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Green v. Morales

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

May 12, 2014

ANDRE GREEN, Plaintiff,
v.
RUBEN MORALES, Defendant.

OPINION

ROBERT B. KUGLER, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff is a federal prisoner currently incarcerated at the United States Penitentiary in Marion, Illinois. Plaintiff was previously incarcerated at F.C.I. Fairton in Fairton, New Jersey. He is proceeding pro se with a complaint filed pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Fed. Narcotics Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), alleging violations of his constitutional rights. Plaintiff's application to proceed in forma pauperis will be granted based on the information provided therein.

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 suit. For the following reasons, the complaint will be permitted to proceed against defendant Ruben Morales.

II. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff initially filed his complaint in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. Plaintiff's original complaint named Leslee Duncan and Ruben Morales as defendants. The Southern District of Illinois subsequently severed plaintiff's claims against Morales and transferred the complaint as to Morales to this Court.

The allegations of the complaint will be construed as true for purposes of this screening. The Southern District of Illinois previously set forth the facts of the complaint regarding Morales as follows:

Plaintiff was incarcerated at F.C.I. Fairton, in New Jersey, when he fell and injured his back on April 6, 2012. He developed severe back pain, numbness in his hand, arm and feet, and extreme weakness in his legs. These symptoms became worse over time. Defendant Morales (a physician and clinical director) examined Plaintiff soon after the injury, and refused to issue Plaintiff a cane or wheelchair even though his ability to walk was impaired. Some days later, when Plaintiff's back pain became excruciating, Defendant Morales refused to see Plaintiff or give him anything to relieve the pain. From June through October 2012, Plaintiff continued to seek help for his pain and requested Defendant Morales to give him an MRI. These requests were refused, until Plaintiff was prescribed 800 mg of Ibuprofen for "a while[.]"

(Dkt. No. 1 at p. 2.) In October, 2012, plaintiff was transferred to another prison. An MRI was then taken which disclosed that plaintiff had a serious spinal condition.

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 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. at 678 (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. UPMC 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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