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Talley v. PA Dept. of Corrections

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

April 10, 2019

PA DEPT. OF CORRECTIONS, et al, Defendants.

          Nora Barry Fischer, United States District Judge


          Cynthia Reed Eddy, Chief United States Magistrate Judge

         I. Recommendation

         Upon review of the Complaint, and pursuant to the screening requirements for litigants proceeding in forma pauperis, the Court recommends sua sponte dismissal of the Complaint before service as such claims fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. It is further recommended that leave to amend be denied as it would be futile for Plaintiff to amend his claims.

         II. Report

         A. Background

         The factual scenario that forms the basis of the instant case arises from Defendants filing of Plaintiff's “confidential medical records” in Talley v. Gilmore, Civil Action No. 16-cv-1318 (the “Previous Case”). In the Previous Case, which is scheduled for trial on November 18, 2019, Plaintiff challenges Defendants' decision to have his mental health stability code changed from a “D-Code, ” meaning seriously mentally ill, to a “C-Code, ” meaning receiving treatment for mental health but not seriously mentally ill.[1] Defendants' position is that Talley's mental health stability code was changed based on the clinical judgment of practitioners that he does not suffer from a serious mental illness. In support of their motions for summary judgment, Defendants relied upon, and filed with the Court, Talley's medical records, including his mental health treatment records.

         In the instant lawsuit, Plaintiff alleges as follows:

All of the herein named defendants have worked in concert to first rob / extort Plaintiff for property (confidential communication created in the course of psychotherapy) converted for their own use, while simultaneously making it available for public consumption (through PACER and purchase from any United States District Court in the NATION!), of which Plaintiff will receive no financial benefit! - nor have these defendants given Plaintiff ANY just compensation, either[.]

         Complaint at ¶ 56. He brings his federal claims under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (“RICO”) and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for violations of the First, Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments, as well as a number of claims under state tort common laws. He seeks as relief the following: (1) “an injunction striking the excessively filed confidential communications between Plaintiff and licensed psychiatrist, psychologist, and clinical social workers filed in [the Previous Case]; in a way that it will cease being “public”; (2) compensatory damages of $1, 000, 000.00 against all the defendants; (3) punitive damages in the amount of $7, 000.00 against each defendant for each state tort claim; and “Nine (9xs) of whatever the compensatory damage award is after trial as to Plaintiff's 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claims; (4) treble damages in connection with his RICO claim; (5) all costs and fines; and (6) any additional relief the Court or jury deems just, equitable, or proper.”

         Named in the complaint are nineteen defendants: The Department of Corrections (“DOC”) and nine officers or employees of the DOC (collectively referred to as the “Commonwealth Defendants”); The Attorney General's Office, Bruce R. Beemer, the former the Attorney General; Timothy Mazzocca, Deputy Attorney General; Keli M. Neary, Chief Deputy Attorney General, the law firm of Matis, Baum, O'Connor, P.C., and attorney Cassidy L. Neal of that firm, Nurse Practitioner Amy Ankrom (who is represented by Attorney Neal in the Previous Case), and Dr. Lucas Malischak, the DOC Acting Director of Psychology. Service of process has not yet been made on defendants.

         On March 4, 2019, the undersigned administratively closed the instant case finding that many of the claims are duplicative of (and/or touch upon) claims he is asserting in the Previous Case, which is ready for trial. The Court noted that Plaintiff named as defendants in this case the attorneys who are representing the defendants in the Previous Case. Given the substantial overlap of the claims and facts in the two cases, the undersigned determined that it would be in the best interests of the Court and parties to stay the instant case until after the trial in the Previous Case. (ECF No. 3).

         On March 21, 2019, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Reconsideration arguing that the disposition of his retaliation claim in the Previous Case would have no bearing upon the claims in the instant case. (ECF No. 4). The Court granted Plaintiff's motion for reconsideration (ECF No. 5), reopened the case, granted Plaintiff's motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (ECF No. 6), and the Complaint thereafter was filed. (ECF No. 7). It is now the Court's statutory responsibility to review the Complaint before service to determine if it states a valid claim for relief.

         B. Applicable ...

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