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Robinson v. Prison Health Services, Inc.

United States District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania

June 2, 2014




Plaintiff David Robinson has sued Prison Health Services, Inc., now known as Corizon Health Inc., its board of directors, Corizon Chief Executive Officer Richard Hallworth, Corizon board member William Hale, Dr. Bruce Blatt, Dr. Margarita McDonald, Dr. Richard Kosierowski, Dr. Richard Stefanic, Dr. John Zaro, Raymond Machak, P.A., Frank Masino, P.A.-C., Superintendent Michael Wenerowicz, Joseph Korszniak, Wendy Shaylor, Keri Moore, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, John E. Wetzel, Robert Wolff and various John and Jane Does for alleged violations of his constitutional rights. Dkt. No. 45. Presently before me is a motion to dismiss plaintiff’s first amended complaint by defendants Michael Wenerowicz, Joseph Korszniak, Wendy Shaylor and Robert Wolff and plaintiff’s response thereto.[1] For the following reasons I will grant defendants’ motion.


Moving defendants are Wenerowicz, Superintendent at SCI-Graterford; Korszniak, nurse and medical administrator at SCI-Graterford; Shaylor, Facility Grievance Coordinator at SCI Graterford; and Wolff, Director of Healthcare at the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.[2]In his amended complaint, Robinson claims that these defendants provided him inadequate medical care.[3] E.g., Dkt. No. 45 at ¶¶ 60-67.

Plaintiff, who now suffers from kidney cancer, was incarcerated at Graterford in 2000 when one of the named defendants, Dr. Kosierowski, diagnosed him with high blood pressure and prescribed medication as treatment. Dkt. No. 45 at ¶¶ 83, 85-86. Robinson remained on this medication and was regularly monitored. Id. at ¶¶ 88, 104. In March 2006, Robinson showed high microalbumin levels, which were documented in his medical chart. Id. at ¶ 90. Robinson claims he should have been given additional tests and that his microalbumin levels should have been more closely monitored. Id. at ¶ 96.

On April 12, 2006, a non-moving defendant, Dr. Zaro, prescribed ACE-inhibitors to plaintiff, medications which Robinson contends can impair kidney function. Id. at ¶ 99. Robinson also alleges that another non-moving defendant, Dr. Kosierowski, was “evasive and Additionally, Robinson’s response to the moving defendants’ motion to dismiss fails to specifically address the claims against the moving defendants and instead reiterates allegations against all the defendants, focusing especially on his allegations against the fifteen named defendants whose summonses were returned unexecuted. Robinson’s amended complaint also contains many claims that do not involve the moving defendants. I will limit my analysis to those claims and allegations pertaining to the moving defendants. would not tell [Robinson] how the cocktail of medicines that he and his colleagues had prescribed beginning in 2000 would affect his kidneys.” Id. at ¶ 101. On March 9, 2011, after Robinson complained of abdominal pain, another non-moving defendant, Dr. Stefanic, examined plaintiff and prescribed “lactulose/mineral oil” for “possible constipation.” Id. at ¶ 115. Later that day plaintiff returned to the medical department again complaining of abdominal pain. Id. at ¶ 122. Robinson contends that an unknown non-defendant doctor diagnosed his condition as an “[a]cute [b]owel [o]bstruction.” Id. at ¶ 123. Plaintiff was transported to an outside hospital for further evaluation where he was diagnosed with cancer in both kidneys. Id. at ¶ 128. Plaintiff’s right kidney was removed as was cancerous tissue from his left kidney. Id. at ¶¶ 130-38.

Robinson complains that defendants Kosierowski, Stefanic, Blatt, McDonald, Zaro, Machak and the “Does” failed to perform “radiographic testing to determine the scope and source” of Robinson’s pain. Id. at ¶ 125. Robinson submitted a grievance regarding this allegedly inadequate medical treatment and defendant Shaylor, one of the moving defendants, rejected it for having been submitted more than 15 working days after the events occurred. Id. at ¶ 140(j). Robinson claims that he appealed this rejection to Superintendent Wenerowicz and received no response. Id. at ¶ 140(j)-(p). Graterford contends that it has no record of Robinson’s appeal. Dkt. No. 48 at 6. Robinson then submitted an appeal to the Secretary’s Office of Inmate Grievances and Appeals which was rejected because there was no record of plaintiff’s appeal to the Superintendent. Dkt. No. 45 at ¶ 140(o). Robinson alleges that he filed a new grievance “addressed directly to defendant Wenerowicz” but received no response. Id. at ¶ 140(k).

Additionally, Robinson claims that he developed severe pain and swelling shortly after receiving a Hepatitis B vaccine on March 29, 2003. Dkt. No. 45 at ¶¶ 141-160. He alleges that since then he has “made hundreds of requests for prompt and adequate medical treatment for the injury to his arm.” Id. at ¶ 146. Robinson contends that moving defendant Korszniak “intentionally and maliciously denied his grievance and claimed he saw ‘no recent complaint about [Robinson’s] arm in [Robinson’s] chart from sick call.’” Id. at ¶ 153. Robinson further claims that “to this day [he] lives in excruciating pain and suffers constantly due to the injury to his deltoid muscle and nerves.” Id. at ¶ 154.

Robinson claims that while incarcerated at SCI-Graterford he was provided inadequate medical care in violation of the 8th and 14th Amendments. Dkt. No. 45 at ¶¶ 161-63. Robinson also contends that the moving defendants conspired with the other defendants to deprive him of adequate medical treatment. Id. at ¶¶ 207-209. Additionally, Robinson claims that he suffered disparate treatment and inadequate medical care because he is a member of a protected class. He seeks recovery under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Id. at ¶¶ 170-76. Robinson also makes state law claims based on the same underlying facts, alleging breach of contract, negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Id. at ¶¶ 189-199.


Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) permits a court to dismiss all or part of an action for “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). Typically, “a complaint attacked by a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss does not need detailed factual allegations, ” though plaintiff’s obligation to state the grounds of entitlement to relief “requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). “Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level . . . on the assumption that all of the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact).” Id. (citations omitted). This “simply calls for enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of” the necessary element. Id. at 556. The Court of Appeals has made clear that after Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), “conclusory or ‘bare-bones’ allegations will no longer survive a motion to dismiss: ‘threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.’ To prevent dismissal, all civil complaints must now set out ‘sufficient factual matter’ to show that the claim is facially plausible.” Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009), quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. The Court also set forth a two part-analysis for reviewing motions to dismiss in light of Twombly and Iqbal:

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. Second, a District Court must then determine whether the facts alleged in the complaint are sufficient to show that the plaintiff has a “plausible claim for relief.”

Id. at 210-11, quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. The Court explained, “a complaint must do more than allege the plaintiff’s entitlement to relief. A complaint has to ‘show’ such an entitlement with its facts.” Id., citing Phillips v. Cnty. of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 234-35 (3d Cir. 2008). “[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 ...

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