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Albert Horace v. Mercer Cty Corr. Medical Doctor

August 15, 2011

ALBERT HORACE,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
MERCER CTY CORR. MEDICAL DOCTOR, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

NOT FOR PUBLICATION

OPINION

Plaintiff, Albert Horace, is currently confined at the Monmouth County Correctional Facility, Freehold, New Jersey. Plaintiff seeks to bring this action in forma pauperis, alleging violations of his constitutional rights. At this time, the Court must review the complaint, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A, to determine whether it should be dismissed as frivolous or malicious, for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or because it seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. For the following reasons, the complaint will be dismissed.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff states in his Statement of Claims that on March 23, 2010, he was physically attacked in Trenton and was taken to the hospital with fractures to his right wrist, left elbow, right foot, left ankle and other areas of his body, resulting in permanent damage. Defendant Care One of Hamilton, terminated his employment while he was in the hospital and stopped his insurance coverage to pay his bills. Plaintiff states that he was "unable to file a claim for my V.C.C.B. from the Trenton Police Department because once [he] was released from the nursing home [he] was brought to the Mercer County Correctional Center." (Complt., ¶ 6).

Attachments to the complaint show that Plaintiff's Notice of Claim against the County of Mercer was initially rejected because of its form. A letter from Assistant County Counsel enclosed a proper form for Plaintiff, and instructed him to return the form at his earliest convenience. Plaintiff wrote back to the County asking for an extension. Also attached to the complaint is a "Receipt of Claim Acknowledgment," dated September 15, 2010, which states that Plaintiff's claim was received and was being processed.

Plaintiff names as defendants "Mercer County Correctional Medical Doctor;" Providence Rehab Center; Care One Hamilton; Helene Fuld Hospital; and Trenton Police- VCCB. Although Plaintiff does not articulate claims against these defendants in his Statement of Claims, elsewhere in the complaint, Plaintiff notes the following. First, he states that the doctor at the Mercer County Correctional Center, Dr. Brown, "took [him] off all medications that were prescribed for [him] by the doctors at the hospital." (Complt., ¶ 4(b)). As to defendant Care One, Plaintiff states that his employment was terminated due to being absent from work while at the hospital. (Complt., Attachment labeled "Page 5-A"). As to defendant Helene Fuld, Plaintiff states that the surgeon at the hospital placed screws and a pin in his left arm, and now he "can't hardly move it." Id. Finally, as to defendant Trenton Police, Plaintiff states that he was assaulted in Trenton, and "know[s] that VCCB is given to victims of Violent Crimes. [He] is true a victim of a violent crime." (Complt., Attachment).

Plaintiff asserts jurisdiction under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and asks for monetary relief.

DISCUSSION

A. Standards for Sua Sponte Dismissal

The Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA"), Pub. L. No. 104--134, §§ 801--810, 110 Stat. 1321--66 to 1321--77 (April 26, 1996), requires a District Court to screen a complaint in a civil action in which a plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis and 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. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

The pleading standard under Rule 8 was refined by the United States Supreme Court in Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), and Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S. Ct. 1937 (2009). In Ashcroft, the Supreme Court hammered the "final nail-in-the-coffin" for the "no set of facts" standard set forth in Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45--46 (1957),*fn1 which was previously applied to determine if a federal complaint stated a claim. See Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203 (3d Cir. 2009). The Supreme Court clarified as follows:

Two working principles underlie our decision in Twombly. First, the tenet that a court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in a complaint is inapplicable to legal conclusions. Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice .... Rule 8 marks a notable and generous departure from the hyper-technical, code-pleading regime of a prior era, but it does not unlock the doors of discovery for a plaintiff armed with nothing more than conclusions. Second, only a complaint that states a plausible claim for relief survives a motion to dismiss. Determining whether a complaint states a plausible claim for relief will ... be a context-specific task that requires the reviewing court to draw on its judicial experience and common sense. But where the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than the mere possibility of misconduct, the complaint has alleged-but it has not "show[n]"-"that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. Rule Civ. Proc. 8(a)(2).

In keeping with these principles a court considering a motion to dismiss can choose to begin by identifying pleadings that, because they are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth. While legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they must be supported by factual allegations. When there are well-pleaded factual allegations, a court should ...


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