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Folk v. Prime Care Medical

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

January 26, 2017

OMAR FOLK, Plaintiff
v.
PRIME CARE MEDICAL, ET AL., Defendants

          MEMORANDUM

          RICHARD P. CONABOY United States District Judge

         Background

         Omar Folk, an inmate presently confined at the Allenwood United States Penitentiary, White Deer, Pennsylvania (USP-Allenwood) initiated his pro se civil rights action. By Memorandum and Order dated August 18, 2016, dismissal was granted in favor of Defendants Perry County, Pennsylvania Prison; Warden David Yeingst, Deputy Warden Thomas Long; Lieutenant Twigg; Sergeant Keller; the Perry County Prison Board and Chairman Charles Chenot. See Doc. 64.

         An August 24, 2016 Memorandum and Order granted the Attorney General of Pennsylvania's motion to dismiss. See Doc. 67. By Memorandum dated September 1, 2016, a motion to dismiss by Defendants City of Harrisburg, Dauphin County Prison, and Warden DeRose was granted. See Doc. 69.

         Remaining Defendants are Prime Care Medical, staff members of the Dauphin County Prison facility; and Assistant Federal Public Defender Heidi R. Freese. Plaintiff states that Attorney Frees was court appointed to represent him with respect to a federal criminal prosecution. Folk briefly alleges that Freese violated his constitutional rights by failing to obtain a trial continuance. The Complaint vaguely contends only that[1] Plaintiff had informed counsel that he wanted a continuance, Freese, when asked by the court is she was ready, gave an answer which made no sense. See Doc. 1, ¶ IV (2). The Plaintiff adds that he eventually elected to proceed pro se in those proceedings because of “poor advice” and Frees thereafter acted as standby counsel. Id.

         The remainder of the Complaint raises claims which do not pertain to Attorney Freese. Presently pending is Defendant Freese's motion to dismiss. See Doc. 58. The opposed motion is ripe for consideration.[2]

         Discussion

         Defendant Freese claims entitlement to dismissal on the grounds that: (1) she is not a properly named defendant; (2) a viable due process claim has not been stated; and (3) the claims against Freese are barred by Heck v. Humphrey, 512 U.S. 477 (1994).

         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. 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 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).

         Public Defender

         A plaintiff, in order to state an actionable civil rights claim, must plead two essential elements: (1) that the conduct complained of was committed by a person acting under color of law, and (2) that said conduct deprived the plaintiff of a right, privilege, or immunity secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States. Groman v. Township of Manalapan, 47 ...


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