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Justice Rasideen Allah v. George Hayman

April 1, 2011

JUSTICE RASIDEEN ALLAH, PLAINTIFF,
v.
GEORGE HAYMAN, ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Thompson, U.S.D.J.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION

OPINION & ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

This matter comes before the Court upon Defendants Jawana Behea and Correctional Medical Services, Inc.'s ("CMS") (collectively, "CMS Defendants") Motion to Dismiss [docket # 106] and upon Defendants Jeffrey Bell, George Hayman, Crystal Raupp, Michele R. Ricci, and Steckel's (collectively, "State Defendants") Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings [110]. The Plaintiff opposes both motions. The Court has decided the matter after considering the parties' written submissions and without holding oral argument, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 78(b). For the reasons set forth below, both motions are granted.

II. BACKGROUND

The following allegations are taken from Plaintiff's Amended Complaint [30]. Plaintiff has been confined for several years at New Jersey State Prison in Trenton, New Jersey. He alleges that prison officials have violated his rights under the Eighth, Ninth, and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution as well as state law because of actions they took in relation to the provision of medical care. He brings claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, the New Jersey Administrative Code, and the New Jersey Civil Rights Act.

Between June 30, 2006, and December 5, 2006, Plaintiff submitted a dozen request slips for medical records in special "sick-call boxes," which are located in each housing unit. (Am. Compl. ¶ 25) [30]. On December 5, 2006, Plaintiff received a "Chart Summary" of his medical condition dated August 29, 2006, which listed two problems-"myopia" and "nevi, multiple"- which Plaintiff did not understand. (Am. Compl. Ex. A) [30-1]. He sent a letter to the CMS administrator asking to see a doctor and to receive his medical records. (Id.); (Am. Compl. ¶ 25). He received a response from Defendant Bethea on December 12, which advised Plaintiff to continue submitting requests into the sick-call boxes. (Am. Compl. ¶ 26.) Plaintiff submitted more requests, and on February 25, 2007, sent another letter to Defendant Bethea complaining that his requests were still being ignored. (Id. ¶ 28.) Bethea again responded asking Plaintiff to use the appropriate channels for his requests. (Id.) On May 21, Plaintiff was forced to undergo TB testing through a crack in the door to his cell. (Id. ¶ 32.) The next day, a medical secretary named Ms. Butler visited Plaintiff at his cell, but Plaintiff refused to discuss any medical information except in a private setting. (Id. ¶ 30--31.) Plaintiff then filed a complaint on July 9 saying that his medical privacy rights were being violated. (Id. ¶ 32.) Bethea responded and said that medical testing was allowed to take place at a prisoner's cell. (Id. ¶ 33.) Plaintiff continued filing complaints through the end of 2007. (Id. ¶ 34--35.) Then on December 11, 2007, an unidentified medical official spoke to Plaintiff and asked him what his complaint was. (Id. ¶ 36--37.) Plaintiff refused to speak with anyone other than Defendant Jason Pugh, the CMS administrator. (Id.) When Plaintiff was not able to meet with Pugh shortly thereafter, he filed additional complaints. (Id. ¶ 39--44.)

At some point in late 2007 or early 2008, Plaintiff was examined by Dr. Allan Martin. Martin ordered Plaintiff's blood pressure taken, and after seeing the results, ordered that Plaintiff be prescribed blood pressure pills. (Id. ¶ 44--49.) A few days later, Martin met with Plaintiff and informed him that Plaintiff's file revealed that he had been diagnosed with high blood pressure back in 2002, and that the physician who had made that diagnosis had ordered that Plaintiff's blood pressure be closely monitored. (Id. ¶ 50--52.)

Plaintiff finally met with Pugh on January 28, 2008, and he reiterated his complaints. (Id.¶ 53.) At that meeting Pugh acknowledged that follow up visits with a doctor should have occurred after the 2002 and 2006 diagnoses. Pugh also acknowledged that Plaintiff had the right to speak with a doctor in private and that medical personnel should not conduct interviews at prisoners' cells within earshot of other inmates. (Id. ¶ 53--56.) However, since his meeting with Pugh, Plaintiff has still been given medical evaluations at his prison cell and has been refused medical care in a private setting. (Id. ¶ 56.)

Plaintiff commenced this action on March 7, 2008 [1]. The Court granted him leave to amend his complaint to add an additional defendant. [See docket # 17, 30]. The Court has twice rejected Plaintiff's requests for a preliminary injunction. [See docket # 17, 34]. On March 22, 2010, the Court granted in part and denied in part a motion to dismiss filed by Defendants CMS, Bethea, and Ahab Gabriel. (Opinion & Order, Mar. 22, 2010) [69]. In that Opinion, the Court dismissed Plaintiff's constitutional claims brought against Defendants CMS, Bethea, and Gabriel under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, but deferred consideration of Plaintiff's state law claims against Bethea and CMS until those issues were properly briefed. (Id. at 4--8.)

Bethea and CMS now move to dismiss the remaining state law claims. (CMS Defts.' Mot to Dismiss 2) [106]. Also, the State Defendants move for judgment on the pleadings, arguing that Plaintiff has failed to allege any personal involvement by these Defendants and has failed to set forth any constitutional violations. (State Defts' Mot for J. Pleadings 2) [110].

III. CMS DEFENDANTS' MOTION TO DISMISS

A.Legal Standard for Motion to Dismiss

Under Rule 12(b)(6), a defendant bears the burden of showing that no claim has been presented. Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6); Hedges v. United States, 404 F.3d 744, 750 (3d Cir. 2005). When considering a 12(b)(6) motion, a district court must accept as true all of a plaintiff's well-pleaded factual allegations and construe the complaint in the light most favorable to plaintiff, but may disregard any legal conclusions. Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210-11 (3d Cir. 2009). Once the well-pleaded facts have been identified, a court must determine whether the "facts are sufficient to show that plaintiff has a 'plausible claim for relief.'" Id. (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, --- U.S. ----, 129 S. Ct. 1937, 1949 (2009)). A claim is only plausible if the facts pleaded allow a court reasonably to infer that the "defendant is liable for the misconduct ...


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