United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
MAUREEN P. KELLY CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Tremaine Epps (“Plaintiff”) brings this civil
rights action against Defendants Orlando Harper
(“Harper”), County of Allegheny (“the
County”), and an unidentified corrections officer
(collectively, “the County Defendants”), as well
as Corizon Health, Inc. (“Corizon”), Michael
Barfield (“Barfield”), and unidentified health
care providers (collectively, “the Medical
Defendants”). Plaintiff alleges that Defendants
violated his rights provided by the Eighth Amendment to the
United States Constitution while he was incarcerated in the
Allegheny County Jail (“ACJ”) by failing to
provide him with adequate medical care after he was assaulted
by another inmate.
before the Court are two motions to dismiss: a Motion to
Dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint for Failure to
State a Claim or, in the Alternative, Motion for Summary
Judgment, submitted on behalf of the Medical Defendants, and
the County Defendants' Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's
First Amended Complaint. ECF Nos. 30 and 33, respectively.
For the following reasons both Motions will be granted.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
to the First Amended Complaint (“FAC”), Plaintiff
was incarcerated in the ACJ in February of 2014 and assigned
to a cell with an inmate who suffers from mental illness and
has a known propensity for violence. ECF 29 ¶¶
17-18. On February 3, 2014, Plaintiff became aware that his
cellmate was becoming aggressive and contacted the guards.
Id. The guard on duty, however, ignored
Plaintiff's request for help and Plaintiff was
subsequently assaulted by his cellmate who
“stomped” on Plaintiff's ankle. Id.
¶¶ 17, 20-21. When Plaintiff awoke the next
morning, he claims that he was in severe pain and unable to
walk. Id. ¶ 23. Consequently, Plaintiff was
taken to the prison infirmary where an x-ray of his left
ankle was taken. Id. ¶ 24. According to the
Progress Note in Plaintiff's medical records dated
February 4, 2014, which Plaintiff has attached to the FAC,
the x-ray showed that he had a fractured bone and an
“ortho referral” was noted. Plaintiff's ankle
was placed in a splint and he was provided with crutches and
medicine. Id. ¶¶ 24, 27. See ECF
No. 29-1. Despite having informed the staff at the infirmary
that he continued to be in severe pain, his request to remain
in the infirmary was denied and Plaintiff was returned to the
general population holding cells. Id. ¶¶
25-26. There, Plaintiff alleges that he not only continued to
suffer severe pain but had difficulty climbing the stairs to
his cell. Id. ¶ 29. Plaintiff's subsequent
requests for additional medical treatment, however, went
unheeded and he was not referred to an orthopedic surgeon.
Id. ¶¶ 28-31.
February 19, 2014, Plaintiff's counsel apparently sent a
letter to Defendant Harper, the Warden at the ACJ, stating
that Plaintiff believed he had a broken leg and needed
medical attention. Id. ¶ 30. Thereafter, on
February 26, 2014, Plaintiff was treated at UPMC Mercy by Dr.
Lisa Blackrick who performed surgery for a left distal fibula
fracture. Id. ¶¶ 31, 32, 35. Plaintiff
alleges that, as a result of the ACJ and Corizon's
refusal to provide adequate medical care, his ankle had to be
re-broken because the bone had begun to heal improperly.
Id. ¶¶ 35, 36. Plaintiff also contends
that as a result of the delay in receiving proper medical
care, the health of his left ankle is significantly and
permanently impaired. Id. ¶ 37. Plaintiff also
claims that because of the ACJ's failure to provide him
with mobility assistance and safe and appropriate housing, he
suffered diminished access to prison programming and services
as well as “further physical injury, mental anguish,
anxiety and fear that he would be further injured.”
Id. ¶¶ 39, 40.
filed a Complaint on February 2, 2016, bringing claims
pursuant to the Eighth Amendment to the United States
Constitution against all Defendants for being deliberately
indifferent to his medical needs (Count I); a claim for
negligence against Corizon and the unidentified health care
providers (Count II); a claim for negligence against Harper
and Barfield (Count III); an Eighth Amendment claim for
failure to protect against Defendants Harper, the County, and
the unidentified corrections officer (Count IV); and a claim
for negligence against Corizon (Count V).
Medical Defendants and the County Defendants both filed
Motions to Dismiss the Complaint. ECF Nos. 4, 17. In an
Opinion and Order dated October 24, 2017, the Court granted
both Motions finding that Plaintiff had failed to state
Eighth Amendment claims for deliberate indifference and/or
failure to protect and declining to exercise supplemental
jurisdiction over Plaintiff's state law claims for
negligence. ECF No. 28. Plaintiff, however, was granted leave
to file an Amended Complaint to the extent he could cure the
deficiencies identified by the Court as to his deliberate
indifference claim brought at Count I. Id.
Plaintiff filed the FAC on November 7, 2016, reasserting his
Eighth Amendment claim against all Defendants for being
deliberately indifferent to his medical needs (Count I); his
claim for negligence against Corizon and the unidentified
health care providers (Count II), his negligence claim Harper
and Barfield (Count III); and his claim for negligence
against Corizon (Count V). The Medical Defendants filed a Motion
to Dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint for Failure to
State a Claim or, in the Alternative, Motion for Summary
Judgment on November 14, 2016 and the County Defendants filed
a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint
on November 21, 2016. ECF Nos. 30, 33. Plaintiff filed
Responses in Opposition to the Motions on December 8, 2016
and December 14, 2016, respectively. ECF Nos. 38, 39. A Reply
by the County Defendants has also been filed. ECF No. 41. As
such, both Motions are ripe for review.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
assessing the sufficiency of the complaint pursuant to a
motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6), the Court must accept as true all material
allegations in the complaint and all reasonable factual
inferences must be viewed in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff. Odd v. Malone, 538 F.3d 202, 205 (3d Cir.
2008). The Court, however, need not accept bald assertions or
inferences drawn by the plaintiff if they are unsupported by
the facts set forth in the complaint. See Cal. Pub. Empl.
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. Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007).
Rather, “[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise
a right to relief above the speculative level.”
Id., citing Papasan v. Allain, 478 U.S.
265, 286 (1986). Indeed, the United States Supreme Court has
held that a complaint is properly dismissed under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) where it does not allege “enough
facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face, ” id. at 570, or where the factual
content does not allow the court "to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009). See Phillips v. Cty. of Allegheny, 515 F.3d
224, 231 (3d Cir. 2008) (finding that, under
Twombly, “labels, conclusions, and a formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action” do not
suffice but, rather, the complaint “must allege facts
suggestive of [the proscribed] conduct” and that are
sufficient “to raise a reasonable expectation that
discovery will reveal evidence of the necessary element[s] of
Eighth Amendment Deliberate Indifference Claims (Count
has brought his claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983