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Clark v. Welch

United States District Court, D. Delaware

July 1, 2015

JEROME D. CLARK, Plaintiff,
v.
JAMES WELCH, et al., Defendants.

Jerome D. Clark, Howard R. Young Correctional Institution, Wilmington, Delaware. Pro se Plaintiff.

Roopa Sabesan, Deputy Attorney General, Delaware Department of Justice, Wilmington, Delaware. Counsel for Defendants James Welch and Philip Morgan.

Scott G. Wilcox, Esquire, Whiteford, Taylor & Preston, L.L.C., Wilmington, Delaware. Counsel for Defendants Kristin Hernandez, Chermain Welch, and Correct Care Solutions LLC.

George Thomas Lees, III and Stephanie Michelle Smith, Esquires, Rawle & Henderson LLP, Wilmington, Delaware. Counsel for Defendant Asia A Jones.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

SUE L. ROBINSON, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Jerome D. Clark ("plaintiff"), an inmate at the Howard R. Young Correctional Institution ("HYRCI"), Wilmington, Delaware, proceeds pro se and has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis. He filed this lawsuit on January 14, 2014, raising dental needs claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (D.I. 2) Presently before the court are State defendants' motion to dismiss (D.I. 30), and plaintiff's motions: (a) requesting service (D.I. 32) on defendant Philip Morgan ("Morgan"), former warden at the HRYCI; (b) for default judgment as to defendants Kristin Hernandez ("Hernandez") and Chermain Welch ("C. Welch") (D.I. 61); and (c) requesting counsel (D.I. 64). The court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331. For the following reasons, the court will deny the motions.

II. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff is in need of dental care due to broken teeth and pain. Plaintiff has two teeth that are "truly killing" him. He alleges that defendants Hernandez, C. Welch, and Asia A. Jones ("Jones") were aware of his dental needs and refused to see that he received treatment. Hernandez, Welch, and Jones were also members of the grievance committee that denied plaintiffs grievance seeking dental care stating that "there was a dental policy to follow."

Plaintiff alleges that he had written numerous letters to Morgan seeking dental care, since August 23, 2013, to no avail. In addition, plaintiff alleges that defendant James Welch ("Welch"), Correctional Health Care Services bureau chief, rejected his grievance for dental care without ever seeing or examining him.

State defendants Welch and Morgan move for dismissal pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted and, in the alternative, that they are protected from liability by reason of qualified immunity. (D.I. 30). Plaintiff opposes the motion.

III. LEGAL STANDARDS

In reviewing a motion filed under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), the court must accept all factual allegations in a complaint as true and take them in the light most favorable to plaintiff. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007). A court may consider the pleadings, public record, orders, exhibits attached to the complaint, and documents incorporated into the complaint by reference. Tellabs, Inc. v. Makor Issues & Rights, Ltd., 551 U.S. 308, 322 (2007). A complaint must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, in order to give the defendant fair notice of what the... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 545 (2007) (internal quotation marks omitted) (interpreting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)). A complaint does not need detailed factual allegations; however, "a plaintiff's obligation to provide the grounds' of his entitle[ment] to relief requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Id. at 545 (alteration in original) (citation omitted). The "[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level on the assumption that all of the complaint's allegations are true." Id. Furthermore, "[w]hen ...


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