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Parker v. Butler County Pennsylvania

United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania

September 3, 2019

MATTHEW S. PARKER, Plaintiff,
v.
BUTLER COUNTY PENNSYLVANIA, GLORIA SCHWEITZER, and WEXFORD HEALTH SOURCES, INC., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION ECF NOS. 32 & 36

          LISA PUPO LENIHAN, United States Magistrate Judge

         Presently before the Court are Motions to Dismiss filed by Defendants Gloria Schweitzer, and Wexford Health Sources, Inc. (ECF No. 32) and Defendant Butler County (ECF No. 36). For the reasons that follow, the Motion to Dismiss filed by Gloria Schweitzer and Wexford Health Sources, Inc. (ECF No. 32) will be granted in part and denied in part. It will be granted as it relates to Plaintiff's claims for injunctive and declaratory relief and as to any attempt by Plaintiff to hold Wexford Health liable pursuant to the doctrine of respondeat superior. It will be denied in all other respects and Plaintiff's Eighth Amendment claim against Schweitzer and Monell claim against Wexford Health will proceed to discovery.

         The Motion to Dismiss filed by Defendant Butler County (ECF No. 36) will be granted.

         I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Matthew S. Parker (“Plaintiff”) filed his Amended Complaint on February 26, 2019. (ECF No. 30.) On March 4, 2019, Defendants Gloria Schweitzer (“Schweitzer”) and Wexford Health Sources, Inc. (“Wexford Health”) filed their Motion to Dismiss. (ECF No. 32.) Plaintiff was ordered to file a response by April 3, 2019. (ECF No. 34.) On March 7, 2019, Defendant Butler County filed its Motion to Dismiss. (ECF No. 36.) Plaintiff was ordered to file a response to this motion by April 5, 2019. (ECF No. 38.) On March 28, 2019, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Extension of Time to file his response to the Motion to Dismiss filed by Defendant Butler County because he had not yet received the Motion to Dismiss at his institution. (ECF No. 44.) On March 29, the Court granted Plaintiff's Motion for Extension of Time and extended Plaintiff's deadlines for filing responses to both Motions to Dismiss until May 6, 2019. (ECF No. 46.) On April 2, 2019, Plaintiff filed his Response to the Motion to Dismiss filed by Defendants Schweitzer and Wexford Health. (ECF No. 47.) As of the date of this Memorandum Opinion, Plaintiff has filed no response to the Motion to Dismiss filed by Defendant Butler County. Moreover, Plaintiff has filed no additional requests for extension of time to respond and therefore, the Court assumes that Plaintiff has received Butler County's Motion to Dismiss and accompanying brief. See Order ECF No. 54.

         In the Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that in the evening of February 27, 2018, he was booked in the Butler County Prison, for a second time, following a jury trial. (ECF No. 30 ¶ 8 at p.3.) He had been previously incarcerated there for three (3) days relating to the same case on December 20, 2016. (ECF No. 30 ¶ 8 at p.3.) During his initial incarceration, he had no difficulties getting his prescription medications from the medical staff: Prozac for severe depression; and Lisinopril for high blood pressure. (ECF No. 30 ¶ 8 at p.3.)

         During processing on February 27, 2018, Plaintiff alerted the nurse to his diagnosis of Severe Depression and his prescription for Prozac. (ECF No. 30 ¶ 8 at p.4.) Following the initial medical screening, Plaintiff was placed in the Restricted Housing Unit pending classification. (Id.)

         The next morning, during the medication pass, Plaintiff received only Lisinopril. He inquired as to why he did not receive the Prozac, and was advised to “put in a sick call slip.” He submitted the sick call slip and asked each nurse during rounds about why he had not received the Prozac. He was advised each time to submit a sick call slip. Plaintiff submitted one (1) sick call slip for each day he inquired as to why he had not received the Prozac. (ECF No. 30 ¶ 8 at p.4.)

         After approximately four (4) days, Plaintiff was transferred to another unit. While there, he was called to go to the “Attorney/Client Meeting Room.” He explained the situation “calmly and thoroughly” to Defendant Schweitzer who identified herself as a “Quality Mental Health Professional.” Defendant Schweitzer then told Plaintiff that the CVS pharmacy has no refills on record for him and that Plaintiff was “out of luck.” (ECF No. 30 ¶ 8 at p.4.) Plaintiff also alleges that she told him to “deal with it.” Plaintiff asked Defendant Schweitzer to call his primary care physician to verify his prescription. Schweitzer responded that it “wasn't her job to call anyone for an inmate.” Plaintiff alleges that Schweitzer again advised him to “deal with it” and that there are no difficulties in withdrawing from Prozac. Schweitzer directed Plaintiff to use his coping skills and to “get over it-this is jail.” Plaintiff then states that at this point, Schweitzer dismissed him with a hand gesture and stated what sounded like “screw you sicko.” (ECF No. 30 ¶ 8 at p.5.)

         Thereafter, Plaintiff submitted three (3) grievances relating to his failure to receive his Prozac prescription which described his “mounting” withdrawal symptoms. In each grievance, Plaintiff detailed the primary withdrawal symptoms he faced throughout the day including severe headaches, massive mood swings, depression, and a major increase in anxiety. Plaintiff received no responses to his grievances. (ECF No. 30 ¶ 8 at p.5.)

         During the week of March 16, 2018, Defendant Schweitzer met with Plaintiff again and stated that Plaintiff “whined too much” and complained about his depression and withdrawal symptoms “too much.” Schweitzer finally stated that Plaintiff would be scheduled to see the psychiatrist and to “quit bitching.” Plaintiff's Prozac was immediately restarted after speaking to the psychiatrist via webcam. (ECF No. 30 ¶ 8 at pp. 5-6.)

         In his Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleges an Eighth Amendment claim against all Defendants for deliberate indifference to serious medical needs. (ECF No. 30 ¶ 9.) He seeks declaratory relief, and injunctive relief as it relates to administrative punishment within the Butler County Prison directed to Defendant Schweitzer. He also seeks punitive damages, costs and any other relief the Court deems just. (ECF No. 30 ¶¶ 10-15.)

         II. LEGAL STANDARD

         The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit summarized the standard to be applied in deciding motions to dismiss filed pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6):

Under the “notice pleading” standard embodied in Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a plaintiff must come forward with “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” As explicated in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009), a claimant must state a “plausible” claim for relief, and “[a] claim has facial plausibility when the pleaded factual content allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Although “[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level, ” Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007), a plaintiff “need only put forth allegations that raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence ...

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