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Reyan v. Pennsylvania Department of Corrections

United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania

August 6, 2019

DALMER LEE REYAN, Plaintiff
v.
PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, et al., Defendants

          MARIANI, D.J.

          REPORT & RECOMMENDATION MEDICAL DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS (DOC. 21)

          William I. Arbuckle U.S. Magistrate Judge.

         On July 26, 2018, state prisoner Dalmer Lee Reyan (“Plaintiff”) Plaintiff initiated this civil action against several employees of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections and members of the prison medical staff employed by Correct Care Solutions alleging claims arising under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the Americans with Disabilities Act (42 U.S.C. § 12132), and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. § 794). (Doc. 1).

         On October 27, 2018, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint. (Doc. 16). In his Amended Complaint, Plaintiff names the following twelve Defendants:

(1) The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections
(2) Randy Evans (a Security Captain at SCI-Camp Hill)
(3) Richard Hibshman (a Sergeant at SCI-Camp Hill)
(4) Samuel Larty (a Corrections Officer at SCI-Camp Hill)
(5) Richard Kistler (a Corrections Officer at SCI-Camp Hill)
(6) Correct Care Solutions (a company that provides medical staff to the Department of Corrections)
(7) Dr. Vanitha Abraham (an employee of Defendant Correct Care Solutions, stationed at SCI Camp-Hill)
(8) Dr. Theodore Voorstad (an employee of Defendant Correct Care Solutions, stationed at SCI-Camp Hill)
(9) Dr. Jean Holdren (an employee of Defendant Correct Care Solutions, stationed at SCI-Mercer)
(10) Dr. Scott Morgan (an employee of Defendant Correct Care Solutions, stationed at SCI-Mercer)
(11) PA-C Nicole Odem (an employee of Defendant Correct Care Solutions, stationed at SCI-Mercer)
(12) PA-C Mark Hammer (an employee of Defendant Correct Care Solutions, stationed at SCI-Pittsburgh)

         Currently pending before the Court is a Motion to Dismiss, or, in the alternative, Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Defendants Correct Care Solutions, Dr. Vanitha Abraham, Dr. Theodore Voorstad, Dr. Jean Holdren, Dr. Scott Morgan, PA-C Nicole Odem, and PA-C Mark Hammer (collectively, the “Medical Defendants”). (Doc. 22). Along with their Motion, the Medical Defendants filed a Brief in Support and ninety-seven pages of exhibits. (Doc. 22, et seq.). No. separate statement of material facts was filed. See L.R. 56.1. On December 18, 2018, Plaintiff filed a brief in opposition. (Doc. 27). On January 3, 2019, the Medical Defendants filed a Reply. (Doc. 31).

         For the reasons that follow, IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT:

(1) The Medical Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment be DISMISSED without prejudice.
(2) Plaintiff's § 1983 claim against Defendant Correct Care Solutions be DISMISSED.
(3) All other claims should be allowed to proceed.

         I. FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS IN THE AMENDED COMPLAINT

         Plaintiff has a long history of right knee problems, including severe arthritis resulting in instability of the joint, that pre-date his incarceration. (Doc. 16, ¶ 19). Compounding these pre-existing problems, Plaintiff dislocated his right knee while housed in Bedford County Jail in February 2016. (Doc. 16, ¶ 20).

         Plaintiff contends that both the DOC staff and the medical staff at SCI-Camp Hill, SCI-Mercer, and SCI-Pittsburgh were aware of his health challenges. (Doc. 16, ¶ 49). While housed at SCI-Camp Hill, the medical staff issued a written restriction that Plaintiff should not leave the first floor due to his inability to walk up or down stairs. (Doc. 16, ¶ 23). Despite this limitation, on July 26, 2016, Defendant Captain Evans ordered that Plaintiff ascend two or three flights of stairs to take a urine test. (Doc. 16, ¶ 30). Defendant Captain Evans did not verify Plaintiff's medical restrictions until Plaintiff had already ascended these stairs. (Doc. 16, ¶ 32).

         After Plaintiff submitted his urine sample, Defendant Corrections Officers Larty and Kistler were instructed to aid Plaintiff as he descended the stairs. (Doc. 16, ¶ 32). Defendant Evans instructed that one officer should walk in front of Plaintiff and one should walk behind him. (Doc. 16, ¶ 33). Despite the order to do so, neither officer walked in front of Plaintiff. (Doc. 16, ¶ 34).

         While descending the stairs, Plaintiff's right knee gave out. (Doc. 16, ¶ 35). With no one positioned in front of him, Plaintiff tumbled down approximately two flights of stairs, hitting his head, neck, hip, lower back, and right knee. Id.

         After his fall, Plaintiff was taken to the prison infirmary, and then was transported by ambulance to a local emergency room where he was treated for head, back and knee pain. (Doc. 16, ¶ 36). Plaintiff was given a cervical collar, fluid was aspirated from Plaintiff's knee, and a knee brace was recommended. (Doc. 16, ¶ 37). It was also recommended that Plaintiff follow up with Dr. Sumas-a neurosurgeon from outside the prison-on September 7, 2016. Id.

         When Plaintiff returned to the prison, he was placed in the infirmary overnight. (Doc. 16, ¶ 38).

         On August 19, 2016, Plaintiff was seen by an orthopedist outside the prison. (Doc. 16, ¶ 39). The orthopedist unsuccessfully attempted to drain fluid from Plaintiff's knee, and recommended that Plaintiff get a surgical consultation, physical therapy, and use a knee brace or assistive device. Id.

         Between the date of his injury and his release date, Plaintiff received care from Medical Defendants Abramham, Morgan, Holdren, Voorstad, Odem, and Hammer. (Doc. 16, ¶ 49).

         Plaintiff never received a surgical consultation or physical therapy, despite numerous requests. (Doc. 16, ¶¶ 40, 46). On June 26, 2018, Defendant Holdren told Plaintiff that he did not qualify to see a specialist. (Doc. 16, ¶¶ 47-48).

         Plaintiff was, at some point, prescribed a knee brace, knee sleeve, knee wrap, and a cane by the medical staff. (Doc. 16, ¶ 43). However, at various times between the date he received these items and the date he filed his ...


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