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Ali v. University Correctional Health Care

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

August 28, 2017

AL-WAHID ALI, Plaintiff,
v.
UNIVERSITY CORRECTIONAL HEALTH CARE, RUTGERS, THE STATE UNIVERSITY,, Defendants.

          OPINION

          ROBERT B. KUGLER United States District Judge.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Al-Wahid Ali 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.

         II. BACKGROUND

         The allegations of the complaint will be construed as true for purposes of this screening opinion. Mr. Ali names the following as defendants: (1) University Correctional Health Care Rutgers (“UCHC”); (2) Nurse Monica Tsakiris; (3) SWSP Administrator Willie Bonds; (4) Sergeant Watermasysk; (5) SCO E. Marin; (6) SCO Powers; (7) SCO Flowers; (8) Nurse David, last name unknown; (9) SWSP Social Worker Adams; (10) SCO Cortez; (11) the New Jersey Department of Corrections (“DOC”); (12) Lieutenant Miranda, last name unknown; and (13) John & Jane Does 1-100 (collectively “defendants”).

         Mr. Ali's complaint arises from the medical treatment, or lack thereof, he has received while incarcerated at SWSP for his Hepatitis C and Lichen planus disease. Plaintiff underwent surgery to remove infected skin from his hands and feet during a previous period of incarceration in 2008. He was prescribed steroids after the surgery and was provided a wheelchair due to swelling and pain in his feet. Mr. Ali states he is supposed to have his blood tested every 60 days, but the DOC is not doing the tests. He further states he is supposed to receive Remvella and Benadryl to prevent itching during dialysis but he is not being given those medications.

         On December 7, 2016, Mr. Ali met with Tsakiris because his ear had started bleeding during dialysis. He advised her of his issues with his medications, but Tsakiris refused to refer Mr. Ali to a physician or provide him the prescribed medication. Mr. Ali saw Tsakiris again on December 20, 2016 and requested new medication, Elbasvir, for his hepatitis. Tsakiris became hostile, refused Mr. Ali medical treatment, and summoned corrections officers to escort Mr. Ali out of her office.

         A doctor from St. Francis Medical Center recommended that Mr. Ali have surgery on his left arm to remove lumps caused by dialysis. An unidentified person denied that request. Plaintiff asserts he is supposed to be sent to a dialysis center every four to six months for cleanings that would prevent the lumps, but he has not been getting these treatments. He states his medication is not being administered correctly, causing sores all over his body.

         On January 5, 2017, Mr. Ali wrote a grievance on a kiosk regarding a pair of medical boots. Tsakiris saw him entering the grievance and told Mr. Ali she would not order the boots.

         Mr. Ali states he was moved from a two-man cell to a four-man cell because he was in a wheelchair, but other inmates with wheelchairs were permitted to remain in two-man cells. He states he has pain in his neck and back because the upper bunks are higher in four-man cells than they are in two-man cells, but SCO Cortez refused to permit Mr. Ali to return to a two-man cell.

         Mr. Ali was scheduled to receive a MRI at Saint Francis on August 25, 2016, but the transporting officers were not aware that he would be in a wheelchair. He ended up missing his appointment because the vehicle could not accommodate the wheelchair. Tsakiris did not reschedule the appointment. As she was transporting Mr. Ali back to SWSP, she “flipped” him out of the wheelchair and told him to get his “‘crippled ass off the floor and walk!'” Officer Powers then handcuffed Mr. Ali and threw him against a bale of hay. SCO Flowers hit Mr. Ali in the head with a closed fist at least four times.

         Mr. Ali had dialysis scheduled for the next day and requested his wheelchair. SCO Marin denied the request, and Mr. Ali began crawling to his appointment. Sgt. Watermasysk told Mr. Ali he could not crawl across the compound, but denied Mr. Ali's request for his wheelchair. He then ordered officers to throw Mr. Ali back in his cell; Mr. Ali missed his dialysis appointment. Later that night, Mr. Ali fell from his bunk. A medical emergency code was called, and Mr. Ali was taken to the Extended Care Unit for constant observation.

         On August 31, 2016, Mr. Ali saw Nurse Karen for his swollen feet. Plaintiff was charged $10. He saw Nurse Karen again on September 5, 2016, and was refused treatment. Mr. Ali saw Jennifer Farested for his feet and hemorrhoids. Farested indicated she would order suppositories for Mr. Ali, but no order was ever placed and Mr. Ali never saw a doctor.

         Mr. Ali was denied his blood pressure medication on September 30, 2016. Mr. Ali indicates $5 was taken out of his account on December 26, 2016 and January 9, 2017 for doctor visits that he never had.

         He saw Tsakiris on January 19, 2017 and requested that she refer him for a MRI, provide him medical boots, and give him Elbasvir and Grazoprevir for his hepatitis. She denied all of his requests.

         Mr. Ali also states SWSP social worker Ms. Adams has refused to allow him to call his sons.

         He alleges defendants are discriminating against him due to his race.

         Mr. Ali requests monetary relief and injunctive relief in the form of proper medical treatment. He also requests the reinstatement of his commutation time and correcting of his “max out” date. He also requests the appointment of pro bono counsel.

         III. ...


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