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Ramey v. George W. Hill Correctional Facility

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

April 29, 2015

GEORGE W. HILL CORRECTIONAL FACILITY, COMMUNITY EDUCATION CENTER (CEC), JOHN A. REILLY, JR. (Superintendent), DONNA MELLOW (Asst. Superintendent), DR. RONALD PHILLIPS (Medical Director), N. SMITH (Health Service Administrator), E. ASANTE (Grievance Coordinator), Defendants.


EDWARD G. SMITH, District Judge.

A pro se prisoner plaintiff has filed an action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 based on an alleged incident where he was injured after he jumped out of his top-bunk bed while preparing to go to breakfast. The plaintiff names as defendants the county correctional facility that had housed him on the date of the incident, the apparent third-party contractor providing services at the county correctional facility, and various employees of the correctional facility and the third-party contractor. The plaintiff seeks leave to proceed in forma pauperis.

Although the court will grant the plaintiff leave to proceed in forma pauperis, the court will (1) dismiss with prejudice his claim against the county correctional facility because it is not a legal entity subject to suit as a "person" under section 1983, (2) dismiss without prejudice his claim against the third-party contractor because the plaintiff cannot attempt to impose respondeat superior liability against this defendant and he has not alleged that a custom or policy caused his injuries, (3) dismiss without prejudice his claims against the named individual defendants because he has not included allegations reflecting anything other than potentially negligent conduct and he has not alleged how these defendants were either personally involved in his medical care (or lack thereof) or how they acted with deliberate indifference toward him or his serious medical needs, and (4) dismiss with prejudice as moot his claims for injunctive relief because he is no longer incarcerated at the county correctional facility. As to those claims the court is dismissing without prejudice, the plaintiff shall have leave to file an amended complaint within thirty (30) days of the date of the accompanying order.


The plaintiff filed an application for prisoners to proceed in district court without prepaying fees or costs (the "IFP Application") and a proposed complaint on March 20, 2015. Doc. No. 1. In the caption of the complaint, the plaintiff lists the defendants as the George W. Hill Correctional Facility, Community Education Center ("CEC"), John A. Reilly, Jr., Donna Mellow, Dr. Ronald Phillips, "N. Smith, " and "E. Asante."[1] Compl. at 1.

In the complaint, the plaintiff alleges that at approximately 5:45 a.m. on September 11, 2013, he was at the George W. Hill Correctional Facility when he

[j]umped out of bed (no ladders) and landed awkwardly on [his] right ankle when [he] was going to breakfast. When [he] got up, [he] felt a sharp pain in [his] right lower back. [He] told a.m. block ofcr. (C.O. Boye) and [he] was transported to Medical via wheelchair. Upon arrival, [he] was then sent back to housing unit with no medical attention. After numerous complaints, Ofcr. Boye got Nurse Fullard to come to the cell where [he] was housed at and send [sic] [him] back to medical via wheelchair which was a week later (9/18/13). Medical then seen [sic] how swollen [his] ankle was and how unbalanced [he] was standing, so they housed [him] on Medical unit for one week, wrapped [his] ankle, and sent [him] back to housing unit. After more complaints, they began to ignore [him].

Id. at 3. Regarding his injuries, the plaintiff states: "Ankle was taped and received Ibuprofen. I received nothing for the pain in lower back, unless that was what the Ibuprofen was for." Id.

The plaintiff alleges that he exhausted his administrative remedies, and he attaches copies of two grievance forms that he allegedly submitted while at the George W. Hill Correctional Facility to the complaint. Id. at 4 & Attachs. In the first grievance form, dated November 6, 2013, the plaintiff stated that "[e]ver[] since my injury, I haven't been able to walk straight and my right foot feel[s] dead. I need some real medical treatment so I can [indiscernable] myself, cause I'm feeling weak and vulnerable." Id. at Attachs., Nov. 6, 2013 Grievance. It appears that "E. Asante" received this grievance form on November 13, 2013, and "N. Smith" responded to it on November 18, 2013. Id. In the response, N. Smith appears to have informed the plaintiff that "you were seen by Dr. Phillips on 9/25. Your ankle was stable without swelling & you were given a week in medical before cleared for block. You were also given a low bunk pass. If you need to be seen again, please make a sick call not a grievance." Id. (emphasis in original).

In the second grievance, dated January 6, 2014, the plaintiff stated as follows:

I filed a grievance on Nov. 10, 2013 and was answered by E. Asante on Nov. 13, 2013. The medical treatment I received on Sept. 25 was of no help because I'm in an extreme amount of pain. A sprain [sic] ankle is the least of my worries. In my opinion, I believe I crack [sic] an [sic] vertebrae cause I can't stand straight for a long period of time. I am not filling out another sick call only to owe more money and not get any help! I will [sic] like a response back so I can proceed to the next step if I don't receive treatment.

Id. at Attachs., Jan. 6, 2014 Grievance. E. Asante appears to have received this grievance on January 15, 2014, and it further appears that someone responded to the plaintiff on January 20, 2014. Id. The response noted that after Dr. Phillips saw the plaintiff and gave him medication, the plaintiff's only sick call related to a request for dental care, which he received. Id. The response again informed the plaintiff that, if he needed treatment, he would have to submit a sick call request rather than file a grievance. Id.

For his damages, the plaintiff seeks "Medical Treatment (TBD), Physical Therapy (TBD), Pain and Suffering ($250, 000), An [sic] Injunctive Relief of Bed Ladders on Men Population (just like womens [sic] population.)" Id. at 5. While unspecified, it appears that the plaintiff is seeking these damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violations of his Eighth or Fourteenth Amendment rights based upon the fact that his bunk bed ...

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