United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
MALACHY E. MANNION UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
an inmate confined in the Mahanoy State Correctional
Institution (“SCI-Mahanoy”), Frackville,
Pennsylvania, originally filed the above captioned civil
rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §1983, in the
Schuylkill County Court of Common Pleas (Doc. 1). The named
Defendants are Correct Care Solutions; John Steinhart,
Correctional Health Care Administrator; Christopher Oppman,
Director of Health Care Service; Theresa DelBalso,
SCI-Mahanoy Superintendent; and John Wetzel, Department of
Corrections Secretary. Id. Plaintiff claims that
Defendants provided inadequate medical treatment with respect
to Plaintiff's medical condition.
pending before the Court are Defendants' motions to
dismiss Plaintiff's complaint. (Docs. 7, 9). The motion
are fully briefed and are ripe for disposition. For the
reasons that follow, the Court will grant the motions.
Allegations in Complaint
alleges that “on July 13, 2017, and numerous times
before, [he] went to medical for inflammation on [his] eye
and [he] was told it was a stye on [his] eye. (Doc.
1). He was “given antibiotics and drops and
was told to use a hot rag and it would go away.”
Id. Plaintiff states that “for over a month
[his] eye was/is in pain and swollen.” Id. He
was “last given some different medication but nothing
has changed, my eye is still inflamed and painful.”
Id. Plaintiff claims that he was “informed
over a month ago that [he] would be sent out to have surgery
and until this day nothing has happened.” Id.
14, 2017, Plaintiff filed Grievance No. 687530, “in an
attempt to resolve the failure to properly treat the
stye.” Id. By Initial review response dated
August 1, 2017, Grievance No. 687530 was denied. Id.
A timely appeal to the Facility Manager was taken on August
8, 2017 and the denial was affirmed on August 18, 2017.
Id. An August 24, 2017 appeal to Final Review was
referred to the Bureau of Health Care Services on August 31,
2017 and was denied on September 27, 2017. Id.
files the instant action, claiming that “there is no
medical justification for the Defendants' failure to
properly treat Plaintiff's stye by opening and draining
it” and that “their actions and inactions have
caused and continue to cause Plaintiff pain, suffering and
emotional distress.” Id. Specifically,
Plaintiff states that Defendants, Steinhart and Oppman
disregarded their duties “by negligently and carelessly
allowing Plaintiff's rights under Pennsylvania law to be
violated by medical personnel at SCI-Mahanoy's negligent
conduct in regard to the treatment of Plaintiff's
stye.” Id. He claims that “Defendant,
Correct Care Solutions, as Medical Care Provider is the
policy maker at SCI-Mahanoy regarding medical
treatment”, and “it was policy, practice and/or
custom for Correct Care Solutions to fail to adequately treat
and/or to dump inmates who require extensive and/or expensive
medical care.” Id. Plaintiff believes that
“the above described policies, practices and customs
demonstrated a deliberate indifference on the part of
Defendant[s], DelBalso and Wetzel, to the constitutional
rights of person within Mahanoy, and were the cause of the
violations of Plaintiff's rights as alleged
herein.” Id. For relief, Plaintiff seeks
compensatory and punitive damages. Id.
Motion to Dismiss
12(b)(6) authorizes dismissal of a complaint for
“failure to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted.” Under Rule 12(b)(6), we must “accept
all factual allegations as true, construe the complaint in
the light most favorable to the plaintiff, and determine
whether, under any reasonable reading of the complaint, the
plaintiff may be entitled to relief.” Fowler v.
UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009)
(quoting Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d
224, 231 (3d Cir. 2008)). While a complaint need only contain
“a short and plain statement of the claim, ”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), and detailed factual allegations are
not required, Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544, 555 (2007), a complaint must plead “enough
facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face.” Id. at 570. “The plausibility
standard is not akin to a ‘probability
requirement,' but it asks for more than a sheer
possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009) (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556). “[L]abels and
conclusions” are not enough, Twombly, 550 U.S.
at 555, and a court “is not bound to accept as true a
legal conclusion couched as a factual allegation.”
Id. (quoted case omitted).
resolving the motion to dismiss, we thus “conduct a
two-part analysis.” Fowler, supra, 578 F.3d at
210. First, we separate the factual elements from the legal
elements and disregard the legal conclusions. Id. at
210-11. Second, we “determine whether the facts alleged
in the complaint are sufficient to show that the plaintiff
has a “plausible claim for relief”. Id.
at 211 (quoted case omitted).
addition, because Plaintiff complains about “prison
conditions, ” the screening provisions of 42 U.S.C.
§1997e apply, as do the screening provisions of
28 U.S.C. §1915(e), given that he was granted
in forma pauperis status to pursue this suit. The
court's obligation to dismiss a complaint under the PLRA
screening provisions for complaints that fail to state a
claim is not excused even after defendants have filed a
motion to dismiss. See, e.g., Lopez v.
Smith, 203 F.3d 1122, 1126 n. 6 (9th Cir. 2000). Hence,
if there is a ground for dismissal which was not relied upon
by a defendant in a motion to dismiss, the court may
nonetheless sua sponte rest its dismissal upon such
ground pursuant to the screening provisions of the PLRA.