United States District Court, D. New Jersey
Carter, Plaintiff Pro Se
B. SIMANDLE, CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
the Court is Plaintiff Curtis Carter's
(“Plaintiff”) submission of a civil rights
complaint pursuant to Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents
of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971),
Docket Entry 1; motion to quash delay of service, Docket
Entry 8; and motion to appear via telephone conference,
Docket Entry 9. 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 such relief. For
the reasons set forth below, the Court concludes that the
complaint will proceed in part. Plaintiff's motion to
quash delay of service and motion to appear via telephone
conference are dismissed as moot and denied, respectively.
brings this civil rights action against the warden and
medical director of FCI Fort Dix, New Jersey, and the Bureau
of Prisons (“BOP”) Northeast Regional Director.
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 truth of
is a convicted and sentenced federal prisoner previously
confined at Fort Dix. At the time he entered the BOP's
custody, Plaintiff had “a preexisting condition from an
Accident which caused him debilitating pain and suffering
until he received chiropractic care on his own dime from
professionals and his own Physician.” Complaint ¶
2. He requested continuance of his chiropractic care upon his
arrival at Fort Dix. Id. ¶ 3. In an affidavit
attached to the complaint, he states his physician, Dr.
Dunlop, recommended continuous chiropractic therapy due to
degeneration in Plaintiff's spine. Affidavit, Complaint
at 13. His physician “made a professional
recommendation to have [Plaintiff] seen by a contract
chiropractic practitioner based on his training and knowledge
of [Plaintiff's] serious medical needs. . . . For his
recommendation, Dr. Dunlop was vehemently admonished and
reprimanded by a Regional official . . . .”
Id. Plaintiff further alleges the medical staff at
Fort Dix “gave him a lot of run-around but never quite
got around to actually providing him the care and treatment
that he so desperately needed, ” id. ¶ 4,
and that he was “scheduled for procedures which Fort
Dix avoided providing and because of that they relied on the
pretense that those procedures they refused to take care of
had to be done before he could move to the next step in the
evaluation.” Id. ¶ 5. Plaintiff indicates
he submitted grievances to the Northeast Regional Office but
“they simply overlooked it or are and were too
backlogged and bogged down to give the matter the attention
deserved and he went without such aid to date
suffering.” Id. ¶ 6.
began receiving chiropractic treatments after being
transferred to FCI Elkton, Ohio. Id. ¶ 13. He
states that he was informed by a “medical
Staffer” that “basically the regional authorities
strongly discouraged him ever again putting an inmate in for
such therapy with little explanation of what legitimate
penological or medical restriction purpose was related to
their wanting to refuse such therapy to those who might need
it whether they require it or not.” Id. ¶
14. He alleges “[o]n information and belief all along
it has been the unspoken policy of regional administration
under and affiliated with the FBOP NE REGIONAL OFFICE and its
DIRECTOR(s) to refuse proper medical attention even though an
inmate will be left to suffer indefinitely without it.”
Id. ¶ 15.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Standards for a Sua Sponte Dismissal
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, 1915A and 42 U.S.C. § 1997e because
Plaintiff is a prisoner proceeding in forma pauperis
and is seeking redress from government officials about the
conditions of his confinement.
to the Supreme Court's decision in Ashcroft v.
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. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). To survive sua
sponte screening for failure to state a claim,
complaint must allege “sufficient factual matter”
to show that the claim is facially plausible. Fowler v.
UPMS 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.” Fair Wind
Sailing, Inc. v. Dempster, 764 F.3d 303, 308 n.3 (3d
Cir. 2014) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678).
Moreover, while pro se pleadings are liberally
construed, they “still must allege sufficient facts in
their complaints to support a claim.” Mala v. Crown
Bay Marina, Inc., 704 F.3d 239, 245 (3d Cir. 2013)
(citation omitted) (emphasis added).
Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bureau of
Bivens, the Supreme Court created a federal
counterpart to the remedy created in 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
See Egervary v. Young, 366 F.3d 238, 246 (3d Cir.
2004) (“Bivens actions are simply the federal
counterpart to § 1983 claims brought against state
officials”), cert. denied, 543 U.S. 1049
(2005). In order to state a claim under Bivens, a
plaintiff must allege: (1) a deprivation of a right secured
by the Constitution and laws of the United States; and (2)
that the deprivation of the right was caused by a person
acting under color of federal law. See Couden v.
Duffy, 446 F.3d 483, 491 (3d Cir. 2006); see also
Collins v. F.B.I., Civ. No. 10-3470, 2011 WL 1627025, at
*6 (D.N.J. Apr. 28, 2011) (“The Third Circuit has
recognized that Bivens actions are simply the
federal counterpart to § 1983 claims brought against
state officials and thus the analysis established under one
type of claim is applicable under the other.”).
brings his claims against the Fort Dix Warden, Fort Dix
Medical Director, and the BOP NE Regional Director. He
alleges ethics and “corrections professional
laws” violations; unconstitutional conditions of
confinement due to overcrowding; medical malpractice ...