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Hall v. Wagner

October 29, 2010

ERIC CHRISTOPHER HALL, PLAINTIFF,
v.
GEORGE WAGNER, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Robert F. Kelly, Sr. J.

MEMORANDUM

Presently before the Court is Defendant George Wagner's ("Wagner" or "Defendant") Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the following reasons, Defendant's Motion is granted.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Eric Christopher Hall ("Hall" or "Plaintiff") initiated this pro se 42 U.S.C. § 1983 civil rights action against Wagner based on an incident that occurred while he was incarcerated at Berks County Prison (the "Prison"). Notably, Wagner is the Warden at the Prison. Specifically, Hall alleges that he was injured when a weld on the frame of a bunk bed broke as he was climbing onto the top bunk.

On June 17, 2010, Hall filed his original Complaint in this Court. Hall's Complaint consists of the following allegations:

I was climbing onto the top bunk when the frame broke from the weld that held it together.

1. [Wagner] is allowing conditions to exist in his prison that are unsafe. There is no step ladder to safely ascend to the top bunk, therefore causing my injuries.

2. [Wagner] allowed conditions in his prison so extreme that the weld that held this repaired bunk together was faulty, therefore causing my injury.

3. [Wagner] failed to protect me from injury while in his prison. (Compl. at 4.)

On June 28, 2010, Hall filed an Amended Complaint which describes his alleged injuries in more detail. The Amended Complaint states:

"I, Eric C. Hall, sustained lower back injuries when the bed broke upon me trying to get on the top bunk. The medical treatment that I've been receiving has been only pain medication. I have been scheduled for a M.R.I. and possible surgery by Dr. Gessner because the pain has not subsided. The symptons [sic] of my injuries are consistent with a pinched nerve (sciatic), also stated by Dr. Gessner. I have all of the sick calls and request slip responses concerning the time spand [sic] and continuing complaints of my discomfort. If any further information is necessary please inform me of the spcifics [sic]. (Am. Compl. at 1.) The Court will consider the allegations in both the original Complaint and Amended Complaint for purposes of the instant Motion.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

A motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) tests the sufficiency of a complaint. Kost v. Kozakiewicz, 1 F.3d 176, 183 (3d Cir. 1993). Under Rule 12(b)(6), the defendant bears the burden of demonstrating that the plaintiff has not stated a claim upon which relief can be granted. Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6); see also Hedges v. United States, 404 F.3d 744, 750 (3d Cir. 2005). In Bell Atlantic Corporation v. Twombly, the Supreme Court stated that "a plaintiff's obligation to provide the 'grounds' of his 'entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007).

Following Twombly, the Third Circuit has explained that the factual allegations in the complaint may not be "so undeveloped that it does not provide a defendant the type of notice which is contemplated by Rule 8." Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 233 (3d Cir. 2008). Moreover, "it is no longer sufficient to allege mere elements of a cause of action; instead 'a complaint must allege facts suggestive of [the proscribed] conduct.'" Id. (alteration in original) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 563 n.8). Furthermore, the complaint's "factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Id. at 234 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). "This 'does not impose a probability requirement at the pleading ...


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