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Pittman v. Corbett

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

September 5, 2017

GABRIEL PITTMAN, Plaintiff
v.
TOM CORBETT, ET AL., Defendants

          MEMORANDUM

          RICHARD P. CONABOY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Background

         Gabriel Pittman (Plaintiff), an inmate presently confined at the State Correctional Institution, Houtzdale, Pennsylvania (SCI-Houtzdale) initiated this pro se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. By Memorandum and Order dated February 27, 2014, the Eastern District granted Pittman's request for leave to proceed in forma pauperis, dismissed some of his claims and Defendants, and transferred his surviving claims relating to his prior confinement at the State Correctional Institution, Dallas, Pennsylvania (SCI-Dallas) to this Court.

         Thereafter, by Order dated April 11, 2014, a second action filed by Plaintiff, Pittman v. Corbett, , Civil No. 3:CV-14-567, which was intended to be a proposed amended complaint was consolidated into this matter. See Doc. 11. However, the Plaintiff's proposed amended complaint was not accepted and he was granted leave to file and serve a proper amended complaint.[1] See id. Plaintiff subsequently filed an amended complaint (Doc. 13) which was accepted by the Court.

         Presently pending is a motion to dismiss filed by Defendant Corizon Healthcare Inc. (“Corizon”). See Doc. 30. The opposed motion is ripe for consideration.

         With respect to the Moving Defendant, the Amended Complaint states that Pittman has been diagnosed with a skin disorder, “steatocystoma multiplex which has riddled his body with innumerable sebaceous cysts and many keloids” which cause moderate pain when they become infected or irritated. Doc. 13, ¶ 11. Plaintiff asserts that Corizon was contracted to provide medical services to the SCI-Dallas inmate population during the relevant time period.

         Pittman acknowledges that he has been provided treatment for his condition which has included periodic steroid injections, excision and draining of cysts, and consultation with a dermatologist. However, he contends Doctor Stanish, a Corizon employee improperly halted the steroid injections and that other previously prescribed care has not been provided by the SCI-Dallas medical staff. Plaintiff vaguely asserts that the lack of treatment was the result of an unconstitutional Corizon policy and/or custom. See id. at ¶ 19. The Amended Complaint adds that these alleged denials of medical care transpired between 2012-13. Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief, compensatory and punitive damages.

         Discussion

         The Moving Defendant does not dispute that it contracted with the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections (DOC) to provide medical care to the SCI-Dallas inmate population or that Pittman suffers from steatocystoma multiplex, which they describe as being an uncommon benign disorder which typically manifests as multiple asymptomatic intradermal cysts. See Doc. 31, p. 2. However Corizon claims entitlement to entry of dismissal because the facts alleged in the Amended Complaint do not identify “any particular policy or program” which purportedly violated Plaintiff's constitutional rights. Doc. 31, p. 7.

         Standard of Review

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) provides for the dismissal of complaints that fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. When ruling on a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the court must “accept as true all factual allegations in the complaint and all reasonable inferences that can be drawn therefrom, and view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.” Kanter v. Barella, 489 F.3d 170, 177 (3d Cir. 2007)(quoting Evancho v. Fisher, 423 F.3d 347, 350 (3d Cir. 2005)). A plaintiff must present facts that, if true, demonstrate a plausible right to relief. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(stating that the complaint should include “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief”); Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). This requirement “calls for enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of” the necessary elements of the plaintiff's cause of action. Id. at 556.

         A complaint must contain “more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). “Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements do not suffice.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. Legal conclusions must be supported by factual allegations and the complaint must state a plausible claim for relief. See id. at 679.

         “Factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level, on the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact).” Twombly, at 555. The reviewing court must determine whether the complaint “contain[s] either direct or inferential allegations respecting all the material elements necessary to sustain recovery under some viable legal theory.” Id. at 562; see also Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 234 (3d Cir. 2008)(in order to survive a motion to dismiss, a plaintiff must allege in his complaint “enough facts to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of the necessary element[s]” of a particular cause of action). Additionally, pro se pleadings are to be construed liberally, Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972).

         Corporate ...


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