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Bullock v. Cohen

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

January 8, 2018

WARDEN GERALDINE COHEN, et al., Defendants.

          Thomas L. Bullock 524 E. Pine Street Millville, N.J. 08330 Plaintiff Pro se


          NOEL L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.

         Plaintiff Thomas L. Bullock (“Plaintiff”) seeks to bring a civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (ECF No. 1.) Based on his affidavit of indigence (ECF No. 1-2), the Court previously granted Plaintiff leave to proceed in forma pauperis and ordered the Clerk of the Court to file the Complaint. (ECF No. 2.)

         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 that the Complaint should be dismissed without prejudice.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff brings this civil rights action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, against the following Defendants: (1) Geraldine Cohen, Warden of Atlantic County Justice Facility (“ACJF”); (2) CFG, which this Court understands to be CFG Health Systems LLC, a for-profit limited liability company which has contracted with ACJF to provide medical services to ACJF inmates; (3) Cheryl DeBoise, a CFG supervisor working on-site at ACJF; (4) off-site physician Dr. Lawre Ognibene; (5) Atlantic County Freeholders of the State of New Jersey; (6) Atlantic County Freeholder Frank Formica; and (7) Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson.

         The following factual allegations are taken from the Complaint, and are accepted for purposes of this screening only. The Court makes no findings as to the veracity of Plaintiff's allegations.

         In the Complaint, Plaintiff alleges that he has been detained at ACJF for over 17 months.[1] (Compl. ¶ 4, ECF No. 1.) Plaintiff complained about stomach issues for approximately 9 to 10 months. (Id.) Plaintiff's pleading does not provide any additional details about when, how, and to whom he made these complaints.[2] (See, generally, Compl.) Plaintiff was informed that he was scheduled to receive a colonoscopy in April 2016. (Id. at ¶ 4.) Plaintiff does not provide any specific details about when, how, and from whom he learned that he was scheduled for this procedure, nor does he set forth any specific medical diagnosis which warranted the scheduling of this procedure. (See, generally, id.) It is also unclear why the procedure did not go forward as scheduled. (Id.)

         On September 6, 2016, Plaintiff made an emergency medical request to Warden Cohen and Cheryl DeBoise. (Compl. at ¶ 4.) On September 9, 2016, Plaintiff was transferred from ACJF to an off-site medical center where Dr. Lawre Ognibene performed a colonoscopy on Plaintiff. (Id.) During that procedure, Dr. Ognibene also removed a newly-discovered growth from Plaintiff. (Id.) Dr. Ognibene removed this growth while Plaintiff was anesthetized and did so without first discussing the same with Plaintiff. (Id.)

         On September 15, 2016, an unnamed ACJF facility doctor advised Plaintiff of the events which transpired while Plaintiff was anesthetized. (Id.) Plaintiff continues to “experience difficulties and pain” as a result of the foregoing.[3] (Id.)

         Other than specifically alleging that Plaintiff directed his September 6, 2016 emergency medical request to, inter alia, Warden Cohen, Plaintiff's claims against Warden Cohen are not based on any direct interactions Plaintiff had with that defendant; they instead arise from Warden Cohen's supervisory responsibilities at ACJF to “make sure all inmates get proper [medical] care.” (See Compl. ¶ 3; accord id. (“[Warden Cohen] allows POD officers to determine inmate's medical issues”).)

         Plaintiff's claims against Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson similarly arise out of his supervisory responsibilities as the executive of Atlantic County; Plaintiff does not make any specific factual allegations against Defendant Levinson. (See Compl. at Attached Sheet.)

         Likewise, Plaintiff's claims against the Atlantic County Freeholders and its chairman, Frank Formica (collectively, the “Freeholder Defendants”), appear to stem from the Freeholders Defendants' role as the governing body of Atlantic County; again, Plaintiff fails to allege any specific actions undertaken by the Freeholder Defendants which have caused him harm. (Id.)

         Finally, while Plaintiff lists ACJF's third-party medical provider, CFG, as a defendant in the caption of his pleading, he fails to make any specific factual allegations against that entity. (See, generally, Compl.)

         Plaintiff requests an award of $5, 000, 000.00 in monetary damages based on defendants' “failure to diagnose, misdiagnose, pain, suffering, anxiety, stress, and un-reasonable delay in getting medical attention.”[4] (Id. at ¶ 5.)


         A. ...

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