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Hundley v. United States

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

March 10, 2014

RAPHAEL DWIGHT HUNDLEY, Plaintiff
v.
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Defendant.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

THOMAS M. BLEWITT, Magistrate Judge.

I. BACKGROUND.

On March 22, 2013, Plaintiff Rafael Hundley, an inmate at FCI-Allenwood, White Deer, PA, filed, pro se, this instant claim against Defendant the United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act ("FTCA"), 28 U.S.C. § 2675, et seq, with exhibits attached. (Doc. 1).[1] Plaintiff requested a Jury Trial on the face his Complaint, Doc. 1, p.1, but he is not entitled to a jury trial in an FTCA action. See 28 U.S.C. § 2402. Plaintiff also filed an Affidavit with his Complaint. (Doc. 2). On March 25, 2013, the court issued a 30-day Administrative Order directing Plaintiff to pay the appropriate filing fee or to file an Application to Proceed in forma pauperis within 30 days. (Doc. 5). On March 28, 2013, Plaintiff paid the filing fee, and a summons was issued to Defendant on April 8, 2013. (Doc. 7).

Subsequently, on June 17, 2013, Defendant filed a Motion to Dismiss or Motion for Summary Judgment, along with a Brief in Support and a Statement of Facts. (Docs. 10-12). On July 9, 2013, Plaintiff filed a Brief in Opposition to Defendant's Motion. (Doc. 14). Further, on July 24, 2013, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Extension of Time to Respond to Defendant's Motion, and on July 25, 2013, we issued an Order granting that extension of time. (Docs. 15-16). On August 6, 2013, Plaintiff filed his Brief in Opposition and Affidavit in Support of same, and as such, Defendant's motion is now ripe for review.

Additionally, on October 15, 2013, Plaintiff filed a Brief in Support of Request for Compassionate Release and/or Reduction in Sentence.[2] (Doc. 19). On November 1, 2013, Defendant filed a Brief in Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Compassionate Release. (Doc. 20). On November 19, 2013, Plaintiff filed a Traverse. (Doc. 21). On January 10, 2014, Defendant filed a Motion for Leave to File a Corrected Brief and Brief in support of same. (Docs. 22-23). On January 13, 2014, Defendant filed a second Brief in support of same. (Doc. 24). On January 17, 2014, we granted Defendant's Motion for Leave to File a Corrected Brief. (Doc. 25). On February 7, 2014, Plaintiff filed an "Emergency Motion To Extend Time For Filing Due To Intervening Change In Direct Review Appellate Rule, Or Alternate Grant of Nolle Prosequi/Restitution Order Consolidation To July 22, 2013 Tacit Approval of Plaintiff's Request For Compassionate Release/Reduction Of Sentence. (Doc. 21) 18 U.S.C. § 3582(c)(1)(A)." (Doc. 26).

II. ALLEGATIONS OF COMPLAINT

In his Complaint, Plaintiff essentially states two causes of action, arising from the medical treatment he received while incarcerated since 1994. He begins his Complaint with a lengthy description of his arrest and detention, which he describes as fraudulent and illegal. (Doc. 1, p. 2-4). Plaintiff does not appear, however, to be alleging any claims in regard to these facts. ( Id., p. 2-4).

In Count I, Plaintiff states a claim for "Medical Negligence/Deliberate Indifference to Medical Needs and Risk of Harm/Civil Conspiracy." (Id. at p. 5). Plaintiff avers that he suffers from "Morgellons Disease, " which is a widely-disputed psychological disorder in which a patient may manifest physical symptoms of a parasitic infection. Plaintiff broadly alleges that beginning on or around October 24, 2009, various staff members at FCI-Allenwood began denying him medical treatment and conspired both to deny him treatment and to cover up the existence of his disease by "removing evidence of Plaintiff's Morgellon's symptoms complaints and references thereto in every BOP prison from (1996 to 1998) FCI Memphis to (2006-2009) U.S.P. Canaan..." (Id. at p. 5). Plaintiff states that he received carpal tunnel surgery on his left wrist on June 29, 2012, but contends that the surgery was used as part of the conspiracy, to cover up his Morgellons Disease, "so that patient-plaintiff appears more healthy than he is." (Id. at p. 6). Plaintiff states further that, as a result of this negligence and failure to treat, he suffered: a parasitic infection/infestation of his left eye, spreading to his right eye, ear canal, and throat; was at "greater risk of post-surgical seizures, lack of dexterity, no halt to atrophy, no muscle regrowth and thumb desensitized tactile motion, " as a result of the carpal tunnel surgery; a wandering left eye with a slight bulbous disfigurement and permanent visual damage; a heart attack/pulmonary embolism myocardial infarction on March 29, 2011; lung disease, a "blood infestation", and a MRSA infection; and, lastly, liver cirrhosis, along with loss of kidney and other organ function. (Id. at p. 4).

