RANIERI v. PHILLIPS
MEMORANDUM AND/OR OPINION. SIGNED BY HONORABLE JOEL H. SLOMSKY ON 3/21/17. 3/21/17 ENTERED AND COPIES MAILED TO PRO SE PLFF.(kw, )
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
DR. R. PHILLIPS
Plaintiff Daniel Ranieri filed a motion to proceed in forma pauperis and a complaint
against Dr. R. Phillips, who the complaint identifies as the Medical Director at the George W.
Hill Correctional Facility (GWHCF). The instant civil action is the second lawsuit plaintiff has
filed in this Court pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 challenging the medical care he received-or
lack thereof--during the course of his recent incarceration at GWHCF. For the following
reasons, the Court will grant plaintiff leave to proceed in forma pauperis and dismiss the
complaint with prejudice pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
The complaint reflects that the events giving rise to plaintiffs claims took place from April
15, 2015 through December 4, 2015, and February 12, 2016 through May 10, 2016, during his
incarceration at GWHCF. Plaintiff alleges that, although prison officials at GWHCF were aware
that he has hepatitis C, he was never given treatment, which caused him to develop cirrhosis of
the liver. He also alleges that he was transferred from GWHCF to another facility "without any
medication cold turkey," which nearly killed him. (Compl. at 6-A.) Plaintiff adds that he was
given five different pills daily "without having been diagnosed for why [he] was given them,"
and that Dr. Phillips and his staff were responsible for ordering those medications. (Id. at 3.)
Plaintiff indicates that he wrote several grievances to Dr. Phillips and the Warden, but never
received a response.
Plaintiff filed this lawsuit approximately five weeks after the Court dismissed his previouslyfiled lawsuit, Ranieri v. Byrne, E.D. Pa. Civ. A. No. 16-2686. The complaint in Civil Action
Number 16-2686 raised claims pursuant to§ 1983 against Warden David Byrne and the
"Medical Director for George W. Hill Correctional Facility." The complaint challenged the
adequacy of medical care that plaintiff received at GWHCF from April 15, 2015 through May
10, 2016-the length of his incarceration. Plaintiff alleged that the defendants failed to treat his
hepatitis C for most of his incarceration, failed to transfer his medical records to another prison
in Delaware, treated him for conditions he did not have, and only took action when he
experienced life threatening problems.
The defendants moved to dismiss the complaint and the Court held a hearing on the motion.
After considering the complaint, other documents plaintiff filed in the case, and statements that
plaintiff made at the hearing, the Court concluded that plaintiff at most established dissatisfaction
with the level of care at GWHCF rather than the defendants' deliberate indifference to his
serious medical needs. The Court also concluded that amendment would be futile and dismissed
all of plaintiffs claims against the Warden and Medical Director in their entirety. The complaint
and attachments to the complaint in the instant case, Civil Action Number 17-1705, acknowledge
the dismissal of plaintiffs complaint in Civil Action Number 16-2686. 1
STANDARD OF REVIEW
The Court grants plaintiff leave to proceed in forma pauperis because it appears that he is
incapable of paying the fees to commence this civil action. Accordingly, 28 U.S.C. §
Attachments to the complaint also reflect that plaintiff filed a case against Dr. Phillips in state
court, which is scheduled for an arbitration hearing in July.
1915(e)(2)(B)(i) and (ii) require the Court to dismiss the complaint if it is frivolous, malicious, or
fails to state a claim. "[A] district court may dismiss a complaint as malicious if it is plainly
abusive of the judicial process or merely repeats pending or previously litigated claims."
Brodzki v. CBS Sports, Civ. A. No. 11-841, 2012 WL 125281, at* 1 (D. Del. Jan. 13, 2012). As
plaintiff is proceeding prose, the Court construes his allegations liberally. Higgs v. Att'y Gen.,
655 F.3d 333, 339 (3d Cir. 2011).
It is apparent that the complaint in this case raises the same claims that the Court dismissed
in Civil Action Number 16-2686. If plaintiff disagreed with the Court's dismissal of his claims,
he could have filed an appeal. He may not, however, initiate a new civil action to circumvent the
dismissal of his first complaint. See Walton v. Eaton Corp., 563 F.2d 66, 71 (3d Cir. 1977) (en
bane) ("[T]he court must insure that the plaintiff does not use the incorrect procedure of filing
duplicative complaints for the purpose of circumventing the rules pertaining to the amendment of
complaints."); Sendi v. NCR Comten, Inc., 624 F. Supp. 1205, 1207 (E.D. Pa. 1986) ("[T]he fact
that plaintiff was denied leave to amend does not give him the right to file a second lawsuit based
on the same facts."). Accordingly, the Court will dismiss the complaint because it duplicates
previously litigated claims.
For the foregoing reasons, the Court will dismiss the complaint as duplicative, pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). Plaintiff will not be given leave to amend because amendment would be
futile. An appropriate order follows.
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?