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Spositi v. Reycheck

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

December 18, 2017

DANIEL M. SPOSITI, Plaintiff,
v.
DR. HELEN REYCHECK et al., Defendants.

          OPINION

          ROBERT B. KUGLER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         The plaintiff, Daniel M. Spositi, was detained at the Atlantic County Jail, in Mays Landing, New Jersey, when he commenced this action. He is proceeding pro se with a civil rights complaint filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. This Court previously granted Mr. Spositi leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (ECF No. 7.)

         The Court must now review the complaint under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e) 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 § 1983 claim will be dismissed as against defendant CFG Health Systems LLC, but the remainder of the complaint will be permitted to proceed.

         II. BACKGROUND

         The allegations of the complaint will be construed as true for the purposes of this opinion. The complaint names as defendants CFG Health Systems LLC (“CFG”), the healthcare services provider for the Atlantic County Jail, as well as two doctors allegedly employed by CFG, Dr. Helen Reycheck and Dr. Bagchai. (Compl., ECF No. 1.)

         Mr. Spositi explains that he is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, and Operation New Dawn and, consequently, that he suffers from post-traumatic stress dis (“PTSD”), major depressive disorder, and survivor guilt. (Id. at 6.) To treat these conditions, Mr. Spositi had been prescribed Zoloft and, to aid in sleeping, trazodone. (Id.) Mr. Spositi alleges that he explained these circumstances to Dr. Reycheck on February 29, 2016, but that she told him he would “have to see her boss” sometime after March 4, 2016 (apparently for approval of his prescriptions). (Id.) Mr. Spositi asserts that Dr. Reycheck told him that if he wanted better treatment he should stay out of jail. (Id.)

         Mr. Spositi further alleges that he explained the same circumstances to Dr. Bagchai on approximately March 12, 2016. (Id.) He contends that Dr. Bagchai prescribed Mirtazapine in place of both the Zoloft and the trazodone, despite Mr. Spositi informing him that a prior prescription of Mirtazapine had been discontinued as ineffective and negatively impacting Mr. Spositi's blood pressure.[1] (Id. at 6-7.) Although Dr. Bagchai allegedly told Mr. Spositi that they would follow up in a month, Mr. Spositi alleges that, at the time he prepared the complaint, six weeks had passed without another meeting. (Id.)

         Mr. Spositi alleges that he thus lacked any treatment for his condition for thirty days, and that the change in prescriptions left him “to suffer flashbacks and face severe survival guilt, depression and extreme anxiety.” (Id. at 4.) He seeks compensatory damages for these injuries. (Id. at 5.)

         III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Under the Prison Litigation Reform Act, Pub. L. 104-134, §§ 801-810, 110 Stat. 1321-66 to 1321-77 (Apr. 26, 1996) (“PLRA”), district courts must review complaints when the plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). The PLRA directs district courts to sua sponte dismiss claims that are frivolous or malicious, that fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or that seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).

         “The legal standard for dismissing a complaint for failure to state a claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is the same as that for dismissing a complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).” Schreane v. Seana, 506 F. App'x 120, 122 (3d Cir. 2012) (per curiam). That standard is set forth in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), and Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007). To survive the Court's screening for failure to state a claim, the complaint must allege “sufficient factual matter to show that the claim is facially plausible.” Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks 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.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; see also Fair Wind Sailing, Inc. v. Dempster, 764 F.3d 303, 308 n.3 (3d Cir. 2014). “A pleading that offers ‘labels and conclusions' or ‘a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).

         Pro se pleadings, as always, will be liberally construed. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972) (per curiam); Glunk v. Noone, 689 F. App'x 137, 139 (3d Cir. 2017) (per curiam). Nevertheless, “pro se litigants 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).

         IV. ...


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