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Robbins v. Lamas

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

January 16, 2015

MS. LAMAS, et al., Defendants.


EDWIN M. KOSIK, District Judge.

This civil rights action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983, was initiated by Jeffry Robbins, an inmate confined at the State Correctional Institution at Dallas, Pennsylvania. Named as defendants are Marirosa Lamas, at the time Superintendent at the State Correctional Institution at Rockview ("SCI-Rockview"), and Jacqueline Motter, Warden of the Clinton County Correctional Facility ("CCCF"). The matter proceeds on an amended complaint. (Doc. 11.) Presently pending is a motion to dismiss filed by Defendant Lamas (Doc. 20), and a motion for summary judgment filed by Defendant Motter (Doc. 26). For the reasons that follow, both motions will be granted.

I. Background

While confined at SCI-Rockview, Plaintiff claims that he was hired by Sergeant Fetterman on July 1, 2011, for an unspecified prison job. In August of 2011, Plaintiff complained to Fetterman about his rate of pay. Although Fetterman stated he would take care of it, he never did. In September of 2011, Plaintiff met with Defendant Lamas and informed her of the situation, but she did nothing to help him. Plaintiff also spoke to two Unit Managers, Mr. Ghenzel and Mr. Pasquali, and both failed to remedy the situation. He then filed a grievance, but claims that it was found to be frivolous. He received the same response when he pursued the issue to "Camp Hill."

On March 2, 2012, Plaintiff alleges that he was fired from his job by Mr. Pasquali because he wrote to Camp Hill. On June 27, 2012, he was transferred to the Clinton County Correctional Facility. He states that when he arrived at CCCF, copies of his grievance slips were missing from his property.

From July of 2012 through February 11, 2013, Plaintiff began complaining about chronic headaches to the CCCF Medical Department. He claims that the medical staff did not know why he was getting the headaches, but refused to send him to an outside hospital. When Plaintiff made Defendant Motter aware of this issue, she refused to help. He claims that he was taken off of his pain medication for several weeks, and also that he made Motter aware of this matter. According to Plaintiff, he was not even provided with an aspirin, and experienced 7 migraines a day. He claims that he grieved these issues to Camp Hill, but they refused to help him. It appears that he was housed at Clinton County for approximately 8 months when he was temporarily transferred back to SCI-Rockview, and thereafter to SCI-Dallas.

Plaintiff contends that the conduct of Defendants Lamas and Motter violated his Eighth Amendment rights by subjecting him to cruel and unusual punishment. He seeks compensatory and punitive damages.

II. Standards of Review

A. Motion to Dismiss

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. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). Under Rule 12(b)(6), we must "accept all factual allegations as true, construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and determine whether, under any reasonable reading of the complaint, the plaintiff may be entitled to relief." Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009)(quoting Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 231 (3d Cir. 2008)). While a complaint need only contain "a short and plain statement of the claim, " Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), and detailed factual allegations are not required, Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1964, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007), a complaint must plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Id. at 570. "The plausibility standard is not akin to a probability requirement, ' but it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 556. "[L]abels and conclusions" are not enough, and a court "is not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation.'" Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (quoted case omitted).

In resolving a motion to dismiss, we thus "conduct a two-part analysis." Fowler, supra, 578 F.3d at 210. First, we separate the factual elements from the legal elements and disregard the legal conclusions. Id. at 210-11. Second, we "determine whether the facts alleged in the complaint are sufficient to show that the plaintiff has a plausible claim for relief.'" Id. at 211 (quoted case omitted).

This Court is mindful, however, that the sufficiency of this pro se pleading must be construed liberally in favor of the plaintiff, even after Iqbal. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89 (2007). Moreover, a court should not dismiss a complaint with prejudice for failure to state a claim without granting leave to amend, unless it finds bad faith, undue delay, prejudice or futility. See Grayson v. Mayview State Hosp., 293 F.3d 103, 110-11 (3d Cir. 2002); Shane v. Fauver, 213 F.3d 113, 117 (3d Cir. 2000).

B. Summary Judgment

Under Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the movant is entitled to summary judgment if it "shows that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). In pertinent part, parties moving for, or opposing, summary judgment must support their position by "citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1)(A). "The evidence of the non-movant is to be believed, and all justifiable inferences are to be drawn in his favor." Colwell v. Rite-Aid Corp., 602 F.3d 495, 501 (3d Cir. 2010)(quoting Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986)).

III. Discussion

A. Defendant Lamas' Motion ...

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