LEFLAR v. WARDEN, MONTGOMERY CORRECTIONAL FACILITY et al
ORDER-MEMORANDUM THAT THE DEFENDNATS MOTION TO PARTIALLY DISMISS THE PRO SE SECOND AMENDED COMPLAINT IS GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART AS OUTLINED HEREIN. SIGNED BY HONORABLE MARK A. KEARNEY ON 11/16/17. 11/17/17 ENTERED AND COPIES E-MAILED.(jpd, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
DANIEL S. LEFLAR
CORRECTIONAL FACILITY, et al
AND NOW, this 16th day of November 2017, upon considering the served Defendants'
Motion to partially dismiss (ECF Doc. No. 55) the pro se Second Amended Complaint and
following today's oral argument, it is ORDERED Defendants' Motion (ECF Doc. No. 55) is
GRANTED in part and DENIED in part:
We grant Defendants' Motion and dismiss Plaintiffs claims for punitive damages
under 42 U.S.C. §1983 against Montgomery County and the Montgomery County Correctional
Facility with prejudice;
We grant Defendants' Motion and dismiss Plaintiffs claims against Major Carbo
and Lt. Apple without prejudice to be renewed consistent with this Order in a Third Amended
Complaint (now filed with the benefit of counsel) no later than December 5, 2017; and,
We deny Defendants' Motion as to Plaintiffs claims against Officers Davis and
Jones and Lt. Riley.
In 2014, a robber shot Daniel S. Leflar in the back of the leg shattering his femur. 1
Surgeons at Temple University Hospital implanted a metal plate held by eight screws into Mr.
ECF Doc. No. 42, ~ 32.
Leflar's leg to reinforce his femur. 2 To manage Mr. Leflar's post-surgery pain, the Hospital
prescribed Mr. Leflar pain killers including Morphine, Dilaudid, and Percocet. 3 After surgery,
the Hospital released Mr. Leflar to the custody of the Bucks County Sheriffs Office responsive
to an open warrant on Mr. Leflar. 4 The Hospital provided Bucks Sheriff with Mr. Leflar's
discharge instructions including follow up appointment dates and prescriptions for physical
therapy and medications. 5
Bucks Sheriff delivered Mr. Leflar and the Hospital's discharge instructions to Bucks
County Correctional Facility. 6 While at Bucks Facility, an unnamed Bucks Facility employee
discontinued Mr. Leflar's pain medication. 7 Mr. Leflar submitted numerous "sick call slips" and
grievances at Bucks Facility claiming he did not receive the medical treatment outlined in
Hospital's discharge instructions. 8 While at Bucks Facility for nearly three months, Mr. Leflar
saw a doctor on only one occasion. 9 Doctor Brian Hartzell met with Mr. Leflar and told Mr.
ECF Doc. No. 42, ii 33.
ECF Doc. No. 42, ii 34.
ECF Doc. No. 42, ii 35.
ECF Doc. No. 42, ii 36.
ECF Doc. No. 42, ii 35-37.
ECF Doc. No. 42, ii 43.
ECF Doc. No. 42, ii 44-57.
ECF Doc. No. 42, ii 53.
Leflar he wanted to meet three times a week to treat his injured leg. Io Despite Mr. Leflar's
numerous requests, Mr. Leflar never met again with Dr. Hartzell while at Bucks Facility. II
For reasons not provided, Bucks Sheriff transferred Mr. Leflar, along with his medical
files, to the custody of Montgomery County Correctional Facility. I2
Upon arrival at
Montgomery Facility, Defendant J. Doe medically screened Mr. Leflar. 13 J. Doe ordered Mr.
Leflar receive crutches, instead of a wheelchair Mr. Leflar enjoyed at Bucks Facility. I4 While at
Montgomery Facility, Mr. Leflar submitted numerous "sick call requests" and grievances
claiming he experienced immense pain and did not receive medical treatment outlined in
Hospital's discharge instructions.Is
Montgomery Facility did not respond to Mr. Leflar's
complaints until about two weeks after arriving at Montgomery Facility when Nurse Alexis
Koenig met with Mr. Leflar. I6
The following day, Mr. Leflar verbally informed Correctional Officer Jones he
experienced a great deal of pain in his leg. I7 Officer Jones ignored Mr. Leflar' s complaint. I8
The next day, Mr. Leflar verbally informed Correctional Officer Davis he experienced immense
Io ECF Doc. No. 42, ii 53.
ECF Doc. No. 42, ii 54-57.
I2 ECF Doc. No. 42, ii 57.
ECF Doc. No. 42, ii 58.
I4 ECF Doc. No. 42, ii 59.
Is ECF Doc. No. 42, ii 61-88.
I6 ECF Doc. No. 42, ii 65.
