United States District Court, D. Delaware
JOSEPH E. MURACH, Plaintiff;
BAYHEALTH MEDICAL CENTER, LLC, CORRECT CARE SOLUTION, LLC, CONNECTIONS COMMUNITY SUPPORT PROGRAMS, INC., DAVID PIERCE, PHIL PARKER and JAMES SCARBOROUGH, Defendants.
G. Poliquin, THE POLIQUIN FIRM, LLC, Dover, DE, attorney for
A. Griffith & Scott G. Wilcox, WHITEFORD TAYLOR PRESTON,
LLC, Wilmington, DE, attorneys for Defendant Correct Care
ANDREWS, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
pending before the Court are Defendant Correct Care
Solution's Motion to Dismiss (D.I. 11) and Plaintiff
Joseph E. Murach's Motion for Leave to File a Second
Amended Complaint. (D.I. 30). The parties have briefed the
issues. (D.I. 11; D.I. 26; D.I. 32; D.I. 30; D.I.
39).For the following reasons, the Court GRANTS
Defendant's Motion to Dismiss and DENIES Plaintiffs
Motion for Leave to File a Second Amended Complaint.
Joseph E. Murach filed this suit against Defendants Bayhealth
Medical Center, Correct Care Solution, Connections Community
Support Programs, David Pierce, Phil Parker, and James
Scarborough on March 19, 2018. (D.I. 1). Plaintiff filed a
First Amended Complaint on June 7, 2018. (D.I. 9). Plaintiffs
First Amended Complaint claims. Defendant Correct Care
Solution violated 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Count II) and
committed medical malpractice (Count III). (Id. at
24-32). Defendant was the medical provider at the James T.
Vaughn Correctional Center ("JTVCC") from 2012
until July 1, 2014. (Id. ¶ 6). Plaintiff was
incarcerated from June 14, 2011 until his release on May 16,
2017, first at the Howard R. Young Correctional Center and
then at JTVCC. (Id. ¶¶ 17, 121). Plaintiff
was incarcerated at JTVCC during the period when Defendant
was the medical provider. Plaintiff alleges that
Defendant's failure to provide him with appropriate and
timely medical treatment for his Crohn's disease and
ulcerative colitis led to the development of Stage 4 colon
cancer, which was first discovered on April 20,
2017. (Id. ¶¶ 111-12, 119).
has filed a Motion to Dismiss Plaintiffs claims against it.
(D.I. 11). Defendant alleges that (1) the statutes of
limitations upon Plaintiffs claims have expired (id.
¶ 3), and (2) Plaintiffs § 1983 claim "fails
to reference or even identify a single policy, practice or
custom maintained by [Defendant] that caused the alleged
constitutional harm." (Id. ¶ 9). Plaintiff
disputes these arguments (D.I. 26), but has filed a Motion
for Leave to File a Second Amended Complaint to rectify the
alleged deficiencies of the § 1983 claim. (D.I. 30).
reviewing a motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), the Court must accept the
complaint's factual allegations as true. See Bell
Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555-56 (2007). Rule
8(a) requires "a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief."
Id. at 555. The factual allegations do not have to
be detailed, but they must provide more than labels,
conclusions, or a "formulaic recitation" of the
claim elements. Id. ("Factual allegations must
be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative
level... on the assumption that all the allegations in the
complaint are true (even if doubtful in fact).").
Moreover, there must be sufficient factual matter to state a
facially plausible claim to relief. Ashcroft v.
Igbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). The facial plausibility
standard is satisfied when the complaint's factual
content "allows the court to draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged." Id. ("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." (internal
quotation marks omitted)).
asserts that Plaintiffs claims (1) are time-barred by the
applicable statutes of limitations and (2) fail to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted. Plaintiffs claims
against Defendant assert a constitutional claim under 42
U.S.C. § 1983 and an independent claim for medical
malpractice and negligence. (D.I. 9).
Statute of Limitations
Delaware law, the statute of limitations for medical
malpractice and negligence is two years. Del. Code Ann. tit.
18 § 6856. Under § 6856, the statute of limitations
for medical malpractice runs from "the date on which the
allegedly negligent act or omission occurred, and not when
the injury manifested itself." Dambro v. Meyer,
974 A.2d 121, 138 (Del. 2009). However, the statute of
limitations for medical malpractice may be increased to three
years from the date of injury where "the occurrence [of
the personal injury] was unknown to and could not in the
exercise of reasonable diligence have been discovered by the
injured person" within the normal two year period. Del.
Code Ann. tit. 18 § 6856. Constitutional violations are
also subject to a two-year statute of limitations. See
Moody v. Kearney, 380 F.Supp.2d 393, 397 (D. Del. 2005)
(applying Delaware's statute of limitations for personal
injury claims to a § 1983 claim).
argues that the statute of limitations is equitably tolled
under the doctrine of continuous negligent medical treatment.
Under this doctrine, "the statute of limitations runs
from the last act in a 'continuum of negligent medical
care related to a single condition occasioned by
negligence.'" Benge v. Davis, 553 A.2d
1180, 1183 (Del. 1989) (quoting Ewing v. Beck, 520
A.2d 653, 662 (Del. 1987)). As both parties note, "[a]
complainant invoking the continuous negligent medical
treatment doctrine has the burden of alleging with
particularity a course of continuing negligent medical
treatment during a finite period" and "the facts in
the record must establish that the treatment was inextricably
related so as to constitute one continuing wrong."
Benge, 553 A.2d at 1183 (citing Ewing, 520
A.2d at 662, 664). If a claim ...