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William Rock v. Donna Asure

September 11, 2012

WILLIAM ROCK,
PLAINTIFF
v.
DONNA ASURE, ET AL., DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: (Magistrate Judge Carlson)

(Judge Rambo)

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

I. Introduction

The plaintiff, William Rock, complains that he was not seen in a timely manner by a specialist for a thumb injury he incurred while in a county prison. He blames the Warden as well as a doctor and nurse at the prison for the lapse.

A. Allegations and Procedural History

In November of 2011, Rock filed an amended complaint naming Donna Asure-the Warden of the Monroe County Correctional Facility-Dr. Jane Doe, and Nurse Jane Doe as defendants. In March of 2012, he filed a motion for leave to file an amended complaint naming Prime Care Medical, Inc. as a new defendant. He also identified defendants Dr. Jane Doe and Nurse Jane Doe as Dr. Deborah Wilson and Grace Ramos-Huertas respectively. Because Rock did not file a brief in support of that motion for leave to file an amended complaint, the motion was deemed withdrawn. But Wilson and Ramos-Huertas were substituted for the Doe defendants.

Rock alleges that, in October of 2009, he fell and ruptured his left thumb ulnar collateral ligament. He was taken to the emergency room of the Pocono Medical Center where a doctor told him that he needed to see a specialist within five days for treatment of his injury.

Rock contends that, upon his return to the prison, he told defendant Ramos-Huertas that he was in severe pain and that the emergency room doctor had said that he needed to see a specialist within five days. The next day, he spoke with defendant Wilson and explained that he was still in pain and that the emergency room doctor had said that he needed to see a specialist within five days of his injury. He spoke with Wilson again on October 14th, and she told him that he would be seen by a specialist. Rock alleges that he was not seen by a specialist, and, a couple of days later, even though he was still in severe pain, he was taken off the Tylenol 3 that had been prescribed for him.

According to Rock, on November 2, 2009, after twenty-two days of being in severe pain and not seeing a specialist, he filed a grievance notifying defendant Asure that he has not seen a specialist as directed by the emergency room doctor. Rock alleges that, four days later, defendant Asure allowed him to be transferred to another facility knowing that he was in need of emergency treatment.

Rock alleges that when he finally saw a specialist in June of 2010, the specialist told him that, because he had not been treated when the injury first occurred, the main tendon from his wrist to his elbow would need to be removed. He had surgery in August of 2010.

Rock claims that the defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment. He seeks compensatory and punitive damages.

Defendants Wilson and Ramos-Huertas filed an answer to the amended complaint. After the court denied defendant Asure's motion to dismiss, she also filed an answer to the amended complaint.

In June of 2012, Rock filed another motion for leave to file an amended complaint. This time he filed a brief in support. But because he failed to file a proposed second amended complaint with his motion as required by Local Rule 15.1, that motion was denied.

B. Pending Motions

There are six motions pending that were filed by Rock: a motion for reconsideration of the order denying his motion for leave to file an amended complaint; another motion for leave to file an amended complaint; two motions to compel discovery; a motion for an extension of the discovery deadline; and a motion for the appointment of counsel. For the reasons that follow, we will deny all of those motions except the motion for an extension of the discovery deadline.

II. Motion for Reconsideration

Rock contends that the court should reconsider its order denying his prior motion for leave to amend.

"The purpose of a motion for reconsideration is to correct manifest errors of law or fact or to present newly discovered evidence." Harsco Corp. v. Zlotnicki, 779 F.2d 906, 909 (3d Cir. 1985). A motion for reconsideration is only proper in limited circumstances: (1) when there is an intervening change in the controlling law, (2) when there is new evidence not previously available, or (3) when there is the need to correct a clear error of law or fact or to prevent a manifest injustice. Howard Hess Dental Labs Inc. v. Dentsply Intern., Inc., 602 F.3d 237, 251 (3d Cir. 2010). Mere disagreement with the court does not translate into a clear error of law or fact. Petruzzi's, Inc. v. Darling-Delaware Co., Inc., 983 F.Supp. 595, 611 (M.D. Pa. 1996). "A motion for reconsideration is not a tool to relitigate and reargue issues which have already been considered and disposed of by the court." Id. "Nor is it to be used to put forth additional arguments which could have been made but which the party neglected to make before judgment." Waye v. First Citizen's Nat'l Bank, 846 F.Supp. 310, 314 (M.D. Pa. 1994), aff'd, 31 F.3d 1175 (3d Cir. 1994)(Table). Because courts have a strong interest of finality, they should grant motions for reconsideration sparingly. Kitzmiller v. Dover Area Sch. Dist., 388 F.Supp.2d 484, 488 (M.D.Pa. 2005).

Judged against these stringent standards, Rock's motion for reconsideration fails. Rock asserts that he mistakenly believed that he had to wait until directed by the court before submitting a proposed second amended complaint. Yet Local Rule 15.1 clearly provides otherwise. While recognizing that pro se litigants are not held to the same strict standards as lawyers, Rock's mistake is not a reason to grant a motion for reconsideration. And so we will deny the motion for reconsideration. In any event, because Rock has filed another motion for leave to file a second amended complaint, which we consider below, he will not be prejudiced by denial of his motion for reconsideration.

III. Motion for Leave to Amend

Rock has filed another motion for leave to file a second amended complaint. This time he has filed both a brief in support and a proposed second amended complaint.

A. Leave to Amend Standard

Rule 15(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides that the court should freely give leave to amend when justice so requires. Fed.R.Civ.P. 15(a)(2). Justice does not require leave to amend, however, when the amendment would be futile. "Futility 'means that the complaint, as amended, would fail to state a claim upon which relief could be granted.'" Great Western Mining & Mineral Co. v. Fox Rothschild LLP, 615 F.3d 159, 175 (3d Cir. 2010)(quoting In re Merck & Co. Securities, Derivative & ERISA Litig., 493 F.3d 393, 400 (3d Cir. 2007)).

B. The Proposed Second Amended Complaint Fails to

State a Claim Upon which Relief can ...


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