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Dennis Mckeithan v. Nelson Iannuzzi

June 18, 2012

DENNIS MCKEITHAN, PLAINTIFF
v.
NELSON IANNUZZI, N.P., ET AL., DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: William W. Caldwell United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM

I. Introduction and Procedural History The pro se plaintiff is Dennis McKeithan, an inmate at SCI-Frackville in Frackville, Pennsylvania. The case started out as a habeas corpus petition in state court, setting forth several complaints Plaintiff had about his medical care while he was an inmate at SCI-Mahanoy in Frackville. The defendants all worked at SCI-Mahanoy: Nelson Iannuzzi, a nurse practitioner; John Lisiak, M.D., a physician; Marva Cerullo, the prison's Chief Health Care Administrator; and Alice Chipriano, a nurse supervisor.

Because the petition invoked federal constitutional law, defendants (respondents at the time) Iannuzzi and Dr. Lisiak removed the action to this court. We granted Plaintiff's request to convert the case to a civil-rights one, and Plaintiff filed an amended complaint. The amended complaint added another defendant, Amy Albertson, a blood lab technician at the prison. The amended complaint set forth three Eighth Amendment medical claims: (1) failure to treat an ingrown toenail; (2) failure to draw periodic blood samples in an hygienic and safe way; and (3) failure to treat eczema.

On December 21, 2011, we dismissed the amended complaint but granted Plaintiff leave to file a second amended complaint on his eczema and ingrown-toenail claims. Specifically, we ordered:

On the eczema claim, Plaintiff shall set forth factual allegations describing the condition of his eczema, showing that he was denied a lotion he needed for the disease, naming the particular prison employee(s) who failed to provide him with the lotion, and the length of time he was without the lotion.

On the ingrown-toenail claim, Plaintiff shall set forth factual allegations describing the condition of the toenail, naming the particular prison employee(s) who have failed to treat his ingrown toenail, and the occasions they refused him treatment.

Order of December 22, 2011, ¶¶ 5 and 6, 2011 WL 6782305, at *8.

On January 17, 2012, Plaintiff filed a second amended complaint. The defendants are: Iannuzzi, Dr. Lisiak, and Cerullo. We are considering two motions to dismiss the second amended complaint, one filed by Iannuzzi and Dr. Lisiak, and the other by Cerullo.

II. Standard of Review

In considering a motion to dismiss under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), "[w]e 'accept all factual allegations as true, construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and determine whether, under any reasonable reading of the complaint, the plaintiff may be entitled to relief.'" Byers v. Intuit, Inc., 600 F.3d 286, 291 (3d Cir. 2010) (quoted case omitted).

A complaint has to plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1974, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007). Detailed factual allegations are not required, id. at 555, 127 S.Ct. at 1964; Pryor v. Nat'l Collegiate Athletic Ass'n, 288 F.3d 548, 564 (3d Cir. 2002), only a "short and plain statement" showing the right to relief. Pryor, 288 F.3d at 564 (citing Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 122 S.Ct. 992, 152 L.Ed.2d 1 (2002) and quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2)). "The plausibility standard is not akin to a 'probability requirement,' but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556, 127 S.Ct. at 1965). "[M]ore than labels and conclusions" are required. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 127 S.Ct. at 1964--65.

With this standard in mind, we set forth the background to this case, as Plaintiff alleges it.

III. Background

A. The Ingrown Toenail Claim

Plaintiff alleges as follows. On some unspecified date, probably April 24, 2010,*fn1 Plaintiff went to sick call and saw Dr. Lisiak "concerning his infected ingrown toenail cutting into his skin and ...


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