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Martin v. Secretary of Corrections

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

May 31, 2018




         Plaintiff Tyrone Martin, ("Martin"), an inmate who, at all relevant times, was housed at the State Correctional Institution at Smithfield, Pennsylvania ("SCI-Smithfield"), initiated the above-captioned civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (Doc. 1). Named as Defendants are Correct Care Solutions, LLC ("CCS"), and several employees of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections ("DOC"). (Id.).

         Defendant CCS previously moved to dismiss the complaint. (Doc. 18). By Memorandum and Order dated September 14, 2017, the Court granted CCS' motion to dismiss based on Martin's failure to plead a policy, practice or custom of CCS authorized by a final policymaker of CCS. (Docs. 98, 99). The Order also granted Martin the opportunity to amend his claims against Defendant CCS. (Id.). Martin then filed a motion for leave to amend the claims against CCS. (Doc. 101). The Court granted Martin's motion for leave to amend and directed Defendant CCS to file a response. (Doc. 109). Presently pending before the Court is Defendant CCS' second motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (Doc. 111). For the reasons set forth below, the Court will grant the motion to dismiss.

         I. Standard of Review

         A complaint must be dismissed under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), if it does not allege "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007). The plaintiff must aver "factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009).

         "Though a complaint 'does not need detailed factual allegations, ... a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do."' DelRio-Mocci v. Connolly Prop. Inc., 672 F.3d 241, 245 (3d Cir. 2012) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). In other words, "[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Covington v. Int'lAss'n of Approved Basketball Officials, 710 F.3d 114, 118 (3d Cir. 2013) (internal citations and quotation marks omitted). A court "take[s] as true all the factual allegations in the Complaint and the reasonable inferences that can be drawn from those facts, but... disregard[s] legal conclusions and threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements." Ethypharm S.A. France v. Abbott Laboratories, 707 F.3d 223, 231, n.14 (3d Cir. 2013) (internal citations and quotation marks omitted).

         Twombly and Iqbal require [a district court] to take the following three steps to determine the sufficiency of a complaint: First, the court must take note of the elements a plaintiff must plead to state a claim. Second, the court should identify allegations that, because they are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth. Finally, where there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement for relief. Connelly v. Steel Valley Sch. Dist, 706 F.3d 209, 212 (3d Cir. 2013).

         "[W]here the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged - but it has not show[n] - that the pleader is entitled to relief." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679 (internal citations and quotation marks omitted). This "plausibility" determination will be a "context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense." Id.

         However, even "if a complaint is subject to Rule 12(b)(6) dismissal, a district court must permit a curative amendment unless such an amendment would be inequitable or futile." Phillips v. Cnty. of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 245 (3d Cir. 2008).

[E]ven when plaintiff does not seek leave to amend his complaint after a defendant moves to dismiss it, unless the district court finds that amendment would be inequitable or futile, the court must inform the plaintiff that he or she has leave to amend the complaint within a set period of time.


         II. Allegations of the Complaint [1]

         Martin alleges that he was attacked by several correctional officers at SCI-Smithfield on May 5, 2015. (Doc. 1). Martin alleges that the officers punched and kicked him, and verbally assaulted him. (Doc. 1, pp. 3-5, ¶¶ 3-13). He alleges that various correctional officers failed to stop the assault, correctional officers carried him off of C-Block head first, and hit his head on the steel door frames. (Id.). Martin asserts that the correctional officers thereafter charged him with criminal assault as an attempt to shift blame. (Id.). He further alleges that correctional officers repeatedly opened his mail and "ma[y]be" copied it in violation of DC-ADM 803. (Id.).

         The complaint asserts that Correct Care Solutions is an outside company that provides health care services to inmates and subcontracts work to other medical providers. (Doc. 1, p. 3, ¶ 14; Doc. 1, pp. 5-6). Martin alleges that CCS is responsible for the actions of the other Defendants, failed to investigate the ...

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