United States District Court, D. Delaware
DALE A. GUILFOIL, Plaintiff,
plaintiff, Dale A. Guilfoil ("Guilfoil"), an inmate
at the Sussex Correctional Institution ("SCI"),
Georgetown, Delaware, filed this lawsuit pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 alleging deliberate indifference to
serious medical needs. (D.I. 3.) He appears pro se
and was granted permission to proceed in forma
pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915.
began his incarceration on July 6, 2014. He has a spinal cord
stimulator implanted in his lower back and uses a cane. When
he was first seen at SCI, he informed the nurse about the
stimulator, that he uses a cane, and was on a pain management
regimen. On July 14, 2014, Guilfoil advised a physician that
he needed to charge the battery of the stimulator and, on
July 22, 2014, told a physician that he needed a stimulator
charger. Guilfoil was told it was his responsibility to
charge the battery and that he needed approval from security.
Guilfoil's public defender stepped in to assist him with
the issue. On August 5, 2014, Guilfoil was called to the
medical office to use a borrowed charger, but the battery
would not take a charge. In the meantime, Guilfoil was
ordered medication and received it initially, but it stopped
in late July 2014. It appears he now receives it
submitted numerous grievances regarding replacement of the
battery. He was told he would receive medication without
interruption while at SCI (which did not happen), but would
not receive surgery to replace the battery. He seeks
declaratory relief and compensatory and punitive damages.
September 15, 2016, the court screened the complaint and
allowed Guilfoil to proceed against the medical care provider
Connections ("Connections"). (D.I. 7, 8.) On May
24, 2017, Connections' entry of default was entered upon
Guilfoil's request. (D.I. 13, 14.) Connections moves to
vacate the entry of default and to dismiss the claims against
(D.I. 17, 21.) Guilfoil moves for default judgment. (D.I.
Entry of Default
moves to set aside entry of default pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.
55(c) and, in turn, Guilfoil moves for default judgment.
(D.I. 17, 18.) General counsel for Connections states in his
affidavit that he did not recall the delivery of summons and
complaint in the instant case and could not locate any
communications with Connections' insurance broker and
litigation counsel as is his usual practice. (D.I. 17-1 at
2.) When general counsel received the service packet on May
25, 2017 through interoffice mail, he immediately contact
Connections' insurance broker and litigation counsel.
the affidavit of Connections' general counsel, the court
will grant the motion to set aside entry of default. (D.I.
17.) In addition, default judgment is not appropriate and,
therefore, the court will deny Guilfoil's motion for
default judgment. (D.I. 18.) See Fed. R. Civ. P.
55(a), (b); Hritz v. Woma Corp., 732 F.2d 1178, 1180
(3d Cir. 1984) (entry of judgment by default pursuant to Rule
55(b)(2) is within the discretion of the trial court);
Animal Sci. Prods., Inc. v. China Nat'l Metals &
Minerals Imp. & Exp. Corp., 596 F.Supp.2d 842, 847
(D.N.J. 2008) (entry of default judgment is disfavored as
decisions on the merits are preferred.).
Motion to Dismiss
moves to dismiss for failure to state a claim. The court
assumes it seeks dismissal pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) even
though Rule 12 is not mentioned in the motion. In reviewing a
motion to dismiss 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).
Because Guilfoil proceeds pro se, his pleading is
liberally construed and his complaint, "however
inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards
than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers."
Erickson, 551 U.S. at 94. 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 Rule 12(b)(6) motion
maybe granted only if, accepting the well-pleaded allegations
in the complaint as true and viewing them in the light most
favorable to the complainant, a court concludes that those
allegations "could not raise a claim of entitlement to
relief." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 558 (2007).
'detailed factual allegations' are not required, a
complaint must do more than simply provide 'labels and
conclusions' or 'a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action.'" Davis v.
Abington Mem'l Hosp., 765 F.3d 236, 241 (3d Cir.
2014) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). The court
is "not required to credit bald assertions or legal
conclusions improperly alleged in the complaint." In
re Rockefeller Ctr. Props., Inc. Sec. Litig., 311 F.3d
198, 216 (3d Cir. 2002). A complaint may not be dismissed,
however, "for imperfect statement of the legal theory
supporting the claim asserted." Johnson v. City of
Shelby, 135 S.Ct. 346, 346 (2014).
complainant must plead facts sufficient to show that a claim
has "substantive plausibility." Id. at
347. That plausibility must be found on the face of the
complaint. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009). "A claim has facial plausibility when the
[complainant] pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the [accused] is liable
for the misconduct alleged." Id. Deciding
whether a claim is plausible will be a "context-specific
task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its
judicial experience and common sense." Id. at
seeks dismissal on the grounds that Plaintiff receives
regular and recurring medical care and has failed to allege
that a policy, practice, or custom caused his alleged harm.
The legal standard when ruling on Rule 12(b)(6) motions is
identical to the standard used when screening a complaint
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § l9l5(e)(2)(B)(ii). See
Tourscher v. McCullough,184 F.3d 236, 240 (3d Cir.
1999) (applying Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) standard to dismissal
for failure to state a claim under § 1915(e)(2)(B)). The
court previously reviewed Guilfoil's ...