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Carlos Robles v. J.J. Casey

February 6, 2012

CARLOS ROBLES, PLAINTIFF
v.
J.J. CASEY, ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS



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

(Magistrate Judge Blewitt)

MEMORANDUM ORDER

Pending before the Court is the Report and Recommendation of Magistrate Judge Thomas Blewitt (Doc. No. 45), which recommends that Defendant Bohinski's motion to dismiss (Doc. No. 30) be granted and that Defendant Bohinski be dismissed with prejudice from the case. Plaintiff Robles has filed an objection to the Report and Recommendation. (Doc. No. 49.) For the reasons stated more fully herein, the Court will adopt the Report and Recommendation in part.

I. BACKGROUND

On December 9, 2010, Plaintiff filed the instant Section 1983 action alleging violations of the Eighth Amendment. (Doc. No. 17.) Plaintiff first alleged that his rights under the Eighth Amendment had been violated because of an incident in which chemicals splashed into his eyes while working in the prison kitchen. (Id. at 12-13.) Plaintiff, who is incarcerated, alleged that he was denied proper medical care for the injury by Defendant Bohinski. (Id.) Plaintiff further alleged that his Eighth Amendment rights had been violated when his doctor, Defendant Bohinski, failed to provide proper medical care by inadequately treating his cataracts and glaucoma. (Id. at 12.)

On August 12, 2011, Defendant Bohinski filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. (Doc. No. 30.) In the motion, Defendant argued that the Eighth Amendment claims raised by Plaintiff should be dismissed for failure to exhaust administrative remedies. (Id. at 3.) Defendant further argued that if the Eighth Amendment claim for failure to adequately treat Plaintiff's glaucoma and cataracts is construed as a medical malpractice claim, it must still be dismissed because Plaintiff failed to file a proper certificate of merit. (Id. at 5.)

On January 4, 2012, Judge Blewitt issued a Report and Recommendation, recommending that Defendant's motion to dismiss be granted. (Doc. No. 45.) First, Judge Blewitt found that the medical malpractice claim must fail because Plaintiff failed to file a proper certificate of merit. (Id. at 11.) Judge Blewitt also recommended that the Eighth Amendment claims raised by Plaintiff against Defendant be dismissed because Plaintiff failed to comply with administrative exhaustion requirements. (Id. at 20.)

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

A motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) tests the legal sufficiency of the complaint. Kost v. Kozakiewicz, 1 F.3d 176, 183 (3d Cir. 1993). In reviewing a motion to dismiss, a court may "consider only the allegations in the complaint, exhibits attached to the complaint, matters of public record, and documents that form the basis of a claim." Lum v. Bank of America, 361 F.3d 217, 221 n.3 (3d Cir. 2004). The motion will only be properly granted when, taking all factual allegations and inferences drawn therefrom as true, the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Markowitz v. Ne. Land Co., 906 F.2d 100, 103 (3d Cir. 1990). The burden is on the moving party to show that no claim has been stated. Johnsrud v. Carter, 620 F.2d 29, 33 (3d Cir. 1980). Thus, the moving party must show that Plaintiff has failed to "set forth sufficient information to outline the elements of his claim or to permit inferences to be drawn that those elements exist." Kost, 1 F.3d at 183 (citations omitted). A court, however, "need not credit a complaint's 'bald assertions' or 'legal conclusions' when deciding a motion to dismiss." Morse v. Lower Merion Sch. Dist., 132 F.3d 902, 906, 908 (3d Cir. 1997). Indeed, the Supreme Court has held that while the 12(b)(6) standard does not require "detailed factual allegations," there must be a "'showing,' rather than a blanket assertion of entitlement to relief. . . . '[F]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.'" Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 231-32 (3d Cir. 2008)(quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). Put otherwise, a civil complaint must "set out 'sufficient factual matter' to show that the claim is facially plausible." Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1955 (2009)).

The Magistrate Act, 28 U.S.C. § 636, and Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 72(b), provide that any party may file written objections to a magistrate's proposed findings and recommendations. In deciding whether to accept, reject, or modify the Report and Recommendation, the Court is to make a de novo determination of those portions of the Report and Recommendation to which objection is made. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).

III. DISCUSSION

On January 19, 2012, Plaintiff filed an objection to the Report and Recommendation. (Doc. No. 49.) Plaintiff objects to Judge Blewitt's finding that Plaintiff has failed to exhaust administrative remedies. (Id. at 2.) Specifically, Plaintiff objects to Judge Blewitt's reasoning that Defendant Bohinski needed to be named in prison grievance proceedings in order to comply with Prison Litigation Reform Act requirements. (Id.) Plaintiff does not object to any other portion of the Report and Recommendation.

A. Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies

Section 1997e(a) of the Prison Litigation Reform Act provides that: "No action shall be brought with respect to prison conditions under section 1983 of this title . . . until such administrative remedies as are available are exhausted." 42U.S.C. ยง 1997e(a). The Third Circuit has held that the Prisoner Litigation Reform Act "requires full and procedurally proper exhaustion of all available administrative remedies as a prerequisite to prisoner suits challenging prison conditions under federal law." Womack v. Smith, 310 F. App'x 547, 550 (3d Cir. 2009). The Supreme Court has broadly interpreted this exhaustion requirement concluding that it "applies to all inmate suits about prison ...


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