United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
EDWARD W. DURHAM, Plaintiff,
THE PHILADELPHIA PRISON SYSTEM, et al., Defendants.
Austin McHugh United States District Judge.
Edward W. Durham, a prisoner incarcerated at the
Curran-Fromhold Correctional Faciltiy, brings this pro
se civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
against three defendants: the Philadelphia Prison System,
Corizon Medical Associates, and the City of Philadelphia.
Although he paid the fees to commence this civil action, the
Court is still obligated to screen his Complaint pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1915A because he is a prisoner. For the
following reasons, the Court will dismiss the Complaint for
failure to state a claim against the named Defendants, and
give Durham an opportunity to file an amended complaint.
his incarceration at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional
Facility, Durham fell from a top bunk bed while descending.
At the time of the incident, which appears to have taken
place in February of 2017, Durham was taking antibiotics for
a balance deficiency and an ear and nose infection. He
received an x-ray on his leg and was taken to the hospital a
few weeks later because he was still in pain. On March 6,
2017, he was given a cane for stability. However, he was
deemed ineligible for a bottom bunk bed even though his back
pain “continued to deteriorate.” (Compl. ECF No.
2 at 5.)
notes that he was initially misdiagnosed with sprains in his
back, neck, and leg, when the cause of his pain was instead a
pinched spinal sack and a pinched nerve. He had two vertebrae
removed and replaced with titanium parts, and now has screws
in his neck. Durham is currently being treated with cortisone
shots. He may require further surgery.
alleges that, between February and November of 2017, he
“forewarned the jail & Corizon Med. assoc. of
possible long term and or permanent injuries resulting from
[his] fall.” (Id. at 5-6.) The remaining
allegations in Durham's Complaint pertain to his filing
of grievances. He alleges that he grieved “the length
of time getting a professional diagnosis, the continued
prolonging of proper treatments, ” and appointment
delays in seeing a neurologist. (Id. at 7.) Durham
notes that he “put in many sick call requests &
grievances, ” and spoke to “Major Moore,
Lt.Fountain, Capt. Buford, Warden May, the Medical rep. for
Commissioner Blanche Carney's office, and Corizon Medical
staff” about his concerns. (Id.) Durham
“finally got a returned appeal while [he] was under the
care of the neuro-surgeon and Corizon Medical Associates at
CFCF.” (Id.) His “diagnosis that [he]
was long overdue and in dire need [of] surgery (on 11-27-17)
was the key factor and facts giving rise to and merit to the
claims [he] levied against the City of Philadelphia and
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Durham has paid the filing fee in full, the Court has the
authority to screen his Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915A. See Shane v. Fauver, 213 F.3d 113, 116
n.2 (3d Cir. 2000) (recognizing that the district courts have
the authority to screen a prisoner complaint pursuant to
§ 1915A(b)(1) even if the prisoner is not proceeding
in forma pauperis). Section 1915A requires that the
Court “review, before docketing, if feasible or, in any
event, as soon as practicable after docketing, a complaint in
a civil action in which a prisoner seeks redress from a
governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental
entity.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a). In doing so, the
Court must dismiss a complaint or any portion thereof that
“is frivolous, malicious, or fails to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted, ” id. §
1915A(b)(1), or that “seeks monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief, ”
id. § 1915A(b)(2).
here, whether a complaint fails to state a claim under §
1915A(b)(1) is governed by the same standard applicable to
motions to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6). See Neal v. Pa. Bd. of Probation &
Parole, No. 96-7923, 1997 WL 338838, at *1 (E.D. Pa.
June 19, 1997); see also Tourscher v. McCullough,
184 F.3d 236, 240 (3d Cir. 1999). Accordingly, the Court must
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 and generalized assertions are
insufficient to state a claim. Id. As Durham is
proceeding pro se, the Court is obligated to
construe 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).
Here, Durham has not stated a § 1983 claim against the
Defendants for the following reasons.
Claims Against the Philadelphia Prison System
Philadelphia Prison System is not an entity that is subject
to suit separate from the City of Philadelphia. See
53 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 16257. It is also not
considered a “person” for purposes of §
1983. See Peele v. Philadelphia Prison Sys., No.
CIV.A. 12-4877, 2015 WL 1579214, at *2 (E.D. Pa. Apr. 8,
2015) (“The Philadelphia Prison System's motion to
dismiss must be granted because the Philadelphia Prison
System is not a “proper party” or a
“person” under Section 1983.”).
Accordingly, the Court will dismiss Durham's claims
against the Philadelphia Prison System because it is not a
proper party to this lawsuit. Any claims against that entity
will be construed as claims brought against the City of
Claims Against the City of Philadelphia and Corizon ...