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JONES v. CORRECTIONAL HEALTH SERVICES

May 4, 2005.

WILLIAM SEYMOUR JONES, Plaintiff,
v.
CORRECTIONAL HEALTH SERVICES, et al., Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: DENNIS CAVANAUGH, District Judge

OPINION

Plaintiff, William Seymour Jones ("Jones"), confined at S.C.I. Frackville in Frackville, Pennsylvania, seeks to bring this action in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. Based on plaintiff's affidavit of indigence and his prison account statements, it appears that plaintiff is qualified to proceed as an indigent. Therefore, the Court will grant plaintiff's application to proceed in forma pauperis and direct the Clerk of the Court to file the Complaint without pre-payment of the filing fee.

  Having reviewed the Complaint to identify cognizable claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A, the Court concludes that the Complaint should be dismissed for failure to state a cognizable claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and for lack of diversity jurisdiction under 28 U.S.C. § 1332 with respect to plaintiff's state law tort claims.

  I. BACKGROUND

  Jones brings this civil rights action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 as against the following defendants: Correctional Health Services, Inc. ("CHS"); CHS Doctors Catharine Sloan and Richard Grady; Dr. Greuiano Zara; Dr. Wynn; Ralph Green, Administrator at the Hudson County Corrections Center ("HCCC"); Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc. Medical Laboratories; Contract Health Services; Dr. Bader Maria Pedamonte; and Bio-Reference Laboratories. (Complaint, Caption, ¶¶ 6-15a). The following factual allegations are taken from the Complaint and are accepted as true for purposes of this review.

  On December 13, 2002, Dr. Wynn prescribed Clonidine to Jones for his high blood pressure but did not warn or inform him that Clonidine could "cause diabetes and hypertitis". (Compl., ¶ 17). From December 13, 2002 to September 2003, Drs. Wynn and Zara continued to prescribe Clonidine to Jones, but, with "deliberate indifference", failed to check blood and urine tests of plaintiff to see if he had acquired hypertitis and diabetes. (Compl., ¶¶ 18-24). In Count Two of his Complaint, Jones asserts that CHS failed to provide education, warnings, training and supervision to Drs. Zara and Wynn regarding the dangers of Clonidine and Keflex. (Compl., ¶¶ 25-26). He further asserts that Dr. Pedamonte failed to notify Dr. Wynn that Jones suffered from hypertitis and diabetes after having tested Jones on April 7, 2003. (Compl., ¶ 27). As to defendants, Drs. Grady and Sloan, Jones alleges that they were required as learned intermediaries to warn Drs. Zara and Wynn about the dangers of Clonidine. (Compl., ¶ 28).

  Next, Jones claims that defendant Green failed to set policies and procedures for prescribing medications at HCCC, which caused plaintiff to get diabetes. (Compl., ¶¶ 29-30). He further alleges that CHS conspired with defendants, Drs. Wynn, Zara, Grady and Sloan, and Warden Green, Contract Health Services, and Mylan Pharmaceuticals to cause Jones to suffer hypertitis and diabetes by prescribing him Clonidine. (Compl., ¶ 31). The Mylan Pharmaceuticals defendants, as the manufacturers of Clonidine, had an obligation to warn plaintiff about the side effects of Clonidine in causing diabetes and hypertitis, which they failed to do. They failed to seek additional approval of the Food and Drug Administration ("FDA") necessary to warn plaintiff and the public that Clonidine caused diabetes and hypertitis. (Compl., ¶¶ 32-36). Jones also asserts that Contract Health Services conspired with the other defendants to prescribe plaintiff with Clonidine. Finally, Jones alleges that Dr. Pedamonte and Bio Reference Laboratories conspired with the other defendants to administer and provide unacceptable blood tests, which failed to detect plaintiff's diabetes until May 2003. (Compl., ¶¶ 37, 38).

  Jones complains that he suffers diabetes and hypertitis as a result of defendants "deliberate indifference". He contends that he faces future loss of his eyesight and limbs, has loss of sex drive, has nausea, nervousness, weakness, blurred vision, frequent urination, blurred vision, numbness, joint pain, and depression. (Compl., ¶ 40).

  Plaintiff seeks compensatory, punitive, and prospective damages in excess of $21 million. He also seeks appointment of counsel.

  II. STANDARDS FOR A SUA SPONTE DISMISSAL

  The Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA"), Pub.L. No. 104-134, §§ 801-810, 110 Stat. 1321-66 to 1321-77 (April 26, 1996), requires a district court to review a complaint in a civil action in which a prisoner is proceeding in forma pauperis or seeks redress against a governmental employee or entity. The Court is required to identify cognizable claims and to sua sponte dismiss any claim that is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A.*fn1

  In determining the sufficiency of a pro se complaint, the Court must be mindful to construe it liberally in favor of the plaintiff. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972); United States v. Day, 969 F.2d 39, 42 (3d Cir. 1992). The Court must "accept as true all of the allegations in the complaint and all reasonable inferences that can be drawn therefrom, and view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff." Morse v. Lower Merion School Dist., 132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir. 1997). The Court need not, however, credit a pro se plaintiff's "bald assertions" or "legal conclusions." Id.

  III. SECTION 1983 LIABILITY

  Jones brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging violations of his constitutional rights. Section 1983 provides in relevant part:
Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory . . . subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress. . . .
Thus, to state a claim for relief under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege, first, the violation of a right secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States and, second, ...

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