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Foster v. Holman

United States District Court, Third Circuit

November 5, 2013

KENDELL CHARLES FOSTER, Plaintiff,
v.
MICHAEL HOLMAN, et al., Defendants.

OPINION AND ORDER [1]

SUSAN PARADISE BAXTER, Magistrate Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

A. Relevant Procedural and Factual History

Plaintiff Kendell Charles Foster, a prisoner incarcerated at the Erie County Prison ("ECP") in Erie, Pennsylvania, instituted this pro se civil rights action on March 5, 2013, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983. Named as Defendants are Michael Holman, Deputy Warden at ECP ("Holman"), and the Medical Department at ECP ("Medical").

In his pro se complaint, Plaintiff claims that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs in violation of his Eighth Amendment rights. In particular, Plaintiff alleges that on December 22, 2012, he was transported to ECP after having received a gunshot wound to his right leg. (ECF No. 3, Complaint, at p. 4). Plaintiff complains that Defendant Medical only gave him pain medication and did not provide any antibiotics until December 29, 2012. (Id.). As a result, Plaintiff alleges that his wound took longer to heal, which caused him to be placed on double lockdown status, with no exercise and limited showers and phone access. ( Id. at pp. 4-5). In addition, Plaintiff claims that his Fourteenth Amendment due process rights were violated on January 8, 2013, when he was prevented from visiting with family and friends one day after "foxtrot pod" was locked down due to an inmate disturbance. ( Id. at p. 6). As relief for his claims, Plaintiff seeks to recover monetary damages of $250, 000.00.

Defendants have each filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint arguing, inter alia, that Plaintiff has failed to exhaust his administrative remedies in accordance with the Prison Litigation Reform Act. [ECF Nos. 9 and 13]. Plaintiff has since filed a response to each of Defendants' motions [ECF Nos. 12 and 19]. This matter is now ripe for consideration.

B. Standards of Review

1. Motion to Dismiss

A motion to dismiss filed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) must be viewed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and all the well-pleaded allegations of the complaint must be accepted as true. Erickson v. Pardus , 551 U.S. 89, 93-94 (2007). A complaint must be dismissed pursuant to Rule 12 (b)(6) if it does not allege "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)(rejecting the traditional 12 (b)(6) standard set forth in Conley v. Gibson , 355 U.S. 41 (1957)). See also Ashcroft v. Iqbal , 556 U.S. 662 (2009) (specifically applying Twombly analysis beyond the context of the Sherman Act).

The Court need not accept inferences drawn by plaintiff if they are unsupported by the facts as set forth in the complaint. See California Pub. Employee Ret. Sys. v. The Chubb Corp. , 394 F.3d 126, 143 (3d Cir. 2004) citing Morse v. Lower Merion School Dist. , 132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir. 1997). Nor must the court accept legal conclusions set forth as factual allegations. Twombly , 550 U.S. at 555, citing Papasan v. Allain , 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986). "Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Twombly , 550 U.S. at 555. Although the United States Supreme Court does "not require heightened fact pleading of specifics, [the Court does require] enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Id . at 570.

In other words, at the motion to dismiss stage, a plaintiff is "required to make a showing' rather than a blanket assertion of an entitlement to relief." Smith v. Sullivan , 2008 WL 482469, at *1 (D.Del. February 19, 2008) quoting Phillips v. County of Allegheny , 515 F.3d 224, 231 (3d Cir. 2008). "This does not impose a probability requirement at the pleading stage, ' but instead simply calls for enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of' the necessary element." Phillips , 515 F.3d at 234, quoting Twombly , 550 U.S. at 556.

The Third Circuit Court prescribed the following three-step approach to determine the sufficiency of a complaint under Twombly and Iqbal:

First, the court must tak[e] note of the elements a plaintiff must plead to state a claim.' Second, the court should identify allegations that, because they are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth.' Finally, where there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement for relief.'

Burtch v. Milberg Factors, Inc. , 662 F.3d 212, 221 (3d Cir. 2011), citing Santiago v. Warminster Twp. , 629 F.3d 121, 130 (3d Cir. 2010) (quoting Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1947, 1950); see also Great Western Mining & Min. ...


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