United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
J. PAPPERT, J.
incarcerated, Manuel Hernandez was sent to Wills Eye Hospital
for treatment for his glaucoma. At the hospital, an unnamed
nurse injured Hernandez's hand during a procedure. When
he returned to prison, Hernandez allegedly received
inadequate medical care, which permanently damaged his hand.
Hernandez sued various prison officials and medical
providers. Two pairs of those defendants moved to dismiss
Hernandez's claims. The Court grants both Motions.
the relevant events, Hernandez was an inmate at the
Pennsylvania State Correctional Institutional at Graterford.
See (Am. Compl. p. 4 ¶ 1, ECF No.
At that time, Cynthia Link was Graterford's
Superintendent. See (id. at p. 4 ¶ 2).
Joseph Korszniak, a former registered nurse, also worked
there as a Health Care Administrator. See
(id.) In that role, Korszniak oversaw the
prison's contracts with medical providers and was
responsible for ensuring compliance with those contracts.
See (id. at ¶ 25). Correct Care
Solutions, LLC was one such contractor that provided
SCI-Graterford's inmates with medical care. See
(id. at p. 5 ¶ 4). Dr. Stephen Weiner was a
physician with Correct Care. See (id.)
incarcerated at SCI-Graterford, Hernandez was diagnosed with
glaucoma. See (id. at p. 7 ¶ 1).
Months later, Korszniak, Link, Correct Care and Weiner
allegedly ordered that Hernandez be transported to Wills Eye
Hospital “for emergency treatment [for] his
glaucoma.” (Id. at p. 7 ¶ 4.) At Wills,
an unnamed nurse clumsily inserted an IV in Hernandez's
right hand, causing unnecessary pain, bleeding and swelling.
See (id. at pp. 7-8 ¶ 5-8). Despite
Hernandez's swollen, bloody hand, the nurse and an
unnamed doctor sent Hernandez back to SCI-Graterford without
treatment. See (id. at p. 8 ¶¶
told an unnamed prison nurse about his hand injuries, but the
nurse ignored the injuries without providing any treatment.
See (id. at ¶¶ 11-12). Six days
later, Weiner examined Hernandez's hand and prescribed
steroids “to help with the swelling, discolor and
pain.” (Id. at ¶ 17.) After two days,
Weiner discharged Hernandez from the infirmary with a supply
of pain killers. See (id. at ¶ 18).
Neither the steroids nor the pain killers helped; the
swelling and pain persisted. See (id. at
later filed a grievance with the prison alleging that he had
received inadequate medical care and remained in need of
proper treatment. See (id. at ¶ 20).
Korszniak denied the grievance and directed Hernandez
“to go to sick call and be evaluated.”
(Id. at ¶ 22.) Following Korszniak's
instructions, Hernandez went to sick call, where a nurse
practitioner diagnosed him “with nerve damage to his
fingers” but provided no treatment. (Id. at
appealed the denial of his grievance to Link, who allegedly
had the authority to direct Korszniak, Weiner and Correct
Care to provide Hernandez immediate medical treatment.
See (id. at ¶ 26). Link, however, did
not do so; instead, she denied Hernandez's appeal two
months later and told “him to go to sick call.”
(Id. at ¶ 27.) Although Hernandez twice tried
to appeal Link's decision, each attempt was rejected for
noncompliance with grievance procedures. See
(id. at ¶ 28).
months later, Hernandez (acting pro se) sued Link,
Korszniak, Weiner and Correct Care, among others.
See (Compl., ECF No. 1). After the Court dismissed
his complaint-some claims with prejudice, others
without-Hernandez filed an Amended Complaint. See
Amended Complaint states four counts, all seeking to
vindicate federal rights via 42 U.S.C. §
1983. Count I asserts Eighth Amendment claims of
deliberate indifference against Link, Korszniak, Weiner and
Correct Care. See (id. at 7-8 ¶¶
1-9). In Count II, Hernandez reiterates and adds to his
deliberate-indifference claim against Weiner. See
(id. at ¶¶ 17-19). Count III does the same
for the deliberate-indifference claims against Korszniak and
Link. See (id. at ¶¶ 20-28). And
Count IV adds claims that the defendants'
“collective actions violated [Hernandez's] First,
Eighth, Ninth and Fourteenth Amendment rights, ” as
well as the Department of Corrections' “Access to
Health Care Procedure Manual 13.1; the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights; Treatment of Prisoners Laws; . . . the
Patient Informed Consent Act; [and] HIPPA Laws.”
(Id. at ¶¶ 33-34.) Link, Korszniak, Weiner
and Correct Care move to dismiss all claims against them.
avoid dismissal under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6), a complaint must “state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). A claim is facially
plausible if the plaintiff pleads facts from which the Court
can infer “that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Though this “plausibility
standard is not akin to a ‘probability requirement,
'” it demands “more than a sheer possibility
that a defendant has acted unlawfully.” Id.
(quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556).
plausibility under Twombly and Iqbal is a
three-step process. See Connelly v. Lane Const.
Corp., 809 F.3d 780, 787 (3d Cir. 2016). Step one is to
“take note of the elements the plaintiff must plead to
state a claim.” Id. (alterations omitted)
(quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 675). Next, the Court
“should identify allegations that, ‘because they
are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the
assumption of truth.'” Id. (quoting
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679). Finally, for all
“well-pleaded factual allegations, the court should
assume their veracity, ” draw all reasonable inferences
from them “and then determine whether they plausibly
give rise to an entitlement to relief.” Id.
(alterations omitted) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
679). If the well-pleaded facts do not nudge the
“claims across the line from conceivable to plausible,
” the Court must dismiss the complaint.
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570.
Hernandez appears pro se, the Court must construe
his pleadings liberally. See Pearson v. Sec't
Dep't of Corrs., 775 F.3d 598, 604 (3d Cir. 2015).
This leniency “means that [courts] are willing to apply
the relevant legal principle even when the complaint has
failed to name it.” Mala v. Crown Bay Marina,
Inc., 704 F.3d 239, 244 (3d Cir. 2013). Incarcerated
pro se litigants enjoy additional flexibility
because they “often lack the resources and freedom
necessary to comply with the technical rules of modern
litigation.” Id. at 244-45. That said,
“pro se litigants ...