United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
JAMES T. LANE, Plaintiff
HSA DAVID BENOIT, et al., Defendants
M. MUNLEY JUDGE
T. Lane (“Lane” or “Plaintiff”), at
all times relevant, an inmate at the Luzerne County
Correctional Facility (“LCCF”), Wilkes Barre,
Pennsylvania, initiated this civil rights action on January
12, 2017. (Doc. 1). Lane amended the complaint on May 18,
2017. (Doc. 26).
the Court is a Motion (Doc. 29) to Dismiss pursuant to
Federal Rules of Civil 12(b)(6), filed on behalf of
Defendants HSA David Benoit (“Benoit”), Dr.
Renato Diaz (“Diaz”), and Elizabeth Joyce, R.N.
(“Joyce”). For the reasons set forth below, the
Court will deny the motion.
Rule 12(b)(6) Standard of Review
rendering a decision on a motion to dismiss, a court should
not inquire “whether a plaintiff will ultimately
prevail but whether the claimant is entitled to offer
evidence to support the claims.” Scheuer v.
Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974); Nami v.
Fauver, 82 F.3d 63, 66 (3d Cir. 1996). The court must
accept as true the factual allegations in the complaint and
draw all reasonable inferences from them in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff. Innis v. Wilson, 334 F.
App'x 454, 456 (3d Cir. 2009) (citing Phillips v. Cty
of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 229 (3d Cir.
2008)). A district court ruling on a motion to dismiss may
consider the facts alleged on the face of the complaint, as
well as “documents incorporated into the complaint by
reference, and matters of which a court may take judicial
notice.” Tellabs, Inc. v. Makor Issues &
Rights, Ltd., 551 U.S. 308, 322 (2007).
“the tenet that a court must accept as true all of the
allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal
conclusions.” 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
Under the pleading regime established by [Bell Atl. Corp.
v.] Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007) and
Iqbal, a court reviewing the sufficiency of a
complaint must take three steps. First, it must “tak[e]
note of the elements [the] plaintiff must plead to state a
claim.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 675, 129 S.Ct.
1937. Second, it should identify allegations that,
“because they are no more than conclusions, are not
entitled to the assumption of truth.” Id. at
679, 129 S.Ct. 1937. See also Burtch v. Milberg Factors,
Inc., 662 F.3d 212, 224 (3d Cir. 2011) (“Mere
restatements of the elements of a claim are not entitled to
the assumption of truth.” (citation and editorial marks
omitted)). Finally, “[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 to relief.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
679, 129 S.Ct. 1937.
Connelly v. Lane Const. Corp., 809 F.3d 780, 787-88
(3d Cir.2016) (internal citations, quotations and footnote
omitted). Elements are sufficiently alleged when the facts in
the complaint “show” that the plaintiff is
entitled to relief. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679 (quoting
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2)). At the second step, the Court
identities those allegations that, being merely conclusory,
are not entitled to the presumption of truth.
Twombly and Iqbal distinguish between legal
conclusions, which are discounted in the analysis, and
allegations of historical fact, which are assumed to be true
even if “unrealistic or nonsensical, ”
“chimerical, ” or “extravagantly
fanciful.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 681. Deciding
whether a claim is plausible is a “context-specific
task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its
judicial experience and common sense.” Id.
Allegations of the Amended Complaint
“Statement of Claims” section of the Amended
Complaint, Lane sets forth allegations detailing the attempts
he made, over a period of approximately nine months, to
receive medical care for a knee injury suffered during his
arrest and exacerbated by two separate falls at LCCF. (Doc.
26, ¶¶ 1-65). He sets forth two causes of action.
first cause of action, he alleges that “the actions of
the defendants, in failing to accommodate my [torn Anterior
Cruciate Ligament] injury by housing me on a top tier with
steps on the housing unit, assigning me to the top bunk,
ignoring my requests for pain relief although they knew the
MRI results showing a serious injury to my knee and still
failed to provide adequate medical care, and that failure
aggravating the injury, failing to remove the stiches from
surgery in a timely manner causing an infecting [sic] in my
knee, and their sarcastic, hostile and indifferent attitude
toward providing sufficient medical care proves they were
deliberately indifferent to my serious medical needs”
in violation of the Eight Amendment. (Doc. 26, p. 3 e,
¶¶ 67, 69).
second cause of action contains a retaliation claim. He
alleges that he “suffered numerous adverse actions from
the defendants in the form of not providing any pain relief
or appropriate housing, were all done to me as a result of
filing numerous grievances against these defendants.”
(Id., p. 3f, ¶¶ 70-72).