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Corral v. United States

United States District Court, Third Circuit

August 26, 2013

PABLO FAVELA CORRAL, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES, Defendants.

Pablo Favela Corral, F.C.I. Fort Dix, Fort Dix, NJ, Plaintiff pro se.

OPINION

JEROME B. SIMANDLE, Chief District Judge.

Plaintiff Pablo Favela Corral, a prisoner confined at the Federal Correctional Institution at Fort Dix, New Jersey, seeks to bring this action in forma pauperis pursuant to the Federal Tort Claims Act ("FTCA"), 28 U.S.C. §§ 1346(b), 2671 et seq.[1]

At this time, the Court must review the Complaint 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.

I. BACKGROUND

The following factual allegations are taken from Plaintiff's Complaint and are accepted as true for purposes of this review.

Plaintiff is a federal prisoner serving a 188-month term of imprisonment pursuant to a sentence imposed by the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska. See United States v. Favela-Corral, Crim. No. 02-3121 (D.Neb.).[2] Plaintiff alleges that he has suffered a "life long actual injury" while confined at the Federal Correctional Institution at Fort Dix, New Jersey ("FCI Fort Dix"). (Complaint, ¶ 19.) Plaintiff alleges that the injuries resulted from Bureau of Prisons ("BOP") staff in Washington, DC, providing too few health care staff at FCI Fort Dix, providing too small a budget for health care both at FCI Fort Dix and by outside providers, and being too slow to respond to the need for outside treatment. (Complaint, ¶ 32.) Plaintiff further contends that local FCI Fort Dix staff withheld administrative remedy forms[3] from Plaintiff and that BOP staff in Washington had notice of that but failed to remedy the situation. (Compl., ¶¶ 45, 66.) In addition, Plaintiff alleges that certain remedy forms that he submitted were wrongfully rejected. (Compl., ¶¶ 72, 73.)

Plaintiff alleges that he submitted an institutional remedy in March, 2011, alleging that FCI Fort Dix health care staffer Mr. Killen assaulted Plaintiff, who already had a broken arm, thereby allegedly causing additional injury. (Compl., ¶¶ 85, 87.) Plaintiff argues that the (otherwise undescribed) response to that remedy by BOP staff in Washington was a tortious breach of their duty of care to Plaintiff. (Compl., ¶¶ 88-91.) He further alleges that BOP staff breached their duty of care to provide him with two health care experts. (Compl., ¶¶ 98-103.) Plaintiff alleges further that an unnamed outside medical expert advised him that the treatment he received at FCI Fort Dix did not meet published standards of care. (Compl., ¶ 124.) He also asserts generally delay and deprivation in the provision of medical care. (Compl., ¶¶ 109, 126.)

In addition, Plaintiff generally alleges injuries to his head, nose, and eyes (Compl., ¶ 127), and he states that he has not exhausted remedies with respect to claims regarding those injuries because of Warden Zickefoose's exhaustion obstruction scheme (Compl., ¶ 129, 130.)

Plaintiff has attached to the Complaint a copy of a December 6, 2011, administrative Claim form and attachments, asserting a claim under the Alien Tort Claims Act, [4] and alleging that the BOP staff at FCI withheld administrative remedy forms between 2003 and 2011, that supervisory staff in Washington, DC, were aware of this but failed to remedy the problem, and that he received inadequate care from the understaffed FCI Fort Dix medical department for injuries to his back, arms, neck, hands, head, legs, hip, feet, and blood. (Compl., Ex. 1.)[5] Plaintiff also attaches a letter dated December 16, 2011, from the U.S. Department of Justice, advising that the claim has been referred to the Federal Bureau of Prisons and providing an address for further correspondence. Plaintiff does not state whether he has received any further response regarding his administrative Claim.[6]

In this Complaint, Plaintiff asserts jurisdiction under the Federal Tort Claims Act and seeks damages in the amount of $10, 000, 000.00.[7]

II. STANDARDS FOR A SUA SPONTE DISMISSAL

Per the Prison Litigation Reform Act, Pub. L. No. 104-134, §§ 801-810, 110 Stat. 1321-66 to 1321-77 (April 26, 1996) ("PLRA"), district courts must review complaints in those civil actions in which a prisoner is proceeding in forma pauperis, see 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), seeks redress against a governmental employee or entity, see 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b), or brings a claim with respect to prison conditions, see 28 U.S.C. § 1997e. The PLRA directs district courts to sua sponte dismiss any claim that is frivolous, is malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. This action is subject to sua sponte screening for dismissal under all the aforementioned provisions because Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis against the United States in a claim relating to prison conditions.

According to the Supreme Court's decision in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, "a pleading that offers labels or conclusions' or a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.'" 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). To survive sua sponte screening for failure to state a claim[8], the complaint must allege "sufficient factual matter" to show that the claim is facially plausible. Fowler v. UPMS Shadyside , 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009) (citation omitted). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.'" Belmont v. MB Inv. Partners, Inc. , 708 F.3d 470, 483 n.17 (3d Cir. 2012) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). Moreover, while pro se pleadings are ...


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