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William Snyder v. Daniel Telega

July 13, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Magistrate Judge Baxter


United States Magistrate Judge Susan Paradise Baxter.


A. Relevant Procedural History

On November 4, 2009, Plaintiff William Snyder, a prisoner incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at Albion, Pennsylvania (ASCI-Albion@), filed a pro se civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ' 1983. [ECF No. 6]. He subsequently filed an amended complaint on September 9, 2010, which supersedes the original complaint. [ECF No. 33]. Named as Defendants in the amended complaint are: Daniel Telega, a physician=s assistant under contract with the Department of Corrections (ADOC@) to provide medical services to inmates at SCI-Albion; Maxine Overton (AOverton@), Chief Health Care Administrator at SCIAlbion; County of Allegheny, PA (AAllegheny County@); and an unnamed corrections officer at the Allegheny County Jail, identified as AJohn Doe.@ [ECF No. 6].

In his pro se Complaint, Plaintiff claims that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs in violation of his Eighth Amendment rights. As relief for his claims, Plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages.

On September 13, 2010, Defendant Overton filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiff=s amended complaint [ECF No. 34], asserting that Plaintiff has failed to state a claim of deliberate indifference upon which relief may be granted. On September 16, 2010 Defendant Telega filed his own motion to dismiss Plaintiff=s amended complaint [ECF No. 36], also arguing that Plaintiff has failed to sate a claim upon which relief may be granted. Plaintiff has filed a response to both motions , essentially re-asserting the allegations of the amended complaint. [ECF No. 39]. This matter is now ripe for consideration.*fn2

B. Relevant Factual History*fn3

Plaintiff alleges that he suffered a few seizures beginning in 2007, and that both Defendants Telega and Overton knew or should have known about his seizure condition. (ECF No. 33, Amended Complaint, at && 9-10). On June 16, 2009, Plaintiff was transferred temporarily from SCI-Albion to the Allegheny County Jail (AACJ@) to face new criminal charges in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. (Id. at & 11). Upon arriving at ACJ, Plaintiff informed medical staff that he should have bottom bunk status due to his medical condition, but he was assigned a top bunk anyway. (Id. at & 13). While on the top bunk at ACJ, Plaintiff suffered a seizure on June 29, 2009, which Acaused him to fall from the bed onto a table and stools located on the ground floor before passing out on the floor.@ (Id. at & 17). As a result of the fall, Plaintiff sustained Aa near five (5) inch gash to his right arm, lacerations to his right upper lip and to [the] right side of his head, which all required staples and stitches to close the wounds.@ (Id. at & 18). Plaintiff alleges that he suffered severe headaches, blurred vision, and sharp pain in his back, neck, and ribs, yet was refused pain medication by medical staff at ACJ. (Id. at &19).

Plaintiff was returned to SCI-Albion on or about July 1, 2009, and was examined by Defendant Telega. (Id. at & 21). In response to Plaintiff=s Anumerous requests to have his physical and medical condition more thoroughly examined,@ Plaintiff was instructed to submit a sick call request for further evaluation by Defendant Telega. (Id. at & 22). On July 5, 2009, Plaintiff sent a detailed letter to Defendant Overton complaining about his back and neck pain, blurred eye vision, and sore ribs, in response to which Defendant Overton advised Plaintiff to submit another sick call request. (Id. at & 24).

Plaintiff saw Defendant Telega on or about July 7 2009, at which time Defendant Telega refused to answer any of Plaintiff=s questions as to why he was Anot being further evaluated and treated with x-rays, tetanus shots and other diagnostic testings.@ (Id. at & 25). In addition, Defendant Telega refused Plaintiff=s request to have his injuries photographed. (Id. at & 26). After filing Anumerous written requests followed by a formal grievance,@ Plaintiff did receive Asome medical treatment and follow up testings@ at a hospital in or around November 2009. (Id. at & 27). Plaintiff alleges that he still suffers from Aon going pains in his neck, back, ribs, and blurred vision, constant headaches, and ringing in his ears and permanent scars visible on his head, upper lip and his right forearm.@ (Id. at & 28).

C. Standards of Review

1. Motion to Dismiss

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 Aenough 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 School 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). AFactual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.@ Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Although the United States Supreme Court does Anot ...

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