The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. William J. Martini
In this civil rights action asserting both federal and state theories of liability, the plaintiff, a state prisoner, alleges that he was seriously injured by improper medical care (including the alleged lack thereof). Defendants Correctional Medical Services ("CMS"), Niranjana Shah, M.D., Jeane Betha, C.M.A., and Rosenleine Prophete's, R.N. ("Medical Defendants") have brought a motion to dismiss, arguing that Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies.
After initial briefing on the exhaustion issue, the Court issued an opinion. In that opinion, the Court explained that Plaintiff's Inmate Request Forms or IRFs indicate that Plaintiff took no administrative appeals from his initial administrative grievances and that this would indicate that he failed to exhaust his administrative remedies as required by statute. Rather than terminate this action at that time, the Court, in an abundance of caution, directed the Department of Corrections ("DOC") to do a "complete, and diligent search of their records for all other [Inmate Request Forms] which may be relevant to this action, and to supply the Court and Plaintiff with a copy of all such IRFs ... in conjunction with a certification or declaration explaining what was found. " Plaintiff was given an opportunity to respond. Plaintiff requested an extension in which to respond, which was granted, and then Plaintiff responded.
For the reasons explained below, the Court will GRANT the Medical Defendants' Motion to Dismiss, (Doc. No. 15), as to all Defendants on exhaustion grounds, the remaining motions to dismiss, (Doc. No. 59 & Doc. No. 67), are DISMISSED as moot, the state law claims are dismissed without prejudice, and this action is TERMINATED.
I. FACTS, PROCEDURAL POSTURE, AND THE CONTENTIONS OF THE PARTIES
The parties are referred to the Court's prior opinion and order of March 17, 2010.
Since that time, the parties have filed as exhibits additional IRFs filed by Wilson. None of the filings, put forward by either party, indicate that Plaintiff took an administrative appeal of any his IRFs which were filed during the time period at issue in this litigation.
Plaintiff argues that he did not file appeals because such filings would have been "redundant or frivolous," because by the time such an appeal would have been addressed he had filed additional initial grievances alleging the same wrong. Plaintiff also argues that he acted vigorously to pursue relief and even if he did not always file formal administrative appeals, he wrote any number of government offices supporting his claim for relief and asserting the injuries done to him by the Medical Defendants and others. Additionally, these grievances were -- so Wilson alleges -- being forwarded to the Medical Department or CMS as a matter of course, so his writing CMS functioned as an appeal. Finally, Plaintiff alleges that it is common practice for prison officials not to return IRFs, thereby precluding appeals of grievances.
The Motion is brought pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). This rule provides for the dismissal of a complaint, in whole or in part, if the plaintiff fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The moving party bears the burden of showing that no claim has been stated, Hedges v. United States, 404 F.3d 744, 750 (3d Cir. 2005), and dismissal is appropriate only if, accepting all of the facts alleged in the complaint as true, the plaintiff has failed to plead "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face," Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007) (abrogating "no set of facts" language found in Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957)). The facts alleged must be sufficient to "raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.
This requirement "calls for enough fact[s] to raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will reveal evidence of" necessary elements of the plaintiff's cause of action. Id. Furthermore, in order satisfy federal pleading requirements, the plaintiff must "provide the grounds of his entitlement to relief," which "requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 231 (3d Cir. 2008) (brackets and quotations marks omitted) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).
In considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, the court generally relies on the complaint, attached exhibits, and matters of public record. Sands v. McCormick, 502 F.3d 263 (3d Cir. 2007). The court may also consider "undisputedly authentic document[s] that a defendant attaches as an exhibit to a motion to dismiss if the plaintiff's claims are based on the [attached] document[s]." Pension Benefit Guar. Corp. v. White Consol. Indus., 998 F.2d 1192, 1196 (3d Cir. 1993). Moreover, "documents whose contents are alleged in the complaint and whose authenticity no party questions, but which are not physically attached to the pleading, may be considered." Pryor v. Nat'l Collegiate Athletic Ass'n, 288 F.3d 548, 560 (3d Cir. ...