United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
H. RAMBO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
se Plaintiff, Faheem Rochester
(“Plaintiff”), an inmate currently incarcerated
at the State Correctional Institution at Graterford,
Pennsylvania (“SCI-Graterford”), initiated this
civil action by filing a complaint on July 12, 2017, naming
as Defendants the Warden of SCI-Benner, Lieutenant
Jusits, Correctional Officer Lieutenant Luciano,
and Doctor Preston. (Doc. No. 1.) Plaintiff alleges that
while held in a psychiatric observation cell at SCI-Benner,
he was handcuffed to his bed by Defendants Jusits and Luciano
because he had a lighter in his rectum. (Id. at 2.)
Plaintiff alleges that he was told by both Defendants that in
order to have the handcuffs removed, he had to have a bowel
movement so they could retrieve the lighter. (Id.)
However, Defendant Luciano then came to his cell and informed
Plaintiff that Doctor Preston was going to come and
physically remove the lighter from his rectum. (Id.)
Plaintiff provides that he did not consent to Dr. Preston
removing the lighter physically, but rather, would give
Defendants the lighter once he had a bowel movement.
(Id. at 2, 3.) Plaintiff alleges that against his
will and despite him telling Defendants to stop, Defendant
Luciano as well as nine other unidentified correctional
officers held him down on his bed while Dr. Preston
physically went into his rectum to retrieve the lighter.
(Id. at 3.) Plaintiff alleges that he was bleeding
as a result of the incident and was refused medical
has alleged a violation of the Eighth Amendment's
prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment as well as an
Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claim against
Defendants. The Court performed an initial screening of the
complaint pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act
(“PLRA”), and on September 5, 2017, dismissed the
complaint in part for failure to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted. (Doc. Nos. 10, 11.) Specifically, the
Court dismissed the Warden of SCI-Benner from this action as
well as all claims against Defendants in their official
capacities. (Id.) The Court deferred service
of the complaint for thirty (30) days, in which it afforded
Plaintiff time to file an amended complaint. (Id.)
Upon the expiration of those thirty (30) days, and not having
received an amended complaint, the Court directed service of
the complaint on the remaining Defendants. (Doc. Nos. 14,
January 10, 2018, the Commonwealth Defendants Tammy Jusits
and C.O. Luciano filed an answer to Plaintiff's
complaint. (Doc. No. 41.) Defendant Dr. Preston filed a
motion to dismiss on January 26, 2018, asserting that
Plaintiff failed to properly exhaust his administrative
remedies against Dr. Preston prior to filing the instant
action. (Doc. Nos. 43, 44.) Pursuant to Paladino v.
Newsome, 885 F.3d 203 (3d Cir. Mar. 16, 2018), and the
Court observing that Defendant Preston raised the issue of
whether Plaintiff has exhausted his administrative remedies,
the Court issued a Paladino Order, informing the
parties that it would consider the exhaustion issue in the
context of summary judgment, and by doing so, would consider
matters outside the pleadings in its role as factfinder.
(Doc. No. 49.) The Court afforded the parties additional time
in which to file supplemental materials specifically
addressing the exhaustion issue. (Id.)
accordance with this Court's May 1, 2018
Paladino Order, Dr. Preston filed his supplemental
documents and exhibits (Doc. No. 51), along with a statement
of facts (Doc. No. 52), on May 18, 2018. Plaintiff filed a
supplemental brief in opposition on July 9, 2018 (Doc. No.
56); however, he has not filed a statement of material facts
specifically responding to the numbered paragraphs in Dr.
Preston's statement in contravention of this Court's
May 1, 2018 Order and Local Rule 56.1.
Standard of Review
Dr. Preston initially filed a motion to dismiss. (Doc. No.
43) However, Dr. Preston raises the issue of whether
Plaintiff has exhausted his administrative remedies.
(Id.) Consequently, the Court issued a
Paladino Order informing the parties that it would
consider the exhaustion issue in the context of summary
judgment. (Doc. No. 49.)
Motion to Dismiss
ruling on a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the Court
must accept as true all factual allegations in the complaint
and all reasonable inferences that can be drawn from them,
viewed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. See
In re Ins. Brokerage Antitrust Litig., 618 F.3d 300, 314
(3d Cir. 2010). The Court's inquiry is guided by the
standards of Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550
U.S. 544 (2007), and Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662
(2009). Under Twombly and Iqbal, pleading
requirements have shifted to a “more heightened form of
pleading.” See Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578
F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009). To prevent dismissal, all civil
complaints must set out “sufficient factual
matter” to show that the claim is facially plausible.
Id. The plausibility standard requires more than a
mere possibility that the defendant is liable for the alleged
misconduct. As the Supreme Court instructed in
Iqbal, “where 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 (citing
to determine the sufficiency of a complaint under
Twombly and Iqbal, the United States Court
of Appeals for the Third Circuit has identified the following
steps a district court must take when determining the
sufficiency of a complaint under Rule 12(b)(6): (1) identify
the elements a plaintiff must plead to state a claim; (2)
identify any conclusory allegations contained in the
complaint “not entitled” to the assumption of
truth; and (3) determine whether any “well-pleaded
factual allegations” contained in the complaint
“plausibly give rise to an entitlement to
relief.” See Santiago v. Warminster Twp., 629
F.3d 121, 130 (3d Cir. 2010) (citation and quotation marks
ruling on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for failure to
state a claim, “a court must consider only the
complaint, exhibits attached to the complaint, matters of
public record, as well as undisputedly authentic documents if
the complainant's claims are based upon these
documents.” Mayer v. Belichick, 605 F.3d 223,
230 (3d Cir. 2010) (citing Pension Benefit Guar. Corp. v.
White Consol. Indus., Inc., 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir.
1993)). A court may also consider “any ‘matters
incorporated by reference or integral to the claim, items
subject to judicial notice, matters of public record, orders,
[and] items appearing in the record of the case.'”
Buck v. Hampton Twp. Sch. Dist., 452 F.3d 256, 260
(3d Cir. 2006) (quoting 5B Charles A. Wright & Arthur R.
Miller, Federal Practice & Procedure § 1357 (3d Ed.
context of pro se prisoner litigation specifically,
the court must be mindful that a document filed pro
se is “to be liberally construed.”
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976). A
pro se complaint, “however inartfully pleaded,
” must be held to “less stringent standards than
formal pleadings drafted by lawyers” and can only be
dismissed for failure to state a claim if it appears beyond a
doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support
of his claim which would entitle him to relief. Haines v.
Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972).
Motion for ...