United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
pro se plaintiff in this case, Charles Talbert,
brings various claims against defendant Correctional Dental
Associates (“Correctional Dental”) relating to
dental care he received while incarcerated at Philadelphia
Industrial Correction Center (“PICC”).
Talbert's complaint brings claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§§ 1981, 1983, 1985, 1986, and Pennsylvania state
law for negligence.
Dental filed a motion for summary judgment as to
plaintiff's negligence claim. Correctional Dental argues
summary judgment should be granted because plaintiff failed
to file a certificate of merit in support of his medical
negligence claim, as is required by Pennsylvania law. I will
grant the motion.
was incarcerated at PICC. According to plaintiff's
complaint, Correctional Dental is a private corporation that
provides dental care services to the Philadelphia Prison
incarcerated at PICC, plaintiff began filing “sick
call” requests with Correctional Dental employees
regarding a tooth ache he had. (Id. ¶ 9).
Correctional Dental employees eventually x-rayed
plaintiff's tooth, which revealed an infection.
(Id. ¶¶ 9-10). They then referred
plaintiff to an off-site oral surgeon who performed an
extraction of the tooth. (Id. ¶ 11).
months that followed, various Correctional Dental employees
told plaintiff that Correctional Dental does not refer
inmates off-site for oral surgeries. (Id.
¶¶ 12-14, 16, 18-20). These Correctional Dental
employees also told plaintiff that the City's insurance
did not cover off-site dental procedures for inmates.
(Id.) In February 2016, on two separate occasions,
plaintiff was brought to the triage center at PICC where he
was treated for a tooth infection. (Id. ¶¶
15-17). From June 2015 through March 2016, plaintiff was
prescribed “2 weeks worth” of antibiotics for his
infection. (Id. ¶ 23). Plaintiff's infected
tooth eventually “broke off, ” prompting him to
file several sick call requests with Correctional Dental.
(Id. ¶ 25). Plaintiff alleges Correctional
Dental and its employees failed to treat his tooth infection,
despite knowing about it. (Id. ¶¶ 27-31).
the claims in plaintiff's complaint is “for
tortious behavior under Pennsylvania state law.”
(Id. ¶ 1). Plaintiff avers that he
“invokes the pendent jurisdiction of this Court
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a) to decide the asserted .
. . tort claims.” (Id. ¶ 2).
November 10, 2016, Correctional Dental filed a Notice of
Intention to Enter Judgment of Non Pros for Failure
to File a Certificate of Merit. (Doc. No. 42). Correctional
Dental indicated its intent to file a motion for summary
judgment if plaintiff did not file a certificate of merit,
within 30 days, in support of his negligence claims.
Plaintiff filed a response, conceding that his claims against
Correctional Dental are “based upon deliberate
indifference to a serious medical condition, not negligence
or medical malpractice.” (Doc. No. 44 ¶
To this day, plaintiff has not filed a certificate of merit.
December 23, 2016, Correctional Dental filed a motion for
summary judgment, seeking dismissal of all negligence-related
claims because plaintiff failed to file a certificate of
merit. Plaintiff filed a response, again emphasizing he
“filed a 1983 claim against . . . Correctional Dental
Associates.” (Doc. No. 53 at 1).
judgment is proper “if the movant shows that there is
no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
56(a). A factual dispute is “material” only if it
might affect the outcome of the case. Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). For an issue to
be “genuine, ” a reasonable fact-finder must be
able to return a verdict in favor of the non-moving party.
seeking summary judgment initially bears responsibility for
informing the court of the basis for its motion and
identifying those portions of the record that it believes
demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact.
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986).
A party asserting that a fact cannot be or is genuinely
disputed must support the assertion by citing relevant
portions of the record, including depositions, documents,
affidavits, or declarations, or showing that the materials
cited do not establish the absence or presence of a genuine
dispute, or showing that an adverse party cannot produce
admissible evidence to support the fact. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c).
Summary judgment is therefore appropriate when the non-moving
party fails to rebut the moving party's argument that
there is no genuine issue of fact ...