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Montalvo v. DeShawn

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

June 21, 2017

RAFAEL MONTALVO, Plaintiff,
v.
DR. DESHAWN; DR. JEFFREY POMERANTZ; S.S.C.F. MEDICAL DEPARTMENT/STAFF; RUTGERS/ D.O.C., Defendants.

          Rafael Montalvo, Plaintiff Pro Se.

          OPINION

          JEROME B. SIMANDLE, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Before the Court is Plaintiff Rafael Montalvo's (“Plaintiff”), submission of a civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Complaint, Docket Entry 1. Plaintiff also requests the appointment of pro bono counsel.

         At this time, the Court must review the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) 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 the complaint will be dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.

         II. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff filed this complaint against various medical personnel at Southern State Correctional Facility (“SSCF”) including Dr. DeShawn, Dr. Jeffrey Pomerantz, as well as Rutgers and the New Jersey Department of Corrections (“DOC”). Complaint ¶ 4. 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 Plaintiff's allegations.

         Plaintiff alleges he received an overdose of estrogen[1] while confined in SSCF. Id. ¶ 6. He states his levels went to 745 when they should have been between 100 and 200. Id. He then refused further treatment due to the resulting mental trauma. Id. He alleges that the high estrogen levels “ate” at his stomach, preventing him from eating solid foods, and weakened his bones. Id. He states he no longer wishes to transition due to the traumatic experience. Id. ¶ 4(b). He seeks relief in the form of $120, 000, 000 for the medical malpractice of the medical staff. Id. ¶ 7. He further requests the appointment of pro bono counsel. Id.

         III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         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) because Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis.

         According 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, [2] the 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).

         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 (1976)); see also United States v. Day, 969 F.2d 39, 42 (3d Cir. 1992). However, pro se litigants ‚Äústill must allege sufficient facts in their complaints to ...


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