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Robert Lee Prinkey v. Franklin J. Tennis

March 29, 2011

ROBERT LEE PRINKEY,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
FRANKLIN J. TENNIS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: (Judge Munley)

MEMORANDUM

On January 12, 2009, Plaintiff Robert Lee Prinkey ("Prinkey"), an inmate presently confined at the Rockview State Correctional Institution ("SCI Rockview") in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, initiated the above action pro se by filing a complaint under the provisions of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. 1.)

At this stage of the litigation, the only remaining claims are against defendants Williams and Symons. Presently pending is a motion to dismiss filed on behalf of Williams to dismiss Prinkey's claims against him pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the reasons set forth below, the motion will be denied in part and granted in part.

I. Background

Prinkey filed his complaint on January 12, 2009. (Doc. 1.) Service of the complaint was directed by order dated February 25, 2009. (Doc. 9.) On May 19, 2009, a motion to dismiss the complaint was filed on behalf of defendants Tennis, Rackovan, Williams, Burks, Varner, Yarger, Breese, Swarzel, Strohm, and Thompson. (Doc. 13.) On July 2, 2009, a motion to dismiss the complaint was filed on behalf of defendant Dr. Symons. (Doc. 9.) By order dated April 5, 2010, the Honorable James F. McClure, Junior, to whom this case then was assigned*fn1 , adopted in full the March 8, 2010 report and recommendation of Magistrate Judge Martin C. Carlson (Doc. 32), and therefore granted the motions to dismiss (Docs. 13, 19) with prejudice as to Defendants Tennis, Rackovan, Varner, Yarger, Swarzell, and Burks; granted the motions without prejudice as to Strohm, Thompson, and Breese, and provided Prinkey with an opportunity to file an amended complaint against these Defendants within twenty-one (21) days; and denied the motions as to defendants Symons and Williams. (Doc. 34.) The order observed that, as to the denial of the motion concerning the claims against Symons and Williams, the magistrate judge "recommended that these motions to dismiss be denied, without prejudice to the Defendants later pursuing appropriate motions for summary judgment." (Id. at 4.)

Prinkey filed an amended complaint on April 26, 2010 as to his claims against defendants Breese and Strohm.*fn2 (Doc. 36.) The instant motion to dismiss was filed on August 27, 2010 on behalf of defendants Strohm and Williams. (Doc. 48.) However, on September 10, 2010, Prinkey filed a document in which he, inter alia, requested that his claims against defendant Strohm be dismissed. (Doc. 50.) By order dated September 13, 2010, Prinkey's request was granted, and defendant Strohm was terminated as a party to this action. (Doc. 52.) The motion is fully briefed and ripe for disposition.

II. Allegations of the Complaint

Although Prinkey filed an amended complaint on April 26, 2010 (Doc. 36), the amendment was as to his claims against defendants Breese and Strohm, and therefore, Prinkey's allegations against defendant Williams are contained in the original complaint. (Doc. 1.) Prinkey's allegations in his complaint are as follows:

Prinkey alleges that he has suffered from a grand mal seizure disorder since 1999. (Doc. 1 § IV. ¶ 1.) He alleges that, as a result of each seizure, he has suffered repeated head, back, and neck trauma, "which exacerbates his irreparable damages." (Id.) He alleges generally that defendants have "acquiesced in increasing the damages in their retaliation toward him." (Id.) Prinkey further alleges as follows:

Plaintiff has filed numerous sick call slip/requests for treatment to Doctor John Symons via the normal procedures at SCI-Rockview, and directly to Medical Supervisor Tedd Williams and received no answers for a period/time frame September, 2007 - September, 2008. As a result of Dr. Symons, Physicians Assistants id. supra [sic] and Medical Supervisor, Tedd Williams (defendants) refusing to answer plaintiff and refusing to examine him for an appropriate and adequate medical plan, e.g. blood tests to measure seizure medication and CPK levels to measure the severity of seizure activity, plaintiff suffer[s] chronic recurrent grand mal seizures inside his cells and on prison grounds. These seizures have inflicted lumps, bruzes [sic], lacrations [sic], neck, head and spinal pain. Defendants enumerated supra knew or should have known and refused to do anything about it. (Id. ¶¶ 2-3.)

Prinkey includes allegations concerning grievances he filed in September and October 2008. (Id. at 6-8.) He alleges that, on September 17, 2008, he filed a grievance directed to Dr. Symons in which he stated that he was having seizures repeatedly for the past week and provided the name of a witness who saw him get off the ground bleeding. (Id. at 6 ¶ 4.) He attaches a copy of the grievance (id. at 10) to the complaint, and observes that, upon receipt by Grievance Coordinator Rackovan on September 19, 2008, the grievance was assigned to Captain Swartzell for investigation. (Id.)

Prinkey alleges that, in his response, dated September 29, 2008, Swartzell indicated that the grievance was frivolous and without merit. (Id.at 6 ¶ 6.) Prinkey attaches a copy of Swartzell's response, which states as follows:

I, COIV Swartzell find this Grievance to be Frivolous and without Merit, based on my investigation. The staff assigned to a Bldg. on the 10-6 shift denies refusing you Medical attention as you claim. If you are having Medical issues it would behoove you to seek Medical Attention through proper procedures rather than using the Grievance System to deal with your Medial concerns. I also recommend addressing your problems yourself instead of trying to have another inmate intervene on your behalf. (Id. at 11.)

Prinkey then alleges that he "appealed" Swartzell's response to defendant Williams, and that when he appealed, the number of his grievance was changed from 243856 to 243806. (Id. at 7 ΒΆ 8.) Williams attaches a copy of the document he allegedly filed as an "appeal" to Williams. (Id. at 12.) The document was prepared on an official inmate grievance form, dated October 14, 2008, and was assigned the grievance number 243806. In this document, Prinkey states that he is following up on his ...


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