United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
DONALD P. BROWN, SR. Plaintiff,
TERENCE FARRELL, et al. Defendants.
Brown, Sr., a pro se prisoner, brings this action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for injuries he sustained,
and medical treatment he received, after he fell out of his
bunk bed at Chester County Prison. The defendants filed
motions to dismiss plaintiffs amended complaint, pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), for failure to
state a claim. I will grant in part and deny in part the
motions to dismiss.
was a prisoner at Chester County Prison in 2015. (Am. Compl.,
Doc. No. 5, at 1). On May 15, 2015, plaintiff fell off the
top bunk of his prison bunk bed. (Id.). He suffered
a concussion, sprained neck, sprained shoulder, and lost two
teeth. (Id.). Plaintiff alleges the upper bunk bed
he fell from was "unsecured." (Id.). After
he fell, plaintiff was taken by ambulance to Chester County
Hospital for medical treatment. (Id.).
made prior complaints to the prison's warden, defendant
Edward McFadden, about the "unsafe conditions" in
Chester County Prison. (Id. at 2). Plaintiff alleges
these complaints were ignored. (Id.). Plaintiff
further alleges McFadden did nothing to fix the conditions he
complained about. (Id.). Plaintiff also claims he
complained to Captain Morgan Taylor, who also ignored
plaintiffs complaints about "a lack of safety measures
being taken at Chester County Prison." (Id. at
Care Medical Inc. is a corporation that contracted with
Chester County Prison to provide medical treatment to
inmates. Karen Murphy worked for Prime Care at the prison
where plaintiff was incarcerated at the time of his fall.
Plaintiff claims that, upon returning from Chester County
Hospital, he complained to Karen Murphy and Prime Care about
continuing pain. (Id. at 3). Specifically, he
complained about head pain and a lack of range of motion in
his neck and shoulder. (Id.). According to
plaintiff, these complaints went unanswered. (Id.).
Plaintiff also alleges he asked Ms. Murphy for pain
medication but she did not provide any.
initiated this action by filing a complaint against
defendants Chester County Prison, Terence Farrell, Edward
McFadden, Morgan Taylor, Karen Murphy, and Prime Care Medical
Inc. on June 17, 2016. (Doc. No. 1-1 at 1). I dismissed the
complaint, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii),
for failure to state a claim. (Doc. No. 2).
claims against Chester County Prison were dismissed with
prejudice because Chester County Prison is not subject to
suit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. No. 2). The claims
relating to the absence of a safety rail on the top bunk were
also dismissed with prejudice because precedent has
foreclosed such claims under § 1983. (Id. at
4). In dismissing plaintiffs complaint, I granted him leave
to amend to challenge the lack of medical treatment he
received after his fall. (Id. at 5).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Rule 12(b)(6), a defendant bears the burden of demonstrating
that the plaintiff has not stated a claim upon which relief
can be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6); see also Hedges v.
United States, 404 F.3d 744, 750 (3d Cir. 2005). In
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007),
the United States Supreme Court recognized that "a
plaintiffs obligation to provide the 'grounds' of his
'entitle[ment] to relief requires more than labels and
conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a
cause of action will not do." Id. at 555.
Subsequently, in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662
(2009), the Supreme Court defined a two-pronged approach to a
court's review of a motion to dismiss. "First, the
tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations
contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal
conclusions. Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause
of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not
suffice." Id. at 678. Thus, while "Rule 8
marks a notable and generous departure from the
hyper-technical, code-pleading regime of a prior era ... it
does not unlock the doors of discovery for a plaintiff armed
with nothing more than conclusions." Id. at
the Supreme Court emphasized that "only a complaint that
states a plausible claim for relief survives a motion to
dismiss." Id. at 679. "Determining whether
a complaint states a plausible claim for relief will, as the
Court of Appeals observed, be a context-specific task that
requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial
experience and common sense." Id., A complaint does not
show an entitlement to relief when the well-pleaded facts do
not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility
of misconduct. Id.; see also Phillips v. Cnty.
of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 232-34 (3d Cir. 2008)
(holding that: (1) factual allegations of complaint must
provide notice to defendant; (2) complaint must allege facts
suggestive of the proscribed conduct; and (3) the
complaint's '"factual allegations must be enough
to raise a right to relief above the speculative
level.'" (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at
basic tenets of the Rule 12(b)(6) standard of review have
remained static. Spence v. Brownsville Area Sch.
Dist, No. Civ. A.08-626, 2008 WL 2779079, at *2 (W.D.
Pa. July 15, 2008). The general rules of pleading still
require only a short and plain statement of the claim showing
that the pleader is entitled to relief and need not contain
detailed factual allegations. Phillips, 515 F.3d at
233. Further, the court must "accept all factual
allegations in the complaint as true and view them in the
light most favorable to the plaintiff." Buck v.
Hampton Twp. Sch. Dist, 452 F.3d 256, 260 (3d Cir.
2006). Finally, the court must "determine whether, ...