United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
MEMORANDUM OPINION 
PARADISE BAXTER United States Magistrate Judge
Relevant Procedural History
April 19, 2016, Plaintiff John Lewis, Jr., an inmate
incarcerated at the State Correctional Institution at Albion,
Pennsylvania ("SCI-Albion"), initiated this civil
rights action by filing a complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. Plaintiff subsequently filed an amended
complaint on September 7, 2016, which superseded the original
complaint and is the operative pleading in this case. [ECF
No. 21]. Named as Defendants are: Wexford Health Sources,
Inc. ("Wexford"), a medical provider that was under
contract with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to provide
medical services to inmates at SCI-Albion from on or about
January 1, 2013 through on or about July 8, 2015; Correct
Care Solutions, LLC ("CCS"), a medical provider
that has been under contract with the Commonwealth of
Pennsylvania to provide medical services to inmates at
SCI-Albion since on or about July 9, 2015; and Robert L.
Maxa, D.O. ("Maxa"), a medical doctor who has been
employed by both Wexford and CCS to provide medical services
to inmates at SCI-Albion.
amended complaint contains three counts: Count I is an Eighth
Amendment claim of deliberate indifference to serious medical
needs asserted against Defendant Maxa; Count II is a pendent
state law professional negligence claim against all
Defendants; and Count III is a pendent state law breach of
contract claim against Defendants Wexford and CCS.
September 28, 2016, Defendants filed a partial motion to
dismiss [ECF No. 22], seeking dismissal of Counts I and III
of the amended complaint, only, arguing that each Count fails
to state a cause of action upon which relief may be granted.
Plaintiff has since filed a brief in opposition to
Defendants' motion [ECF No. 25], in which he voluntarily
withdraws Count III of his amended complaint, but argues that
Count I adequately states an Eighth Amendment claim of
deliberate indifference to serious medical needs. This matter
is now ripe for consideration.
Relevant Factual History
to his incarceration, Plaintiff was involved in a motorcycle
accident that caused him to suffer severe spinal injuries
that required four neck and back surgeries, as a result of
which he was rendered disabled (ECF No. 21, Amended
Complaint, at ¶ 15). Plaintiff's surgeon referred
him to the Hershey Medical Center Pain Management Clinic
where he was prescribed Methadone and Soma to manage his
chronic pain symptoms (Id. at ¶ 16).
Thereafter, Plaintiff's primary care physician, Larien G.
Bieber, MD, continued to treat Plaintiff's chronic pain
with Methadone and Soma (Id. at ¶ 17).
26, 2012, after Plaintiff was incarcerated at SCI-Albion, Dr.
Bieber sent a letter to Defendant Maxa informing him that
Plaintiff's pain was being managed with chronic stable
Methadone therapy, and Plaintiff alleges that he was
continued on Methadone and Soma while at SCI-Albion until
March 21, 2014, when he was transferred to SCI-Camp Hill on a
writ (Id. at ¶¶ 18-19, 21). For reasons
unknown to Plaintiff, his prescriptions for Methadone and
Soma were discontinued while he was at SCI-Camp Hill from
March 21, 2014 to April 8, 2014, when he was transferred back
to SCI-Albion (Id. at ¶ 20).
his return to SCI-Albion on April 8, 2014, Plaintiff
submitted an inmate request to Defendant Maxa asking that his
prescriptions for Methadone and Soma be re-ordered because he
was in a lot of pain (Id. at ¶ 22). Defendant
Maxa allegedly responded that all narcotics and muscle
relaxers required the approval of the Regional Medical
Director (Id.). On April 17, 2014, Plaintiff was
assessed by Defendant Maxa as having chronic neck pain, which
Defendant Maxa planned to treat with nonsteroidal
anti-inflammatory drugs ("NSAID") and Elavil. In
addition, Defendant Maxa indicated that he would have
Plaintiff try Robaxin, a muscle relaxant, for two weeks
(Id. at ¶ 24). On April 20, 2014, Plaintiff
wrote to Defendant Maxa complaining about not having
appropriate pain medication, but Defendant Maxa responded
that he could no longer get Soma and was weaning people off
narcotics daily. Accordingly, he wrote Plaintiff a
prescription for Relafin, an NSAID, because Celebrex, another
NSAID, was unavailable (Id. at ¶ 25).
4, 2014, Plaintiff sent another request to Defendant Maxa
stating that the Relafin was not working and complaining that
he couldn't sleep or cope with his everyday activities
because he was in so much pain (Id. at ¶ 26).
On May 12, 2014, Plaintiff was seen by Defendant Maxa for a
follow-up on his chronic neck pain, but Defendant Maxa
refused to prescribe any narcotic medication (Id. at
¶ 28). On May 27, 2014, Plaintiff sent an inmate request
to Defendant Maxa complaining that he was suffering
"physically and mentally" and asking to be put back
on Methadone and Soma twice daily (Id. at ¶
29). On May 30, 2014, Defendant Maxa responded that Plaintiff
was on his "call out" (Id. at ¶ 30).
Plaintiff was next seen by Defendant Maxa on July 17, 2014,
to follow up on Plaintiff's chronic neck pain and to
discuss his request for Methadone and Soma, which Plaintiff
had not had since March 21, 2014 (Id.). Defendant
Maxa observed that Plaintiff exhibited "no changes from
prior exams" and again refused to prescribe any narcotic
medication for Plaintiff's chronic pain.
20, 2015, Plaintiff sent a request to Defendant Maxa asking
that he prescribe Methadone and Soma for his chronic pain
(Id. at ¶ 32). Defendant Maxa responded on May
26, 2015, that "We have already discussed this and they
are not going to be reviewed at this time" (Id.
at ¶ 33).
Standard of Review
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). See also ...