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Clark v. Shartle

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

November 13, 2014

RALPH CLARK, Plaintiff,
v.
J.T. SHARTLE, et al. Defendants.

OPINION

ROBERT B. KUGLER, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff is a federal prisoner who was previously incarcerated at F.C.I. Fairton in Fairton, New Jersey at the time he brought this action. Plaintiff is now incarcerated at USP Hazelton in Bruceton Mills, West Virginia. He brings this civil rights action pro se pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Agents of Fed. Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971).[1] Plaintiff's application to proceed in forma pauperis will be granted based on the information provided therein.

At this time, the complaint will be screened 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 complaint will be dismissed without prejudice for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.

II. BACKGROUND

The allegations of the complaint will be construed as true for purposes of this screening. Plaintiff names three defendants in this case: (1) J.T. Shartle; (2) M. Angud, MLP; and (3) R. Morales, MD. Plaintiff states that doctors at the Howard University Hospital diagnosed him with torn meniscus in his left knee in 2009. He claims that surgery was scheduled. Plaintiff was transferred to F.C.I. Fairton before surgery was performed.

Plaintiff reported his torn meniscus to the medical staff at Fairton upon his arrival. However, plaintiff was told all he needed to do was exercise. Plaintiff continued to complain about the pain and was seen by medical staff on March 15, 2012. At that time, the medical staff gave plaintiff an X-Ray, pain medication and a knee sleeve. Plaintiff asserts that the medical staff at F.C.I. Fairton have downplayed the extent of his injuries and acted with deliberate indifference.

Plaintiff attaches several of his medical records and reports to his complaint. Many of these records appear to be created/signed by defendant Angud, Morales or both. The records indicate that plaintiff was prescribed medication for his knee, and also underwent a cortisone shot for the pain he was having with his knee.

Plaintiff is seeking monetary damages against the defendants for the purported violation of his constitutional rights.

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 42 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[2], 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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