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Chinedu Enigwe v. Clyde Gainey

January 23, 2012

CHINEDU ENIGWE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CLYDE GAINEY, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



MEMORANDUM

Three motions are now pending before the court in this matter: plaintiff Chinedu Enigwe's Motion for Default Judgment as to Warden Clyde Gainey (Docket No. 31); defendant Prison Health Services, Inc.'s Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint (Docket No. 33); and defendant Clyde Gainey's Motion to Dismiss (Docket No. 35). For the reasons that follow, the plaintiff's motion for default judgment will be denied, and both defendants' motions to dismiss will be granted.

I. Background

Chinedu Enigwe, proceeding pro se, filed a Complaint against Clyde Gainey and Prime Care Medical, Inc. on March 2, 2010 (Docket No. 3). On April 13, 2010, Enigwe filed a motion to amend the Complaint to replace Prime Care Medical, Inc. with a new defendant, Prison Health Services, Inc. ("PHS") (Docket No. 13). The proposed Amended Complaint was attached to the motion; it included both a new defendant and new substantive allegations. The motion to amend was granted on April 16, 2010 (Docket No. 15), and the proposed Amended Complaint became the operative pleading.*fn1

Prime Care Medical was dismissed as a defendant by stipulation of the parties on May 12, 2010 (Docket Nos. 16, 17).

According to the allegations of the Amended Complaint, Enigwe was detained at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility ("C.F.C.F.") in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for ten days in March 2008. During his detention, Enigwe's "asthma pump was stored with his property and the intake nurse refused to allow him to take it with him. . . . All repeated efforts to get [the] staff at the jail to get his pump [were] to no avail." As a result, Enigwe alleged that he was exposed at C.F.C.F. to "the continued life threatening real possibility of an asthma attack that he feared he could suffer without his pump." Enigwe did not allege that he actually suffered an asthma attack, though he did claim that "on two occasions while locked up in the quarantine section of the jail, he experienced difficulty breathing and suffered nausea, weakness, and intense headaches." The causes of action included both an Eighth Amendment constitutional claim, brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and medical negligence.

As to the named defendants, the Amended Complaint alleged that Clyde Gainey was the warden of C.F.C.F. and "was responsible for Plaintiff's well being . . . but he failed to train his medical staff and correctional officers on how to respond to prisoners with special medical needs." PHS was alleged to be the provider of medical services at the facility and was said to be "responsible" for exposing Enigwe to the possibility of an asthma attack. The Amended Complaint also alleged that the "reckless disregard, and deliberate indifferen[ce]" of the medical staff at C.F.C.F. "must be attributed to" PHS.

PHS filed a Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint on July 12, 2010 (Docket No. 19). On April 6, 2011, I issued an Order granting the motion to dismiss, without prejudice, as to PHS (Docket No. 30). In an accompanying Memorandum (Docket No. 29), I explained that

[t]o state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege the violation of a right secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States, and must show that the alleged deprivation was committed by a person acting under color of state law. A private corporation, such as PHS, may be sued under § 1983 for actions taken under color of state law that deprive a prisoner of adequate medical care. Because PHS is a private corporation involved in the performance of governmental functions, the type of liability to which it may be subjected is limited. Specifically, Enigwe cannot hold PHS liable in respondeat superior (that is, based solely on the actions of its employees). Instead, Enigwe must demonstrate that a PHS policy, practice, or custom was causally related to his ultimate constitutional injury.

Memorandum of Apr. 6, 2011, at 3 (citations and internal quotation marks omitted). Enigwe had not alleged, in the Amended Complaint, that any policy, practice, or custom of PHS was causally related to his claimed constitutional injury.

On April 27, 2011, Enigwe filed a Second Amended Complaint (Docket No. 32).

PHS filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint on May 9, 2011 (Docket No. 33), and Enigwe submitted a Response in opposition to PHS's motion on May 23, 2011 (Docket No. 34).

On April 27, 2011, Enigwe also filed a Motion for Default Judgment against Warden Clyde Gainey (Docket No. 31). Enigwe had previously requested an entry of default against Gainey on October 20, 2010 (Docket No. 26). Gainey filed a Motion to Dismiss the Second Amended Complaint on July 5, 2011 (Docket No. 35), and Enigwe submitted a Response in opposition on July 26, 2011 (Docket No. 37). All of the pending motions are now ripe for disposition.

II. Discussion

A. Plaintiff's Motion for ...


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