I7 ECF Doc. No. 42, ii 66.
pain and needed medical treatment. 19 Officer Davis ignored Mr. Leflar's complaint. 20 Around
this time, Mr. Leflar finally met with a medical doctor. 21 Doctor Margaret Carrillo met with Mr.
Leflar and explained his leg remained seriously injured. 22
Over the next month, Mr. Leflar submitted daily sick call slips complaining about his
immense pain and lack of medical treatment. 23 Montgomery Facility did not respond until the
end of the month when Nurse D. McFadden visited Mr. Leflar. 24 For the next month-and-a-half,
Mr. Leflar submitted sick call slips or grievances almost daily. 25 Montgomery Facility did not
respond to these complaints. 26
Mr. Leflar verbally asked Lieutenant Riley for a grievance
because he did not receive necessary medical treatment. 27 Lieutenant Riley claimed he "was
busy" and would contact medical personnel later. 28
Six months passed since Mr. Leflar's surgery and according to the instructions Mr. Leflar
received post-surgery, the time arrived to remove the plate and screws from Mr. Leflar's leg. 29
ECF Doc. No. 42, ~ 67.
ECF Doc. No. 42, ~ 68.
ECF Doc. No. 42, ~ 70.
ECF Doc. No. 42, ~ 72-78.
ECF Doc. No. 42, ~ 79.
ECF Doc. No. 42, ~ 80.
Mr. Leflar met with Nurse Koenig and explained he needed to visit a surgeon to examine his
leg. 30 A month-and-a-half passed, and despite daily requests to see a surgeon, Montgomery
Facility did not afford Mr. Leflar such an opportunity. 31 Montgomery Facility did not respond to
Mr. Leflar until nearly two months after his visit with Nurse Koenig and scheduled him a visit
with a medical provider. 32 While in Montgomery Facility's custody, Mr. Leflar experienced
immense pain daily.
Two months later Montgomery Facility transferred Mr. Leflar to SCI-Graterford. 33 After
a medical screening at Graterford, Graterford provided Mr. Leflar with a knee brace, pain
medication, x-rays, and a visit with a physical therapist and medical doctor. 34
discovered the screws in Mr. Leflar' s legs were loosening and creating pressure and damage to
his nerves. 35 Graterford also discovered Mr. Leflar's bone grew in an awkward manner hinging
his knee cap because of the extended period the metal plate remained in his leg. 36 Graterford
ECF Doc. No. 42, ii 80-82.
ECF Doc. No. 42, ii 83.
ECF Doc. No. 42, ii 90.
ECF Doc. No. 42, ii 93.
ECF Doc. No. 42, ii 92.
sent Mr. Leflar to Hahnemann Hospital to be evaluated by an orthopedic surgeon. 37
orthopedic surgeon removed the plate from Mr. Leflar's leg and shaved the bone overgrowth. 38
Mr. Leflar claims Defendants violated his Eighth Amendment right to be free from cruel
and unusual punishment by failing to provide him necessary medical treatment while
Mr. Leflar brings this claim under Section 1983.39
Montgomery Facility and prison officials Davis, Jones, Riley, Apple, and Major Carbo move to
Montgomery County and Montgomery Facility argue Mr. Leflar's cannot seek
ECF Doc. No. 42, ~ 94.
42 u.s.c. § 1983.
In deciding a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), we accept all well-pleaded allegations in
the complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party, but
we "are not compelled to accept unsupported conclusions and unwarranted inference, or a legal
conclusion couched as a factual allegation." Castleberry v. ST! Group, 863 F.3d 259, 263 (3d
Cir. 2017) (quoting Morrow v. Balaski, 719 F.3d 160, 165 (3d Cir. 2013)). "To survive a motion
to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim
to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Edinboro Coll. Park Apartments v. Edinboro Univ.
Found., 850 F.3d 567, 572 (3d Cir. 2017) (quoting In re Vehicle Carrier Serv. Antitrust Litig.,
846 F.3d 71, 79 n.4 (3d Cir. 2017)). A claim satisfies the plausibility standard when the facts
alleged "allow the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged." Maiden Creek Assoc., L.P. v. U.S. Dep't ofTransp., 823 F.3d 184, 189 (3d
Cir. 2016) (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)). While the plausibility standard
is not "akin to a 'probability requirement,"' there nevertheless must be more than a "sheer
possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Twombly, 550
U.S. at 556). "Where a complaint pleads facts that are 'merely consistent with' a defendant's
liability, it 'stops short of the line between possibility and plausibility of entitlement to relief."'
Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557).
