United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
MATTHEW W. BRANN, District Judge.
This pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 was filed by Darrel Fite who is presently confined at the State Correctional Institution, Coal Township, Pennsylvania (SCI-Coal Twp.). Service of the Complaint was previously ordered.
Named as Defendants are the Centre County Correctional Facility, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania and PrimeCare Medical Inc. ("PrimeCare"). Plaintiff states that he entered the Centre County Correctional facility on January 16, 2014. He initially asserts that while confined at the prison on February 25, 2014, L.P.N. Goodman, a non-defendant, told him he had to take his 4:00 p.m. medication at 12:00 p.m. See Doc. 1, ¶ IV(1). The medication at issue was purportedly prescribed by his treating psychologist. Dr. Terri Calvert, who has also not been named as a defendant in this action.
When Plaintiff explained to Goodman that to do so would be contrary to Dr. Calvert's prescription, the LPN allegedly told the inmate that if he did not take the medication now he "would not receive his 4:00 p.m. dose and would go without." Id . Although Fite took the medication, he submitted a complaint to Dr. Calvert's attention regarding the incident that same day. The next day, Fite states that he received a response from Thomas Tobin, L.P.N. stating that the change "should have no effect on you medically this is protocol to increase nurse efficiency." Id. at (2).
On March 1, 2014, L.P.N. Walls, also a non-defendant, was distributing medications. It is alleged that as Plaintiff approached the medication cart, Walls purportedly "started crying and removed herself from the housing unit." Id. at (3). She later returned but refused to give Plaintiff his dose of Neurontin which he is supposed to receive three (3) times daily.
Plaintiff next contends that he was denied an evening dose of medication on March 8, 2014 by L.P.N. Johnston, a non-defendant, on the basis that it was her understanding that Fite was only to be given the medication twice a day (morning and afternoon). The Complaint next contends that Plaintiff met with Dr. Calvert on March 14, 2014 and discussed the above described incidents. Calvert allegedly replied that "there was not to be a removal of my medication (3x's daily) when the C.C.C.F. informed her that they were going to being [sic] transitioning [sic] to that of (2 medication passes a day)." Id. at p. 3. Calvert than made a computer entry and noted that Fite would receive his medication three times daily as prescribed.
Later that same day, L.P.N. Walls allegedly refused to give Plaintiff his afternoon medication without offering any explanation. On March 18, 2014, as Walls was distributing morning medications, Plaintiff states that he allowed older prisoners to go ahead of him and he moved to the rear of the medication line. After the older prisoners received their medication, Walls began to leave when Fite approached the medication cart and refused to provide Plaintiff with his morning medication, informing the prisoner that he had not been in the medication line. An administrative grievance which Fite filed regarding this incident was denied. Finally, on April 8, 2014, Plaintiff claims that his morning medication was not distributed until 1:00 p.m. and he was not given his afternoon dose. He was told only that it was "the jail's fault this time." Id. at p. 4. The Complaint seeks an award of monetary damages and injunctive relief.
Presently pending is Defendant PrimeCare's motion to dismiss. See Doc. 18. The opposed motion is ripe for consideration.
Defendant PrimeCare asserts that it cannot be held liable for any actions attributed to its employees under a theory of respondeat superior. See Doc. 18, ¶ 11. Moreover, since there is no indication that Plaintiff was harmed as the result of any unconstitutional PrimeCare policy, procedure, or custom, said Defendant is entitled to entry of dismissal. See id. at ¶ 12. It is also argued that the actions attributed to Prime Care did not constitute deliberate indifference.
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, 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 ...