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Orlando Fernandez v. Donald Reihart

November 8, 2012

ORLANDO FERNANDEZ, PLAINTIFF
v.
DONALD REIHART, SOLICITOR, ET AL.
DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Caldwell

MEMORANDUM

I. Introduction

Plaintiff, Orlando Fernandez, is an ICE (or "INS") detainee confined at the Clinton County Prison in McElhatten, Pennsylvania. He filed this 42 U.S.C. § 1983 lawsuit based on his treatment while he was confined at the York County Prison. He makes a claim for excessive force arising from an altercation with prison personnel and several claims for unconstitutional medical treatment, some of the treatment arising from the altercation.

The "medical defendants" have filed a motion to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. They argue that, at most, Plaintiff alleges only a disagreement with their treatment of his conditions, which is insufficient for a civil-rights claims based on medical care. The medical defendants are: Dr. Rollings-Mazza, Dr. Erik Von Kiel, Jennifer Miosi, Chris Jensen, Toby Catone, Jeff Leer, Shannon Taylor, Robin Rochow, Michelle Rau, Laura Skaggs and John/Jane Does.

II. Standard of Review

In considering a motion to dismiss under Fed. R. Civ. Proc. 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 need only contain "a short and plain statement of the claim," Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2), and detailed factual allegations are not required, Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007). Nonetheless, a complaint has to plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Id. at 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955 at 1974. "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, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556, 127 S.Ct. at 1965). "[L]abels and conclusions" are not enough, Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 127 S.Ct. at 1964-65, and a court "'is not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation.'" Id., 127 S.Ct. at 1965 (quoted case omitted).

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

III. Background

Plaintiff alleges as follows. On February 16, 2010, defendant Captain Bolding "thr[ew him] to the floor in a harsh manner . . . while [he was] still handcuffed," and several correctional officers "fell upon [him] while he was on the floor." (Compl. ¶¶ 31-32). "Plaintiff began screaming in pain and stated that he was being hurt," and he "was [then] escorted to the crosshall medical unit." (Id. ¶¶ 33, 45).

Plaintiff was examined by "Nurse Laura Doe" (identified as Laura Skaggs) and he "asked [her] to transport him to the hospital for evaluation and treatment because he was in severe pain." (Id. ¶¶ 46-47). "Plaintiff was examined briefly by the nurses in the medical unit and the uniformed officers were informed that [he] was fine and fit to return to his unit even though [he] asserted that he was in severe pain." (Id. ¶ 50). As a result of "disruption," Plaintiff was then placed "into administrative segregation." (Id. ¶ 54).

The following day, February 17, at Plaintiff's request, he was taken to the "INS" medical unit. (Id. ¶¶ 59-60). The nurse at that unit said "she did not know what to do for Plaintiff" and she and Nurse John/Jane Doe "placed him into a wheelchair and transported him to the cross hall medical unit for further observation." (Id. ¶ 67). At the cross hall unit, "Nurse John/Jane Doe . . . examined the Plaintiff's ankle and directed that the ankle be treated with ice." (Id. ¶ 68).

Physician's assistant, defendant Toby Catone, then examined Plaintiff, causing him to "scream[ ] out in pain" when she touched his back. (Id. ¶¶ 70-71). She "prescribed pain medication and directed him to leave her office." (Id. ¶ 72).

On February 18, "Plaintiff was called to the cross halls medical unit. He was denied a request to use a wheelchair and hopped to the unit. (Id. ΒΆΒΆ 77-78). At the unit, Plaintiff was given X-rays on his "ankle and thumb . . . but not ...


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