United States District Court, D. New Jersey
G. SHERIDAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on Dr. Vladislav Bargman
(improperly pled as Barman Vladislav) motion to dismiss
Plaintiff Ralph Baker's claims against him. (ECF No. 66).
For the following reasons, the motion is granted. The claims
against Dr. Bargman are dismissed without prejudice, and
Plaintiff may amend his complaint.
is currently incarcerated in New Jersey State Prison
("NJSP"), Trenton, New Jersey. He filed a complaint
claiming his constitutional rights were violated by
Defendants (1) Steven Johnson, Administrator of the New
Jersey State Prison ("NJSP"); (2) Doctor Ihumma
Naachuku, M.D., head of the Medical Clinic at NJSP; (3)
Doctor Russell Freid, M.D., a physician at the St. Francis
Medical Center; (4) Michael Piecuch and (5) Dr. Bargman,
medical residents at the University Hospital in Newark, New
Jersey; (6) Marci L. Marsker, Clinician Administrator at the
University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey
("UMDNJ"); (7) Kathy Trillo, employee of UMDNJ; (8)
Doctor Abu Ahsan, M.D., employee of UMDNJ; (9) UMDNJ; (10)
Rutgers University; (11) New Jersey Department of Corrections
("NJDOC"); (12) Gary Lanigan, Commissioner of
NJDOC; (13) Jeremy Burg, a nurse employed by Rutgers; (14)
Lace Carter, a nurse employed by Rutgers; (15) Correctional
Medical Services ("CMS"), a provider of inmate
healthcare for the NJSP; (16) Alejandrina Sumicad, employee
of UMDNJ; (17) Susan Spangler, employee of UMDNJ; and (18)
St. Francis Medical Center ("St. Francis"). (ECF
No. 1). The Court had rejected two previous pleadings by
Plaintiff for failure to state a claim and improper joinder,
but afforded him opportunities to amend. Presently before the
Court is Plaintiffs Third Amended Complaint
("TAC"). (ECF No. 44).
to the TAC, Plaintiff has been in and out of the New Jersey
prison system since at least 1990, with his latest stint in
the NJSP since 2009. TAC at 3. Plaintiff has been diagnosed
with prostate cancer, Hepatitis C, and kidney damage.
Id. The TAC alleges that not only has Plaintiff
received inadequate medical care during his current stint of
incarceration for a variety of ailments including his cancer,
he also received inadequate medical care during his previous
incarcerations because his cancer should have been detected
earlier. Plaintiff also alleged that he was seeking medical
clemency from former New Jersey Governor Christie, but
defendants were impeding his efforts by refusing to provide
medical reports and letters.
Court dismissed without prejudice Plaintiffs claims based on
failure to detect his cancer earlier because "[t]here
[was] no allegation that any defendant deliberately ignored
clear warning signs of cancer before 2009, or that they had
actual knowledge of the cancer and simply hid that fact from
Plaintiff." June 30, 2017 Opinion ¶ 4 (ECF No. 49).
It also dismissed Plaintiffs allegations that defendants were
interfering with his efforts to obtain clemency from the
governor. Id. ¶ 5. It further dismissed any
claims regarding incidents of inadequate medical care that
accrued before December 5, 2012; state-law tort claims
against all defendants except CMS, St. Francis, and Freid;
and all § 1983 claims against NJDOC, UMDNJ, Rutgers,
CMS, St. Francis, Lanigan, and Johnson. Id.
¶¶ 6-9. It permitted denial of medical services
claims against the individual medical defendants with regard
to Plaintiffs current incarceration and state law tort claims
against non-public defendants that accrued within the two
years prior to the filing of the original Complaint to
proceed. Id. ¶ 10.
Bargman filed a motion to dismiss the only remaining count
against him, denial of medical care. The Court conducted oral
argument on May 1, 2018, at which time Plaintiff appeared by
telephone. Plaintiff informed the Court he had mailed an
amended complaint to within the past few weeks, which had not
been received by the Court, and indicated he wanted to amend
his claims against Dr. Bargman.
considering a motion to dismiss a complaint for failure to
state a claim, Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), the Court must accept
all well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true and
view them in the light most favorable to the non-moving
party. A motion to dismiss may be granted only if the
plaintiff has failed to set forth fair notice of what the
claim is and the grounds upon which it rests that make such a
claim plausible on its face. Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007). Although Rule 8 does not
require "detailed factual allegations, " it
requires "more than an unadorned,
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).
reviewing the sufficiency of a complaint, the Court must
"tak[e] note of the elements [the] plaintiff must plead
to state a claim. Second, it should identify allegations
that, because they are no more than conclusions, are not
entitled to the assumption of truth. Finally, [w]hen there
are well-pleaded factual allegations, [the] court should
assume their veracity and then determine whether they
plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief."
Connelly v. Lane Const. Corp., 809 F.3d 780, 787 (3d
Cir. 2016) (alterations in original) (internal citations and
quotation marks omitted). "[A] complaint's
allegations of historical fact continue to enjoy a highly
favorable standard of review at the motion-to-dismiss stage
of proceedings." Id. at 790.
this Court's June 30, 2017 opinion and order, the only
claim remaining against Dr. Bargman is an Eighth Amendment
denial of medical care claim. The Eighth Amendment proscription
against cruel and unusual punishment requires that prison
officials provide inmates with adequate medical care. See
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 103-04 (1976);
Afdahl v. Cancellieri, 463 Fed.Appx. 104, 107 (3d
Cir. 2012). "To prove this claim, 'evidence must
show (i) a serious medical need, and (ii) acts or omissions
by prison officials that indicate deliberate indifference to
that need.'" Parkell v. Danberg, 833 F.3d
313, 337 (3d Cir. 2016) (quoting Natale v. Camden Cty.
Corr. Facility, 318 F.3d 575, 582 (3d Cir. 2003)).
serious medical need is one that a doctor says requires
treatment or that is so clear that a layperson would realize
it needs a doctor's attention. Monmouth Cty. Corr.
Institutional Inmates v. Lanzaro,834 F.2d 326, 347 (3d
Cir. 1987). "The seriousness of an inmate's medical
need may also be determined by reference to the effect of
denying the particular treatment [I]f 'unnecessary and
wanton infliction of pain, ' results as a consequence of
denial or delay in the provision of adequate medical care,