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Todd Karl Naugle v. Franklin County Prison

July 29, 2011


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


Todd Karl Naugle ("Naugle" or "plaintiff"), a Pennsylvania state inmate, who at all times relevant was incarcerated at the Franklin County Prison, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, commenced this civil rights action on September 30, 2010, alleging that he received inadequate medical care for his diabetic condition while he was housed at the Franklin County Prison. Named as defendants are the following entities and individuals: Franklin County Prison ("FCP"); Prime Care Medical, Inc. ("Prime Care"); Lieutenant Settings ("Settings"); Warden Wetzel ("Wetzel"); Deputy Warden Weller ("Weller"); and Health Care Administrator K. Shay ("Shay").

Presently ripe for disposition are motions to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), filed on behalf of FCP, Settings, Wetzel and Weller (Doc. 17) and Prime Care and Shay (Doc. 15). For the reasons set forth below, the motions will be granted.

I. Standard of Review

Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides for the dismissal of complaints that fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. FED. R. CIV. P. 12(b)(6). When ruling on a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the court must "accept as true all [factual] allegations in the complaint and all reasonable inferences that can be drawn therefrom, and view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff." Kanter v. Barella, 489 F.3d 170, 177 (3d Cir. 2007) (quoting Evancho v. Fisher, 423 F.3d 347, 350 (3d Cir. 2005)). Although the court is generally limited in its review to the facts contained in the complaint, it "may also consider matters of public record, orders, exhibits attached to the complaint and items appearing in the record of the case." Oshiver v. Levin, Fishbein, Sedran & Berman, 38 F.3d 1380, 1384 n. 2 (3d Cir. 1994); see also In re Burlington Coat Factory Sec. Litig., 114 F.3d 1410, 1426 (3d Cir. 1997).

Federal notice and pleading rules require the complaint to provide "the defendant notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 232 (3d Cir. 2008) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U. S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007)). The plaintiff must present facts that, if true, demonstrate a plausible right to relief. See FED. R. CIV. P. 8(a) (stating that the complaint should include "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief"); Ashcroft v. Iqbal, ---U.S. ----, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (explaining that Rule 8 requires more than "an unadorned, the-defendant unlawfully-harmed-me accusation"); Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (requiring plaintiffs to allege facts sufficient to "raise a right to relief above the speculative level"). Thus, courts should not dismiss a complaint for failure to state a claim if it contains "enough factual matter (taken as true) to suggest the required element." Phillips, 515 F.3d at 234 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).

II. Allegations of the Complaint

Naugle alleges that on May 6, 2010, he was transported from the State Correctional Institution at Camp Hill (SCI-Camp Hill) to FCP. (Doc. 1, at 2, ¶ 1.) During his intake interview with the medical department he informed the nurse that he was a diabetic. (Id.) He reported that although he was not on a diabetic diet, he would need a snack bag in the evening to maintain his sugar levels during the night hours and into the morning. He also expressed concern about the regulation of his insulin because the meal portions at FCP were significantly smaller than those served at SCI-Camp Hill.

He states that he was immediately put on a diabetic diet, which included snack bags in the evening. He filed a few grievances and was eventually placed on a regular diet. His insulin levels were being checked twice daily and, based upon these levels, his snack bags were discontinued. (Id.) He alleges that he was "forced to purchase food" from the commissary to make up for the loss of the snack bags. (Id.) Because the addition of the commissary snacks did not resolve the low blood sugar levels he was experiencing in the morning, he filed several grievances.

Approximately fourteen days later, he was placed back on the diabetic diet and again received evening snack bags.

On June 8, 2010, he was cautioned about "refusing the sliding scale coverage," which included administration of fast acting insulin. (Id. at ¶ 2.) He indicates that he refused this coverage because the fast acting insulin caused a drop in his blood sugar level and put him at risk of drifting into a diabetic coma. (Id.)

On June 9, 2010, his sugar level was checked at 4:15 p.m. and the nurse advised him that he needed the sliding scale coverage. (Id. at 3, ¶ 3.) He told her that he was concerned that it would place him in a coma. He was transferred to the medical block for observation. The following day, while still under medical observation, Naugle's sugar level was checked at 4:15 a.m. and, because it was low, he was given a shot of insulin. (Id. at ¶ 4.) He alleges that he explained to the nurse that the insulin was inferior and did not work well for him. The next thing he remembers is waking up on the floor in the presence of defendants Settings and Shay. When asked what happened, Naugle responded that "you have been given [sic] me to [sic] much insulin and it caused me to go into a diabetic coma." (Id.)

He alleges that he was placed in a "smock" the following day and seen by a psychiatrist because "[he] quit eating and [his] sugar was low and [he] had the nurse give [him] a shot anyway. (Id. at ¶ 5.) He had a video conference with a psychiatrist and was then taken back to his cell. (Id.)

On July 5, 2010, he asked defendant Wetzel why he was placed in a smock. (Id. at ¶ 6.) Defendant Wetzel responded that he did not know, but that he would look into it. (Id.) On July 13, 2010, he was transported back to SCI-Camp Hill.

III. Discussion

A. Motions to Dismiss

Section 1983 of Title 42 of the United States Code offers private citizens a cause of action for violations of federal law by state officials. See 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983. The ...

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