United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
M. MUNLEY United States District Judge
Christopher Heaton (“Heaton” or
“plaintiff”), at all times relevant an inmate
incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at Mahanoy
(“SCI-Mahanoy”), Frackville, Pennsylvania,
commenced this civil rights action on April 6, 2016. (Doc.
1). Heaton names the following defendants: Theresa Delbalso
(“Delbalso”), Superintendent; John Steinhart
(“Steinhart”), Health Care Administrator; and
Wexford Health Sources, Inc. (“Wexford”).
Presently pending are defendants' motions (Docs. 22, 24)
to dismiss the complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6). For the reasons that follow, the motions
will be granted.
Standard of Review
12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure provides for
the dismissal of complaints that fail to state a claim upon
which relief can be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). 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)). 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).
notice and pleading rules require the complaint to provide
“the defendant notice of what the . . . claim is and
the grounds upon which it rests.” Phillips v. Cty.
of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 232 (3d Cir. 2008) (quoting
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
(2007)). To test the sufficiency of the complaint in the face
of a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the court must conduct a
three-step inquiry. See Santiago v. Warminster Twp.,
629 F.3d 121, 130-31 (3d Cir. 2010). In the first step,
“the court must ‘tak[e] note of the elements a
plaintiff must plead to state a claim.'”
Id. (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 675 (2009)). Next, the factual and legal elements of a
claim should be separated; well-pleaded facts must be
accepted as true, while mere legal conclusions may be
disregarded. Id.; see also Fowler v. UPMC
Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210-11 (3d Cir. 2009). Once the
well-pleaded factual allegations have been isolated, the
court must determine whether they are sufficient to show a
“plausible claim for relief.” Iqbal,
556U.S. at 679 (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556);
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (requiring plaintiffs to
allege facts sufficient to “raise a right to relief
above the speculative level”). A claim “has
facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content
that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
Allegations of the Complaint
alleges that on March 31, 2014, while working in the kitchen
at SCI-Mahanoy, he slipped and injured his left shoulder.
(Doc. 1, p. 3). The pain stayed with him and he “found
out about 6 months later that [he] tore [his] rotator cuff in
[his] left shoulder.” (Id.) He alleges that he
has been “given the run around” for almost two
years. (Id.) Physical therapy was unsuccessful.
(Id.) His therapist allegedly informed him that
surgery was his only viable option. (Id.)
alleges that despite informing the medical department that he
continually experiences pain when he lifts his shoulder and
that his ability to exercises is limited by the injury, he
has “had no remedy.” (Id.)
seeks proper diagnosis and treatment by a board certified
surgeon and orthopedist and physical therapy. (Id.
at 4). He also seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
brings this civil rights action pursuant to Section 1983 of
Title 42 of the United States Code. Section 1983 offers
private citizens a cause of action for violations of federal
law by state officials. See 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
The statute provides, in pertinent part, as follows:
Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance,
regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or
the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be
subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person
within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any
rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution
and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action
at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for
redress. . . .
Id.; see also Gonzaga Univ. v. Doe, 536
U.S. 273, 284-85 (2002); Kneipp v. Tedder, 95 F.3d
1199, 1204 (3d Cir. 1996).