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Erik Miguel Mccray v. Dr. Martinez Psychiatry

August 23, 2012

ERIK MIGUEL MCCRAY,
PLAINTIFF
v.
DR. MARTINEZ PSYCHIATRY, ET AL., DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Stengel, J.

MEMORANDUM

Erik Miguel McCray, an inmate currently housed at the State Correctional Institution at Graterford, brought this action pro se against the prison, its psychiatrist, and other officials pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Mr. McCray claims that between March 2008*fn1 and August 2011, he was overmedicated and put through psychological stress and trauma while housed at Graterford. The defendant psychiatrist and the Commonwealth defendants have filed two separate motions to dismiss to which the plaintiff has yet to respond. For the following reasons, I will grant the motions to dismiss in their entirety.

I. BACKGROUND

While at Graterford, Mr. McCray has been housed at different times in the mental health unit, the special needs unit, and in a psychiatric observation cell. See Compl. at 3. He has a history of mental health problems, and alleges that he has suffered psychological stress as a result of unspecified side effects of various medications between March 2008 and August 2011. Id. at 2-3. Mr. McCray also complains that he has been housed with other inmates who have "extreme psychological and emotional problems," and that being around them always interfered with his mental health and with his making advancements. He alleges that all of this was done to him when he was at his worst mental state. Id.

Mr. McCray acknowledges that he filed grievances with the Grievance Coordinator at Graterford in which he challenged this treatment, but those grievances were rejected. He also acknowledges that he did not appeal those rejections to the Superintendent or Facility Manager at Graterford, but only to the Central Office in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania.

As relief, Mr. McCray would like to be sent to a prison in the northern half of the Commonwealth, and to receive damages in the amount of "$1.8 million for years of mental and psychological pain, anguish, trauma, torture, and stress;" and for the physical injury he suffered as a result of "being overdosed on recalled medication" that resulted in "bad side effects."

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

Following the Supreme Court decisions in Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) and Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009), pleadings standards in federal civil rights actions have shifted from simple notice pleading to a more heightened form of pleading, requiring a plaintiff to plead more than the possibility of relief to survive a motion to dismiss under Fed. R. Civ. P.12(b)(6). Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210-211 (3d Cir. 2009); see also Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F. 3d 224, 230 (3d Cir. 2008).

Therefore, following Twombly and Iqbal, when presented with a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim, district courts should conduct a two-part analysis. First, the factual and legal elements of a claim should be separated. The court must accept all of the complaint's well-pleaded facts as true but may disregard legal conclusions. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. Second, a district court must determine whether the facts alleged in the complaint are sufficient to show that the plaintiff has a "plausible claim for relief." Id. In other words, a complaint must do more than allege the plaintiff's entitlement to relief. A complaint has to "show" such an entitlement with its facts. Id.; see also Phillips, 515 F.3d at 234-235. As the Supreme Court instructed in Iqbal, "[w]here the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged -- but it has not 'show[n]' -- 'that the pleader is entitled to relief.'" Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679.

III. DISCUSSION

Under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a private party may recover in an action against any person acting under the color of state law who deprives the party of his or her constitutional rights. Section 1983 provides in pertinent part:

Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person . . . to the deprivation of any rights, privileges or immunities secured by the Constitution and law, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress.

Therefore, in order to succeed on a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must demonstrate: (1) the violation of a right secured by the Constitution, and (2) that the constitutional deprivation was committed by a person acting under the color of state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988). Section 1983 does not by itself confer substantive rights, but instead provides a remedy for redress when a constitutionally protected right has been violated. Oklahoma City v. Tuttle, 471 U.S. 808, 816 (1985). To determine if a person was acting under the color of state law, the court must ask whether the plaintiff's deprivation was "caused by the exercise of some right or privilege created by the State" and whether the defendant "may fairly be said to be a state actor." Lugar v. Edmondson Oil Co., 457 U.S. 922, 937 (1982).

Here, the defendants argue that this action must be dismissed because Mr. McCray failed to exhaust requisite available administrative remedies ...


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