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Eric Dickerson v. Sci Graterford

August 30, 2011

ERIC DICKERSON
v.
SCI GRATERFORD, ET AL.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: McLaughlin, J.

MEMORANDUM

The plaintiff, Eric Dickerson, an inmate at State Correctional Institute-Graterford acting pro se, brought suit against various defendants under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging inadequate medical care and failure to respond to various grievances, in violation of his First, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The plaintiff asserts that he is receiving inadequate medical treatment for a hernia, chronic pain, and hypertension. The plaintiff has named as defendants SCIGraterford, the Bureau of Health Care Services ("BHS"), Joseph Korszniak, Barbara March, Wendy Shaylor, Dorina Verner, Mercy Suburban Hospital ("Mercy Hospital"), Prison Health Services ("PHS"), and Drs. Richard Stefanic, Bruce Blatt, John Zaro, Felipe Arias, Christopher J. Bruce, Dominic Bontempo, and Michael Schorr.*fn1 All of the defendants have moved for dismissal of the plaintiff's claims against them. The Court will grant all of the motions to dismiss.

I. The Plaintiff's Complaint*fn2

Pursuant to a settlement agreement arising out of a lawsuit by the plaintiff in the Western District of Pennsylvania alleging inadequate medical treatment at SCI-Albion prison, the plaintiff was transferred to SCI-Graterford and was to see several medical specialists. Dickerson v. Brooks, Case No. 06-289 (W.D. Pa. filed Dec. 13, 2006). In July 2009, the plaintiff filed a Motion to Compel the Terms of the Settlement Agreement and a Motion for Reconsideration of the Settlement Agreement, arguing that the defendants had failed to honor the terms of the agreement and asking that court to reopen the case. Magistrate Judge Susan Paradise Baxter denied the plaintiff's motions and the case was closed.

On December 23, 2010, the plaintiff filed suit before this Court alleging inadequate medical treatment at SCI- and their motions to dismiss.

Graterford in violation of his constitutional rights and that the defendants from his Western District of Pennsylvania lawsuit were not complying with the terms of the settlement agreement. The plaintiff alleges that on September 1, 2009, he was seen by Dr. Bruce, who informed the plaintiff that he had a hernia and would need corrective surgery. At some point between October 1, 2009, and November 3, 2009, the plaintiff was seen by Dr. Stefanic at SCI-Graterford, who told the plaintiff that Dr. Bruce did not believe the plaintiff had a true hernia and that surgery was therefore not indicated.

Over the next several months, the plaintiff was seen multiple times for complaints of pain by Drs. Stefanic, Zora, Blatt, and Arias, all physicians at SCI-Graterford. The plaintiff's medication was adjusted, but he continued to suffer from pain, and complains that the physician defendants refused to prescribe him a particular pain medication that he desires. The plaintiff alleges that when he saw Dr. Blatt about his pain, he informed the plaintiff that he did not care how much pain the plaintiff was in and that he would have to "learn to live with it." The plaintiff admits, however, that he was on various pain medications prescribed by the other doctors in the prison.

The plaintiff states that while incarcerated, he has received the following medications: Magnesium Oxide, Coreg, Vasotec, Prilosec GTC, Lovastatin Lipitor, Lasix, Aldactone, Benadryl, Colace, Gabapentin, Phenobarbital, Vitema, Elavil, Milk of Magnesia, and Konsyl S/F Metamucil. At some point, Dr. Zaro discontinued the defendant's Digoxon, which the plaintiff contends was recommended by an unnamed cardiologist for his heart condition. The plaintiff also asserts that his seizure medication was discontinued.

On May 25, 2010, the plaintiff was again seen by Dr. Bruce, who informed the plaintiff that he did not have a true hernia and that surgery was not necessary. On July 5, 2010, the plaintiff was examined by Dr. Blatt while a female officer was in the exam room. Finally, the plaintiff contends that he has been waiting for a new abdominal binder, as his old one does not provide sufficient support. The plaintiff asserts that he continues to suffer from pain and that he is still in need of surgery for a hernia.

The plaintiff also states that he submitted several grievances to defendants Marsh, Shaylor and Varner, which have either not been "processed" or been rejected as frivolous.*fn3 The plaintiff alleges that these three defendants are therefore violating his First Amendment rights. The plaintiff asserts that defendant Korszniak has not responded to his various grievances.*fn4

The plaintiff seeks compensatory and punitive damages, as well as an injunction ordering the defendants to restore the plaintiff back to his previous pain treatment. The plaintiff has filed numerous motions since filing his complaint and all of the defendants have moved to dismiss the claims against them. On March 16 and 23, 2011, the Court held on-the-record telephone conferences with the plaintiff and counsel for the various defendants to discuss the complaint and the various pending motions.*fn5

II. Motions to Dismiss

A. Motion to Dismiss

Mercy Hospital and Drs. Bruce, Bontempo and Schorr Mercy Hospital and Drs. Bruce, Bontempo and Schorr move to dismiss the claims against them on the grounds that (1) there are no allegations made against Drs. Schorr and Bontempo, (2) there are no constitutional claims against Mercy Hospital or Dr. Bruce, and (3) to the degree that the plaintiff seeks to bring a medical malpractice ...


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