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Scott v. McGann

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

January 8, 2018

JOSEPH SCOTT, Plaintiff,
v.
DR. MCGANN, et al., Defendants.

          Joseph Scott, Plaintiff Pro Se.

          OPINION

          JEROME B. SIMANDLE U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Before the Court is Plaintiff Joseph Scott's (“Plaintiff”), submission of a civil rights complaint, Docket Entry 1, and motion for injunctive relief, Docket Entry 4.[1] At this time, the Court must review the complaint, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915 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 will proceed in part. Defendants shall respond to the motion for injunctive relief with their answer.

         II. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff brings this civil rights action against Dr. Stephany McGann, Nurse Denise Rodriguez, Candice Johnson, and the Utilization Review Committee of FCI Fairton. He also seeks to bring a Federal Tort Claims Act (“FTCA”) claim against the United States. 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 is a convicted and sentenced federal prisoner currently confined at FCI Fairton, New Jersey. Plaintiff states that he complained of pain in his left shoulder on August 12, 2016. Complaint ¶ 10. He received an x-ray on August 23, 2016. Id. ¶ 11. In March 2017, he complained to Dr. McGann that he was still suffering from “excruciating” pain. She told him to get over-the-counter pain medication from the prison store. Id. ¶ 12. Dr. McGann and Nurse Rodriguez did not examine Plaintiff or refer him to a specialist before “informing him that he would not see a[n] outside doctor or receive a MRI.” Id. ¶ 13. Ms. Johnson denied Plaintiff's request for relief from Nurse Rodriguez's decisions. Id. ¶ 15.

         Plaintiff made multiple requests for MRI scans of his left shoulder and for a visit to an orthopedist, but the Utilization Review Committee denied all of them. Id. ¶¶ 16-17. Plaintiff alleges Dr. McGann denied the orthopedic consultation due to cost. Id. ¶ 18. Plaintiff alleges defendants were deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs.

         Plaintiff further asks the Court to order defendants to arrange for “Plaintiff to be examined by a qualified orthopedic specialist and to obtain from that specialist an evaluation of the condition of Plaintiff's right shoulder, and right bicep and a prescription for a course of physical therapy that will restore and maintain the full function of his right shoulder.”[2]Motion for Injunctive Relief at 2.

         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 because Plaintiff is a prisoner proceeding in forma pauperis.

         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). 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, [3] 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). Moreover, while pro se pleadings are liberally construed, “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) (citation omitted) (emphasis added).

         B. Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal ...


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