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Ortiz v. State

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

June 16, 2015

CARLOS ORTIZ, Plaintiff,
v.
STATE OF NEW JERSEY, et al., Defendants.

OPINION

ROBERT B. KUGLER, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff, Carlos Ortiz, is a former state prisoner who was previously incarcerated at the South Woods State Prison.[1] In September, 2013, he filed a counseled civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983 as well as under state law. Presently pending before the Court is a motion to dismiss from one defendant and a motion for judgment on the pleadings from three defendants. For the following reasons, the motions will be granted.

II. BACKGROUND

Mr. Ortiz's complaint was initially filed by his counsel of record, Vikrant Pawar, Esq. He names several defendants in his complaint; specifically: (1) the State of New Jersey; (2) the New Jersey Department of Corrections ("DOC"); (3) South Woods State Prison ("SWSP"); (4) the University of Medicine and Dentistry ("UMDNJ"); (5) Judith Bender; (6) St. Francis Hospital; (7) Lisa Renee Mills; and (8) John and Jane Does.

The complaint states that Mr. Ortiz is a prisoner held at the SWSP, which is part of the DOC. He states that he has a pre-existing condition that was documented and recorded by defendants that required him to not be placed on a top bunk inside his jail cell. Mr. Ortiz states that the defendants violated this rule and, as a result, he fell and suffered injuries on September 19, 2011. Mr. Ortiz also claims that the defendants failed to adequately treat him after his injury.

In an apparent separate incident, Mr. Ortiz states that he was given an insulin shot in July, 2012. However, Mr. Ortiz explains that he does not require an insulin shot. He states that defendants admitted to this mistake and told him that he would likely be in a vegetative state for the rest of his life.

Mr. Ortiz raises six causes of action. First, he states that defendants failed to provide him with an adequate accommodation for his pre-existing condition and were deliberately indifferent to his medical condition. Accordingly, he claims that the defendants subjected him to cruel and unusual punishment. Second, Mr. Ortiz claims that the defendants violated his procedural and substantive due process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment by subjecting him to injuries. Third, Mr. Ortiz argues that the defendants failed to adequately train and discipline their employees such that it fostered an environment that was deliberately indifferent to his rights under the Constitution. Fourth, Mr. Ortiz asserts that defendants have a pattern, practice and custom by disregarding pervasive discrimination in the workplace, ignoring rampant occurrences, failing to take corrective action and tolerating the actions alleged in the complaint. Fifth, Mr. Ortiz claims that the defendants were deliberately indifferent to the rights owed to him under the New Jersey Constitution. Finally, sixth, Mr. Ortiz alleges that the defendants failed to adequately supervise their employees, and, as a result, he suffered injuries.

Mr. Ortiz seeks monetary damages as well as prospective and injunctive relief on his claims.

On June 20, 2014, B. Michael Rubenstein, Esq. entered a notice of appearance as cocounsel for Mr. Ortiz. However, on October 28, 2014, this Court granted plaintiff counsels' motion to withdraw as counsel. Accordingly, Mr. Ortiz is now proceeding in this action pro se. [2]

As Mr. Ortiz's representation issues were ongoing, his case continued to progress. Indeed, in February, 2014, the State of New Jersey, the DOC and the SWSP (hereinafter the "State Defendants") answered the complaint. ( See Dkt. No. 9.) On October 9, 2014, St. Francis Hospital filed a motion to dismiss the complaint. ( See Dkt. No. 32.) The UMDNJ answered the complaint on October 5, 2014. ( See Dkt. No. 33.) The State Defendants filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings and/or summary judgment on November 21, 2014. ( See Dkt. No. 38.)

Mr. Ortiz did not file a response to the outstanding motions from the defendants. Nevertheless, on May 20, 2015, this Court held a status conference where counsel for the defendants as well as Mr. Ortiz appeared. Subsequently, the Court issued an order that gave Mr. Ortiz until June 2, 2015 to file a response to the defendants' outstanding motions. Additionally, Mr. Ortiz was given until June 2, 2015 to demonstrate that he made service of process on Judith Bender and Lisa Renee Mills. To date, Mr. Ortiz has not filed a response to the defendants' outstanding motions, nor has he made any demonstration whatsoever that he has made service of process on Bender or Mills.

III. DISCUSSION

A. St. Francis Hospital's Motion ...


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