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O'Grady v. Summers

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

March 14, 2017

DEVIN O'GRADY, Plaintiff,
v.
EILEEN SUMMERS, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION [1]

          SUSAN PARADISE BAXTER United States Magistrate Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         A. Relevant Procedural and Factual History

         On December 14, 2015, Plaintiff, Devin O'Grady, an inmate incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at Forest in Marienville, Pennsylvania (“SCI-Forest”), initiated this civil rights action by filing a pro se complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983. Named as Defendants to this action are: Nurse Eileen Summers ("Summers") and Nurse Sherry Hoffman ("Hoffman"). Plaintiff alleges Defendants were deliberately indifferent towards his serious medical needs.

         On September 24, 2015, at 6:00 am, Plaintiff alleges he began experiencing abnormal swelling and severe pain in his left hand. (ECF No. 3, ¶ 2). Plaintiff contends he informed a correctional officer of the issue but the medical department refused to provide assistance for him. (Id. at ¶¶ 3-4). Several hours later, Defendant Summers went to Plaintiff's housing unit to deliver medications to other inmates. (Id. at ¶ 8). Plaintiff contends he told Defendant Summers of his excruciating pain, as well as the condition of his hand and arm, which continued to swell and form red striations. (Id. at ¶ 8-10). However, Plaintiff alleges Defendant Summers “shrugged her shoulders and walked away from Plaintiff without providing him any medical treatment.” (Id., ¶ 12).

         Plaintiff continued to make complaints to SCI-Forest staff throughout the day until he was taken to the medical department at 5:00 pm. (Id. at ¶¶ 16-17). There, Plaintiff met Defendant Hoffman, who stated there was nothing she could do other than to leave a note for the doctor to see Plaintiff the following day. (Id. at ¶ 19). Plaintiff alleges Defendant Hoffman did not examine Plaintiff or check for vitals but instead sent Plaintiff back to his cell. (Id. at ¶¶ 21, 23).

         On September 25, 2015, SCI-Forest's Doctor Pavock examined Plaintiff and prescribed antibiotics for his arm and hand. (Id. at ¶ 31). Two days later, Plaintiff was transported to a local hospital where he was diagnosed with Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (“MRSA”), and he ultimately required surgery to have the infection removed. (Id. at ¶¶ 42-43).

         Plaintiff claims that Defendants' lack of medical assistance on September 24, 2015, constituted deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs, causing him an unnecessary infliction of severe pain, in violation of the eighth amendment to the United States Constitution. Defendants have filed a motion to dismiss arguing that Plaintiff fails to state a claim. [ECF No. 13]. Despite having ample time to do so, Plaintiff has neither filed an opposition brief nor requested an extension of time within which to do so. Thus, the Court will deem Defendant's motion to dismiss unopposed by Plaintiff, and this matter is now ripe for consideration.

         B. Standards of Review

         1. Motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6)

         A motion to dismiss filed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) must be viewed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and all the well-pleaded allegations of the complaint must be accepted as true. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93-94 (2007). A complaint must be dismissed pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) if it does not allege “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007) (rejecting the traditional 12(b)(6) standard set forth in Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41 (1957)). See also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009)(specifically applying Twombly analysis beyond the context of the Sherman Act).

         A Court need not accept inferences drawn by a plaintiff if they are unsupported by the facts as set forth in the complaint. See California Pub. Employee Ret. Sys. V. The Chubb Corp., 394 F.3d 126, 143 (3d Cir. 2004) citing Morse v. Lower Merion Sch. Dist., 132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir. 1997). Nor must the Court accept legal conclusions set forth as factual allegations. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, citing Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S. 265, 286 (1986). See also McTernan v. City of York, Pennsylvania, 577 F.3d 521, 531 (3d Cir. 2009)(“The tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions.”). A plaintiff's factual allegations “must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556, citing 5 C. Wright & A. Miller, Federal Practice and Procedure § 1216, pp. 235-236 (3d ed. 2004). Although the United States Supreme Court does “not require heightened fact pleading of specifics, [the Court does require] enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Id. at 570.

         In other words, at the motion to dismiss stage, a plaintiff is “required to make a ‘showing' rather than a blanket assertion of an entitlement to relief.” Smith v. Sullivan, 2008 WL 482469, at *1 (D.Del.) quoting Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 231 (3d Cir. 2008). “This ‘does not impose a probability requirement at the pleading stage, ' but instead ‘simply calls for enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of the necessary element.” Phillips, 515 F.3d at 234, quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556 n.3.

         The Third Circuit expounded on the Twombly/Iqba ...


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