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Richard D Reichart v. Prison Health Services

June 26, 2012

RICHARD D REICHART, PLAINTIFF
v.
PRISON HEALTH SERVICES, SCI- CAMP HILL, ET AL., DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Caldwell

MEMORANDUM

I. Introduction

On October 26, 2011, Richard D. Reichart, a state inmate formerly housed at SCI-Camp Hill, in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, filed this civil-rights action.*fn1 Reichart alleges a prison physician advised him that he had cataracts in both eyes and needed corrective surgery. (Doc. 1, Compl.) An ophthalmologist from Premiere Eyelab Group performed "catarac (sic) surgery that went bad, [and now Reichart is] completely blind in [his] left eye from this eye surgery." Id. at p. 2. The court has interpreted Reichart's claim as one of deliberate indifference to a serious medical need. Named as defendants are two entities:

(1) Prison Health Services (PHS), the contract medical care provider at SCI-Camp Hill; and

(2) Premier Eyelab Group (Premiere Eye Care),*fn2 employer of the surgeon who removed the cataract from Reichart's left eye at one of their facilities.

Presently before the court are defendants' separate motions to dismiss. Also pending is Reichart's Motion to file an Amended Complaint. (Doc. 31). For the reasons the follow, the court will dismiss the claims against PHS and Premiere Eye Care but grant Reichart's motion to file an amended complaint.

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). This inquiry is "normally broken into three parts: (1) identifying the elements of the claim, (2) reviewing the complaint to strike conclusory allegations, and then (3) looking at the well-pleaded components of the complaint and evaluating whether all of the elements identified in part one of the inquiry are sufficiently alleged." Malleus v. George, 641 F.3d 560, 563 (3d Cir. 2011). The court may not dismiss a complaint merely because it appears unlikely or improbable that plaintiff can prove the facts alleged or will ultimately prevail on the merits. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 563 n. 8, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1969 n. 8, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007). Instead, the court must ask whether the facts alleged raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of the necessary elements. Id. at 556, 127 S.Ct. at 1966. A court may consider documents attached to the complaint if they form the basis of the plaintiff's claim. Mayer v. Belichick, 605 F.3d 223, 230 (3d Cir. 2010).

"Pro se complaints are 'liberally construed' and 'held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers[.]'" Jackson v. Div. of Developmental Disabilities, 394 F. App'x 950, 951 n.3 (3d Cir. 2010) (nonprecedential) (quoted case omitted). Nonetheless, the complaint still "must contain allegations permitting 'the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.'" Id. (quoted case omitted). In deciding a motion to dismiss, "a court must consider only the complaint, exhibits attached to the complaint, matters of public record, as well as undisputedly authentic documents if the complainant's claims are based upon these documents." Mayer v. Belichick, 605 F.3d 223, 230 (3d Cir 2010) (citing Pension Benefit Guar. Corp. v. White Consol. Indus., Inc., 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir. 1993).

Pro se litigants are to be granted leave to file a curative amended complaint even when a plaintiff does not seek leave to amend. See Fletcher--Harlee Corp. v. Pote Concrete Contractors, Inc., 482 F.3d 247, 252 (3d Cir. 2007). However, dismissal without leave to amend is justified on grounds of bad faith, undue delay, prejudice, or futility. Alston v. Parker, 363 F.3d 229, 235-36 (3d Cir. 2004).

With these principles in mind, we set forth the background to this litigation.

III. Background

While housed at SCI-Camp Hill, Reichart put in a "sick slip" to see the eye doctor "for some reading glasses." (Doc. 1 at ECF p. 2).*fn3 He was seen by an "eye doctor" at SCI-Camp Hill in June and advised that he had cataracts in both eyes and needed surgery. Id. Reichart was "sent out" of SCI-Camp Hill on August 15, 2011, to Premiere Eye Care "for cataract surgery that went bad, [he is] now completely blind in [his] left eye from this eye surgery." Id.

As relief, Reichart seeks a consultation with an outside eye professional to get a "second opinion" as to the status of the vision in his left eye. He also seeks compensatory and punitive ...


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