United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
Matthew W. Brann United States District Judge
pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 was filed by Shawn Whitenight, an inmate
presently confined at the Greene State Correctional
Institution, Waynesburg, Pennsylvania. By Memorandum and
Order dated October 19, 2016, Plaintiff's action was
dismissed, without prejudice, as legally frivolous pursuant
to the screening provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915.
dismissal of his action, Plaintiff filed a motion seeking
reconsideration of that decision. See Doc. 16.
Thereafter, this Court granted Whitenight's request for
an extension of time in which to file a proposed amended
complaint as part of his reconsideration request. Also
presently pending before this Court are Whitemight's
motions seeking appointment of counsel (Doc. 20); class
certification (Doc. 22); and clarification of the case (Doc.
has filed a one paragraph motion for reconsideration which
generally asserts only that the deficiencies outlined by this
Court's October 9, 2016 Memorandum and Order may be cured
through submission of an amended complaint. M.D. Pa. Local
Rule 7.10 requires that any motion for reconsideration or
reargument be accompanied by a supporting brief and filed
within fourteen (14) days after the entry of the order
concerned. The Plaintiff has not submitted a supporting brief
with respect to his motion. Accordingly, the motion for
reconsideration is subject to dismissal under Local Rule
although granted an enlargement of time in which to do so, a
review of the docket shows that Whitenight has not submitted
a proposed amended complaint. In light of that failure and
the lack of a brief supporting the reconsideration motion,
there is no discernible basis upon which to grant the
unsupported request for reconsideration.
acknowledged that Plaintiff did file one hundred and
thirty-seven (137) pages of exhibits (Doc. 19). However,
those exhibits cannot stand as an adequate proposed amended
complaint. The exhibits show that while previously confined
at the State Correctional Institution, Camp Hill,
Pennsylvania (SCI-Camp Hill) the Plaintiff was treated for a
back condition. The medical care provided to the prisoner
included surgical and physical therapy evaluations, a liver
function test, and MRI testing. It was determined by the
medical staff that there was no need for surgery.
See Doc. 19, p. 8.
Eighth Amendment “requires prison officials to provide
basic medical treatment to those whom it has
incarcerated.” Rouse v. Plantier, 182 F.3d
192, 197 (3d Cir. 1999) (citing Estelle v. Gamble,
429 U.S. 97 (1976)). In order to establish an Eighth
Amendment medical claim, an inmate must allege acts or
omissions by prison officials sufficiently harmful to
evidence deliberate indifference to a serious medical need.
See Spruill v. Gillis, 372 F.3d 218, 235-36 (3d Cir.
2004); Natale v. Camden Cty. Correctional Facility,
318 F.3d 575, 582 (3d Cir. 2003). In the context of medical
care, the relevant inquiry is whether the defendant was: (1)
deliberately indifferent (the subjective component) to (2)
the plaintiff's serious medical needs (the objective
component). Monmouth Cty. Corr. Inst. Inmates v.
Lanzaro, 834 F.2d 326, 346 (3d Cir. 1987); West v.
Keve, 571 F.2d 158, 161 (3d Cir. 1979).
respect to the subjective deliberate indifference component
of Estelle, the proper analysis for deliberate
indifference is whether a prison official “acted or
failed to act despite his knowledge of a substantial risk of
serious harm.” Farmer v. Brennan, 511
U.S. 825, 841 (1994). A complaint that a physician “has
been negligent in diagnosing or treating a medical condition
does not state a valid claim of medical mistreatment under
the Eighth Amendment [as] medical malpractice does not become
a constitutional violation merely because the victim is a
prisoner.” Estelle, 429 U.S. at 106.
prisoner has actually been provided with medical treatment,
one cannot always conclude that, if such treatment was
inadequate, it was no more than mere negligence. See
Durmer v. O'Carroll, 991 F.2d 64, 69 (3d Cir. 1993).
In Davidson v. Cannon, 474 U.S. 344, 347-48 (1986),
the Supreme Court of the United States noted that although a
lack of due care had resulted in serious injury to an inmate
plaintiff, "that lack of care simply does not approach
the sort of abusive government conduct" which would
warrant recovery under § 1983. Id. at 347-348.
Simply put, allegations of negligence “do not trigger
constitutional protections.” Whooten v.
Bussanich, No. 07-1441, slip op. at 4 (3d Cir. Sept. 12,
Plaintiff's exhibits show that he was afforded medical
treatment at SCI-Camp Hill it appears that Whitenight wishes
to challenge the quality of the medical care provided to him
there. However, claims which represent a prisoner's
disagreement with the quality of the medical care provided to
him are not actionable in a civil rights suit pursuant to the
standards announced in Davidson and
Certificate of Merit
has also filed a proposed certificate of merit which
generally claims that expert testimony by an appropriate
licensed professional is not necessary in this case.
See Doc. 24. In order to present a prima
facie case of medical malpractice/negligence under
Pennsylvania state law, a plaintiff has the burden of
presenting expert testimony by an appropriate licensed
professional who can testify to a reasonable degree of
medical certainty that the actions or omissions of the
defendant deviated from acceptable medical standards, and
that said deviation constituted a ...