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Moffett v. Wexford Health, Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

June 27, 2014

MICHAEL J. MOFFETT, II, Plaintiff
v.
WEXFORD HEALTH, INC., et al., Defendants.

OPINION AND ORDER[1]

SUSAN PARADISE BAXTER, Magistrate Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

A. Relevant Procedural and Factual History

On June 27, 2013, Plaintiff Michael J. Moffett, II, a prisoner incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania ("SCI-Pittsburgh"), filed a pro se civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983. [ECF No. 8]. Named as Defendants are Wexford Health, Inc. ("Wexford"), a health services organization under contract with the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections to provide medical services to inmates at SCI-Pittsburgh, and Lisa Colvin, LPN ("Colvin"), a nurse employed by Wexford.

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 May 23, 2013, he was given 10 mg of his prescription medication Zyprexa, instead of his usual 5 mg dosage. As a result, Plaintiff alleges that he suffered dizziness, headache, high blood pressure, ringing in the ears, blurry vision, and constipation. As relief for his claim, Plaintiff seeks monetary damages.

On September 12, 2013, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss [ECF No. 16], asserting, inter alia, that Plaintiff has failed to state a claim of deliberate indifference upon which relief may be granted. Plaintiff has since filed a response to Defendants' motion, essentially reaffirming the allegations of his complaint. [ECF No. 22]. On the same date, Plaintiff also filed a "motion to let Plaintiff state a specific amount of claim to Wexford Health Inc." [ECF No. 21]. 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 has 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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