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Houser v. Pennsylvania Department of Corrections

United States District Court, Western District of Pennsylvania

August 28, 2014

DARIEN HOUSER, Plaintiff,
v.
PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, et al., Defendants.

Maurice B. Cohill United States District Judge

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

CYNTHIA REED EDDY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

I. Recommendation

For the reasons set forth below, I recommend that the Medical Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint (ECF No. 77) be denied.

II. Report

Plaintiff Darien Houser, an inmate incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at Greene (SCI-Greene) in Waynesburg, Pennsylvania, filed this cause of action against the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) and a host of DOC officials, corrections officers, employees, agents or medical health care providers involved in treatment of Plaintiff’s medical ailments and complaints and in processing related grievances, based on the Civil Rights Act of 1871, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101, and various state tort laws. The initial complaint was filed on August 16, 2013 (ECF No. 6), and all Defendants executed waivers of service.

The DOC Defendants have filed an Answer to Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint. (ECF No. 76). Dr. Byunghak Jin, Medical Director at SCI-Greene, PA Anatanovich and PA West, the Medical Defendants herein, filed a Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint (ECF No. 77) with prejudice, for failure to state a claim for which relief may be granted. After careful consideration of the motion, response, and briefs in support and in opposition, the Court finds the motion to dismiss to be without merit and premature, and recommends that it be denied.

Initially, the Court notes that Medical Defendants rely on extraneous facts not contained in the Amended Complaint, namely, the Concise Statement of Material Facts filed by the Medical Defendants in support of summary judgment in Plaintiff’s earlier, related case, Houser v. Folino (Houser I). See Medical Defendants’ Concise Statement of Undisputed Material Facts (ECF No. 200, Civil Action No. 10-0416).[1] Brief for Medical Defendants (ECF No. 78), at 7. Medical Defendants assert in this case that “[a]lthough not specifically noted by Plaintiff, the Medical Defendants set forth in detail in [Houser I] the numerous times Plaintiff was seen for a wide variety of physical complaints . . . [which] clearly demonstrate continuous medical treatment from that time forward for various complaints, with Plaintiff essentially arguing that it was either ineffective or not what he had specifically requested.”). Id. Because Plaintiff received “continuous medical treatment . . . for various complaints, ” Medical Defendants argue they “cannot be said to have intentionally refused to provide any medical treatment . . . for the allegations in the within Second Amended Complaint.” Id.

Given the medical attention Mr. Houser received for a “wide variety of physical complaints, ” Medical Defendants argue the following in its motion to dismiss this case:

Simply put, Plaintiff merely disagrees with the medical examinations and conclusions, and not to a lack of treatment.
Thus, based on the responses to Plaintiff’s numerous grievances, it is clear that Plaintiff did, in fact, receive attention to each of his complaints of pain, discomfort or alleged injury; he just disagrees with the medical diagnoses, conclusions and opinions regarding appropriate treatment and care.
Any attempt to second-guess the propriety or adequacy of a particular course of treatment is disavowed by courts since such determinations remain a question of sound professional judgment. Inmates of Allegheny County Jail v. Pierce, 612 F.2d 754, 762 (3d Cir. 1979), quoting, Bowring v. Goodwin, 551 F.2d 44, 48 (4th Cir. 1977).
Simply stated, Plaintiff just believes he was entitled to more than what was provided. This is a typical case of disagreement with the type of medical care, and not a refusal to provide care. Hampton v. Holmesburg Prison Officials, 546 F.2d 1077, 1081 (3d Cir. 1976) (once it is shown that Plaintiff received some care, complaints directed at the wisdom or quality of the medical care ...

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