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Ballard v. Galle

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

May 1, 2015

ANTHONY BALLARD, Plaintiff
v.
KATHY GALLE, ET AL., Defendants

MEMORANDUM

MATTHEW W. BRANN, District Judge.

Background

This pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 was filed by Anthony Ballard regarding his confinement at the Schuylkill County Prison, Pottsville, Pennsylvania. Service of the Complaint was previously ordered.

Named as Defendants are Nurses Kathy and Elaina Galle, [1] Warden Gene Berdanier, Deputy Warden Dave Wapinsky, Captain William Flannery, and PrimeCare Medical Nursing Staff. Plaintiff states that he was forced to sleep on a mattress on the floor of his cell near the toilet from June 12, 2013 until July 14, 2013. Ballard adds that this placement continued despite his complaints of suffering neck and back pain. Plaintiff, who describes himself as being Afro-American, also indicates that his two Caucsian cell mates were given preferential treatment in that he was the only one required to sleep on the floor.

The Complaint next contends between February 20-25, 2014, Plaintiff was sick with the flu.[2] See Doc. 1, ¶ IV(2). Ballard indicates that his temperature reached as high as 103 degrees and required him to be quarantined. According to the Complaint, the Plaintiff was not treated properly by the prison nurses during this five day period. He seeks injunctive relief and monetary damages.

Defendants Catherine Becker, LPN (erroneously identified in the Complaint as Kathy Galle) and Elaina Galle-Harris, LPN (listed in the Complaint as Elaina/Alaina Galle) have filed a joint motion to dismiss the Complaint. See Doc. 15. The unopposed motion is ripe for consideration.

Discussion

Standard of Review

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. When ruling on a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the court must "accept as true all factual allegations in the complaint and all reasonable inferences that can be drawn therefrom, and view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff." Kanter v. Barella, 489 F.3d 170, 177 (3d Cir. 2007)(quoting Evancho v. Fisher, 423 F.3d 347, 350 (3d Cir. 2005)).

A plaintiff must present facts that, if true, demonstrate a plausible right to relief. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(stating that the complaint should include "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief"); Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). This requirement "calls for enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of" the necessary elements of the plaintiff's cause of action. Id. at 556. A complaint must contain "more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). "Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements do not suffice." Id . Legal conclusions must be supported by factual allegations and the complaint must state a plausible claim for relief. See id. at 679.

"Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level, on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact)." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. The reviewing court must determine whether the complaint "contain[s] either direct or inferential allegations respecting all the material elements necessary to sustain recovery under some viable legal theory." Id. at 562; see also Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 234 (3d Cir. 2008)(in order to survive a motion to dismiss, a plaintiff must allege in his complaint "enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of the necessary element[s]" of a particular cause of action). Additionally, pro se pleadings are to be construed liberally, Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972).

Medical Treatment

Moving Defendants asserts that the vague factual contentions of inadequate medical treatment are without merit because a viable deliberate indifference claim has not been plead. See Doc. 16, p. 2.

The Eighth Amendment "requires prison officials to provide basic medical treatment to those whom it has incarcerated." Rouse v. Plantier, 182 F.3d 192, 197 (3d Cir. 1999) (citing Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97 (1976)).[3] In order to establish an Eighth Amendment medical claim, an inmate must allege acts or omissions by prison officials sufficiently harmful to evidence deliberate indifference to a serious medical need. See Spruill v. Gillis, 372 F.3d 218, 235-36 (3d Cir. 2004); Natale v. Camden Cty. Correctional Facility, 318 F.3d 575, 582 (3d Cir. 2003). In the context of medical care, the relevant inquiry is whether the defendant was: (1) deliberately indifferent (the subjective component) to (2) the ...


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