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Richmond v. Salem County Jail

United States District Court, Third Circuit

November 26, 2013

MELVIN RICHMOND, Plaintiff,
v.
SALEM COUNTY JAIL, et al., Defendants.

OPINION

ROBERT B. KUGLER, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff was previously detained as the Salem County Jail. Plaintiff is proceeding pro se with a civil rights complaint filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. On March 8, 2013, the Court dismissed the complaint without prejudice for failing to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. Plaintiff was given thirty days in which to file an amended complaint.

On September 27, 2013, the Court received plaintiff's amended complaint. While plaintiff has filed his amended complaint well beyond the thirty-day time limit permitted, the Court will order the Clerk to reopen this matter so that the amended complaint can be screened. At this time, the Court must review the amended complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) 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 suit. For the reasons set forth below, the amended complaint will be permitted to proceed on one claim against one unnamed defendant. Plaintiff shall be given time to discover the name of the defendant and to file a second amended complaint that names this defendant.

II. BACKGROUND

For purposes of screening the amended complaint, the allegations of the amended complaint are accepted as true. Plaintiff lists the following defendants in the amended complaint: (1) Salem County Jail; (2) Nurse Jane Doe(s) at Salem County Jail; and (3) Doctor John Doe(s) at Salem County Jail and (4) the Medical Services Provider at the Salem County Jail.

Plaintiff states that on April 1, 2012, he was admitted to the Salem County Jail "in lieu of an un-posted bail." (Dkt. No. 4 at p. 2.) Plaintiff alleges that on or about April 7, 2012, he asked for medical attention after his right foot became infected with MSRA bacteria. He states that he was forced to take a shower in an unclean communal shower without shower footwear. The nurse on duty at the time referred plaintiff to the doctor who saw plaintiff on April 10, 2012. The doctor told plaintiff to put antifungal topical cream on the MSRA infection.

Subsequently, on April 12, 2012, plaintiff visited the nurse again after the pain in his foot became unbearable. He requested hospitalization because he could not walk. Plaintiff states in the next paragraph of the amended complaint that he was not provided treatment until he was transferred out of the Salem County Jail on June 12, 2012. After being transferred, plaintiff was subsequently admitted to St. Francis Medical Center for treatment of his MSRA. Plaintiff subsequently underwent foot surgery and part of his right foot was removed due to the MSRA infection. Plaintiff states that he continues to endure constant pain and that the defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs. He requests damages in the amount of $750, 000.

III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

A. Standard for Sua Sponte Dismissal

Per the Prison Litigation Reform Act, Pub. L. No. 104-134, §§ 801-810, 110 Stat. 1321-66 to 1321-77 (Apr. 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.

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[1], 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 liberally construed, " pro se litigants still must allege sufficient facts in their complaints to support a claim." Mala v. Crown Bay Marina, Inc., 704 F.3d 239, 245 (3d Cir. 2013) (citation omitted) (emphasis added).

B. Section 1983 Actions

A plaintiff may have a cause of action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for certain violations of his constitutional rights. ...


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