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Tony Manns v. B.A. Bledsoe

September 12, 2011

TONY MANNS,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
B.A. BLEDSOE, ET AL., DEFENDANTS



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

MEMORANDUM

On July 28, 2010, Plaintiff Tony Manns, at the time an inmate at the United States Penitentiary at Lewisburg ("USP-Lewisburg"), Pennsylvania, filed this Bivens-styled civil rights action pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331.*fn1 He has since been transferred to the Federal Correctional Institution in Oakdale, Louisiana. Named as Defendants are USP-Lewisburg employees B. A. Bledsoe, Warden, and Dr. Kevin Pigos, Clinical Director. In the complaint Plaintiff alleges that Defendants violated his Eighth Amendment right to adequate medical care. Presently pending are Defendants' motion to dismiss and for summary judgment and Plaintiff's motion for leave to amend the complaint. (Doc. Nos. 14, 22.) For the reasons that follow, the motion for leave to amend will be denied, and Defendants' motion to dismiss and for summary judgment will be granted.

I. BACKGROUND

The Statement of Claim section in Plaintiff's complaint reads, in its entirety, as follows:

Petitioner has exhausted all administrative remedies pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act PLRA and Title 42 U.S.C. § 1997 seeking $1,000,000 against the Warden/Medical department ($500,000 each) for violating the defendant's Eighth Amendment Const. right due to a deliberate indifference claim by failing to provide interferon treatment for hepatitis C. The administrative remedies will reflect the dates. (Doc. No. 1 at 1.) Defendants move to dismiss the complaint and for summary judgment. (Doc. No. 14.) In support of their motion they submit a brief, a statement of material facts and evidentiary materials. (Doc. Nos. 15, 16.) Prior to submitting any opposition to the motion, Plaintiff filed a motion for leave to amend the complaint to add Defendants on March 14, 2011. (Doc. No. 22.) On April 11, 2011, Plaintiff filed his opposition to Defendants' motion. (Doc. No. 23.)

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

A. Motion to Dismiss

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 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 (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, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (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. This does not impose a probability requirement at the pleading stage, but instead simply calls for enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of the necessary element." Phillips, 515 F.3d at 234 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).

Courts are cautioned that because of this liberal pleading standard, a plaintiff should generally be granted leave to amend before dismissing a claim that is merely deficient. See Grayson v. Mayview State Hosp., 293 F.3d 103, 108 (3d Cir. 2002); Shane v. Fauver, 213 F.3d 113, 116-17 (3d Cir. 2000). The federal rules allow for liberal amendments in light of the "principle that the purpose of pleading is to facilitate a proper decision on the merits." Foman v. Davis, 371 U.S. 178, 182 (1962) (citations and internal quotations omitted). However, leave to amend under Rule 15 may be denied in cases of (1) undue delay; (2) bad faith or dilatory motive; (3) undue prejudice; or (4) futility of amendment. See Foman, 371 U.S. at 182; see also Arthur v. Maersk, Inc., 434 F.3d 196, 204-05 (3d Cir. 2006) (stating that "leave to amend must generally be granted unless equitable considerations render it otherwise unjust"); see also Long v. Wilson, 393 F.3d 390, 400 (3d Cir. 2004) (stating "absent undue or substantial prejudice, an amendment should be allowed under Rule 15(a) unless denial can be grounded in bad faith or dilatory motive, truly undue or unexplained delay, repeated failure to cure deficiency by amendments previously allowed or futility of amendment") (citations and internal quotation marks omitted); Alvin v. Suzuki, 227 F.3d 107, 121 (3d Cir. 2000) (summarizing factors to consider under Rule 15).

B. Motion for Summary Judgment

Under Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, summary judgment is warranted if the movant shows "that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a).*fn2 In pertinent part, parties moving for, or opposing, summary judgment must support their position by "citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c)(1)(A). "The evidence of the non-movant is to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his favor." Colwell v. Rite-Aid Corp., 602 F.3d 495, 501 (3d Cir. 2010) (quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986)).

III. DISCUSSION

A. Motion to Dismiss and for ...


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