Our Court of Appeals requires we apply a three-step analysis under a 12(b)(6) motion: (1) "it
must 'tak[e] note of the elements [the] plaintiff must plead to state a claim;'" (2) "it should
identify allegations that, 'because they are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the
assumption of truth;'" and, (3) "[w]hen there are well-pleaded factual allegations, [the] court
should assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an
entitlement for relief." Connelly v. Lane Constr. Corp., 809 F.3d 780, 787 (3d Cir. 2016)
(quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 675, 679).
punitive damages against a municipality under Section 1983. Prison officials Davis, Jones,
Riley, Apple, and Major Carbo argue Mr. Leflar fails to allege facts of their personal
involvement in this case.
A. Mr. Leflar fails to allege facts of personal involvement of Major Carbo and
The Eighth Amendment prohibits cruel and unusual unpunishment. In the prison context,
the Eighth Amendment requires prison officials provide inmates with adequate medical care. 41
"An inmate must rely on prison authorities to treat his medical needs; if the authorities fail to do
so, those needs will not be met." 42
"[D]eliberate indifference to serious medical needs of
prisoners constitutes the 'unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain,' proscribed by the Eighth
Amendment." 43 "This is true whether the indifference is manifested by prison doctors in their
response to prisoner's needs or by prison guards in intentionally denying or delaying access to
medical care or intentionally interfering with the treatment once prescribed."44 "Regardless of
how evidenced, deliberate indifference to a prisoner's serious illness or injury states a cause of
action under [Section] 1983."45
To state a claim for inadequate medical treatment under the Eighth Amendment, Mr.
Leflar must allege (1) the prison official acted deliberately indifferent to his medical needs and
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 103 (1976).
Id. (internal citation omitted).
Id. (footnote omitted).
(2) the his medical needs were serious. 46 Mr. Leflar must plead specific facts demonstrating
each individual defendant had personal involvement in the alleged wrongs. 47 Our court of
appeals in Rouse v. Plantier48 explained a prison official acts with deliberate indifference when
the official "(l) knows of a prisoner's need for medical treatment but intentionally refuses to
provide it; (2) delays necessary medical treatment based on a non-medical reason;  (3) prevents
a prisoner from receiving needed or recommended medical treatment[;]" or (4) "persists in a
particular course of treatment in the face ofresultant pain and risk of permanent injury." 49
Non-medical prison officials may not be found deliberately indifferent "simply because
they failed to respond directly to the medical complaints of a prisoner who was already being
treated by the prison doctor. " 50 A prison official "will generally be justified in believing that the
prisoner is in capable hands" ifthe prisoner is "under the care of medical experts." 51 "[A]bsent a
reason to believe (or actual knowledge) that prison doctors or their assistants are mistreating (or
not treating) a prisoner, a non-medical prison official ... will not be chargeable with the Eighth
Amendment scienter requirement of deliberate indifference." 52
Kuokos v. Chester Cnty., No. 16-4602, 2017 WL 511634, at *4 (E.D. Pa. Feb. 7, 2017) (citing
Rouse v. Plantier, 182 F.3d 192, 197 (3d Cir. 1999)).
Rode v. Dellarciprete, 845 F.2d 1195, 1207 (3d Cir. 1988).
182 F.3d 192 (3d Cir. 1999).
Id. at 197 (internal citations omitted).
Durmer v. O'Carroll, 991F.2d64, 69 (3d Cir. 1993).
Spruill v. Gillis, 372 F.3d 218, 236 (3d Cir. 2004).
Id. at 237.
To the extent Mr. Leflar seeks to hold supervisory officials liable, such officials cannot
be held liable for the wrongs of others, as is the case under the doctrine of respondeat superior.s 3
In other words, a supervisory official's liability cannot be based merely on an employeremployee relationship.s 4 Rather, to hold a supervisor liable under Section 1983, Mr. Leflar must
allege facts showing the supervisor: (a) directly participated in violating his rights; (b) directed
others to violate his rights; or (c) knew of and acquiesced in his subordinates' violations of his
In Koukos v. Chester Cnty., the plaintiff verbally complained to correctional officers he
did not receive necessary medical treatment regarding his opiate withdrawal. 56 The plaintiff
displayed evident physical symptoms. 57 The plaintiff had not yet received treatment from a
medical doctor at the prison when he made the complaints. The correctional officers ignored the
plaintiffs request for medical treatment. s3
The plaintiff filed medical request slips and
experienced physical and mental pain resulting from his lack of medical treatment. s9 The court
found the plaintiff alleged sufficient facts the correctional officers had reason to believe prison
s3 Miller v. Hoffman, No. 97-7987, 1998 WL 404034, at *3 (E.D. Pa. July 7, 1998) (citing Rode,
845 F.2d at 1207).
s4 Santiago, 629 F.3d at 128.
ss Id at 129.
s6 Kuokos, 2017 WL 511634, at *6.
s7 Id. at *2-3
s9 Id. at *2-3.
