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Arroyo v. Li

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

August 25, 2014

WILFREDO ARROYO, Plaintiff
v.
DOCTOR LI, ET AL., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM

RICHARD P. CONABOY, District Judge.

Background

This pro se civil rights complaint was filed by Wilfredo Arroyo, an inmate presently confined at the State Correctional Institution, Frackville Pennsylvania (SCI-Frackville). By Order dated January 14, 2014, Plaintiff subsequently submitted an Amended Complaint (Doc. 60).

By Memorandum and Order dated August 15, 2014, Defendants Sterling and Palmigiano's joint motion to dismiss was granted. Remaining Defendants are SCI-Frackville Health Care Administrator V. Stanishefski and Psychiatrist Doctor Ingrid Li, who formerly provided treatment to Plaintiff at SCI-Frackville. Presently pending is a motion to dismiss the Amended Complaint filed by Doctor Li. See Doc. 64.

As noted by this Court's August 15, 2014 Memorandum and Order, Plaintiff alleges that because of the Defendants' deliberate indifference he has developed a "brain disabling" drug induced condition called tardive dyskinesia. Doc. 60 ΒΆ IV. With respect to the moving Defendant, Arroyo claims that Doctor Li was notified by a psychiatrist, Doctor Gonzalez, from the State Correctional Institution, Graterford, Pennsylvania (SCI-Graterford) as well as a physician, Doctor Pinski, from another facility that the prisoner had tardive dyskinesia.[1] Arroyo's Amended Complaint describes the symptoms of that condition as including continuous muscle spasms of the neck, back, and shoulders. Plaintiff contends that Doctor Li disregarded the prior diagnosis, expressed an opinion that Arroyo did not have tardive dyskinesia. However, on June 29, 2010, Li did refer Plaintiff to the prison medical staff in order to rule out tardive dyskinesia.

Thereafter, Plaintiff was subsequently seen by PA Palmigiano and Doctor Sterling who allegedly agreed with Doctor Li, and allegedly expressed the opinion that Plaintiff's tardive dyskinesia was concocted by the inmate or resulted from his previously diagnosed mental health problems. However, after three (3) outside neurologists and four (4) other physicians diagnosed him with tardive dyskinesia Plaintiff purportedly started being treated with botox injections and medications.

Discussion

Doctor Li seeks entry of dismissal on the grounds that Plaintiff failed to exhaust his available administrative remedies. See Doc. 65, p. 4.

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 , 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). "Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements do not suffice." Iqbal , 556 U.S. at 678. Legal conclusions must be supported by factual allegations and the complaint must state a plausible claim for relief. See id. at 679.

"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).

Administrative Exhaustion

The sole argument for dismissal raised by Doctor Li is that Plaintiff failed to exhaust his available administrative remedies. See Doc. 65, p. 4. The Moving Defendant contends that the failure of Arroyo's institutional grievances to identify Doctor Li by name precludes ...


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