In Count II of his Complaint, Plaintiff asserts a claim of conspiracy. Plaintiff describes an elaborate conspiracy, spanning over twenty years, in which he was falsely charged, arrested, wrongly prosecuted, convicted, and falsely imprisoned by the employees of several organizations, namely the FBI, Parole Commission, and the U.S. Attorney's Office. (Id. at p. 7-9). Furthermore, Plaintiff alleges that the prison staff engaged in a conspiracy to kill him while incarcerated at FCI-Allenwood by covering up the existence of his Morgellons Disease and intentionally denying him medical care. He states, "FCI employees maintained an agreed-upon silence, attempting to cover-up and/or downplay their negligent 17 year failure to provide Oncological diagnostic Hematology tests...leading to discovery of the Morgellons parasitic disease presence and effect on Plaintiff's irreversible organ damage." (Id. at p. 10). As a result of this conspiracy, Plaintiff claims that he has suffered a loss of organ function, that he has contracted Hepatitis C, and that he was forced to undergo unnecessary wrist surgery, which left him "disabled, unemployed, and disfigured." (Id.).

As evidence, Plaintiff submits a variety of exhibits, ranging from his denied administrative tort claim, to court documents from his original conviction over twenty years ago.

As relief for these counts, Plaintiff requests only that he be awarded monetary damages no less than $10, 052, 225.00

III. STANDARDS OF REVIEW.

A. MOTION TO DISMISS

In Reisinger v. Luzerne County, 712 F.Supp.2d 332, 343-44 (M.D. Pa. 2010), the Court stated:

The Third Circuit Court of Appeals recently set out the appropriate standard applicable to a motion to dismiss in light of the United States Supreme Court's decisions Bell v. Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007), and Ashcroft v. Iqbal, [556 U.S. 662], 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009).
"[T]o survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true to state a claim that relief is plausible on its fact.'" Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955). The Court emphasized that "only a complaint that states a plausible claim for relief survives a motion to dismiss." Id. at 1950. Moreover, it continued, "[d]etermining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief will... be a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Id. (citation omitted).

McTernan v. City of York, 577 F.3d 521, 530 (3d Cir. 2009). The Circuit Court discussed the effects of Twombly and Iqbal in detail and provided a road map for district courts presented with a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim in a case filed just a week before McTernan, Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203 (3d Cir. 2009).

[D]istrict courts should conduct a two-part analysis. First, the factual and legal elements of a claim should be separated. The District Court must accept all of the complaint's well-pleaded facts as true, but may disregard any legal conclusions. [ Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. At 1949.] Second, a District Court must then determined whether the facts alleged in the complaint are sufficient to show that the plaintiff has a "plausible claim for relief." Id. at 1950. In other words, a complaint must do more than allege a plaintiff's entitlement to relief. A complaint has to "show" such an entitlement with its facts. See Phillips [v. Co. of Allegheny ], 515 F.3d [224, ] 234-35 [ (3d Cir. 2008)]. As the Supreme Court instructed in Iqbal, "[w]here the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged-but it has not show[n]'-that the pleader is entitled to relief.'" Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. At 1949. This "plausibility" determination will be "a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Id.

Fowler, 578 F.3d at 210-11.

The Third Circuit Court's guidance makes clear that legal conclusions are not entitled to the same deference as well-pled facts. In other words, "the court is not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation.'" Guirguis v. Movers Specialty Services, Inc., 346 Fed.Appx. 774, 776 (3d ...


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