Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Kashkashian v. Lagana

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

April 23, 2018

PAUL LAGANA, et al., Defendants.


          SCHMEHL, J.

         Plaintiff Eric Kashkashian brings this pro se civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against officials at the Bucks County Prison based on their failure to "correct" his mental health records. Mr. Kashkashian seeks to proceed in forma pauperis. For the following reasons, the Court will grant Mr. Kashkashian leave to proceed in forma pauperis and dismiss his Complaint for failure to state a claim, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).

         I. FACTS

         Mr. Kashkashian is awaiting trial in the Bucks County Court of Common Pleas on various criminal charges. See Commonwealth v. Kashkashian, Docket Nos. CP-09-CR-0003277-2015 & CP-09-CR-0002803-2015. In the course of those proceedings, the state court ordered an evaluation of Mr. Kashkashian to determine whether he was competent to stand trial. Most recently, on August 8, 2016, the judge presiding over Mr. Kashkashian's criminal cases directed the Mental Health Department of the Bucks County Correctional Facility to "examine [Mr. Kashkashian] for a determination of competency and prepare a report detailing the results of the evaluation." (Id.) On October 20, 2016, the state court held a competency hearing and concluded that Mr. Kashkashian was not competent to stand trial.[1] (Id.) He is currently in custody at the Norristown State Hospital, although the Complaint suggests he may not have been transferred there until January 29, 2018. According to the state court dockets, counsel for Mr. Kashkashian recently filed a motion seeking a hearing.

         Mr. Kaskkashian initiated this lawsuit against: (1) Paul Lagana, the Warden of the Bucks County Correctional Facility; (2) Dr. Abby Cassidy, a doctor at the Bucks County Correctional Facility; and (3) an unidentified "prison director." He alleges that Dr. Cassidy

would not on three occasions see [him] to, correct [his] mental health file, to expunge erroneous, and derogatory information from [his] institutional file. [Mr. Kashkashian] told the dr. [he] [has] factual evidence 65-plus pages, proving the information in [his] mental health file is erroneous and derogatory.

(Compl. ECF No. 2 at 5.)[2] Although he does not further describe the allegedly erroneous information, Mr. Kashkashian indicates that he wanted Dr. Cassidy to "change [his] mental health file, retract the evaluation, retract her testimony at a hearing, and withdraw the evidence use[d] for reliance for [an] involuntary transfer to Norristown State Hospital." (Id.) He adds that he has been assaulted by other inmates or patients during his stay at Norristown State Hospital.

         The Complaint reflects that on December 21, 2017, when he still appears to have been incarcerated at the Bucks County Correctional Facility, Mr. Kashkashian filed a grievance about the fact that Dr. Cassidy would not change his mental health records. Warden Lagana responded that Dr. Cassidy had informed Mr. Kashkashian that she "cannot and will not alter or change [his] medical record" and advised him how to proceed if he was "unhappy with her response or [his] current status." (Id. at 14.) Mr. Kashkashian appealed, and an unidentified prison director denied his appeal. He then appealed to the Prison Oversight Board, but it is not clear whether he received a response. For relief in the instant civil action, Mr. Kashkashian seeks millions of dollars in compensatory and punitive damages.


         The Court grants Mr. Kashkashian leave to proceed in forma pauperis because it appears that he is incapable of paying the fees to commence this civil action.[3] Accordingly, 28 U.S.C. § l9l5(e)(2)(B)(ii) applies, which requires the Court to dismiss the Complaint if it fails to state a claim. Whether a complaint fails to state a claim under § l9l5(e)(2)(B)(ii) is governed by the same standard applicable to motions to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), see Tourscher v. McCullough, 184 F.3d 236, 240 (3d Cir. 1999), which requires the Court to determine whether the complaint contains "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) (quotations omitted). Conclusory allegations do not suffice. Id. As Mr. Kashkashian is proceeding pro se, the Court construes his allegations liberally. Higgs v. Att'y Gen., 655 F.3d 333, 339 (3d Cir. 2011).


         "To state a claim under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege the violation of a right secured by the Constitution and laws of the United States, and must show that the alleged deprivation was committed by a person acting under color of state law." West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988). The Eighth Amendment governs claims brought by convicted inmates challenging their conditions of confinement, while the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment governs claims brought by pretrial detainees. Hubbard v. Taylor, 399 F.3d 150, 166 (3d Cir. 2005). As it appears that Mr. Kashkashian is a pretrial detainee, the Court will analyze his claim under the Fourteenth Amendment.

         To establish a basis for a Fourteenth Amendment violation, a prisoner must establish that the challenged conditions amount to punishment. Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S. 520, 538 (1979). That inquiry generally turns on whether the conditions have a purpose other than punishment and whether the conditions are excessive in relation to that purpose. See Id. at 538-39; Hubbard, 399 F.3d atl58. In the context of deficiencies in medical care, the Fourteenth Amendment, like the Eighth Amendment, is violated if a prison official acts with deliberate indifference to an inmate's serious medical needs. See Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 835 (1994); Goode v. Giorla, 643 Fed.Appx. 127, 129 n.3 (3d Cir. 2016) (per curiam). "[T]he official must both be aware of facts from which the inference could be drawn that a substantial risk of serious harm exists, and he must also draw the inference." Farmer, 511 U.S. at 837. Allegations of medical malpractice and mere disagreement regarding proper medical treatment are insufficient to establish a constitutional violation. See Spruill v. Gillis, 372 F.3d 218, 235 (3d Cir. 2004).

         Falsification of medical records coupled with "a showing of deliberate refusal to provide medical attention, as opposed to a particular course of treatment" may violate the Constitution. Green v. Branson,108 F.3d 1296, 1304 (10th Cir. 1997) (addressing the issue in the Eighth Amendment context); Curbeam v. Montgomery Cty. Corr. Facility, No. CIV.A. 12-2309, 2013 WL 315719, at *5 (E.D. Pa. Jan. 28, 2013) (plaintiff stated a claim based on allegations that defendant "personally disliked him and falsified his chart to the effect that he no longer wanted medical care, thereby causing him to receive no medical care for a period of 21 days"); Wilkins v. Illinois Dep't of Corr., No. CIV. 08-CV-732-JPG, 2009 WL 1904414, at *8 (S.D. Ill. July 1, 2009) ("It is at least arguable that falsifying Wilkins's medical records implicates his Eighth Amendment rights because the deliberate inaccuracies may prevent him from receiving adequate medical care"). To the contrary, however, "[t]here is no basis for a constitutional claim alleging the mere filing of a false report." Moore v. Casselberry, 584 F.Supp.2d 580, 582 (W.D.N.Y. 2008); see also Harris v. Pennsylvania, Dep't of Corr., No. CIV. 13-02888, 2014 WL 941351, at *5 (E.D. Pa. Mar. 11, 2014) ("This allegation of falsifying medical reports, without more, does not support the inference that Robinson was deliberately indifferent to Plaintiffs serious medical need."); ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.