United States District Court, D. New Jersey
B. KUGLER United States District Judge
Anthony Cagnina, is a state prisoner currently incarcerated
at South Woods State Prison (“SWSP”) in
Bridgeton, New Jersey. He is proceeding pro se with
a civil rights complaint filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983. At this time, this Court must screen the complaint
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 following reasons,
the complaint will be permitted to proceed in part.
allegations of the complaint will be construed as true for
purposes of this screening opinion. Mr. Cagnina names the
following as defendants: (1) Gary Lanigani - Commissioner of
the New Jersey Department of Corrections
(“NJDOC”); (2) University Correctional Health
Care Rutgers (“UCHC”); (3) Dr. Ralph Woodward -
Supervisor & Medical Provider to NJDOC and UCHC: (4) Dr.
Arthur Brewer - Supervisor and Medical Provider to NJDOC and
UCHC; (5) Dr. William Briglia - Medical Provider for NJDOC
and UCHC; (6) Dr. Diaz - Medical Provider for NJDOC and UCHC;
(7) Dr. Sherita Latimore-Collier - Medical Provider for UCHC
and NJDOC; (8) Monica Tsakiris - Nurse Practitioner; (9)
Melissa Curtis - Nurse Practitioner; (10) Jen Farestad -
Nurse Practitioner; (11) Angie Luciano - Physical Therapist;
(12) John & Jane Does.
Cagnina's complaint arises from the medical treatment, or
lack thereof, he has received while incarcerated at SWSP
principally for his left shoulder and back pain. Before his
commitment to SWSP on February 25, 2015, Mr. Cagnina had pain
in his left shoulder and back. He had MRIs performed in 2010
and again in 2012. He was prescribed various pain medications
as a result of his pain.
February 27, 2015, Mr. Cagnina met with Tsakiris and advised
her of his MRI findings and pain medications he takes.
However, Tsakiris refused to refer Mr. Cagnina to a physician
or provide him pain medication.
March 1, 2015 until May 1, 2015, Mr. Cagnina went to the
medical department at SWSP several times complaining of pain.
One of these consults was with Tsakiris. His efforts were to
12, 2015, Mr. Cagnina was admitted to St. Francis Medical
Center to have a stent placed in his heart. He was
transferred back to SWSP on May 14, 2015. He remained at
SWSP's extended care unit until December 20, 2015. He
complained every day to medical personnel there about the
pain in his left shoulder and back that made it hard for him
Curtis requested that Mr. Cagnina receive an evaluation from
physical therapist Luciano. Mr. Cagnina consulted with
Luciano in June, 2015. Luciano ordered physical therapy. Mr.
Cagnina performed physical therapy with Luciano for six
weeks. After each session, Mr. Cagnina advised Luciano of the
worsening of his pain caused by the physical therapy
exercises. Nevertheless, Luciano continued Mr. Cagnina's
physical therapy sessions.
December 20, 2015, Mr. Cagnina was cleared to leave the
extended care unit by Dr. Briglia to return to general
population. Mr. Cagnina explained to Curtis that there was a
very long walk back to general population and that there was
no way he could do it without assistance. Nevertheless, Mr.
Cagnina left the extended care unit that day. About halfway
back to general population, Mr. Cagnina collapsed due to the
pain his spine and legs. Mr. Cagnina was then provided a
wheelchair which he has had since December 20, 2015. He is
unable to walk or stand for more than seven minutes.
December 21, 2015, Mr. Cagnina was called to medical and had
a consult with Tsakiris. He explained to her the previous MRI
findings and the pain he was suffering in his left shoulder,
spine, back and legs, along with the problems he was having
standing and walking. Tsakiris requested an X-ray on Mr.
Cagnina's back that was eventually conducted.
February, 2016, Mr. Cagnina had another medical consult with
Tsakiris where he again complained about the pains in his
left shoulder, spine, back and legs as well as his problems
standing and walking. Tsakiris told him that his X-rays came
back normal. Mr. Cagnina requested an MRI, but Tsakiris
prescribed him a muscle relaxer, instead.
March 25, 2016, Mr. Cagnina had another consult with Tsakiris
complaining of his pain in his left shoulder, spine, back and
legs as well as his problems standing and walking. Tsakiris
requested that Mr. Cagnina be given an internal specialty
consult with Luciano.
Cagnina met with Luciano who ordered him to perform six weeks
of physical therapy. After three weeks, Mr. Cagnina told
Luciano that he would have more pain in his spine, back and
legs from the physical therapy than before he had started it.
Eventually, Luciano became frustrated with Mr. Cagnina and
ordered him to do his physical therapy alone in his cell.
4, 2016, Mr. Cagnina wrote a letter to Dr. Woodward that
explained his pains, injuries and occurrences at SWSP. Mr.
Cagnina states that he did not receive a response to his
May, 2016, Mr. Cagnina had another consult with Tsakiris
where he complained about the physical therapy with Luciano
as well as the pain he was suffering to no avail. Four days
later, Tsakiris advised Mr. Cagnina that Luciano stated that
an MRI was not needed for him.
12, 2016, Mr. Cagnina wrote to Dr. Woodward again and sent
him his MRI findings ...