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Moore v. Sherer

September 3, 2007

CARLOS MOORE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
LYDELL SHERER, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Linares, District Judge

OPINION

Plaintiff Carlos Moore, a prisoner currently confined at New Jersey State Prison, seeks to bring this action in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. The Court (1) grants the application to proceed in forma pauperis; (2) directs the Clerk to file the Complaint; (3) assesses the $350.00 filing fee against Plaintiff; (4) directs the New Jersey Department of Corrections ("NJDOC") to deduct an initial partial filing fee from Plaintiff's prison account and to forward same to the Clerk of the Court, when funds exist; and (5) directs the NJDOC to forward payments from Plaintiff's prison account to the Clerk each subsequent month that the amount in the account exceeds $10.00, until the $350.00 filing fee is paid in full. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a), (b). Having reviewed Plaintiff's allegations, at this time, the Court will dismiss the Complaint without prejudice to the filing of an amended complaint.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff asserts violations of his constitutional rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Lydell Sherer, Administrator of Northern State Prison, and Correctional Medical Services ("CMS"), arising from his incarceration at Northern State Prison in Newark, New Jersey. Plaintiff asserts the following facts which must be regarded as true for the purposes of this review. Plaintiff asserts that CMS stopped giving him his medication in December 2005. Plaintiff alleges that, although he begged the psychologist to send the medication with him when he went on a court trip, he received no medication from December 2005 through February 2006. Plaintiff asserts that he began experiencing paranoia as a result of the absence of medication, and that he felt as if his life was in danger. Plaintiff alleges that he eventually walked off the Mental Health Unit through six checkpoints to the loading dock. He asserts that he tried to escape by climbing under a cargo truck. Plaintiff further alleges:

Institution failed to check security camera of loading dock area and to search under cargo vehicle properly. The negligence of CMS and the improper maintenance of Northern State Prison premises led to an accident in which prisoner broke his left leg in three places, broke his left wrist, sustained 2 inch diameter hole in right hip and ruptured [illegible] right shoulder. Despite numerous sick call slips, prisoner never received more than 10 minutes physical therapy in the course of a year.

(Compl. ¶ 6.)

For relief, Plaintiff seeks damages and injunctive relief directing CMS to provide physical therapy to regain use of his leg and knee. (Compl. ¶ 7.)

LEGAL STANDARD

The Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA"), Pub. L. No. 104-134, §§ 801-810, 110 Stat. 1321-66 to 1321-77 (April 26, 1996), requires the Court, prior to docketing or as soon as practicable after docketing, to review a complaint in a civil action in which a plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis or a prisoner seeks redress against a governmental employee or entity. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B), 1915A. The PLRA requires the Court to sua sponte dismiss any claim if the Court determines that it is frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim on which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. Id.

"A document filed pro se is to be liberally construed, and a pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers." Erickson v. Pardus, U.S. , , 127 S.Ct. 2197, 2200 (2007) (citations and internal quotation marks omitted); see also Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). "Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2) requires only 'a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.' Specific facts are not necessary; the statement need only give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Erickson, 127 S.Ct. at 2200 (citations and internal quotation marks omitted).

A claim is frivolous if it "lacks even an arguable basis in law" or its factual allegations describe "fantastic or delusional scenarios." Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 328 (1989); see also Roman v. Jeffes, 904 F.2d 192, 194 (3d Cir. 1990). "Given the Federal Rules' simplified standard for pleading, '[a] court may dismiss a complaint only if it is clear that no relief could be granted under any set of facts that could be proved consistent with the allegations." Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 514 (2002) (quoting Hishon v. King & Spalding, 467 U.S. 69, 73 (1984)); see also Thomas v. Independence Tp., 463 F.3d 285, 296-97 (3d Cir. 2006); Alston v. Parker, 363 F.3d 229, 233 n.6 (3d Cir. 2004). However, a court should not dismiss a complaint with prejudice for failure to state a claim without providing leave to amend, unless it finds bad faith, undue delay, prejudice or futility. See Grayson v. Mayview State Hosp., 293 F. 3d 103, 110-111 (3d Cir. 2002); Shane v. Fauver, 213 F. 3d 113, 117 (3d Cir. 2000).

DISCUSSION

Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction. See Mansfield, C. & L. M. Ry. Co. v. Swan, 111 U.S. 379, 383 (1884). "[T]hey have only the power that is authorized by Article III of the Constitution and the statutes enacted by Congress pursuant thereto." Bender v. Williamsport Area School Dist., 475 U.S. 534, 541 (1986). A district court may exercise jurisdiction over "Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their authority." U.S. Const. art. III., § 2; see also 28 U.S.C. § 1331.

Section 1983 of Title 42 of the United States Code authorizes a person such as Plaintiff to seek redress for a violation of his federal civil rights by a person who was acting under color of ...


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