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Harris v. Commonwealth

United States District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania

March 11, 2013

ROOSEVELT HARRIS, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM RE: MOTION TO DISMISS

MICHAEL M. BAYLSON, U.S.D.J.

I. Introduction Plaintiff Roosevelt Harris, a state prison inmate, filed a Complaint on May 23, 2013. ECF 1. In his complaint, Plaintiff asserts:

(a) § 1983 Claims under the Eighth Amendment against Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Department of Corrections (“DOC”) in Counts I and III;
(b) § 1983 Claims under the Eighth Amendment against two prison physicians, Dr. Vivian Gandy (“Gandy”) and Dr. Benjamin Robinson (“Robinson”), in Counts II and III respectively;
(c) a state law negligence claim against DOC in Count IV;
(d) and a state law medical malpractice claim against Gandy and Robinson in Count V

On October 16, 2013, Defendants DOC and Robinson each filed Motions to Dismiss Plaintiff’s complaint. ECF 10; ECF 11. Plaintiff responded to Robinson’s and DOC’s motions on October 24, 2013 and November 18, 2014, respectively. ECF 12; ECF 17. On October 24, 2013, Robinson filed a motion for joinder as to DOC’s argument regarding lack of jurisdiction for Plaintiff’s failure to exhaust administrative remedies. ECF 13.

Defendant Gandy was not properly served in this action because she no longer works for the same employer and could not be located by the process server. ECF 6.

For reasons that follow, DOC’s motion is GRANTED, Robinson’s motion is GRANTED WITH PREJUDICE as to Count III, and Plaintiff’s complaint against Gandy is DISMISSED without prejudice for lack of service. The Court declines to exercise supplemental jurisdiction the remaining state law medical malpractice claim against Robinson in Count V. 28 U.S.C. § 1367(c)(3).

II. Plaintiff’s Factual Allegations

Plaintiff, Roosevelt Harris, is a state prison inmate. Plaintiff was incarcerated at two State Correctional Institutions, one in Camp Hill, PA (“SCI-Camp Hill”), and the other in Chester, PA (“SCI-Chester”). The same set of facts gives rise to all claims against all defendants.

Events at SCI-Camp Hill

As alleged in the complaint, Plaintiff suffered an ankle injury on August 12, 2012 while playing basketball in the yard at SCI-Camp Hill. ECF 1 ¶ 14. Plaintiff alleges that he was injured due the condition of the basketball court, which was in a state of disrepair with cracked and broken concrete. Id. at ¶¶ 12–13. On the day Plaintiff was injured, a doctor treated Plaintiff’s injury and ordered an x-ray for the following day. Id. at ¶ 19.

On the day of the x-ray, Dr. Vivian Gandy (unserved defendant) assessed Plaintiff’s injury and “cursorily examined” the x-ray film. Id. at ¶ 23. Dr. Gandy informed Plaintiff that his x-ray was “unofficially negative”, and “prescribed that the Plaintiff take Motrin, but failed to . . . indicate that it be taken in any particular amount.” Id. at ¶¶ 23, 27. Plaintiff alleges that Dr. Gandy would have appreciated the severity of his injury if she had examined the x-ray film more carefully. Id. at ¶¶ 23–24.

On August 14, 2012 a radiologist examined the x-ray film and determined that Plaintiff had fractured his ankle. Id. at ¶ 25. Dr. Gandy documented this diagnosis and put Plaintiff’s ankle in a “half cast.” Id. at ΒΆ 28. Plaintiff alleges that Dr. Gandy later altered the report ...


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