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Roulhac v. Lawler

United States District Court, Middle District of Pennsylvania

January 13, 2014

PAUL KHALIFAH ROULHAC, Plaintiff,
v.
R.M. LAWLER, et. al, Defendants.

Caldwell Judge

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

SUSAN E. SCHWAB UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

In this civil rights action, defendant Hackley Lakeshore Hospital (“Hackley”) has filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rules 12(b)(1), 12(b)(2), and 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. For the following reasons, I recommend granting Hackley's motion.

I. Background and Procedural History.

On February 16, 2012, the pro se plaintiff, Paul Roulhac (“Roulhac”), an inmate currently confined at the State Correctional Institution at Graterford (“SCI Graterford”), initiated this action by filing a complaint against the following 11 defendants: (1) R.M. Lawler, the Superintendent at SCI Huntingdon; (2) Mary Lou Showalter, the health care administrator at SCI Huntingdon; (3) FNU Shoaf, a medical doctor at SCI Huntingdon; (4) FNU Fisher, a counselor at SCI Huntingdon; (5) FNU Johnson, the FA-Block Counselor at SCI Huntingdon; (6) Jeffery Beard (“Beard”), the Secretary Commissioner for the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (“DOC”); (7) Susan McNaughton, the DOC Press Secretary;[1] (8) Michael Curley, the Superintendent at the Muskegon Correctional Facility in Michigan (“MCF Michigan”); (9) FNU Bergman, a doctor at MCF; (10) John Doe's, medical staff at MCF[2]; and (11) “defendants of” Hackley. Doc. 1 at 5-6. Along with his complaint, Roulhac filed a motion to proceed in forma pauperis, which was granted by the Court. See Doc. 8. Generally, in his complaint, Rouhlac alleges that the defendants, in their individual capacities, “acted in supervisory liability and deliberate indifference, ” under the color of law, to violate his rights guaranteed under the Fifth, Eighth, and Fourteenth Amendments. Doc. 1 at 10.

Upon being served with the complaint, Hackley and the other defendants filed respective motions to dismiss. Docs. 19, 20, & 25. On May 2, 2013, Chief Magistrate Judge Carlson considered the defendants' motions and recommended dismissal of Roulhac's claims. Id. The Court adopted Judge Carlson's Report and Recommendation, but gave Roulhac leave to amend. Doc. 38.

On July 3, 2013, a week after Roulhac's leave to amend lapsed, Judge Carlson recommended that the complaint be dismissed with prejudice. Doc. 42. Subsequently, on July 19, 2013, within the time permitted for objections, Roulhac filed a single document consisting of objections to the second Report and Recommendation, as well as an amended complaint. Doc. 45. As a result, the Court declined to adopt Judge Carlson's second Report and Recommendation, and the case was remanded to the undersigned. Docs. 46 & 52.

On August 29, 2013, Hackley filed a motion to dismiss Roulhac's amended complaint pursuant to Rules 12(b)(1), 12(b)(2), and 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Doc. 47. On August 30, 2013, Hackley filed a timely and proper brief in support. Doc. 48. On September 17, 2013, Rouhlac filed a brief in opposition. Doc. 51. Hackley elected not to file a reply brief, and, the briefing period having closed, the motion is ripe for disposition on the merits.

II. Roulhac’s Pleadings.

Although Roulhac has filed what the Court construes to be an amended complaint, it does not supersede the original pleading given that Rouhlac makes specific reference to it in his amended complaint.[3] Accordingly, the following factual allegations are taken from each of Roulhac's pleadings.

Roulhac complains primarily about the medical treatment that he received while imprisoned at MCF Michigan. According to Roulhac, he has been imprisoned in Pennsylvania since November 2000. While detained at SCI Huntingdon “he has been [a] chronic clinic patient.” Roulhac, though, does not provide any further explanation other than to allege that he underwent two major operations at SCI Huntingdon. At some point, while Roulhac was still at SCI Huntingdon, he claims that Beard and McNaughton publicly released plans to send certain Pennsylvania prisoners to Michigan and Virginia due to budget constraints. In addition, Beard and McNaughton “assured that no medically problemed [sic], nor litigating prisoners would be transferred.” Lawler, Showalter, Shoaf, Johnson, and Fisher are alleged to have further assured Roulhac that he would not be transferred due to his medical condition.

In March 2010, however, Johnson supposedly informed Roulhac that he was in fact being transferred to MCF Michigan. According to Roulhac, Beard and McNaughton were responsible for placing him on the transfer list. That same month, Rouhlac was purportedly transferred to MCF Michigan.

While imprisoned at MCF Michigan, Roulhac claims that his health worsened and his well-being was neglected “in deliberate indifference and supervisory liability, as the prison's budget was not fit to treat or properly diagnose prisoners with serious medical problems.” Moreover, Roulhac alleges that MCF Michigan neither had an infirmary nor medical staff at the prison during the night. In this respect, Roulhac specifically pleads that on one occasion he was in severe pain, and he reported it to the MCF Michigan Defendants.[4] The next morning, around 4:00 a.m., Roulhac claims that he began vomiting blood and eventually fainted. Consequently, Roulhac was purportedly taken to Hackley where he received several operations, his stomach was pumped, and he received a blood transfusion. Doctors at Hackley allegedly diagnosed Roulhac with having stomach ulcers.

A couple of months later, Roulhac claims that he also began experiencing leg spasms and severe stress while at MCF Michigan. As a result, Roulhac was provided with medication, given shots, and was told that he should rest. At one point, he was allegedly taken back to Hackley, but nothing was done because he lacked certain, unspecified, paperwork. Then, while on bed rest, Roulhac was diagnosed with lesions, which he believes, was caused by his leg being drained by the medical personnel at MCF Michigan.

To this day, Rouhlac purportedly suffers from pain and swelling in his leg. He also claims that he has acquired atrophy, suffers from liver damage, suffers from nightmares, and has a fear of losing his legs. Nevertheless, while imprisoned at MCF Michigan, Roulhac further alleges that he was taken “back and forth” to Hackley for different surgeries.

In September 2010, Roulhac was transferred back to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania where he is currently imprisoned at SCI Graterford. Upon his return to Pennsylvania, Roulac alleges that he had to undergo a series of additional operations and treatments from an outside hospital “due to the poor treatment [he] ...


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