United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
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.
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. (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.
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.) 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.
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.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
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. 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).
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.
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).
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.");