United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
LEE STEWART, Plaintiff, Pro se, Houtzdale, PA.
For CORIZON HEALTH CARE, INC., MANDY CORMAN, Physician Assistant, Defendants: J. Eric Barchiesi, LEAD ATTORNEY, Law Offices of Bernard J. Kelly, Pittsburgh, PA.
For STEVEN GLUNT, Superintendent, DEBRA YOUNKIN, Corrections Health Care Administrator, MARVIN BRANTO, Physician Assistant, Defendants: Yana L. Warshafsky, LEAD ATTORNEY, Office of the Attorney General, Pittsburgh, PA.
For MAHAMMOD NAJI, Doctor, Defendant: Arthur J. Murphy, Jr., LEAD ATTORNEY, Murphy Taylor, Pittsburgh, PA; Donald G. Lucidi, LEAD ATTORNEY, Murphy Taylor, LLC, Pittsburgh, PA.
For MARIA LEAHY, Physician Assistant, Defendant: Arthur J. Murphy, Jr., LEAD ATTORNEY, Murphy Taylor, Pittsburgh, PA; Donald G. Lucidi, LEAD ATTORNEY, Murphy Taylor, LLC, Pittsburgh, PA; J. Eric Barchiesi, LEAD ATTORNEY, Law Offices of Bernard J. Kelly, Pittsburgh, PA.
Cynthia Reed Eddy, United States Magistrate Judge. United States District Judge Kim R. Gibson. United States Magistrate Judge Cynthia Reed Eddy.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Cynthia Reed Eddy,
United States Magistrate Judge.
For the reasons that follow, it is respectfully recommended that the Motion to Dismiss filed by the DOC Defendants (ECF No. 38) be granted in part and denied in part; that the Motion to Dismiss filed by Corizon Health Care, Inc., Mandy Corman, and Maria Leahy (ECF No. 40) be granted in part and denied in part; and that the Motion to Dismiss filed by Defendants Muhammad Naji, M.D., and Maria Leahy, P.A. (ECF No. 42) be denied. It is further recommended that Plaintiff not be provided leave to amend as it would be futile.
A. Relevant and Material Facts
The following allegations are summarized from the Amended Complaint, and must be taken as true in deciding these Motions to Dismiss. See Newman v. Beard, 617 F.3d 775, 779 (3d Cir. 2010). The Amended Complaint recounts in great detail the factual background surrounding Plaintiff's claims.
Plaintiff Lee Stewart, is an inmate who is currently, and at the times relevant to this lawsuit, confined in the custody of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (" DOC") in the State Correctional Institution (" SCI") at Houtzdale. Plaintiff filed his original Complaint on November 14, 2013. Subsequent to the filing of motions to dismiss, Plaintiff filed a First Amended Complaint on May 12, 2014 (ECF No. 37), which remains the operative complaint.
His basic claim is that he received inadequate medical care and was denied certain medical treatment in violation of his constitutional rights. Named as defendants are: Superintendent Steven Glunt, Corrections Healthcare Administrator Debra Younkin, and Nurse Marvin Branto, collectively referred to herein as " DOC Defendants; "  Rich Hallsworth, the CEO of Corizon Health Care, Inc., upon whom service has not been attempted, Corizon Health Care, Inc., Mandy Corman and Maria Leahy, collectively referred to as the " Medical Defendants; " and Muhammad Naji, M.D., and Maria Leahy, P.A., and John Doe, a Physician Assistant, who remains unidentified and unserved. All defendants are sued in their official and individual capacities. (Amended Complaint at p. 7.)
This case stems from injuries Plaintiff sustained to his left foot on July 10, 2012, while playing basketball. Plaintiff was seen the next day in the " facility medical department as an emergency due to the injury and the associated high level of pain he was in." Amended Complaint at ¶ 14 (ECF No. 37). He was examined by Defendant Nurse Marvin Branto, who diagnosed Plaintiff as having a sprain and provided him with an ice pack, a wrap, and crutches. No x-rays were taken at that time.
The following day, July 12, 2012, Plaintiff returned to the Medical Department and x-rays were taken. He was examined by Defendants Mandy Corman and Maria Leahy, both Physicians Assistants, who determined, after an x-ray analysis, that Plaintiff had sustained a sprain to his left ankle. Plaintiff was told that he needed to turn in his crutches by July 18, 2012.
On July 13, 2012, Plaintiff submitted a request to be seen by the Medical Department because " his foot looked worse" and he was continuing to experiencing a high degree of pain. Id. at ¶ 17. Plaintiff was not seen by the Medical Department until five (5) days later, on July 18, 2012, at which time he was examined by an unnamed Physician Assistant, who allegedly told Plaintiff that he was required to turn in his crutches. Plaintiff's left foot was swollen and his " left foot and ankle was black and blue." He informed PA John Doe that he remained in pain. Plaintiff allegedly was told that there was nothing wrong with his foot and that " you guys need to toughen up." Id. at ¶ 18.
The next day, on July 19, 2012, Plaintiff returned to the Medical Department for a second x-ray of his foot. At that time, he was advised that his " foot was in fact broken, that [he] suffered a Fifth Metatarsal Fracture." He was then put in a short leg cast, re-issued crutches, and provided Tylenol for pain. Id. at ¶ 19.
Sometime thereafter, Plaintiff requested to see the Medical Department due to " continued pain and a smell emanating from plaintiff's cast." Id. at 20. He was seen by the Medical Department on August 28, 2012, at which time his cast was removed and it was discovered that he had developed an infection on the top of his left foot.
Plaintiff continued to experience pain in his left foot. On September 14, 2012, Plaintiff was again seen in the Medical Department by Defendant PA Corman who agreed that some ligament damage to Plaintiff's foot / ankle could be present. She told Plaintiff that she would talk to Dr. Naji about the situation. Defendant PA Corman issued Plaintiff a brace to be worn for 90 days. After the expiration of the 90 days, Defendant PA Leahy took the brace " saying Plaintiff didn't need it." Id. at ¶ 30.
On February 28, 2013, Plaintiff was again seen in the Medical Department and it was " to some degree confirmed that some damage was in the left ankle." Id. at ¶ 23. On May 14, 2013, Dr. Naji approved a lace-up brace for Plaintiff. On March 20, 2014, Plaintiff returned to the Medical Department, " explained his situation to the PA, " who " simply put on a glove felt plaintiff's foot, and ordered plaintiff 500 mg. of Naproxen, due to plaintiffs pain." Id.
Throughout the Amended Complaint, Plaintiff consistently alleges that he has been in constant pain for his leg / foot and that he has been to the Medical Department complaining of pain on numerous occasions through the year 2013 and as recently as March 20, 2014. Plaintiff contends that Defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs in a myriad of ways, inter alia, he was forced to walk on his " broken/fractured foot/ankle" for at least eight to nine days; he was denied medical materials to protect his foot, which caused his foot to become infected; no treatment or diagnosis has been made to determine the reason or cause for his continued pain; no steps have been taken to alleviate his ongoing pain; the actions of Defendants have aggravated Plaintiff's condition; and the decisions of the Defendants to delay medical treatment are based on non-medical factors, such as " cutting cost." As relief, Plaintiff seeks " $50, 000 each defendant, $250, 000.00 for defendants jointly and severally, " projected cost of future medical needs, and fees and cost. Id. at page 7.
Defendants have each filed a Motion to Dismiss, with brief in support, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), arguing that the Amended Complaint should be dismissed for failure to state a claim because there are insufficient allegations of deliberate indifference to support § 1983 liability. The matter has been fully briefed ...