United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
John E. Jones III Judge
Christopher Clemmons (“Clemmons” or
“Plaintiff”) originally filed this
Bivens and Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) action
in the Northern District of Alabama on April 21, 2014 (Doc.
1, p. 33), alleging that he received improper medical
treatment for hemorrhoids, while incarcerated at the Federal
Correctional Institution at Schuylkill
(“FCI-Schuylkil”), Minersville, Pennsylvania. The
matter was received in this Court on or about August 26,
2015. The matter is proceeding via an amended
complaint dated January 15, 2016. (Doc. 50).
before the Court is a motion (Doc. 90) to dismiss the amended
complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)
and for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 56 filed on behalf of National Inmate Appeals
Coordinator Harrell Watts (“Watts”), Northeast
Regional Director J.L. Norwood (“Norwood”),
Warden H.L. Hufford (“Hufford”), Warden Donald
Hudson (“Hudson”), Assistant Health Services
Administrator Bret Brosious (“Brosious”), Health
Services Administrator Jeremy Simonson
(“Simonson”), Clinical Director Ellen
Mace-Leibson (“Mace-Leibson”), Physician's
Assistant David Steffan (“PA Steffan”), Megan
Lingenfelter (“PA Lingenfelter”), Financial
Specialist Michelle Ladd Kovach
(“Ladd”), and Business Administrator Elizabeth
Fisher (“Fisher”). For the reasons set forth
below, the motions will be granted. Additionally, Clemmons
filed a document entitled motion for summary judgment. (Doc.
101). A reading of the motion and supporting brief reveals
that it is not a proper motion for summary judgment. He
states that the motion is “being filed in opposition
against all defendants and their motions to dismiss his
complaint or in the alternative for summary judgment.”
In his supporting brief he states that the question involved
is “[w]hether summary judgment should be denied against
all defendants. . . .” (Doc. 104, p. 2). Moreover, the
motion is not properly supported with a statement of material
facts as required by the Local Rules of Court. Consequently
all documents submitted by Clemmons (Docs. 100-106, 109),
either in support of his “motion for summary
judgment” or in opposition to defendants' motions,
constitute his response and will be fully considered in
disposing of defendants' motions.
MOTION TO DISMISS
Standard of Review
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”).
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).
Allegations of the Amended Complaint
arrived at FCI-Schuylkill on or about April 24, 2012, with a
chronic painful hemorrhoid condition “that he had been
subjected to for years.” (Doc. 50, p. 2, ¶ 4; p.
3, ¶ 1, p. 4, ¶ 13). He alleges that
“Schuylkill FCI medical department and these named
medical defendants/non-medical defendants were negligent,
gross negligent, reckless and deliberate indiffrent [sic] in
rendering medical treatment…” He generally
alleges all defendants failed in the following respects: 1)
failing to select physicians competent to treat general
medical ailments and hemorrhoid conditions; 2) failing to
oversee all persons who practice medicine on behalf of
Integrated Medical Solutions (“IMS”) and
FCI-Schuylkill medical department; 3) failure to formulate,
adopt and enforce rules and policies to ensure quality of
care; 4) failure to order appropriate diagnostic tests; 5)
failure to promptly refer him to a hemorrhoid specialist; 5)
failure to minimize the risk of advancing problems related to
the failure to treat conditions; 6) failure to adequately
monitor, review, and modify his treatment plan; 7) neglect of
patients in failing to utilize hands on care; 8) reckless
neglect and gross neglect with regard to the medical needs of
Clemmons in refusing or declining to treat his condition; 8)
neglect and gross neglect in failing to take proactive action
in treating his hemorrhoids; 9) neglect, gross neglect and
reckless at law “in other ways.” (Doc. 50, pp. 2,
3, ¶¶ 4).
specifically alleges that on April 30, 2012, he sought
medical treatment for his chronic hemorrhoid condition.
(Id. at p. 4, ¶ 13). PA Steffan did not
examine, diagnose, treat or prescribe any medication, and
denied him a “soft boot shoe profile.”
(Id. at 15). He instructed Clemmons to use the
ointment he purchased at the commissary. (Id.).
7, 2012, Clemmons sought treatment for pain and discomfort
associated with the hemorrhoids and for “minimal
bleeding from his bowel movements.” (Id. at
16). PA Steffan instructed him to continue to use the
hemorrhoid cream. (Id.) Clemmons explained to PA
Steffan and Mace-Leibson that the cream was ineffective; they
failed to administer any diagnostic tests, failed to examine
him, failed to refer him to a specialist, and did not provide
him alternative treatment. (Id. at p. 5,
¶¶ 17, 21-24). He alleges that PA Steffan and
Mace-Leibson failed to give him any form of treatment for two
years. (Id. at 26).
same day, Clemmons filed a BP-8 informal resolution
requesting surgery for his hemorrhoids and approval for a
soft boot shoe profile. (Id. at 19). In response to
the BP-8, Brosious denied the soft boot shoe profile and did
not mention the surgery. (Id. at 19). Hufford denied
his BP-9 appeal, Norwood denied his BP-10, and Watts denied
his final appeal. (Id. at p. 6, ¶¶ 27-32).
next sought treatment on June 11, 2013, at which time PA
Lingenfelter denied him treatment and medication.
(Id. at 34). He became so emotionally upset that he
did not seek treatment for months. (Id. at 35).
21, 2014, Clemmons sought treatment for jock itch.
(Id. at p. 7, ¶ 37). PA Steffan denied him
treatment and medication and instructed him to purchase cream
from the commissary. (Id. at 38). He advised Steffan
that he had no available money in his inmate account.
(Id. at 39). Steffan did not provide him with
29, 2014, and August 5, 2014, Clemmons returned to medical
with complaints of jock itch and inflamed protruding
hemorrhoids accompanied by rectal bleeding. (Id. at
42; Id. at p. 8, ¶56). Steffan directed him to
purchase medication from the commissary. (Id. at 44;
Id. at 56). He advised Steffan that he had no
available money in his inmate account. (Id.) Steffan
did not provide him with alternative treatment. (Id.
at 45, 56). He alleges that Steffan and Mace-Leibson acted
with “conscious flagrant indifference to the rights and
safety of plaintiff.” (Id. at p. 8, ¶
August 1, 2014, his mother deposited twenty dollars in his
inmate account for the purpose of purchasing medication at
the commissary. (Id. at p. 9, ¶ 61). Defendants
Ladd and Fisher froze the money in “debt
encumbrance” to meet the Court's $350.00 filing
fee. (Id.) He sent emails to Defendants Ladd and
Fisher explaining that they “were violating the court
order.” (Id. at 62). The account remained
frozen. He alleges that Defendants Ladd and Fisher
“have a causal link in causing him physical and mental
injury by withholding plaintiff [sic] money and hindering
plaintiff from being able to purchase needed
medication.” (Id. at 64).
“wrote a (7) seven page complaint to E. Mace-Leibson DO
concerning how plaintiff was being denied medical treatment
and medication and Mace agreed with Steffan.”
(Id. at p. 8, ¶¶ 50-55). In email messages
sent to Defendants Simonson and Hudson, Clemmons complained
of denial of treatment for his medical conditions.
(Id. at pp. 8-9, ¶¶ 57-60). Neither
defendant responded. (Id.)
transferred to a different facility on August 11, 2014.
(Id. at p. 9, ¶ 67).
on the foregoing facts, Clemmons brings an FTCA claim against
the United States (Id. at pp. 10-12, ¶¶
77-92), and a Bivens claim asserting
“deliberate indifference in violation of the Eighth
Amendment” against Watts, Norwood, Hufford, Hudson,