United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
Darnell Jones, II J.
incarcerated at a Philadelphia detention center, Plaintiff
underwent surgery to repair a ruptured Achilles tendon.
Thereafter, Plaintiff alleges that the prison staff provided
him with such substandard care that Plaintiff developed
recurrent, severe infections, which rendered Plaintiff
disabled. Plaintiff brings the present action against the
United States under the Federal Tort Claims Act, alleging
Pennsylvania state law claims of negligence, negligent
infliction of emotional distress, and intentional infliction
of emotional distress. Presently before the court is
Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's claims for
negligent and intentional infliction of emotional distress
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Upon
consideration of Defendant's Motion, all responses and
replies thereto, and for the reasons that follow,
Defendant's Motion is granted in part and denied in part.
Plaintiff is granted leave to amend within fourteen (14)
following facts are recited in the light most favorable to
Plaintiff. At all times material, Plaintiff Trezjuan Thompson
was incarcerated in the Federal Detention Center in
Philadelphia (“FDC”), a facility operated by the
Federal Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”). (Compl.,
¶ 9). Plaintiff ruptured his right Achilles tendon while
playing basketball on FDC grounds and was advised that the
injury required surgery. (Compl., ¶ 11). About a month
thereafter, Plaintiff underwent the recommended surgery at
Hahnemann Hospital and Plaintiff's right leg was put in a
cast to heal. (Compl., ¶ 12). Against medical advice,
FDC corrections officers transported Plaintiff back to the
FDC immediately following his surgery. (Compl., ¶ 15).
Upon discharge, Plaintiff's surgeon instructed the
corrections officers to bring Plaintiff back to the hospital
for a follow-up evaluation in the next five to seven days.
(Compl., ¶ 16). The doctor's orders concerning the
follow-up visit were put in writing and sent to BOP staff,
who forwarded the written instructions on to medical
personnel in the FDC. (Compl., ¶ 17). The instructions
further stated that if Plaintiff's cast got wet or began
to leak, the cast would need to be removed and replaced.
(Compl., ¶ 18).
medical staff scheduled Plaintiff's follow up appointment
for two weeks later. (Compl., ¶ 21).
week following the surgery, Plaintiff informed FDC medical
personnel that he “felt blood running out of his
cast.” (Compl., ¶ 19). Despite Plaintiff's
complaints, no one at the FDC evaluated or treated
Plaintiff's leg for the two weeks between Plaintiff's
discharge from the hospital and Plaintiff's scheduled
follow-up at Hahnemann Hospital. (Compl., ¶ 22). On the
day of Plaintiff's follow-up appointment, a reported fire
near the appointment site prevented Plaintiff from meeting
with his surgeon. (Compl., ¶ 23-24). Plaintiff was
returned to FDC without being evaluated. (Compl., ¶ 25).
No one at the FDC made any immediate efforts to reschedule
Plaintiff's follow-up appointment. (Compl., ¶ 26).
ten days following Plaintiff's missed appointment,
Plaintiff repeatedly complained to FDC correctional and
medical staff that he feared his wound was not healing, he
was experiencing substantial pain, and there was still blood
leaking from his cast. (Compl., ¶ 27). Plaintiff's
complaints were ignored. (Compl., ¶ 28).
follow-up appointment was re-scheduled for early October, a
full three and one half weeks following Plaintiff's
surgery. (Compl., ¶ 29). After removing Plaintiff's
cast, the surgeon concluded that Plaintiff's surgical
site was seriously infected. (Compl., ¶ 30). Plaintiff
was readmitted to Hahnemann, where he underwent at least
three debridement procedures intended to treat his infection.
(Compl., ¶ 31-32). Hospital physicians determined that
the first surgical repair of Plaintiff's Achilles tendon
had failed as a result of the infection. (Compl., ¶ 33).
Plaintiff had to undergo a second surgery to repair the
tendon. (Compl., ¶ 34). Plaintiff remained in the
hospital for several weeks, after which he was returned to
the FDC. (Compl., ¶ 35-36).
following weeks, Plaintiff was readmitted to Hahnemann on at
least two other occasions, where he was treated for
persistent infection. (Compl., ¶ 39, 40-42).
on the foregoing, Plaintiff initiated suit under the Federal
Tort Claims Act against Defendant United States for
negligence, negligent infliction of emotional distress
(“NIED”), and intentional infliction of emotional
distress (“IIED”). Defendant timely filed the
present Motion to Dismiss, seeking dismissal of
Plaintiff's claims for negligent infliction of emotional
distress and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Presently before the court is Defendant's Motion,
Plaintiff's Response in Opposition, and Defendant's
deciding a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6),
courts must “accept all factual allegations as true,
construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the
plaintiff, and determine whether, under any reasonable
reading of the complaint, the plaintiff may be entitled to
relief.” Phillips v. Cnty. of Allegheny, 515
F.3d 224, 233 (3d Cir. 2008) (internal quotation marks
omitted). After the Supreme Court's decision in Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007), it
was established that “[t]hreadbare recitals of the
elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory
statements, do not suffice.” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). But rather, “a
claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads
factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.” Id. at 678 (citing Twombly,
550 U.S. at 556). This standard, which applies to all civil
cases, “asks for more than a sheer possibility that a
defendant has acted unlawfully.” Id. at 678;
accord Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210
(3d Cir. 2009) (“[A]ll civil complaints must contain
more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me
accusation.”) (internal quotation marks omitted).
instant action arises under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1346(b),
the Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”). The FTCA
provides a mechanism by which plaintiffs can bring claims
against the United States based on the actions of Government
employees wherever private citizens engaging in analogous
behavior would be liable under state law. CAN v. United
States, 535 F.3d 132, 138 (3d Cir. 2008). Under the FTCA
federal district courts determine liability “in
accordance with the law of the place where the act or
omission occurred.” Sosa v. Alvarez-Machain,
542 U.S. 692, 700 (2004). Accordingly, in the ...