United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
Harry Johnson ("Johnson") brings this pro
se civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983, based on events that allegedly occurred while he was
incarcerated as a pretrial detainee at the Montgomery County
Correctional Facility ("MCCF"). Named as defendants
are PrimeCare Medical, a number of its medical employees
(collectively, "PrimeCare Medical Defendants") and
well as Lt. Rebecca Perkins of MCCF. The Court previously
granted Johnson's request to proceed in forma pauperis.
[ECF 7.] Presently before the Court is the PrimeCare Medical
Defendants' motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6)
of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. For the reasons that
follow, the motion will be granted. The Complaint will also
be dismissed as to defendant Lt. Rebecca Perkins pursuant to
28 U.S.C. section 1915 (e)(2)(B)(ii) for failure to state a
claims he has been "declared disabled by a Philadelphia
Judge of the disability court" as a result of
degenerative disc disease of the lower back as well as from
arthritis across his lower back and down both legs. Johnson
maintains that prior to his admission to MCCF, he was
prescribed Gabapentin, Vicodin and Baclofen for chronic pain.
He alleges that once he was incarcerated, these medications
were confiscated and Robaxin, Pamelor and extra strength
Tylenol were prescribed. According to Johnson, none of these
new medications alleviate his chronic pain to the extent the
original medications did. He claims that despite his requests
to be seen by a doctor, he has only been seen by a nurse
practitioner. He claims the PrimeCare Medical Defendants'
refusal to prescribe his original medications amounts to
deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. Johnson
also claims Lt. Rebecca Perkins negligently failed to
investigate his health status before reporting that Johnson
had been medically cleared to be removed from "bottom
STANDARD OF REVIEW
survive a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6), a "complaint must contain 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) (quoting Bell
Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A
claim is facially plausible if the facts pleaded "allow[
] the court to draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged."
Id. When evaluating a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the
Court first must separate the legal and factual elements of
the plaintiff's claims. See Fowler v. UPMC
Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009). The Court
"must accept all of the complaint's well-pleaded
facts as true, but may disregard any legal conclusions."
Id. at 210-11. The Court must then "determine
whether the facts alleged in the complaint are sufficient to
show that the plaintiff has a 'plausible claim for
relief.'" Id. at 211 (quoting
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679). As Johnson is proceeding
pro se, the Court construes 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).
Claims against Dr. Johnathan Cowen, Kevin Frantz, Joseph
Lynch, H.S.A. and Zuying Fan, PA-C.
state a constitutional claim based on the failure to provide
medical treatment, a prisoner must allege facts indicating
that prison officials were deliberately indifferent to his
serious medical needs. See Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S.
825, 835 (1994). A prison official is not deliberately
indifferent "unless the official knows of and disregards
an excessive risk to inmate health or safety; the official
must both be aware of facts from which the inference could be
drawn that a substantial risk of serious harm exists, and he
must also draw the inference." Id. at 837.
medical need is serious, ... if it is one that has been
diagnosed by a physician as requiring treatment or one that
is so obvious that a lay person would easily recognize the
necessity for a doctor's attention." Monmouth
Cty. Corr. Institutional Inmates v. Lanzaro, 834 F.2d
326, 347 (3d Cir. 1987) (internal quotations omitted).
Deliberate indifference has been found "where the prison
official (1) knows of a prisoner's need for medical
treatment but intentionally refuses to provide it; (2) delays
necessary medical treatment based on a non-medical reason; or
(3) prevents a prisoner from receiving needed or recommended
medical treatment." Rouse v. Plantier, 182 F.3d
192, 197 (3d Cir. 1999). Allegations of medical malpractice
and mere disagreement regarding proper medical treatment are
insufficient to establish a constitutional violation. See
Spruill v. Gillis, 372 F.3d 218, 235 (3d Cir. 2004).
Furthermore, "[a] defendant in a civil rights action
must have personal involvement in the alleged wrongs" to
be liable. See Rode v. Dellarciprete, 845 F.2d 1195,
1207 (3d Cir. 1988).
Johnson's allegations make clear that he received
medication for his pain, just not the medication he had been
apparently receiving prior to his incarceration. The
allegations also make clear that while he was not seen by a
doctor, he was evaluated by a nurse practitioner. While
Johnson may have disagreed with the medicine he was
prescribed and that he was not evaluated by a doctor, he has
not alleged any facts from which one could plausibly infer
that his medical needs were regarded with deliberate
indifference. Accordingly, the Court will dismiss
Johnson's claims against Dr. Johnathan Cowen, Kevin
Frantz, Joseph Lynch, H.S.A. and Zuying Fan, PA-C.
Claims Against PrimeCare Medical
private corporation under contract to provide prison health
services such as PrimeCare Medical may be liable under §
1983 only if that entity's policies or customs caused the
alleged constitutional violation. See Monell v. Dep't
of Soc. Servs. of N.Y.,436 U.S. 658, 694 (1978);
Natale v. Camden Cty. Corr. Facility,318 F.3d 575,
583-84 (3d Cir. 2003). The plaintiff "must identify
[the] custom or policy, and specify what exactly that custom
or policy was" to satisfy the pleading standard.
McTernan v. City of York,564 F.3d 636, 658 (3d Cir.
2009). As noted above, Johnson has failed to allege facts to
plausibly establish that anyone acted with deliberate
indifference to his serious medical needs. But even if he