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Todd Darrell Ballard v. Co 1 Williams

September 24, 2012

TODD DARRELL BALLARD, PLAINTIFF
v.
CO 1 WILLIAMS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Martin C. Carlson United States Magistrate Judge

(Judge Caputo)

(Magistrate Judge Carlson)

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

Now pending before the Court is Plaintiff's motion seeking leave to file a second amended complaint in this action in order to name Nurse Marcie Boyer as a Defendant in this case, in place of the "Jane Doe" Defendant previously named in her place. (Doc. 106.) Plaintiff has also moved for an order directing that the proposed second amended complaint be served upon Nurse Boyer, a nurse at the State Correctional Institution at Camp Hill. (Doc. 105.) The Pennsylvania Office of General Counsel has filed a brief in opposition to Plaintiff's motion for leave to amend, arguing that the proposed amendment to name Marcy Boyer as a Defendant, and have her substituted for the "Jane Doe" Defendant in this case, should be denied because the claims are barred by the statute of limitations. (Doc. 108.) Because we agree that Plaintiff's claims are time-barred, and that Plaintiff's proposed amendment to name Nurse Boyer does not satisfy Rule 15(c)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure with respect to the relation back of amendments to the original pleading, we are constrained to recommend that the motion for leave to amend be denied.

II. BACKGROUND

Todd Darrell Ballard, an inmate formerly incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at Camp Hill who is proceeding pro se, commenced the above-captioned action in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania on June 28, 2010, asserting that prison staff and officials violated his constitutional rights following an altercation between Ballard and his cellmate on March 30, 2008. Ballard claims that corrections officers at SCI-Camp Hill entered his cell following the altercation, and that the officers assaulted him and burned him on a radiator during this process. (Doc. 68, Am. Compl.) In this regard, Plaintiff alleges that he was slammed against the wall multiple times, and that he suffered burns when his head was pressed against a radiator after he was forced to the floor and handcuffed. Plaintiff also alleges that some of the Defendants failed to intervene. (Id.) Ballard further avers that corrections staff stole some of his personal property, and he charges that Defendants Zobitne and Palakovich failed to investigate adequately his complaints about the alleged assault and stolen property after he filed a grievance regarding the March 30, 2008 incident.

In addition, Ballard sued three of the prison's physicians assistants, Linda Diebert, Kristin Barbacci, and Colleen Newfield, alleging that each rendered inadequate medical treatment to him for injuries that he sustained as a result of the alleged March 30, 2008 assault. In addition to these three named medical professionals, Ballard has also sued a "Jane Doe" Defendant, whom he claims is "a medical staff employee at SCI-Camp Hill," and he alleges took pictures of his injuries following the March 30, 2008 incident, but otherwise failed to provide any medical treatment for the injuries. (Id.)

The Corrections Defendants*fn1 moved to dismiss the complaint on the grounds that Plaintiff's constitutional claims were barred by the two-year limitations period applicable to actions brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Additionally, these Defendants moved to dismiss the claims against Defendants Palakovich and Zobitne on the grounds that Plaintiff's claims against them for their role in handling his grievance fail to state a cognizable claim upon which relief can be granted.

The Medical Defendants moved to dismiss Plaintiff's claims against them for two different reasons. First, these Defendants argued that to the extent Plaintiff brought claims against them for alleged deliberate indifference to his medical needs in violation of the Eighth Amendment, these claims are time-barred or otherwise incapable of being brought in federal court because Plaintiff failed to exhaust administrative remedies relating to them. Second, to the extent Plaintiff's claims sound in negligence for medical malpractice under Pennsylvania state law, the Medical Defendants asserted that the claims must be dismissed because Plaintiff failed to file a timely certificate of merit as required by Rule 1042.3 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure.

On December 9, 2010, we issued a report and recommendation in which we recommended that the motions be granted in part and denied in part. (Doc. 38.) On October 25, 2011, the District Court entered an order that adopted the report and recommendation, and permitted Plaintiff to file a second amended complaint. (Doc. 62.) On December 15, 2011, Plaintiff filed a second amended complaint, which the Corrections Defendants and Medical Defendants have answered. (Docs. 68, 70, 71.)

By memorandum order dated July 31, 2012, the Court directed Plaintiff to file a motion for leave to amend the complaint in order to substitute Nurse Marcie Boyer for the "Jane Doe" Defendant named in the original caption. However, in that memorandum order, the Court took care to observe for Plaintiff that the applicable statute of limitations governing Plaintiff's claims against Nurse Boyer may be implicated, and that the facts may not satisfy the relation-back provisions of Rule 15(c)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to allow for Plaintiff to bring his claims against Nurse Boyer at this time. (Doc. 103.) On August 6, 2012, Plaintiff moved the Court to order service of the second amended complaint upon Nurse Boyer. (Doc. 105.) On August 17, 2012, Plaintiff moved for leave to file a third amended complaint, in order to name Nurse Boyer as a Defendant in place of the "Jane Doe" Defendant he originally named. (Doc. 106.)

III. DISCUSSION

The allegations against the "Jane Doe" Defendant relate to events that allegedly occurred on March 30, 2008, when this Defendant is alleged to have photographed but failed to treat Plaintiff for injuries suffered at the hands of corrections officers. The claims against this Defendant are for medical malpractice or are otherwise for civil rights violations for ...


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