United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
William W. Caldwell United States District Judge
August 2013, the pro se plaintiff, Alexis Maldanado, a state
inmate, filed this civil-rights lawsuit concerning an event
that occurred while he was housed at the state correctional
institution in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania (SCI-Huntingdon).
(ECF No. 1). This action proceeds on the Amended Complaint
(ECF Nos. 29 and 30). On August 20, 2015, we granted the
Pennsylvania Department of Corrections Defendants' motion
to dismiss. (ECF No. 20). Presently before the court is Dr.
Polmueller's uncontested motion to dismiss the Amended
Complaint. (ECF No. 78).
reasons discussed below, the court will grant Dr.
Polmueller's motion to dismiss and close the case.
Standard of Review
motion to dismiss under Fed. R. Civ. P 12(b)(6) authorizes
the dismissal of a complaint “for failure to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted.” Under
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), the district court 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 is entitled to relief.” Fowler v. UPMC
Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009) (quoting
Phillips v. Cnty. of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 231
(3d Cir. 2008)). While a complaint need only contain “a
short and plain statement of the claim, ” Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2), and detailed factual allegations are not required,
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127
S.Ct. 1955, 1964, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007), a complaint must
plead “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.” Id. at 570, 127 S.Ct.
at 1974. “The plausibility standard is not akin to a
‘probability requirement, ' but it asks for more
than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted
unlawfully.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009)(quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556, 127 S.Ct. at 1965).
Formulaic recitations of the elements of a cause of action
will not suffice. See Id. “[L]abels and
conclusions” are not enough, and a court is “not
bound to accept as true a legal conclusion couched as a
factual allegation.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555,
127 S.Ct. at 1965.
this standard in mind, the following is the background to
this litigation, as Plaintiff alleges it.
his September 9, 2010, transfer to SCI-Huntingdon, Plaintiff
was housed in a “gang unit” at SCI-Fayette where
he was involved in a “gang fight” for which he
received unspecified disciplinary sanctions and prompted his
transfer. Upon his arrival at SCI-Huntingdon he was housed in
Administrative Custody (AC) in the institution's
Restricted Housing Unit (RHU). Fourteen days later, on
September 22, 2010, he was placed in SCI-Huntingdon's
general population. (Doc. 30, ECF p. 2 and p. 7).
at SCI-Huntingdon, he held the following classification
(housing) codes: “H-Code” - High Risk due to
violent tendencies; “O-Code” - Observations, to
be closely watched; and “Z-Code” - single cell
status. (Id., ECF p. 8). He also received bi-weekly
meetings with a psychologist. (Id.) He kept a diary
as part of his therapy and attended “institutional
guided classes to attempt to address his psychological
needs.” (Id., ECF p. 8; pp. 15-16 and pp.
27-28). He also took “strong medications, ”
including Paxil and/or Remeron, to treat his severe
depression. (Id., ECF p. 12 and p. 14). Maldanado
spoke to officers, wrote request slips, and spoke with nurses
all in effort “to get somebody to take him [and his
mental health needs] more seriously.” (Id.,
ECF p. 10).
11, 2011, Maldanado was placed in the RHU for disciplinary
reasons. (Id., ECF p. 3). On or about September 2,
2011, while still in the RHU, Maldanado notified staff of his
“extreme anxiety” and that he was going to kill
himself “if necessary” to stop these feelings.
Prison staff contacted Mrs. Lane, a CRNP, in the psychiatry
department about his concerns. Shortly thereafter, Maldanado
was removed from his cell, taken to a shower area, stripped
of his clothes and placed in a “smock.”
(Id., ECF p. 4). At the same time, staff removed
Maldanado's property from his cell, including his
mattress and bedding. (Id.) He was not placed in a
Psychiatric Observation Cell (POC) but was returned to his
empty RHU cell. (Id.) A “709 Notice” was
placed outside of his cell door advising all staff that he
was under “razor restriction, as well as, suicide
following day, Plaintiff obtained a razor which he used to
attempt suicide. He was then removed from his cell and taken
to a POC in the medical unit and placed on “Basic
4" restrictions as ordered by Dr. Polmueller.
(Id.; see also ECF p. 21). “Basic
4" restrictions consist of “an anti-suicide smock
and blanket which are tear resistant, a mattress, and slides
- basic laceless shoes.” (Id., p. 5 and p.
POC cell did not have a mattress. Maldanado was without a
mattress for four or five days “in direct violation of
a doctors (sic) orders.” (Id., p. 20). This
deprivation denied him of “the minimal civilized
measure of life's necessities” in violation of the
Eighth Amendment. (Id.) Plaintiff, who had a
pre-existing back injury, claims he suffered “sleepless