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Buttolph v. Prime Care Medical Inc.

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

February 28, 2017

PRIME CARE MEDICAL INC., et al., Defendants.


          Hon. John E. Jones III Judge

         Steven C. Buttolph (“Buttolph” or “Plaintiff”), at all relevant times, an inmate incarcerated at the Perry County Prison, New Bloomfield, Pennsylvania, filed this civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, on February 22, 2016, naming as defendants PrimeCare Medical Inc. (“PrimeCare”), Carl A. Hoffman, D.O. (“Hoffman”), and Tanya Schisler, PA (“Schisler”). (Doc. 1).

         Pending is Defendants' motion to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the reasons set forth below, the motion will be granted.


         A well-pleaded complaint must contain more than mere labels and conclusions. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009); Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007). In reviewing the legal sufficiency of a complaint, the Court must accept the truth of the factual allegations. Morrison v. Madison Dearborn Capital Partners III L.P., 463 F.3d 312, 314 (3d Cir. 2006). Notably, the assumption of truth is inapplicable to legal conclusions or to “[t]hreadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action supported by mere conclusory statements.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. The controlling question is whether the complaint “alleges enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (rejecting the “no set of facts” language from Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957) and requiring plaintiffs to allege facts sufficient to “raise a right to relief above the speculative level”); see also Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (explaining that Rule 8 requires more than “an unadorned, the-defendant unlawfully-harmed-me accusation”); see also 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”).

         Although the court is generally limited in its review to the facts contained in the complaint, it “may also consider matters of public record, orders, exhibits attached to the complaint and items appearing in the record of the case.” Oshiver v. Levin, Fishbein, Sedran & Berman, 38 F.3d 1380, 1384 n. 2 (3d Cir. 1994); see also In re Burlington Coat Factory Sec. Litig., 114 F.3d 1410, 1426 (3d Cir. 1997).


         Buttolph alleges that on January 11, 2009, at initial intake screening at the Perry County Prison it is noted that he suffers from hemorrhoids and is prescribed Proctosol Hemorrhoid cream. (Doc 1, p. 3, ¶ 2 (a); p. 11). On September 21, 2010, he complained of “extremely painful, swollen hemorrhoids.” (Id. at 2(b); p. 12). Defendant Schisler examined him on September 29, 2010 and infoms him she can “lance them to relief pressure and pain.” ( 2(c); pp. 13, 14). Buttolph agrees to the procedure, but in hindsight questions the unhygienic nature of the facility. (Id. at 2(c)). The medical notes indicate that the medical personnel cleansed the area with betadine, lanced he hemorrhoid, and cleansed the area again, and applied a dressing. (Id. at 14). Buttolph sought medical attention for his “back to the painful condition” hemorrhoids on November 15, 2010, January 27, 2011 and April 7, 2011. (Id. at 2(d), (e); pp. 15-17). On April 20, 2011, Buttolph is seen by Schlisler, who documents that he is suffering from “severe hemorrhoids.” (Id. at 2(f); p. 18). On a June 8, 2011 visit, Schisler notes the recurrent nature of Buttolph's hemorrhoids. (Id. at 2(g); p. 21). Buttolph continued treatment throughout 2011and 2012, and, on September 5, 2012, Schisler indicated “cont concerns re: bleeding, enlarged hemorrhoids x years.” (Id. at 2(h)-(k); pp. 22-26).

         On February 20, 2013, Thomas Weber, purportedly a representative of the Perry County Prison, sent an email to Buttolph's attorney with the subject “Steve Buttolph's health, ” stating “[y]our client is suffering from hemorrhoids which apparently he would like surgically repaired. However, that is an elective procedure that can wait until his discharge.” (Id. at 2(1); p. 27).

         “Mid year 2013, Tanya Schisler, P.A.C. is replaced by Paul Navarro, CRNP.” (Id. at 2(m)). On August 11, 2013, Buttolph writes to medical stating his hemorrhoids are “completely swollen shut”, he's suffering “severe pain” and he thinks “elective is out the door.” (Id. at 2(n); p. 28). He continues treating for the hemorrhoid condition, inter alia, and, on December 11, 2013, Navarro informs him that he will notify a specialist about his hemorrhoid condition. (Id. at 2(o) - (q); pp. 29-31). On December 23, 2013, he is informed that he will be seen for a surgical consult. (Id. at 2(q); p. 31).

         On January 6, 2014, Buttolph is seen by a surgeon who allegedly informs him that “the only remedy for your situation is surgery.” (Id. at 2(r); p. 31). On January 23, 2014, the surgeon confirms that Buttolph suffers from “rectal bleeding and significant external hemorrhoidal disease” and surgically removes two of three hemorrhoids. (Id. at 2(s); p. 33). The surgeon “did not take off the third hemorrhoidal pillar in risk of having significant stricture. This can be done at a later date when Mr. Buttolph heals.” (Id.)

         Buttolph alleges that the above timeline, as well as Schisler's “admittance on medical records” demonstrates that Schisler subjected him to cruel and unusual punishment and “unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain for a time period exceeding four years.” (Id. at p. 5). And, “by not sending plaintiff to a specialist, PAC Schisler chose instead to inflict upon plaintiff a reckless disregard of a substantial risk of harm.” (Id.).

         Buttolph further alleges that Defendant Hoffman “was the direct supervisor of Tanya Schisler, P.A.C. and knowingly allowed her to subject plaintiff to chronic and substantial pain due to a serious medical need that he was aware of” and “signed off on all actions taken by PAC Schisler.” (Id. at p. 5, ¶ 3 “Defendant # 3”). He contends that “As the supervisor of PAC Schisler Dr. Hoffman is held accountable for all actions taken or not taken by her. He is directly responsible for all of the medical personnel that are under his supervision at Perry County Prison and he is responsible for all medical files that he personally signs off on. Dr. Hoffman has made himself culpable to the deliberate indifference resulting in cruel and unusual punishment to plaintiff.” (Id.)

         Buttolph also alleges that “[a]s employers of PAC Schisler and Dr. Hoffman, Primecare Medical Inc is directly responsible and liable for any and all actions taken or not taken by its medical personnel. It is Primecare Medical Inc.'s responsibility to make sure its employees uphold all Constitutional Law's ...

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