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Illes v. Beard

United States District Court, Third Circuit

May 23, 2013

RICHARD W. ILLES, SR., M.D. Plaintiff,
v.
JEFFREY BEARD et al., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM

WILLIAM W. CALDWELL, District Judge.

I. Introduction

Plaintiff, a prisoner at the State Correction Institution at Albion ("SCI-Albion") brings the instant action relating to his temporary stay at the State Correction Institution at Camp Hill ("SCI-Camp Hill") in 2010. During his placement, Plaintiff alleges that Defendants, prison officials, violated his First, Fourth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Presently before the court are Plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction and motions to dismiss filed by Defendants, Jeffrey Beard, PhD, R. Carberry, Chris Chambers, Mr. Ellenberger, John Horner, Kuzar, [1] John Murray, Ian Taggart, C.O. Umholtz, Dorina Varner, and Randy Bare.

II. Background

From August 5, 2010 to August 31, 2010, Plaintiff was temporarily transferred from SCI-Albion to SCI-Camp Hill for a court appearance. During this time, he was housed on E-Block, a "control block." Plaintiff alleges that it is the policy of SCI-Camp Hill to place all inmates transferred for court appearances on this block. He asserts that the conditions on this block were substantially worse than the general population. For example, Plaintiff was locked down for twenty-three hours per day and received all meals in his cell. He was offered one hour a day of recreation time, and his phone calls and visits were limited. Plaintiff contends that placing inmates transferred for court appearances on a restricted block is retaliation for their attempt to access the courts, in violation of the First Amendment. He complained about the policy to Defendants Chambers and Ellenberger. He also filed grievances about the policy, but they were denied by Defendants Horner, Murray, and Varner.

While housed at SCI-Albion, Plaintiff alleges that the doctors there prescribed him Celebrex and Ultram to control pain related to severe degenerative joint disease, neuropathic pain, lower back pain, and chronic pain syndrome. He also received Lexapro, an antidepressant. On August 6, 2010, upon being transferred to SCI-Camp Hill, Plaintiff was seen by a physician's assistant, Sheila McGinnis. McGinnis discontinued Plaintiff's prescriptions for Celebrex and Ultram. Plaintiff made requests for pain medication and received a response from Dr. Beaven, the medical director at SCI-Camp Hill. Dr. Beaven declined to provide Plaintiff with these medications. Plaintiff was seen by Dr. Kcomt regarding his request for Lexapro. Dr. Kcomt declined to provide Plaintiff with this medication. Plaintiff filed grievances with Defendants Bare, Murray, and Varner about the medical staff's refusal to provide him with the requested medications.

Plaintiff requested access to the law library at SCI-Camp Hill to prepare an emergency injunction against the medical staff requiring them to provide him with his medications. Plaintiff was only allowed thirty minutes at the law library during his twenty-six days at SCI-Camp Hill. He was denied additional time by the E-Block Manager, Defendant Chambers and law library staff. The law library staff indicated that the policy was to provide E-Block residents only thirty minutes of law library time per week. Plaintiff filed a grievances to obtain additional access to the library, but they were denied by Defendants Chambers, Murray, and Varner.

Plaintiff alleges that E-Block policy required inmates to have their beds made, be fully dressed, and standing by the door to receive their meals. If inmates failed to comply, they did not receive meals. Plaintiff contends that as a result of being denied medications, he suffered from serious pain that made these tasks difficult to perform. For this reason, Plaintiff was denied one or two meals each day. He spoke with Defendant Chambers about the issue, and Chambers said the policy had to be followed to receive meals. Plaintiff filed grievances that were denied by Defendants Taggart, Murray, and Varner.

While housed at SCI-Camp Hill, Plaintiff was visited by family members. Before the visit, Plaintiff was strip searched in front of another inmate, who was also being strip searched prior to a visit. The search took place in a dressing room with large mirrors that allowed dozens of other inmates to see Plaintiff. Plaintiff filed grievances that were denied by Defendants Kuzar, Murray, and Varner.

Plaintiff alleges that E-Block policy required inmates waiting to shower to stand in line with a towel wrapped around the lower half of their bodies. Plaintiff asserts that he suffers from gynecomastia, abnormal enlargement of male breasts, that could be seen because the towel did not cover his upper body. Once inside the shower, there were no barriers to protect nude inmates from the view of other inmates and staff, including female staff. Plaintiff filed grievances that were denied by Defendants Carberry, Murray, and Varner. He contends that the shower policies violated his right to privacy.

On April 13, 2012, Plaintiff filed the instant action in the Court of Common Pleas of Cumberland Count. On May 22, 2012, Defendants removed the case to this court. On June 11, 2012, Plaintiff filed a motion for a preliminary injunction. On June 15, 2012, Defendants Beard, Carberry, Chambers, Ellenberger, Horner, Kuzar, Murray, Taggart, Umholtz, and Varner moved to dismiss. On January 28, 2013, Defendant Bare also filed a motion to dismiss.

III. Standard of Review

Rule 12(b)(6) authorizes dismissal of a complaint for "failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Under Rule 12(b)(6), we 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." Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside , 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009) (quoting Phillips v. County of Allegheny , 515 F.3d 224, 231 (3d Cir. 2008)). While 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), a complaint must plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Id. at 570. "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, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009) (quoting Twombly , 550 U.S. at 556). "[L]abels and conclusions" are not enough, and a court "is not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation. Twombly , 550 U.S. at 555 (quoted case omitted).

In resolving a motion to dismiss, we thus "conduct a two-part analysis." Fowler, supra , 578 F.3d at 210. First, we separate the factual elements from the legal elements and disregard the legal conclusions. Id. at 210-11. Second, we "determine whether the facts alleged in the complaint are sufficient to show that ...


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