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Dulcidio Quirindongo v. Federal Bureau of Prisons

June 16, 2011


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


Plaintiff Dulcidio Quirindongo, an inmate currently incarcerated at the United States Penitentiary at Allenwood ("USP-Allenwood") in White Deer, Pennsylvania, filed this Bivens*fn1 -type action on August 19, 2010, naming the Federal Bureau of Prisons ("BOP") and Warden Ricardo Martinez as Defendants. (Doc. 1.) In the complaint, Plaintiff asserts that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs following surgery related to his prostate cancer.

Before the court is a motion to dismiss or, in the alternative, for summary judgment, filed on behalf of Defendants. (Doc. 20.) For the reasons set forth below, the court will grant the motion to dismiss with prejudice as to Defendant BOP and dismiss it from this action. Further, the court will grant the motion to dismiss as to Defendant Warden Martinez without prejudice to Plaintiff to file an amended complaint asserting claims, if any, against Defendant Warden Martinez and any other potential defendants, if possible.

I. Background

A. Facts

In his complaint, Plaintiff alleges that "[o]n 10-7-2008, while at [USPAllenwood], the plaintiff underwent radical prostatectomy that required major surgery." (Doc. 1 at 1.) He alleges that following the surgery, Defendants "(1) failed to provide the proper standard of care; (2) willfully neglected to maintain a proper delivery of aftercare; (3) the on site medical staff at USP Allenwood was untrained to deal with the seriousness of the medical issues of the plaintiff; (4) plaintiff was not provided with the minimal standard of care for a human being; (5) and kept the plaintiff in a contaminated, unsanitary environment, post-operatorily [sic], that caused the plaintiff a major infection." (Id. at 2.) Plaintiff further alleges that the lack of Spanish speaking personnel caused delay and/or denial of proper and adequate medical care because personnel could not understand his complaints.

(Id. at 3.) He also claims that Defendants "repeated[ly] failed to give him proper medication and competent medical attention." (Id.)

As relief, Plaintiff seeks an order directing that medical staff be trained to speak Spanish at USP-Allenwood, monetary damages for pain and suffering, and an evidentiary hearing.

B. Procedural History

Plaintiff filed his complaint on August 19, 2010. (Doc. 1.) By order dated September 1, 2010, the court directed service of the complaint. (Doc. 10.)

Following an enlargement of time, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss, or in the alternative, for summary judgment, on January 20, 2011. (Doc. 20.) Plaintiff filed a brief in opposition on February 3, 2011, arguing that Defendants' motion should be denied because they had failed to comply with three separate court orders directing them to respond to the allegations in the complaint. (Doc. 26.) There is nothing in the record to support this assertion. Nevertheless, this motion is ripe for disposition.

II. Standard of Review - Motion to Dismiss

Defendants have filed a motion which, in part, seeks dismissal of the complaint on the grounds that Plaintiff's complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, as provided by Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Specifically, Defendants argue, in part, that Plaintiff has failed to name the proper party Defendants in his complaint. As the court need not rely on any accompanying evidentiary documents outside the pleadings to address this threshold issue, the court will address this motion under the motion to dismiss standard only.

Among other requirements, a sound complaint must set forth "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." FED. R. CIV. P. 8(a)(2). This statement must "give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). "Fair notice" in Rule 8(a)(2) "depends on the type of case -- some complaints will require at least some factual allegations to make out a showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 232 (3d Cir. 2008) (quotation omitted). "[A] situation may arise where, at some point, the factual detail in a complaint is so undeveloped that it does not provide a defendant the type of notice of claim which is contemplated by Rule 8." Id. A plaintiff must provide "more than labels and conclusions" or "a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action" to show entitlement to relief. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555; accord, e.g., Phillips, 515 F.3d at 231-32; Baraka v. McGreevey, 481 F.3d 187, 195 (3d Cir. 2007) (the court is not "compelled to accept unsupported conclusions and unwarranted inferences or a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation.") (quotations and citations omitted)); Evancho v. Fisher, 423 F.3d 347, 351 (3d Cir. 2005); see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, __ U.S. __, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (recognizing that Rule 8 pleading standard "does not require 'detailed factual allegations,' but it demands more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation") (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).

A defendant may attack a complaint by a motion under Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. In deciding a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the court is required to accept as true all of the factual allegations in the complaint, Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 127 S. Ct. 2197, 2200 (2007), and all reasonable inferences permitted by the factual allegations, Watson v. Abington Twp., 478 F.3d 144, 150 (3d Cir. 2007), viewing them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, Kanter v. Barella, 489 F.3d 170, 177 (3d Cir. 2007); accord Phillips, 515 F.3d at 233. If the facts alleged are sufficient to "raise a right to relief above the speculative level" such that the plaintiff's claim is "plausible on its face," a complaint will survive a motion to dismiss. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 570; Phillips, 515 F.3d at 234; Victaulic Co. v. Tieman, 499 F.3d 227, 234 (3d Cir. 2007); Stevenson v. Carroll, 495 F.3d 62, 66 (3d Cir. 2007); see also Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. at 1949 (explaining a claim has "facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged"). Further, when a complaint contains well-pleaded factual allegations, "a court should assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief." Id. at 1950. However, a court is "not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation." Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). "Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements do not suffice." Id. at 1949 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).

"To decide a motion to dismiss, courts generally consider only the allegations contained in the complaint, exhibits attached to the complaint and matters of public record." Pension Benefit Guar. Corp. v. White Consol. Indus., Inc., 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir. 1993) (citations omitted); see also Sands v. McCormick, 502 F.3d 263, 268 (3d Cir. 2007). The court may consider "undisputedly authentic document[s] that a defendant attaches as an exhibit to a motion to dismiss if the plaintiff's claims are based on the [attached] document[s]." Pension Benefit, 998 F.2d at 1196. Additionally, "documents whose contents are alleged in the complaint and whose authenticity no party questions, but which are not physically attached to the pleading, may be considered." Pryor v. Nat'l Collegiate Athletic Ass'n, 288 F.3d 548, 560 (3d Cir. 2002) (citation omitted); see also U.S. Express Lines, Ltd. v. Higgins, 281 F.3d 383, 388 (3d Cir. 2002) ("Although a district court may not consider matters extraneous to the pleadings, a document integral to or explicitly relied upon in the complaint may be ...

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