United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
RICHARD P. CONABOY, District Judge.
Wilfredo Arroyo, an inmate presently confined at the State Correctional Institution, Frackville Pennsylvania (SCI-Frackville), initiated this pro se civil rights action. By Order dated January 14, 2014, Plaintiff's motion for leave to submit an Amended Complaint was granted.
Named as Defendants in the Amended Complaint (Doc. 60) are the following SCI-Frackville staff: Health care Administrator V. Stanishefski; Psychiatrist Doctor Ingrid Li; Scott Sterling M.D.; and Physician's Assistant Nancy Palmigiano. Defendants Sterling and Palmigiano have responded to the Amended Complaint by filing a joint motion to dismiss. See Doc. 61.
Plaintiff alleges that because of the Defendants' deliberate indifference he has developed a "brain disabling" drug induced condition called tardive dyskinesia. Doc. 60 ¶ IV. Specifically, Arroyo claims that Doctor Li was notified by a psychiatrist Doctor Gonzalez at the State Correctional Institution, Graterford, Pennsylvania (SCI-Graterford) as well as a physician, Doctor Pinski, from another facility that the prisoner had tardive dyskinesia. The symptoms of that condition include continuous muscle spasms of the neck, back, and shoulders. Doctor Li purportedly disregarded that diagnosis, expressed an opinion that Arroyo did not have tardive dyskinesia on June 29, 2010, but did refer Plaintiff to the prison medical staff in order to rule out tardive dyskinesia.
Thereafter, Plaintiff was seen by PA Palmigiano who disregarded Plaintiff's "neck issues" and medical file, agreed with Doctor Li, and allegedly expressed the opinion that Plaintiff's tardive dyskinesia was concocted by the inmate. According to the Amended Complaint, Arroyo was subsequently seen by Doctor Sterling who acted with deliberate indifference by also concluding that Plaintiff did not have tardive dyskinesia and indicated that the prisoner's actions may have resulted from his previously diagnosed mental health problems.
Plaintiff indicates that after three (3) outside neurologists and four (4) other physicians diagnosed him with tardive dyskinesia he started being treated with botox injections and medications. However, the Defendants "to this day still deny or delay treatment at will." Doc. 60, p. 5.
Moving Defendants Sterling and Palmigiano claim entitlement to entry of dismissal on the grounds that Plaintiff's Amended Complaint fails to allege a viable claim of deliberate indifference.
Standard of Review
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) provides for the dismissal of complaints that fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. When ruling on a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b) (6), the court must "accept as true all factual allegations in the complaint and all reasonable inferences that can be drawn therefrom, and view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff." Kanter v. Barella , 489 F.3d 170, 177 (3d Cir. 2007) (quoting Evancho v. Fisher , 423 F.3d 347, 350 (3d Cir. 2005)). A plaintiff must present facts that, if true, demonstrate a plausible right to relief. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a) (stating that the complaint should include "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief"); Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). This requirement "calls for enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of" the necessary elements of the plaintiff's cause of action. Id . at 556.
A complaint must contain "more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, ___ U.S. ___ , 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009). "Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements do not suffice." Iqbal , 129 S.Ct. at 1949. Legal conclusions must be supported by factual allegations and the complaint must state a plausible claim for relief. See id. at 1950.
"Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level, on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact)." Twombly, at 555. The reviewing court must determine whether the complaint "contain[s] either direct or inferential allegations respecting all the material elements necessary to sustain recovery under some viable legal theory." Id . at 562; see also Phillips v. County of Allegheny , 515 F.3d 224, 234 (3d Cir. 2008) (in order to survive a motion to dismiss, a plaintiff must allege in his complaint "enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of the necessary element[s]" of a particular cause of action). Additionally, pro se pleadings are to be construed liberally, Haines v. Kerner , 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972).
Plaintiff claims that he suffers from a drug induced neurological condition called tardive dyskinesia. The claims against the two moving Defendants are twofold. First, Sarroyo claims that both defendants were deliberately indifferent because they concluded, in agreement with doctor Li, that he does not have tardive dyskinesia. Second, the Amended Complaint contends that ...