United States District Court, D. New Jersey
B. KUGLER, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Stacy Reaves, is currently confined at the Cape May County
Correctional Center in Cape May, 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. In addition, Plaintiff's motions for the
appointment of pro bono counsel are denied without
allegations of this complaint will be construed as true for
purposes of this screening opinion. Plaintiff seeks to bring
a civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
against Defendant University of Medicine & Dentistry of
New Jersey (“UMDNJ”) for denial of medical
services. (See Dkt. No. 1 at p. 4). Plaintiff also
names the following individuals and entities as defendants in
an exhibit to his complaint: 1) Chris Christie, the Governor
of New Jersey; 2) Gary Lanigan, Commissioner of the New
Jersey Department of Corrections (“NJDOC”); 3)
Robert Buechele, Administrator at South Woods State Prison
(“SWSP”); 4) Rutgers University Behavioral Health
Care (“Rutgers”); 5) Dan DiBenedetti, Corrections
Ombudsman; 6) Connie Karch, Assistant Corrections Ombudsman;
7) Dr. Ralph Woodward; 8) Margret Reed, Acting Statewide
Medical Patient Advocate; 9) Mr. Thomas, a nurse
practitioner; and 10) Ms. “T, ” a nurse
practitioner. (See Dkt. No. 1 at p. 16).
allegations arise from the treatment he received between
August 31, 2014 and November 11, 2014 while he was
incarcerated at South Woods State Prison in Bridgeton, New
Jersey. (See Id. at pp. 13-15). Plaintiff suffers
from spina bifida and requires a urethral catheter to empty
his bladder multiple times throughout the day. (See
Id. at p. 13). Plaintiff also has a medical order
stating that his condition requires that he be placed in a
lower bunkbed. (See id.).
claims that on August 31, 2014, he was placed in detention
for a disciplinary charge. (See id.). Plaintiff
alleges that despite informing numerous officers and the
social worker about his medical condition, he was assigned to
the top bunk in Cell 1042. (See id.). Plaintiff
claims that he was forced to sleep on the floor because he
was unable to climb up to the top bunk. (See id.).
Plaintiff was not moved to a lower bunk until September 11,
2014. (See id.).
also alleges that the medical staff did not provide him with
catheters during his time in detention. (See id.).
Specifically, Plaintiff details numerous occasions from
September 1 to September 18, 2014 where he went approximately
8-12 hours without receiving catheters from the medical
staff, forcing Plaintiff's bladder to be at maximum
capacity for an extended amount of time and causing Plaintiff
severe pain. (See Id. at pp. 13-15). Plaintiff filed
several grievances and requests for catheters. (See
Id. at pp. 14, 32-33).
further alleges that on or about October 24, 2014, his
genitals severely swelled and a nurse entered his cell to
obtain a urine sample. (See Id. at p. 15).
Thereafter, on October 27th and 29th, medical staff informed
Plaintiff that they would refer him to the medical unit for
treatment of his swollen genitalia. (See id.).
Plaintiff was not transferred to the medical unit until
November 3, 2014. (See id.). Plaintiff was
ultimately diagnosed with a urinary tract infection
(“UTI”). (See id.).
on November 11, 2014, Plaintiff claims that he asked a nurse
practitioner known as Ms. “T” for catheters so
that he could use the bathroom. (See Id. at pp.
15-16). Plaintiff alleges that Ms. “T” explicitly
informed Plaintiff that she would not provide him with
catheters and that she never returned to his cell with any
catheters later that day. (See Id. at p. 16).
seeks damages for pain and suffering in an amount to be
determined by the Court. (See Id. at p. 6).
Plaintiff also seeks punitive and exemplary damages against
the Defendants. (See id.). Additionally, Plaintiff
filed has filed two motions seeking the appointment of
pro bono counsel. (See Dkt. Nos. 5 and 9).
STANDARD FOR SUA SPONTE DISMISSAL
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 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. See 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B).
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)
(citing Allah v. Seiverling, 229 F.3d 220, 223 (3d
Cir. 2000)); Mitchell v. Beard, 492 F. App'x
230, 232 (3d Cir. 2012) (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)). 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. See Fowler v. UPMC
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 Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678
(2009)). “[A] pleading that offers ‘labels or
conclusions' or ‘a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action will not do.'”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Bell Atlantic
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)).
court must accept as true all of the allegations contained in
a complaint.” Id. Legal conclusions, together
with threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of
action, do not suffice to state a claim. See Id.
Thus, “a court considering a motion to dismiss can
choose to begin by identifying pleadings that, because they
are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the
assumption of truth.” Id. at 679. “While
legal conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint,
they must be supported by factual allegations.”
Id. If a complaint can be remedied by an ...