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Daniel Rivera v. Mr. Jenkins

November 30, 2012

DANIEL RIVERA,
PLAINTIFF
v.
MR. JENKINS, MR. MILLER, DEFENDANTS



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Christopher C. Conner United States District Judge

Judge Conner

MEMORANDUM

Plaintiff Daniel Rivera ("Rivera "), an inmate housed at the State Correctional Institution at Camp Hill ("SCI-Camp Hill), Pennsylvania, commenced this civil rights action on May 10, 2012, naming Mr. Jenkins and Mr. Miller as defendants. (Doc. 1.) Before the court is a motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) filed on behalf of both defendants. (Doc. 11.) For the reasons set forth below, the motion to dismiss will be deemed unopposed and granted.

I. Procedural Background

On August 22, 2012, defendants filed a motion to dismiss. (Doc. 11.) A supporting brief was filed on September 5, 2012. (Doc. 12) In response to defendants' motion and brief, Rivera filed a motion for appointment of counsel. The motion for appointment of counsel was denied, but he was granted until September 28, 2012, to file an opposition brief. (Doc. 16.) At that time he was notified that his failure to comply with the deadline would result in the motion being deemed unopposed. (Id., citing L.R. 7.6 ("Any party opposing any motion shall file a brief in opposition . . . [or] shall be deemed not to oppose such motion.")) Rivera moved for an extension of time to file his brief. On October 15, 2012, his motion was granted and he was afforded until October 26, 2012, to file his brief. (Doc. 17.) More than a month has passed since that deadline expired and he has failed to oppose defendants' motion. Consequently, the motion is deemed unopposed.

II. Standard of Review

Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides for the dismissal of complaints that fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. FED. R. CIV. P. 12(b)(6). When ruling on a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the court must "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." Gelman v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 583 F.3d 187, 190 (3d Cir. 2009) (quoting Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 233 (3d Cir. 2008)); see also Kanter v. Barella, 489 F.3d 170, 177 (3d Cir. 2007) (quoting Evancho v. Fisher, 423 F.3d 347, 350 (3d Cir. 2005)). Although the court is generally limited in its review to the facts contained in the complaint, it "may also consider matters of public record, orders, exhibits attached to the complaint and items appearing in the record of the case." Oshiver v. Levin, Fishbein, Sedran & Berman, 38 F.3d 1380, 1384 n.2 (3d Cir. 1994); see also In re Burlington Coat Factory Sec. Litig., 114 F.3d 1410, 1426 (3d Cir. 1997).

Federal notice and pleading rules require the complaint to provide "the defendant notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Phillips, 515 F.3d at 232 (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). To test the sufficiency of the complaint in the face of a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the court must conduct a three-step inquiry. See Santiago v. Warminster Twp., 629 F.3d 121, 130-31 (3d Cir. 2010). In the first step, "the court must 'tak[e] note of the elements a plaintiff must plead to state a claim.'" Id. (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1947 (2009)). Next, the factual and legal elements of a claim should be separated; well-pleaded facts must be accepted as true, while mere legal conclusions may be disregarded. Id.; see also Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210--11 (3d Cir. 2009). Once the well-pleaded factual allegations have been isolated, the court must determine whether they are sufficient to show a "plausible claim for relief." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556U.S. 662, 129 S. Ct. at 1950 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556); Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (requiring plaintiffs to allege facts sufficient to "raise a right to relief above the speculative level"). A claim "has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 129 S. Ct. at 1949. When the complaint fails to present a prima facie case of liability, however, courts should generally grant leave to amend before dismissing a complaint. See Grayson v. Mayview State Hosp., 293 F.3d 103, 108 (3d Cir. 2002); Shane v. Fauver, 213 F.3d 113, 116--17 (3d Cir. 2000).

III. Allegations of the Complaint

Rivera alleges that he is being denied medication which is necessary to prevent suicidal risks. (Doc. 1, at 2.) He alleges that defendants Miller and Jenkins were deliberately indifferent to his mental health needs by refusing him his medication. (Id.) He also indicates that he has "tried his hardest to file all grievances but was not able to fully" because he in unable to write in English. (Id.)

IV. Discussion

Section 1983 of Title 42 of the United States Code offers private citizens a cause of action for violations of federal law by state officials. See 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The statute provides, in pertinent part, as follows:

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 within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress.

Id.; see also Gonzaga Univ. v. Doe, 536 U.S. 273, 284-85 (2002); Kneipp v. Tedder, 95 F.3d 1199, 1204 (3d Cir. 1996). To state a claim under ยง 1983, a plaintiff must allege "the violation of a right secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States, and must show that the alleged deprivation was committed by ...


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