United States District Court, D. New Jersey
HONORABLE FREDA L. WOLFSON UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
plaintiff, Ruben Jones, is a state prisoner who is
incarcerated at Northern State Prison, in Newark, New Jersey.
He is proceeding pro se with a civil rights complaint
asserting claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Because
this Court previously granted Mr. Jones leave to proceed
in forma pauperis, the complaint must now be
reviewed under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), 28 U.S.C. §
1915A, and 42 U.S.C. § 1997e 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 is dismissed
factual allegations of the complaint will be taken as true
for the purposes of this opinion. The complaint names as
defendants St. Francis Medical Center (“St.
Francis”), a hospital in Trenton, New Jersey, and three
individual doctors, Steven Paloni, M.D., Helmi Saud Do, M.D.,
and Scott D. Miller, M.D. (Compl., ECF No. 1.)
November 2006, Mr. Jones underwent knee surgery at St.
Francis, with the involvement of Dr. Miller and Dr. Paloni.
(Id. ¶¶ 12-17.) Mr. Jones asserts that Dr.
Paloni, apparently an anesthesiologist, told Mr. Jones
“that he would be injecting a needle into the right
foot between the fourth & fifth metatarsals to numb his
leg before undergoing surgery.” (Id. ¶
16.) Following the surgery, Mr. Jones alleges that he
continued to suffer “excruciating pain and swelling in
his knee and ankle.” (Id. ¶ 20.)
Jones returned to St. Francis in December 2006 due to
continued swelling of his ankle. (Id. ¶ 21.) He
asserts that he “made a vehement effort to explain to
the defendant Helmi Saud Do, that the swelling and
excruciating pain in his right foot was independent of the
surgically repaired knee” and explained “that the
pain he was experiencing was in the exact same location where
the anesthesiologist had injected the plaintiff with a needle
to numb his leg prior to surgery.” (Id. ¶
22.) Mr. Jones alleges that while Dr. Saud Do ordered an
ultrasound scan of Mr. Jones's right leg and foot, the
doctor otherwise disregarded his complaints. (Id.
Jones states that he continued to suffer excruciating pain
for the following eight years. (Id. ¶¶
23-24.) Mr. Jones went to a podiatry clinic in February 2014,
where an x-ray revealed a metallic object between the fourth
and fifth metatarsals of his right foot. (Id. ¶
25.) He was again admitted to St. Francis on June 6, 2014,
and the metallic object was surgically removed. (Id.
¶ 26.) Mr. Jones reports that his “postoperative
course was uneventful.” (Id.)
Jones notes that he filed a late notice of tort claim in
December 2014, “which was granted by the court on/or
about February of 2015.” (Id. ¶ 27.)
complaint alleges that each of the defendant doctors
“was deliberately indifferent to plaintiff's
serious medical condition and deprived plaintiff of life,
liberty or property without due process of law, in violation
of the Eight [sic] and Fourteenth Amendments.”
(Id. ¶¶ 30, 34, 37.)
Jones alleges that Dr. Miller and Dr. Paloni were responsible
for leaving a metallic object in his foot during the November
2006 surgery. (Id. ¶¶ 33-39.) He asserts
that Dr. Saud Do failed to provide proper medical treatment
that would have revealed the metallic object in his foot in
December 2006. (Id. ¶¶ 29-32.) The
complaint seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
(Id. ¶¶ 32, 36, 39.)
STANDARD OF REVIEW
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
prisoner complaints when the prisoner (1) is proceeding
in forma pauperis, see 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B), (2) seeks redress against a governmental
employee or entity, see 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, or
(3) asserts a claim concerning prison conditions,
see 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c). 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), 1915A(b); 42 U.S.C. §
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); see also Mitchell v. Beard, 492 F.
App'x 230, 232 (3d Cir. 2012) (per curiam) (discussing 42
U.S.C. § 1997e(c)(1)); Courteau v. United
States, 287 F. App'x 159, 162 (3d Cir. 2008)
(discussing 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)). 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 ...