United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
E.K. PRATTER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Jackson is a prisoner with chronic intestinal illnesses. For
five months in 2015, he was temporarily transferred from
federal prison to city custody in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility
("CFCF"). Mr. Jackson alleges that Corizon Health,
Inc., CFCF's medical provider, failed to address his
medical needs because it had a policy or custom of delaying
medical treatment when an inmate was about to be transferred
out of CFCF. In July 2019, the Court granted Corizon's
motion for summary judgment on Mr. Jackson's Eighth
Amendment claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, his sole
remaining claim, because there was no evidence on the record
suggesting that Corizon maintained such a policy or
Jackson moves for reconsideration. He acknowledges that his
§ 1983 claim against Corizon cannot survive based upon
an allegation of the existence of a policy or custom but
argues that his § 1983 claim against Corizon was based
on Corizon's alleged deliberate indifference to Mr.
Jackson's medical needs and that the record supports such
a claim. However, Mr. Jackson applies the incorrect legal
standard for establishing the deliberate indifference of a
corporate defendant under § 1983. To survive summary
judgment on a § 1983 claim against private health
companies providing services, like Corizon, a plaintiff
inmate must satisfy the requirements of Monell v.
Dep't of Soc. Servs., 436 U.S. 658, 690 (1978). Mr.
Jackson cannot do so. Therefore, the Court denies Mr.
Jackson's motion for reconsideration.
succeed on a motion for reconsideration, the moving party
must demonstrate (1) an intervening change in the controlling
law; (2) new evidence that was not available when the court
issued its order; or (3) the need to correct a clear error of
law or fact or to prevent manifest injustice. Max's
Seafood Cafe by Lou-Ann, Inc. v. Quinteros, 176 F.3d
669, 677 (3d Cir. 1999). A finding of "clear error"
requires a '"definite and firm conviction that a
mistake has been committed.'" United States v.
Jasin, 292 F.Supp.2d 670, 676 (E.D. Pa. 2003) (quoting
Easley v. Cromartie, 532 U.S. 234, 242 (2001)).
"Because federal courts have a strong interest in
finality of judgments, motions for reconsideration should be
granted sparingly." Continental Casualty Co. v.
Diversified Indus., Inc., 884 F.Supp. 937, 943 (E.D. Pa.
1995) (citation omitted); see also In re Loewen
Group, No. 98-6740, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 200, at *4-5
(E.D. Pa. Jan. 5, 2006) (citation omitted).
Jackson argues that it was clear error of law for the Court
to grant Corizon's motion for summary judgment
"solely based upon the custom/policy argument"
because Mr. Jackson "satisfactorily plead a violation of
his constitutional rights under the Eighth Amendment based
upon deliberate indifference to his serious medical
conditions." Mr. Jackson's Mot. for Reconsideration
at 1. He claims that to establish deliberate indifference, a
plaintiff need only make '"(1) a subjective showing
that the defendants were deliberately indifferent to [his or
her] medical needs and (2) an objective showing that those
needs were serious.'" Id. at 1-2 (quoting
Pearson v. Prison Health Serv., 850 F.3d 526, 534
(3d Cir. 2017)).
Pearson, and the other case Mr. Jackson relies on in
his motion for reconsideration, involved Eighth Amendment
claims against individual prison officials and medical
professionals, not claims against corporate defendants like
Corizon. See Pearson, 850 F.3d at 531 ("The
defendants are five individuals who were either aware of or
responded to Pearson's requests for medical treatment. .
. ."); Farmer v. Brennan, 511 U.S. 825, 829
(1994) ("The dispute before us stems from a civil suit
brought by petitioner, Dee Farmer, alleging that respondents,
federal prison officials, violated the Eighth
Amendment by their deliberate indifference to
petitioner's safety.") (emphasis added). The
deliberate indifference test cited by Mr. Jackson-and used by
the courts in Farmer and Pearson-is the
proper test to determine the underlying liability for an
Eighth Amendment claim concerning inadequate medical care
provided in the prison context. See Pearson, 850
F.3d at 534 ("In order to sustain this constitutional
claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, a plaintiff must make (1)
a subjective showing that the defendants were deliberately
indifferent to [his or her] medical needs and (2) an
objective showing that those needs were serious.")
(citations and quotations omitted). However, even if Mr.
