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Reed v. Smith

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

March 10, 2015

JAMIE L. REED, Plaintiff.
WARDEN RICHARD C. SMITH, et al., Defendants.


WILLIAM W. CALDWELL, District Judge.

I. Introduction

Plaintiff, Jamie L. Reed, an inmate formerly incarcerated at the Centre County Correctional Facility (CCCF), brings this civil-rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983.[1] The gravamen of Reed's Complaint is that "medical and dietary staff" were constantly negligent by serving him food containing soy. When he ate the food, he suffered an allergic reaction each time, requiring various levels of medical care. He now sues the following administrative CCCF correctional staff: Warden Richard Smith; Director Jeffery Hite; Deputy Warden Joe Kaleno; Deputy Warden Melanie Gordon and Kitchen Manager Kevin Brindle. He also sues PrimeCare Medical, Inc. (PrimeCare), the contract medical care provider at CCCF and Heidi Starr, the "head nurse" at the facility. (Doc. 1, Compl.) Reed seeks monetary damages "for the numerous times the jail was negligent to my diet and [he] suffered due to their constant mistakes." ( Id., ECF 4).

Presently before the court are two motions to dismiss, one filed by the CCCF correctional staff and the other by PrimeCare. (Docs. 14 and 17). Defendants argue Reed's claim of negligence fails to state a clam for which relief can be granted; fails to allege the personal involvement of the named defendants; and fails to allege a Monell cause of action against PrimeCare.[2] Reed has failed to file a response to either group of defendants' motions to dismiss.

For the reasons discussed below, we will grant the CCCF correctional defendants and the PrimeCare medical defendants' motion to dismiss but grant Reed the opportunity to file an amended complaint.

II. Standard of Review

Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) authorizes the dismissal of a complaint "for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), the district court 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 is entitled to relief." Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009) (quoting Phillips v. Cnty. 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 Atl. 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, 127 S.Ct. at 1974. "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. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556, 127 S.Ct. at 1965). "[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, 127 S.Ct. at 1965.

With this standard in mind, the following is the background to this litigation, as Plaintiff alleges it.

III. Background

On March 8, 2014, Reed, unaware that his dietary tray contained soy, to which he is allergic, consumed the meal. Reed was given Benadryl for the allergic reaction. When he inquired with the kitchen about the issue, he received an apology and was assured it would not happen again. (Doc. 1, Compl.) A month later, on April 9, 2014, his dietary tray contained soy. This time the reaction was very severe and because "the nurse had no idea what to do, " he suffered an "epileptic shock for at least 30 minutes." ( Id., ECF p. 3). He finally was given a dose from an EpiPen.[3] Since Reed vomited his meal during this event, kitchen sent up a "bag lunch" for him. However, after eating a few bites he realized it too was "full of soy." ( Id. ) He received "another Benadryl" because of this event. He was then given a second "lunch bag and it was correct." ( Id. ) Reed was in discomfort for several days after this event and suffered anxiety due to his fear from eating food that may contain soy.

On April 16, 2014, he was given a food tray by an officer who then called the kitchen to sent up another tray because the tray he received was not the one kitchen staff sent up for him. It was alleged that "the trustee" switched the food tray. Reed grieved this issue.

On April 19, 2014, a correctional officer gave him "the wrong tray" and he ingested soy. Reed was administered a dose of Benedryl for the reaction. ( Id. ) Reed sent out requests slips and grievances regarding this matter.

Reed states that he met with Deputy Warden Kaleno several times to discuss "the constant negligence on both the medical and dietary staff." ( Id. ) Deputy Kaleno "stated that he is not the one with the checkbook to make payment for these kind of issues." ( Id. )

Reed alleges that between May and July 2013 there were other incidents that occurred. Likewise, he alleges that between June and December 2012, similar incidents occurred, ...

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