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Reddick v. Pomerantz

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

July 10, 2015

CORLIE REDDICK, Plaintiff,
v.
DR. JEFFREY POMERANTZ et al., Defendants.

Corlie Reddick, Plaintiff Pro Se

OPINION

JEROME B. SIMANDLE Chief U.S. District Judge

I. INTRODUCTION

Before the Court is Plaintiff Corlie Reddick’s (“Plaintiff”), submission of a civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff is a convicted and sentenced state prisoner currently confined at Southern State Correctional Facility (“SSCF”), Delmont, New Jersey. By Order dated May 4, 2015, this Court granted Plaintiff's application to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a) and ordered the Clerk to file the Complaint. (Docket Entry 2). At this time, the Court must review the complaint, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) 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 such relief. For the reasons set forth below, the Court concludes that the complaint will be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff brings this civil rights action against Defendants Administrator C. Ray Hughes, Dr. Jeffrey Pomerantz, and SSCF. The following factual allegations are taken from the complaint and are accepted for purposes of this screening only. The Court has made no findings as to the veracity of Plaintiff’s allegations.

Plaintiff states that on September 2, 2013, he fell in the SSCF shower. (Docket Entry 1 at 5). Two days later, he told Dr. Pomerantz that his back and neck hurt and requested a back-brace. (Docket Entry 1 at 5). Dr. Pomerantz replied that he did not “believe in ‘back braces’” and gave Plaintiff Motrin for his pain. (Docket Entry 1 at 5-6). Plaintiff also informed Doctor Pomerantz that his mattress was ripped, and was told to contact housekeeping. (Docket Entry 1 at 6). Instead of contacting housekeeping, however, Plaintiff contacted medical staff and the Department of Corrections’ Ombudsman. Each department indicated that a new mattress was not a medical issue and denied Plaintiff’s request. (Docket Entry 1 at 6).

Plaintiff thereafter wrote to Defendant Hughes regarding his request for a new mattress, who responded that Plaintiff had to go through medical. (Docket Entry 1 at 6). Plaintiff appealed that determination. Defendant Hughes indicated in his response that he had consulted with Dr. Pomerantz, and that Dr. Pomerantz said there was no medical reason for Plaintiff to have a new mattress. (Docket Entry 1 at 6).

Plaintiff saw Dr. Pomerantz again in November 2013. (Docket Entry 1 at 6). Dr. Pomerantz informed Plaintiff that he could not order a new mattress for Plaintiff and that he would stop Plaintiff’s Motrin and give him something else. (Docket Entry 1 at 6). It is unclear whether the Motrin was ultimately stopped, however Plaintiff indicates he did not receive any new medication. (Docket Entry 1 at 6).

Plaintiff asserts SSCF, Dr. Pomerantz, and Defendant Hughes have violated the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment by failing to give him the right treatment, namely an x-ray, MRI, and new mattress for his back and neck pain. (Docket Entry 1 ¶ 7). He asks this Court to order Defendants to take an updated MRI of his back and neck. (Docket Entry 1 ¶ 7).

II. DISCUSSION

A. Standards for a Sua Sponte Dismissal

Per the Prison Litigation Reform Act, Pub. L. No. 104-134, §§ 801-810, 110 Stat. 1321-66 to 1321-77 (April 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. This action is subject to sua sponte screening for dismissal under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(b) and 1915A because Plaintiff is a prisoner proceeding in forma pauperis and is seeking redress from a government offical.

In determining the sufficiency of a pro se complaint, the Court must be mindful to construe it liberally in favor of the plaintiff. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93–94 (2007) (following Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 ...


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