Jackson could meet this standard, he would be unable to
prevail on his § 1983 claim against Corizon.
previously explained by the Court, for § 1983 claims
brought against private health companies providing services
to inmates, a plaintiff must also satisfy the requirements of
Monell. See Natale v. Camden Cnty. Corr. Facility,
318 F.3d 575, 583-84 (3d Cir. 2003) ("PHS cannot be held
responsible for the acts of its employees under a theory of
respondeat superior or vicarious liability. In order for PHS
to be liable, the [plaintiffs] must provide evidence that
there was a relevant PHS policy or custom, and that the
policy caused the constitutional violation that they
allege.") (citing Monell, 436 U.S. at 691 and
Bd. of the County Comm 'rs of Bryan Cnty., Oklahoma
v. Brown, 520 U.S. 397, 404 (1997)); Lomax v. City
of Philadelphia, No. 13-1078, 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS
47453, at *8-9 (E.D. Pa. Mar. 29, 2017) ("Because
Corizon is a private company contracted by a prison to
provide health care for inmates, ... it can only be held
liable for constitutional violations if it has a custom or
policy exhibiting deliberate indifference to a prisoner's
serious medical needs.") (citations and quotations
omitted); Miller v. Hoffman, No. 97-7987, 1998 U.S.
Dist. LEXIS 9934, at *I2-I5 (E.D. Pa. July 7, 1998) (allowing
a plaintiff s Eighth Amendment claim against an individual
medical professional to proceed because the plaintiff alleged
that the individual was deliberately indifferent to his
serious medical needs, but dismissing the plaintiffs Eighth
Amendment claim against the corporate defendant because the
plaintiff failed to satisfy the requirements of
Monell). The Monell requirements, of
course, are separate and distinct from the deliberate
indifference test set out in Farmer and
Pearson and provide an independent reason to dismiss
Mr. Jackson's claims.
Third Circuit Court of Appeals recently explained in
Forrest v. Parry, "a § 1983 claim against
a municipality [or corporate defendant] may proceed in two
ways." 930 F.3d 93, 105 (3d Cir. 2019) (citing
Estate of Roman v. City of Newark, 914 F.3d 789,
798-99 (3d Cir. 2019)). A plaintiff may show: (1) "that
an unconstitutional policy or custom of the municipality [or
corporate defendant] led to his or her injuries"; or (2)
"that [his or her injuries] were caused by a failure or
inadequacy by the municipality [or corporate defendant] that
reflects a deliberate or conscious choice." Id.
Memorandum granting Corizon's motion for summary
judgment, the Court focused on the former avenue.
See July 16, 2019 Memorandum at 7-9. As previously
explained, and as conceded by Mr. Jackson in his motion for
reconsideration, there is no evidence on the record
suggesting that Corizon had a policy or custom of not
treating inmates who would soon be transferred to federal
prison. See Mr. Jackson's Mot. for
Reconsideration at 1 ("Plaintiff does not dispute this
Court's findings that Plaintiffs claims [cannot] survive
a motion for summary judgment based upon the existence of a
policy or custom to establish a Monell claim ..
latter avenue arises in the context of a failure to train,
supervise, and or discipline case. Forrest, 930 F.3d
at 105. Because Mr. Jackson did not frame his claim against
Corizon as a failure to train, supervise, or discipline
claim, the Court did not conduct an analysis under the
failure to train, supervise, or discipline rubric. However,
for the sake of completeness, even assuming arguendo
that such claims been articulated, the Court now concludes
that the record in this case does not support a failure to
train, supervise, or discipline claim.
support such a claim, the plaintiff must demonstrate "a
failure or inadequacy amounting to deliberate indifference on
the part of the municipality [or corporate
defendant]." Id. at 106 (citing Reitz v.
Cnty. of Bucks, 125 F.3d 139, 145 (3d Cir. 1997)). The
Third Circuit Court of Appeals has held that "a failure
to train, discipline or control can only form the basis for
section 1983 municipal liability if the plaintiff can show
both contemporaneous knowledge of the offending incident or
knowledge of a prior pattern of similar incidents and
circumstances under which the supervisor's actions or
inaction could be found to have communicated a message of
approval to the offending subordinate." Montgomery
v. De Simone, 159 F.3d 120, 127 (3d Cir. 1998) (citation
omitted). Constructive knowledge or a showing that a
policymaker "should have known" about the pattern
of constitutional misconduct is sufficient. Forrest,
930 F.3d at 109 ("Camden policymakers knew or should
have known that supervisor-level officers would be
confronted with officer misconduct... and that the wrong
choice-failure to report or admonish- would lead to the sort
of behavior that occurred here . . . ."); Hernandez
v. Borough of Palisades Park Police Dep't, 58
Fed.Appx. 909, 913 (3d Cir. 2003) ("[Constructive
knowledge may be evidenced by the fact that the practices
have been so widespread or flagrant that in the proper
exercise of their official responsibilities the municipal
policymakers should have known of them.") (citation and
case, Mr. Jackson did not depose any Corizon employees, did
not present any evidence showing that other prisoners
received delayed or otherwise inadequate medical care, and
did not present any evidence concerning Corizon's
training or disciplinary practices. Therefore, a reasonable
factfinder could not possibly conclude that an unidentified
final policymaker at Corizon had (or should have had)
knowledge of Mr. Jackson's allegedly deficient treatment