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Isaacson v. St. John Institute For Addiction

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

May 9, 2019

NATHAN ISAACSON, Plaintiff,
v.
ST. JOSEPH INSTITUTE FOR ADDICTION, et al., Defendants.

          Brann, Judge.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          Susan E. Schwab, Chief United States Magistrate Judge.

         I. Introduction.

         Nathan Isaacson alleges that he sustained an injury from a stone during the operation of a stump grinder while at the St. Joseph Institute for Addiction[1] (“St. Joseph”). According to Isaacson, after his injury, the staff at St. Joseph threatened him and denied him his rights, causing him emotional trauma, for which he seeks $250, 000. Isaacson asserts his claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. We granted Isaacson's application for leave to proceed in forma pauperis. But after screening Isaacson's amended complaint, we concluded that it fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. Although we granted Isaacson leave to file a second amended complaint, he failed to do so. Because the amended complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, we recommend that it be dismissed.

         II. Background and Procedural History.

         On December 11, 2017, while incarcerated at the Wayne County Jail located in New York, Isaacson began this action by filing a complaint in the United States District Court for the Western District of New York. Isaacson also filed a motion to proceed in forma pauperis, and he later filed an amended complaint. On December 20, 2018, Judge Siragusa of the Western District of New York transferred this case to the Middle District of Pennsylvania pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1406(a) because “all the events underlying the claims asserted in the Amended Complaint are alleged to have occurred at [St. Joseph]-located in Center County, Pennsylvania and thus within the geographical confines of the Middle District of Pennsylvania.” Doc. 6 at 3 (citing 28 U.S.C. § 112(a)).

         Construing the amended complaint liberally, Isaacson attempts to assert two claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the first claim dealing with the alleged injury Isaacson sustained from a stump grinder, and the second claim dealing with staff at St. Joseph allegedly prohibiting phone calls or treatment and threatening him. It is difficult to separate these claims as Isaacson pleads both broadly and blends both the claims and the defendants. First, Isaacson names St. Joseph and Clinical Director Ms. Torrey as the defendants based upon “free speech, due process, equal protection, failure to protect, right to counsel, failure to train and supervise, [and] supervisor liability.” Doc. 4 at 6. Isaacson alleges that Torrey and other staff at St. Joseph forbade him from making phone calls to his lawyer or family, prevented him from seeking medical treatment, and threatened him to “keep his mouth shut” about his injury. Id. at 6-7.

         Second, Isaacson names Dave, the Stump Grinder Operator; John Doe, a heavy-set man; St. Joseph; and Torrey as the defendants based upon “freedom of speech, due process, equal protection, failure to protect, right to counsel, supervisor liability, failure to properly train and supervise, [and] professional negligence.” Id. at 7. Isaacson claims that because Dave and John Doe operated their stump grinder without any warning signs or safety devices, he was injured when a stone “shot out” and struck him in the face, leaving a gash. Id. at 9-10.

         III. Screening of In Forma Pauperis Complaints-Standard of Review.

         We review the amended complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) which provides:

(2) Notwithstanding any filing fee, or any portion thereof, that may have been paid, the court shall dismiss the case at any time if the court determines that-
(A) the allegation of poverty is untrue; or
(B) the action or appeal-
(i) is frivolous or ...

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