United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
move to dismiss Plaintiff Roger Williams' Complaint. Mr.
Williams pro se alleges Defendants Jane/John Doe and
Joseph C. Korszniak violated the Eighth Amendment when they
withheld medication with deliberate indifference to his
medical needs and inflicted unnecessary pain and suffering.
Defendant Korszniak is employed by S.C.I. Graterford as the
Correctional Health Care Administrator (“CHCA”)
and Defendant Nurse/Doctor John/Jane Doe ostensibly refers to
the medical prison official who provided care to Mr.
Williams. However, Mr. Williams' Complaint does not
identify who specifically provided the care resulting in the
assert that Eleventh Amendment immunity bars suit against the
Commonwealth, its agencies, and employees in their official
capacities. Given Mr. Williams' pro se status,
it is understandable that he does not distinguish between
Defendants' official and individual capacity under §
1983. For purposes of the present complaint, this Court will
analyze Mr. Williams' claim as if pled as an
official-capacity claim while addressing Defendants'
sovereign immunity defense. This Court will then address Mr.
Williams' Eighth Amendment argument set forth in the
Complaint. Further, Defendants' motion only addresses
claims made against one Defendant, Joseph C. Korszniak;
therefore, this Court will only address those defenses.
Williams failed to respond to the motion to dismiss filed by
Defendants. Failure to make a timely response allows the
court to treat a motion as uncontested. Move Organization
v. City of Philadelphia, 89 F.R.D. 521, 523 (E.D. Pa.
1981). Further, there is no question that Mr. Williams
actually received a copy of the motion to dismiss, as the
certificate of service states that the motion was served upon
him at S.C.I. Mercer. As of the date of this opinion, Mr.
Williams is no longer incarcerated at S.C.I. Mercer. Mr.
Williams' response was due in October of 2016; he has not
responded, nor has he requested additional time to do so.
7.1(c) of the local Rules of Civil Procedure for the Eastern
District of Pennsylvania provides that “[i]n the
absence of a timely response, the motion may be granted as
uncontested except as provided under [the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure governing summary judgment motions].”
See also Celestial Community Development Corp., Inc., v.
City of Philadelphia, 901 F.Supp.2d 566, 578 (E.D. Pa.
2010) (“To put it simply: plaintiffs who fail to brief
their opposition to portions of motions to dismiss do so at
the risk of having those parts of the motions to dismiss
granted as uncontested.”); Nelson v. DeVry,
Inc., No. 07-4436, 2009 WL 1213640 (E.D. Pa. April 23,
2009) (“Failure to address even part of a motion in a
responsive brief may result in that aspect of the motion
being treated as unopposed.”). Accordingly, Defendants
motion to dismiss is granted as unopposed. However, even if
this Court were not to consider the motion as unopposed, the
motion would be granted nonetheless. Therefore, moving
Defendant's motion to dismiss will be granted with
prejudice as to Defendant Korszniak.
Court also notes the remaining Defendant in this case is
Nurse/Doctor Jane/John Doe. Mr. Williams will be given thirty
(30) days to file an amended complaint properly identifying
Jane/John Doe. If Plaintiff fails to do so, his complaint
will be dismissed without further notice.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state
a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
(2007)). A claim satisfies the plausibility standard when the
facts alleged “allow the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.” Burtch v. Millberg Factors, Inc.,
662 F.3d 212, 220-21 (3d Cir. 2011) (citing Iqbal,
556 U.S. at 678). While the plausibility standard is not
“akin to a ‘probability requirement, '”
there nevertheless must be more than a “sheer
possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550
U.S. at 556). “Where a complaint pleads facts that are
‘merely consistent with' a defendant's
liability, it ‘stops short of the line between
possibility and plausibility of entitlement to
relief.'” Id. (quoting Twombly,
550 U.S. at 557).
Court of Appeals requires us to apply a three-step analysis
under a 12(b)(6) motion: (1) “it must ‘tak[e]
note of the elements [the] plaintiff must plead to state a
claim;'” (2) “it should identify allegations
that, ‘because they are no more than conclusions, are
not entitled to the assumption of truth;'” and, (3)
“[w]hen there are well-pleaded factual allegations,
[the] court should assume their veracity and then determine
whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement for
relief.” Connelly v. Lane Construction
Corp., 809 F.3d 780, 787 (3d Cir. 2016) (quoting
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 675, 679); see also
Burtch, 662 F.3d at 221; Malleus v. George, 641
F.3d 560, 563 (3d. Cir. 2011); Santiago v. Warminster
Township, 629 F.3d 121, 130 (3d. Cir. 2010).
a document filed pro se must be “liberally
construed.” Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97,
106 (1976). A pro se complaint, “however
inartfully pleaded, ” must be held to “less
stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers” and can only be dismissed for failure to state
a claim if it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can
prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would
entitle him to relief. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S.
519, 520-21 (1972). The Third Circuit has instructed that if
a complaint is vulnerable to dismissal for failure to state a
claim, the district court must permit a curative amendment,
unless an amendment would be inequitable or futile.
Grayson v. Mayview State Hosp., 293 F.3d 103, 108
(3d Cir. 2002).
Sovereign Immunity under the Eleventh
Korszniak argues the Eleventh Amendment bars him from suit in
his official-capacity. The Eleventh Amendment precludes private
federal litigation against states, state agencies, and state
officials in their official capacities. This immunity is
subject to three basic exceptions: “(1) Congress may
specifically abrogate a state's sovereign immunity by
exercising its enforcement power under the Fourteenth
Amendment; (2) a state may waive its sovereign immunity by
consenting to suit; or (3) under Ex parte Young, a
state official may be sued in his or her official capacity
for prospective injunctive relief. Hollihan v.
Pennsylvania Department of Corrections, 159 F.Supp.3d
502, 510 (M.D. Pa. 2016) (citing Ex parte Young, 209
U.S. 123 (1908)); see also Idaho v. Coeur d'Alene
Tribe of Idaho, 521 U.S. 261, 267-70 (1997).
pertains to the first exception, it is well-settled that by
enacting § 1983 Congress has not abrogated Eleventh
Amendment immunity. Id. (citing Will v. Michigan
Dept. of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 66 (1989)). Second,
Pennsylvania has unequivocally withheld consent to suit under
§ 1983. Id. “Section 8521 of Title 42 of
the Pennsylvania Code clearly states, ‘Nothing
contained in this subchapter shall be construed to waive the
immunity of the Commonwealth from suit in Federal courts
guaranteed by the Eleventh Amendment of the Constitution of
the United States.'” Id. (citing 42 Pa.
C.S. § 8521(b)); see also Lombardo v. Pennsylvania,
Dept. of Public Welfare, 540 F.3d 190, 196 (3d Cir.
2008); see also Laskaris v. Thornburgh, 661 F.2d 23,
25 (3d Cir. 1981). Finally, Mr. Williams raises
official-capacity claims against Defendant Korszniak under
§ 1983 as an employee of the DOC and agent of the