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Itiowe v. Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital

United States District Court, Third Circuit

September 25, 2013

CHRISTIANA ITIOWE, Plaintiff,
v.
ROBERT WOOD JOHNSON UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL AT HAMILTON, et al., Defendants.

OPINION

JOEL A. PISANO, District Judge.

Pending before the Court are five motions: (1) Defendant Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital at Hamilton's ("RWJHH") Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) [docket # 12]; (2) Defendant St. Francis Medical Center's ("SFMC") Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) [docket # 26]; (3) Defendant Capital Health Systems' ("CHS") Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) [docket # 38]; (4) Defendants Trenton Police Station and the City of Trenton's (collectively "Trenton Defendants") Motion to Strike all claims on behalf of Victoria Itiowe[1] [docket # 50]; and (5) Defendant New Jersey State Board of Medical Examiners' ("NJSBME") Motion to Dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) [docket # 51].

For the reasons set forth below, the motions to dismiss [docket # 12, 26, 38, 51] are GRANTED. Trenton Defendants' motion to strike all claims on behalf of Victoria Itiowe [docket # 50] is DENIED as moot. Plaintiff's Complaint is DISMISSED without prejudice, with the exception of all claims brought on behalf of Victoria Itiowe, which are dismissed with prejudice.

I. BACKGROUND

Christiana Itiowe's ("Plaintiff") pro se Complaint, received by the Court on November 9, 2012, consists of the following: (1) three broad causes of action for a violation of "Civic Rights"; (2) a "Statement of Happening"; and (3) a letter to Capital Health Systems.[2] The claims in Plaintiff's Complaint suffer from vagueness and ambiguity that make it difficult to discern their legal or factual basis. The following allegations are taken from Plaintiff's Complaint and are accepted as true for purposes of this Court's review only.

A. RWJHH

Plaintiff alleges that her sister, Victoria Itiowe, was "abused mentally and emotional[ly], "and verbally attacked by hospital staff during her hospitalization at RWJHH in 2009. Plaintiff claims that RWJHH emergency room doctors, nurses and case management "insinuated" that Victoria Itiowe was addicted to painkillers and provided her with substandard medical care, including turning her away from the emergency room when she sought treatment in November of 2010. Although it is often unclear which defendant Plaintiff is the attributing alleged misconduct to, Plaintiff appears to claim that RWJHH engaged in "discriminative talks and actions" and violated "Federal laws" and "civil rights" by not allowing Victoria Itiowe to "receive care at their hospital grounds while seriously sick."[3]

B. SFMC

Plaintiff claims that hospital staff at SFMC treated Victoria Itiowe "unfairly, " "insinuated" that she was addicted to painkillers, and provided her with improper care resulting in blood clots and other health complications. Plaintiff also alleges that she personally suffered injuries during an altercation with Hillary Roberts, a security guard at SFMC. The incident allegedly occurred when Plaintiff parked her car illegally in front of the hospital as she took her sister into the emergency area. According to Plaintiff, Mr. Roberts began yelling at her to move her car because there was an ambulance waiting to pull in, and at some point during the altercation, Mr. Roberts "head butted" Plaintiff.

C. CHS

Plaintiff alleges CHS staff improperly treated her sister for pain resulting from "a bad sickle cell crisis" and that hospital personnel "insinuated" that Victoria Itiowe was seeking narcotics and addicted to painkillers. Plaintiff appears to refer to two altercations with CHS staff. Plaintiff asserts that the first incident occurred when Plaintiff felt Kimberly Applegate, identified as a CHS staff member, treated her "in a discriminative manner" and then lied to a security guard about the details of the incident. According to Plaintiff, other CHS personnel then became involved and violated Plaintiff's "civic rights" and she was asked to leave the hospital's grounds. The second incident allegedly occurred when Plaintiff attempted to return to the hospital, at which point hospital security guards allegedly "manhandled" Plaintiff and again treated her in a "discriminative manner."

D. Trenton Defendants

Plaintiff's first claim against Trenton Defendants alleges that Victoria Itiowe "experienced Police brutality and while still sick was arrested and spent the night in jail." As a result of the "brutal attack via the Trenton Police Department because of the unnecessary happenings at the hospital grounds, " Plaintiff claims Victoria Itiowe is "dealing with lots of confusion because she was kicked in the head via the police men/woman boots and she has not being the same since then."[4] Plaintiff's second claim against Trenton Defendants alleges that while her sister was hospitalized, Plaintiff "witnessed [her] sister's brutal attack" and the ...


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