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Simmons v. State of New Jersey Department of Corrections

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

June 2, 2015

ANDRE SIMMONS, Plaintiff,
v.
STATE OF NEW JERSEY DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, et al., Defendants.

OPINION

FREDA L. WOLFSON, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

At the time he filed his complaint, Plaintiff was incarcerated at South Woods State Prison. He is proceeding through counsel in this civil rights action. Plaintiff initially filed his Complaint in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Mercer County on September 24, 2014 and it was docketed on September 25, 2014. ( See No. 1.) The State, on behalf of Defendant New Jersey Department of Corrections ("NJDOC"), subsequently removed this action from the Superior Court to this Court on November 18, 2014.[1] ( Id. ) The following day, on November 19, 2014, the State filed a motion to dismiss on behalf of NJDOC.[2] (No. 3.) Thereafter, Plaintiff filed a response in opposition to the motion to dismiss and the State filed a reply brief.

Before analyzing the motion to dismiss, the Court will screen the Complaint pursuant to the Prison Litigation Reform Act, Pub. L. No. 104-134, §§ 801-810, 110 Stat. 1321-66 to 1321-77 (April 26, 1996) ("PLRA") 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 fails to state a federal claim for relief and will be remanded back to state court. Accordingly, the Court will deny the State's motion to dismiss without prejudice, and Defendants may raise any remaining issues before the state court.

II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff filed a two count Complaint against NJDOC, South Woods State Prison ("SWSP"), and Central Reception and Assignment Facility ("CRAF"). (No. 1-1.) He additionally names fictitious parties identified as "John Doe Facility #1-20" and "John Doe Physicians #1-20." ( Id. )

Plaintiff alleges that following facts common to both causes of action:

8. On September 24, 2012, plaintiff, Andre Simmons, was an inmate at either CRAF or SWSP.
9. At or about the time and place, the facility through its personnel and or the John Doe defendants knew or should have known of a serious medical needs and conditions [sic] of the plaintiff.
10. At or about the time the place [sic] aforesaid, the plaintiff was either going to, returning from, or waiting for medical treatment.
11. At that time and place, plaintiff became dizzy and fell to the ground, causing him to sustain serious personal injury.

( Id. at ¶¶ 8-11.) In the first count of the Complaint, captioned "Medical Negligence vs. John Doe, Defendants, " Plaintiff incorporates the prior allegations in the Complaint and alleges the following about the role of the John Doe defendant Physicians in causing or exacerbating his injuries:

13. The John Doe defendants, who provided medical services to inmates through their agent service or employees or representatives, failed to render services in accordance with contemporary medical standards; failed to initiate appropriate medical care; failed to adequately diagnose plaintiff's medical condition and were otherwise negligent.

( Id. at ¶ 13.) Plaintiff further alleges that as a result of the "negligence and carelessness of the John Doe defendants, " Plaintiff had incurred and will continue to incur medical ...


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