United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
S. GEORGE MILTER and LISA MARIE LOGUIDICE, Plaintiffs,
THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, et al., Defendants.
MATTHEW W. BRANN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
United States Bureau of Prisons and Noel Trusal (together,
the “BOP Defendants”) moved to dismiss portions
of Plaintiffs' complaint or, in the alternative, for
summary judgment on some of Plaintiffs' claims. For the
reasons that follow, that motion will be granted in part and
denied in part.
January 9, 2017, Plaintiffs S. George Milter and Lisa Marie
LoGuidice sued Defendants, alleging that Mr. Milter received
inadequate medical care while incarcerated. Plaintiffs'
complaint contains claims under the Eighth Amendment, the
Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”), and state tort
law. The claims are brought against the United States Bureau
of Prisons (“BOP”); Noel Trusal, a BOP nurse; and
other, unidentified BOP medical employees (“Medical
Employees”); the Geisinger Health Care System; and Dr.
David J. Ball.
Whether Mr. Milter Can Bring an Eighth Amendment Claim
Against the BOP
argues that this Court should dismiss Mr. Milter's Eighth
Amendment claim against it because constitutional claims are
not cognizable under the FTCA. Plaintiffs do not address that
argument. Therefore, this Court will dismiss Count I of
Plaintiffs' complaint with prejudice.
Whether Plaintiffs Were Required to Administratively Exhaust
Their Remedies Before Filing Their Constitutional
Defendants argue that this Court should dismiss
Plaintiffs' constitutional claims because those claims
were not administratively exhausted.
Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”) requires
plaintiffs to exhaust administrative remedies before bringing
an action under federal law “with respect to prison
conditions.” The United States Court of Appeals for the
Third Circuit, however, has noted that such “failure to
exhaust is an affirmative defense [that] the defendant must
plead and prove” which “necessarily involves a
factual inquiry.”The BOP Defendants have not yet filed an
answer to Plaintiffs' complaint, and the parties have not
yet engaged in any discovery, so this Court will deny the BOP
Defendants' motion to dismiss Plaintiffs'
constitutional claims (and their alternative motion for
summary judgment on those claims). This Court will, however,
allow limited discovery on the exhaustion issue, and grant
the BOP Defendants leave to renew their motion for summary
judgment at the conclusion of that discovery period.
Whether Ms. Trusal Is Entitled to Immunity Against the
Defendants argue that Ms. Trusal is entitled to statutory
immunity as a Public Health Service Official. Plaintiffs
agree. Therefore, this Court will dismiss the
constitutional claims against her with prejudice.
Whether Plaintiffs Can Maintain Their FTCA Claims Against Ms.
Trusal and the Medical Employees
Defendants argue that Plaintiffs' negligence claims
against Ms. Trusal and the Medical Employees should be
dismissed because the FTCA indicates that the exclusive
remedy for such torts is an action against the United States
itself. Since Plaintiffs have raised FTCA claims
directly against the government in Counts II and VIII, this