medical personnel mistreated or did not treat the prisoner. 60 The court concluded, "Whether the
officers had sufficient knowledge to render them deliberately indifferent is a determination that
should be made when the record is more complete with respect to what [the plaintiff] said to
each officer, what was written on the medical request slips, what process correctional officers are
supposed to follow with respect to those medical request slips and, most significantly, when and
whether [the plaintiff] was seen and treated by medical staff during the relevant timeframe." 61
Mr. Leflar alleged sufficient facts of personal involvement from Officers Davis and Jones
and Lt. Riley because they allegedly ignored his requests for medical treatment. Mr. Leflar told
Officers Davis and Jones and Lt. Riley he experienced pain in his injured leg. Mr. Leflar told
Officer Davis and Lt. Riley he did not receive necessary medical treatment. Mr. Leflar also
submitted numerous sick call slips before he verbally complained to the officials. At the time
Mr. Leflar made these complaints, he walked with the assistance of crutches. Mr. Leflar's prose
allegations conflict as to when he visited with Dr. Carrillo. Similar to the court analysis in
Koukus, we must determine, after discovery, when Mr. Leflar received treatment from Dr.
Carrillo in relation to his complaints to the prison officials. Discovery will also allow us to
identify what Mr. Leflar told the prison officials, how evident Mr. Leflar's symptoms were to the
prison officials, what Mr. Leflar wrote in the sick call slips, and what involvement, if any,
Officers Davis and Jones and Lt. Riley had in not responding to Mr. Leflar's numerous sick call
Regardless of what discovery may show, viewing the facts in light most favorable to Mr.
Leflar, Mr. Leflar alleged sufficient facts Officers Jones and Davis and Lt. Riley had reason to
Id. at *6.
believe Montgomery Facility medical personnel either did not treat Mr. Leflar or mistreated Mr.
Leflar and the officials failed to act.
Mr. Leflar sufficiently alleges personal involvement
because he may establish these failures to act constituted deliberate indifference.
By contrast, Mr. Leflar fails to allege sufficient facts of personal involvement and
deliberate indifference from Major Carbo. Mr. Leflar merely alleges he acted as "an employee
of the [Montgomery Facility] and/or Montgomery County, and was warden of the [Montgomery
Facility] with supervisory and administrative responsibilities."62 Apart from being employed at
the Montgomery Facility, Mr. Leflar does not allege facts identifying Major Carbo's
involvement in this case.
The allegation Major Carbo acted in a supervisor position is
insufficient to survive dismissal. Mr. Leflar does not allege Major Carbo participated in the
violation of his rights, directed others to violate his rights, or acquiesced in the violation of his
rights. Mr. Leflar fails to state a claim against Major Carbo.
Mr. Leflar also fails to allege sufficient facts of personal involvement and deliberate
indifference from Lt. Apple. After careful review of Mr. Leflar's Second Amended Complaint,
all we know is Lt. Apple "was a correctional officer and employee of the [Montgomery Facility]
and/or Montgomery County." 63 Even viewing this fact in light most favorable to Mr. Leflar, this
fact is insufficient to state a claim against Lt. Apple. Without facts of Lt. Apple's conduct in
relation to this case, we cannot allow Mr. Leflar's claim against Lt. Apple proceed into
ECF Doc. No. 42, ii 10.
ECF Doc. No. 42, ii 13.
B. Mr. Leflar may not seek punitive damages against Montgomery County or
Montgomery Facility under Section 1983.
Mr. Leflar seeks relief in the form of punitive damages against Montgomery County and
Montgomery Facility. Montgomery County and Montgomery Facility argue Mr. Leflar may not
seek punitive damages against a municipality under Section 1983. In City of Newport v. Fact
Concerts, Inc., 64 the United States Supreme Court found a municipality is immune from punitive
damages under Section 1983. 65 This immunity applies to a municipality and its entities. 66 Both
Montgomery County and Montgomery Facility enjoy immunity from punitive damages under
We grant in part and deny in part the moving Defendants' motion to dismiss.
Leflar' s allegations Officers Davis and Jones and Lt. Riley ignored his requests for medical
treatment despite having reason to believe Mr. Leflar did not receive adequate medical treatment
is sufficient to establish personal involvement from these three defendants. Mr. Leflar's bald
allegation of Major Carbo's and Lt. Apple's employment at Montgomery Facility are insufficient
to state a claim against them.
Mr. Leflar also cannot not seek punitive damages against
Montgomery County and Montgomery facility. We will allow Mr. Leflar, through his counsel,
one last leave to amend to identify the proper defendants, serve additional defendants and
proceed towards trial.
453 U.S. 247 (1981).
Id. at 271.
Debellis v. Kulp, 166 F. Supp. 2d 255, 281 (E.D. Pa. 2001) (citing City of Newport, 453 U.S.
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?