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Thomas v. Walton

United States District Court, Third Circuit

May 10, 2013

JEFFROW THOMAS, Plaintiff,
v.
MR. JOHN WALTON, Warden; MR. STEVEN CMAR, Deputy Warden; MR. BILL NICHOLSON, Medical Supervisor; MR. MIKE KUSMA, Physician Assistant; MS. GAIL GASKILL, Nurse, Defendants.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION ECF No. 26

MAUREEN P. KELLY, Magistrate Judge.

I. RECOMMENDATION

Plaintiff Jeffrow Thomas ("Plaintiff") is an inmate in the custody of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections and is currently incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at Huntingdon in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. Plaintiff filed this civil rights action against Defendants Mr. John Walton, Warden ("Walton"); Mr. Steven Cmar, Deputy Warden ("Cmar"); Mr. Bill Nicholson, Medical Supervisor ("Nicholson"); Mr. Mike Kusma, Physician Assistant ("Kusma"); and Ms. Gail Gaskill, Nurse ("Gaskill") (collectively, "Defendants"), alleging that Defendants failed to provide him with proper medical treatment in violation of his rights provided by the First, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution while he was incarcerated at the Westmoreland County Prison in Greensburg, Pennsylvania.

Presently before the Court is a Motion to Dismiss ("the Motion") submitted by Defendants. ECF No. 26. For the reasons that follow, is respectfully recommended that the Motion be granted.

II. REPORT

A. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff filed a Motion for Leave to Proceed In Forma Pauperis on January 12, 2012, which was granted by this Court on March 16, 2012. ECF Nos. 1, 2. The Complaint was filed on March 19, 2012. ECF No. 3.

On July 27, 2012, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Leave to file an Amended Complaint which this Court denied insofar as Plaintiff did not need to seek leave of Court to amend the Complaint at that juncture. ECF: 7/30/2012 Text Order. Plaintiff was also advised that any amendment he filed must include all the claims he wished to raise and name all the Defendants against whom he wished to proceed in a single comprehensive document. Id . On August 20, 2012, rather than file an amended complaint, Plaintiff filed another Motion for Leave to File an Amended Complaint. ECF No. 18. The Court granted that motion on September 4, 2012, and ordered Plaintiff to file an amended complaint on or before September 18, 2012. Plaintiff was again advised to include all the claims he wished to raise and name all the Defendants against whom he wished to proceed in the amended complaint. ECF: 9/4/2012 Text Order. In addition, Plaintiff was advised that his failure to file an amended complaint in accordance with the Court's order would render the Complaint he originally filed the operative complaint. Id.

Plaintiff again failed to file an amended complaint but instead, on September 17, 2012, filed yet another Motion for Leave to file an Amended Complaint, which consisted of a one-paragraph summary of the claims raised in the original Complaint. ECF No. 22. Finding that it was apparent from Plaintiff's failure to file an amended complaint, despite being given several opportunities to do so, and his repeated recapitulation of the claims raised in the original Complaint that he had no new claims to raise, the Court denied Plaintiff's Motion for Leave to File an Amended Complaint and deemed the original Complaint, ECF No. 3, the operative Complaint in this matter. ECF No. 24.

In the Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants violated his rights provided by the First, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution by failing to provide him with proper medical treatment after he fell on the staircase leading to his cell at the Westmoreland County Prison on January 27, 2010. Specifically, Plaintiff faults Defendants for failing to provide him with adequate pain medication and for refusing his requests to be seen by an outside health care provider.

Defendants filed the instant Motion on October 18, 2012, to which Plaintiff responded on December 10, 2012. ECF Nos. 26, 33. As such, the Motion is now ripe for review.

B. STANDARD OF REVIEW

In assessing the sufficiency of a complaint pursuant to a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), the Court must accept as true all material allegations in the complaint and all reasonable factual inferences must be viewed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. Odd v. Malone , 538 F.3d 202, 205 (3d Cir. 2008). The Court, however, need not accept bald assertions or inferences drawn by the plaintiff if they are unsupported by the facts set forth in the complaint. See California Pub. Employees' Ret. Sys. v. The Chubb Corp. , 394 F.3d 126, 143 (3d Cir. 2004), citing Morse v. Lower Merion Sch. Dist. , 132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir. 1997). Nor must the Court accept legal conclusions set forth as factual allegations. Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). Rather, "[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Id., citing Papasan v. Allain , 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986). Indeed, the United States Supreme Court has held that a complaint is properly dismissed under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) where it does not allege "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face, " id. at 570, or where the factual content does not allow the court "to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal , 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). See Phillips v. Cnty. of Allegheny , 515 F.3d 224, 231 (3d Cir. 2008) (finding that, under Twombly, "labels, conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action" do not suffice but, rather, the complaint "must allege facts suggestive of [the proscribed] conduct" and that are sufficient "to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of the necessary element[s] of his claim").

C. DISCUSSION

Plaintiff has brought his claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 ("Section ...


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