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Jackson v. United States

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

March 21, 2018

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, et al. Defendants.




         Before the Court is the Report and Recommendation of Magistrate Judge Baxter in which she recommends the following: (1) the motion to dismiss filed by Corizon Health, Inc. (“Corizon”) [Dkt. No. 80] be denied as to Plaintiff's medication access claim, but granted as to Plaintiff's claim arising out of the medical care he received for injuries he sustained in an assault; (2) the motion to dismiss filed by the United States of America, the Department of Justice, and the United States Marshals (“the Federal Defendants”) [Dkt. No. 82] be granted as to Plaintiff's Bivens claims, but denied without prejudice on the basis of exhaustion of administrative remedies; (3) the motion to dismiss filed by UPMC Mercy [Dkt. No. 84] be granted, and (4) the motion to dismiss filed by Allegheny County, Rich Fitzgerald, Orlando Harper, Simon Wainwright, Garcia Chavez, and Eugene Judge (“the County Defendants”) [Dkt. No. 89] be granted as to Plaintiff's official capacity claim, as well as his failure to protect and retaliation claims, but denied as to Plaintiff's claims arising against the County Defendants, arising out of the alleged denial of medication. Dkt. No. 131.

         The County Defendants timely filed objections to the Report and Recommendation. Dkt. No. 134. No. other objections were filed.


         Plaintiff, Jarron Jackson, is a prisoner presently incarcerated at the Edgefield Federal Correctional Institution in South Carolina. Proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, Plaintiff initiated this action in June 2015, with a complaint setting forth numerous legal claims spanning a period of eight years, and sounding in false arrest/false imprisonment, malicious prosecution, deliberate indifference, due process, equal protection, failure-to-protect, breach of contract, among others.

         Pursuant to the Prisoner Litigation Reform Act (PLRA), 28 U.S.C. §1915(e)(2); 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, Magistrate Judge Baxter identified multiple deficiencies in the complaint, and required Plaintiff to file an amended complaint limited to claims not barred by applicable statutes of limitations and drafted in accordance with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Dkt. No. 5. Plaintiff subsequently filed both an amended complaint and a motion to appoint counsel. Dkt. Nos. 11, 13. The Magistrate Judge Baxter granted Plaintiff's motion to appoint counsel and the action was administratively closed pending an appearance by counsel. Dkt. No. 37. Upon receipt of declinations of representation by three attorneys, the Magistrate Judge Baxter reopened the action and advised Plaintiff that he is responsible for the prosecution of his case. Dkt. No. 50. Defendants thereafter filed motions to dismiss. Plaintiff responded by filing his second amended complaint. Dkt. No. 79.

         Reading his operative complaint liberally as required, Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007), Magistrate Judge Baxter determined that Plaintiff alleges an Eighth Amendment claim against the Federal Defendants for the denial of medical care while housed as a pre-trial detainee at the Allegheny County Jail (“ACJ”). Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that upon transferring custody to the ACJ, the Federal Defendants failed to ensure that his prescribed asthma, pain, and psychiatric medication would continue to be made available to him, and that his medical needs would otherwise be met. Dkt. No. 131 at 3.

         Plaintiff also alleges claims against the County Defendants, arising out of the alleged deprivation of medical care and the failure to protect Plaintiff from an inmate assault while he was incarcerated at the ACJ. Plaintiff states that upon his admission to the ACJ, the County Defendants failed to intervene with the contracted medical provider, Corizon, to ensure that medication was provided as previously prescribed. Plaintiff alleges that he submitted complaints regarding the denial of his medication to ACJ medical personnel as well as to Defendants Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, ACJ Warden Orlando Harper, and ACJ Deputy Warden Simon Wainwright, to no avail.

         Plaintiff further alleges that ACJ officials were negligent and otherwise deliberately indifferent in failing to protect Plaintiff from an assault by two inmates who were “extorting” other inmates. Plaintiff alleges that despite general knowledge of the character of the involved inmates, and information that Plaintiff had been targeted, ACJ officials failed to intervene for his protection. In addition, Plaintiff alleges that ACJ Corrections Officers Eugene Judge and Garcia-Chavez retaliated against him because he complained about the denial of his medication, and that this retaliation led to the assault. Dkt. No. 131 at 2-3.

         Plaintiff also filed claims against UPMC Mercy, alleging that it was deliberately indifferent and otherwise negligent in treating Plaintiff for a concussion and facial swelling sustained in the assault. In particular, Plaintiff alleges that UPMC Mercy wrongfully discharged and released Plaintiff to return to ACJ. Plaintiff further alleges claims against Corizon, arising out of a policy of denying medication to incoming prisoners with valid prescriptions, and requiring that new prescriptions be issued from Corizon physicians. Plaintiff alleges that Corizon's process and policy delayed access to his medication for up to one week. In addition, Plaintiff alleges that Corizon implemented policies that preclude medical staff from exercising discretion in treating inmates and, in turn, this resulted in the lack of “effective treatment” after Plaintiff's assault. Dkt. No. 131 at 4.

         Currently pending before this Court are motions to dismiss filed on behalf of Corizon [Dkt. No. 80], the Federal Defendants [Dkt. No. 82], UPMC Mercy [Dkt. No. 84], and the Allegheny County Defendants [Dkt. No. 89], all of whom argue that Plaintiff has failed to state cognizable claims upon which relief may be granted. Plaintiff filed responses to the motions filed on behalf of Corizon [Dkt. No. 121] and the Federal Defendants [Dkt. No. 110], but despite having been granted ample time to respond to the motions to dismiss filed on behalf of Defendants UPMC and the County Defendants, Plaintiff has failed to do so in a timely manner.

         As stated in the Introduction, Magistrate Judge Baxter recommends that this Court grant the motions to dismiss except as to Plaintiff's denial of medication claim against Corizon and the County Defendants. Only the County Defendants filed an objection to the report and recommendation.

         III. ...

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