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Sean Tapp v. Danny Brazill

December 13, 2011


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


December _____ , 2011

Presently before the Court is Defendants' motion to dismiss filed by PrimeCare Medial ("PrimeCare"), Keri Medina, Valeria Bradley, Lori Hostetter, and Dr. William Young (jointly the "Medical Defendants")*fn1 (Doc. 23) and Plaintiff's response in Opposition thereto (Doc. 25). Based upon the following analysis, the Defendants' motion is granted.


Plaintiff Sean Tapp, a pro se prisoner, initiated this action against numerous Lancaster County Prison personnel raising federal constitutional claims and supplemental state law claims.*fn2

With regard to the Medical Defendants, Plaintiff sued the Defendants under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging that he was subjected to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of his Eighth Amendment rights because he was denied adequate medical care.*fn3 Plaintiff also asserts claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1985 alleging that he was deprived of certain rights and privileges afforded to other inmates. Plaintiff's specific claims as to each Medical Defendant are as follows: (1) Plaintiff asserts claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1985 against Nurse Keri Medina and Nurse Lori Hostetter alleging that Defendants purposely misdiagnosed him with MRSA as part of a conspiracy to have him "jumped and sent to solitary confinement" to prevent him from accessing the "law library and litigating his criminal and civil case pro se" (Compl. ¶¶ 6-9); Plaintiff's remaining claims are under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in which he claims (2) Defendants Medina and Hostetter "intentionally, falsely, misdiagnosed" him with MRSA; (3) Valeria Bradley was notified that he was not receiving his MRSA medication and failed to personally resolve the issue; (4) Dr. Young required him to sign a form before providing him with medical treatment; and (5) PrimeCare created "a custom and policy of putting money first . . . by hiring non qualified individuals . . . as well as no frill over the counter drugs instead of p[re]scribed medication [and] misdiagnosis." (Compl. ¶¶ 5, 11-14; Pl.'s Resp. ¶¶ 6-8).

In response, Medical Defendants argue that (1) Plaintiff's complaint failed to state a claim under 42 U.S.C. §1983; (2) Plaintiff incorrectly asserted a private right of action under HIPPA; and (3) should this Court dismiss Plaintiff's §1983 claims, any remaining state law claims should similarly be dismissed because considerations of judicial economy, convenience, and or fairness do not warrant the exercise of this Court's supplemental jurisdiction. (Doc. 24).


On a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), the court is required to accept as true all allegations in the complaint and all reasonable inferences that can be drawn therefrom, and to view them in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. See Oshiver v. Levin, Fishbein, Sedran & Berman, 38 F.3d 1380, 1384 (3d Cir. 1994). A complaint should be dismissed only if the alleged facts, taken as true, fail to state a claim. See In re Warfarin Sodium Antitrust Litig., 214 F.3d 395, 397-98 (3d Cir. 2000). The question is whether the claimant can prove any set of facts consistent with his or her allegations that will entitle him or her to relief, not whether that person will ultimately prevail. Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974); Semerenko v. Cendant Corp., 223 F.3d 165, 173 (3d Cir. 2000).

While a court will accept well-pled allegations as true for the purposes of the motion, it will not accept bald assertions, unsupported conclusions, unwarranted inferences, or sweeping legal conclusions cast in the form of factual allegations. Morse v. Lower Merion Sch. Dist., 132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir. 1997). The United States Supreme Court has recognized that "a plaintiff's obligation to provide the 'grounds' of his 'entitle[ment] to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). In Twombly the Court made clear that it would not require a "heightened fact pleading of specifics," but only "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Id. at 570. A "pleader is required to 'set forth sufficient information to outline the elements of his claim or to permit inferences to be drawn that these elements exist.'" Kost v. Kozakiewicz, 1 F.3d 176, 183 (3d Cir. 1993) (citation omitted).

In 2009 the United States Supreme Court revisited the requirements for surviving a 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1950 (2009). In Iqbal, the Court made clear that "threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements [are] not suffic[ient]" to defeat a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. Id. at 1949. "[O]nly a complaint that states a plausible claim for relief [will] survive[] a motion to dismiss." Id. at1950.

In light of the decision in Iqbal, the Third Circuit set forth a two-part analysis to be applied by district courts when presented with a 12(b)(6) motion. First, the court must separate the legal elements and factual allegations of the claim, with the well-pleaded facts accepted as true but the legal conclusions disregarded. Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210-11 0(3d Cir. 2009). Second, the court must determine whether the facts alleged in the complaint demonstrate that the plaintiff has a "plausible claim for relief." Id. at 211. If the court can only infer the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint must be dismissed because it has alleged -- but has failed to show -- that the pleader is entitled to relief. Id.


The Court notes that documents filed pro se are to be liberally construed and must be held to a less stringent standard than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 2200 (2007). However, even applying these liberal standards, the Court finds ...

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