 14, 2009, Defendant Malena once again issued him a product containing latex. As soon as he realized he was having a reaction, he removed the product and therefore did not require medical attention. He states that he was "almost" given the product a third time on April 10, 2009, by a different nurse. [ECF No. 18 at p. 2; see also ECF No. 17 at p. 1]. Plaintiff alleges that: "She was reckless and indifferent with her patient care and [his] special medical need[s]." [ECF No. 18 at p. 1]. It is unclear if the "she" to which he is referring is Defendant Malena, Defendant Overton or the other nurse. Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages and equitable relief in the form of an order directing that he be transferred to another corrections institution.*fn2 [ECF No. 18 at p. 1].
In their supplemental motion to dismiss [ECF No. 19], Defendants contend that this action should be dismissed under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) because Plaintiff has failed to state a cognizable claim upon which relief can be granted. Plaintiff has filed a response [ECF No. 23] and the motion now is ripe for review.
Pro se pleadings, "however inartfully pleaded,"must be held to "less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers." Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972). If the court can reasonably read pleadings to state a valid claim on which the litigant could prevail, it should do so despite failure to cite proper legal authority, confusion of legal theories, poor syntax and sentence construction, or the litigant's unfamiliarity with pleading requirements. Boag v. MacDougall, 454 U.S. 364 (1982); United States ex rel. Montgomery v. Brierley, 414 F.2d 552, 555 (3d Cir. 1969) (petition prepared by a prisoner may be inartfully drawn and should be read "with a measure of tolerance"); Smith v. U.S. District Court, 956 F.2d 647 (7th Cir. 1992); Freeman v. Dep't of Corr., 949 F.2d 360 (10th Cir. 1991). Under our liberal pleading rules, during the initial stages of litigation, a district court should construe all allegations in a complaint in favor of the complainant. Gibbs v. Roman, 116 F.3d 83 (3d Cir. 1997). See, e.g., Nami v. Fauver, 82 F.3d 63, 65 (3d Cir. 1996) (discussing Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) standard); Markowitz v. Northeast Land Co., 906 F.2d 100, 103 (3d Cir. 1990) (same). Because Plaintiff is a pro se litigant, this Court may consider facts and make inferences where it is appropriate.
2. Motion to Dismiss Pursuant to 12(b)(6)
A motion to dismiss filed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) must be viewed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and all the well-pleaded allegations of the complaint must be accepted as true. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93-94 (2007). A complaint must be dismissed pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) if it does not allege "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007) (rejecting the traditional 12(b)(6) standard set forth in Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41 (1957)). See also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, ___ U.S. ___, ___, 129 S.Ct. 1937 (May 18, 2009) (specifically applying Twombly analysis beyond the context of the Sherman Act).
The Court need not 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 Sch. 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 555, citing Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986). See also McTernan v. City of York, Pennsylvania, 577 F.3d 521, 531 (3d Cir. 2009) quoting Iqbal, ___ U.S. at ___, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 ("The tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions."). "Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Twombly, 550 U.S. at ...