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James W. Adee v. Jeffrey Beard

February 6, 2012

JAMES W. ADEE,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
JEFFREY BEARD , ET AL., DEFENDANTS



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

MEMORANDUM

Plaintiff James W. Adee ("Adee") filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. At the time, he was confined at the State Correctional Institution at Coal Township (SCI-Coal Township), Pennsylvania.*fn1 Named as Defendants in the complaint are various Pennsylvania Department of Corrections officials, as well as SCI-Coal Township officials and employees.*fn2 Adee claims that Defendants violated his right to adequate medical care under the Eighth Amendment with respect to an ankle injury he sustained on August 16, 2010, while confined at SCI-Coal Township, and his requests for treatment thereafter. He also sets forth conspiracy and state law claims. He seeks compensatory, punitive and equitable relief. Presently pending are a motion to dismiss filed by the Corrections Defendants (Doc. No. 18), and a motion to dismiss filed by the Medical Defendants (Doc. No. 29). Despite warnings issued to Plaintiff, no briefs in opposition to the motions have been submitted. For the reasons that follow, the motions will be deemed unopposed and granted.

I. Allegations in the complaint

Plaintiff alleges that on the evening of August 16, 2010, he seriously injured his right ankle in the exercise yard. Later the same night, he states his ankle was swollen and caused him extreme pain. He was also unable to bear weight on the ankle. He contacted Defendant Doe, a correctional officer working on his housing unit. Doe refused to contact the medical department as requested by Plaintiff but one hour later provided Plaintiff with a sick call slip to sign up to be seen. He told Plaintiff he would be fine until that time.

The following day, Plaintiff was still unable to bear weight on his ankle and obtained crutches. He also attended sick call on this date and was seen by Defendant Daya. Daya ordered x-rays and Motrin. He also provided Plaintiff with a 600 milligram tablet of Motrin to take while at sick call. According to Plaintiff, when he later attended pill line he was advised that no medication had been ordered for him.

On August 19, 2010, an x-ray of Plaintiff's ankle was performed and the technician believed the ankle was either broken or something was torn. Plaintiff sent Defendant Ellett a request slip complaining about his pain and that he had only received one Motrin. (Doc. No. 1, Compl. at 34.)

On August 20, 2010, Plaintiff again attended sick call. He was examined by Defendant Davis and complained of severe pain and how no pills had been ordered for him. Davis provided Plaintiff with a blister pack of Motrin. On August 22, 2010, Plaintiff sent a request slip to Defendant McCarty inquiring as to the results of his x-ray, and complaining about his pain and the competency of the medical staff at SCI-Coal Township. (Id. at 35.) The following day, another request slip was sent to McCarty wherein Plaintiff complained of pain and numbness and requested to be seen by a doctor. (Id. at 36.)

On August 26, 2010, Plaintiff attended sick call where he was examined by Defendant Davis. Davis informed him that the x-rays revealed no fracture, but did show soft tissue damage. Davis instructed Plaintiff to begin bearing weight on the ankle and to do motion exercises. Davis also provided Plaintiff with Motrin. Plaintiff claims he was unable to bear weight or do the exercises because of the pain. On August 30, 2010, he sent another request slip to McCarty asking to be seen by a doctor. (Id. at 37.) He was examined on September 1, 2010 at sick call by Davis, and prescribed Naprison.

On September 9, 2010, he sent a request slip to McCarty asking to be seen by another doctor for a second opinion. (Id. at 38.) On the same date, Plaintiff attended sick call complaining of pain and numbness and requesting an M.R.I. He sent McCarty another request slip on September 15, 2010 complaining that the physicians assistants would not refer him to a doctor. On the same date, he also sent a request slip to Defendant Ellett complaining of numbness, burning and the inability to bend several of his toes. (Id. at 40.)

On September 22, 2010, Plaintiff was summoned to the medical department for "M.D. Line." He was examined by Dr. Weisner. Weisner told Plaintiff he thought he had nerve damage. Plaintiff was again requested at M.D. Line on September 24, 2010, and examined by Weisner. Weisner told Plaintiff he would order more Naproxen and order a consult for him with an orthopaedic surgeon.

On October 5, 2010, Plaintiff attended sick call with complaints of pain, numbness and swelling. He was examined by Dr. Stanish who renewed his medical order for crutches until October 31, 2010. On October 12, 2010, Plaintiff was requested in the medical department for a televised medical appointment with Dr. Kunkle. Kunkle informed Plaintiff that he had cartilage damage, and requested P.A. Daya to show Plaintiff some physical therapy stretches with rubber bands. According to Plaintiff, Daya never did so or provided him with any bands. On October 20, 2010, Plaintiff sent a request slip to McCarty asking when he would receive the physical therapy. A week later, the same request was sent to Defendant Ellett. (Doc. No. 1, at 41- 42.)

Plaintiff was transported to Dr. Kunkle's office in Ashland, Pennsylvania on November 1, 2010, where he received three (3) injections in his foot. He was told to return in one (1) month, to start physical therapy, and soak his foot in warm water every day. He further told Plaintiff that when he injured his ankle he should have iced, stabilized or casted it immediately, and that walking on it may have caused more damage.

On November 2, 2010, Plaintiff sent McCarty a request slip inquiring about when therapy would begin and advising her about the need to soak his foot and his need for follow-up with Kunkle in a month. McCarty responded by informing Plaintiff he could do the soaks in his cell. Plaintiff claims that there is nothing that would allow him to do so.

On November 7, 2010, Plaintiff attended sick call to obtain more pain medication. He was examined by P.A. Davis who told him to "get what you need when you get out." (Doc. No. 1, ¶ 26.) On the same date, Plaintiff was summoned to intake for transportation to SCI-Mahanoy where he was taken to see a physical therapist. The therapist told Plaintiff his ankle was probably broken and that he should have iced it after it happened. Plaintiff was shown some stretching exercises and told to ride a stationary bike and use a stair stepper.

On November 13, 2010 Plaintiff was provided with ice at pill line, and on November 16, 2010 he had another televised appointment with Dr. Kunkle. When Plaintiff complained of pain, swelling and numbness, Kunkle advised him to wear a support brace/shoe and do warm water soaks. Daya was advised by Kunkle to provide Plaintiff with a brace. Although Daya said he would look for a brace or have one ordered, Plaintiff claims he never received one.

On December 19, 2010, a request slip was sent by Plaintiff to Defendant Ellett asking for his help in obtaining an ankle brace. (Id. at 52, 53.) On December 22, 2010, a request slip was also sent to Defendant Beard asking him to intervene to ensure that Plaintiff received proper medical care. (Id. at 54.) Plaintiff contends that various independent health providers selected by the DOC thereafter recommended further tests and evaluations of his condition, but that Defendants failed to approve or allow the same. Based upon the foregoing, Plaintiff contends that he did not receive proper treatment for his ankle and that this failure created further damage and problems resulting in his inability to use his toes and ankle properly. He maintains that the condition of his injury was obvious and could have been effectively treated if done so promptly by Defendants. As of the filing of the complaint, he maintains he still has not received all treatments recommended for his condition. Plaintiff claims that his right to adequate medical care under the Eighth Amendment has been ...


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