United States District Court, D. New Jersey
JOSE L. QUINONES, Plaintiff,
COUNTY OF CAMDEN, et al., Defendants.
B. KUGLER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Jose Quinones, is currently confined at South Woods State
Prison in Bridgeton, 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 dismissed without
prejudice for failure to state a claim. In addition,
Plaintiff's motion for the appointment of pro bono
counsel is denied without prejudice.
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 Defendants County of Camden, Camden County
Freeholders, Camden County Jail Medical Department, Cooper
Hospital, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, UMDNJ, and various
John Does for failure to provide proper medical care.
(See ECF No. 1 at pp. 5-6).
claims that on May 24, 2013, he was arrested and taken to
Cooper Hospital for a knife wound. (See id. at p.
6). While at the hospital, Plaintiff alleges that medical
staff gave him a blood thinner. (See id.). After
being treated for his wounds, Plaintiff was transported to
Camden County Correctional Facility (“CCCF”),
where medical staff increased his dosage of the medication.
(See id.). Plaintiff alleges that after
approximately two years of taking the blood thinner, he began
to lose his eyesight. (See id.). In April 2017,
Plaintiff was informed that he would never regain his
eyesight. (See id.).
on this factual background, Plaintiff alleges that
Defendants' incompetence violated his rights under the
Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. (See id. at pp.
6-7). Specifically, Plaintiff claims that the medical staff
at Cooper Hospital gave him the wrong blood thinner
medication and that the medical staff at CCCF increased the
dosage without cause and without informing Plaintiff, causing
him to lose his eyesight. (See id. at p. 7).
Plaintiff also alleges a medical malpractice claim under New
Jersey law. (See id.). As relief, Plaintiff seeks
damages in an amount to be determined at a later time.
(See id. at p. 8). Further, Plaintiff has filed a
motion seeking the appointment of pro bono counsel.
(See ECF No. 2).
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 Fed.Appx. 120, 122 (3d Cir. 2012) (citing
Allah v. Seiverling, 229 F.3d 220, 223 (3d Cir.
2000)); Mitchell v. Beard, 492 Fed.Appx. 230, 232
(3d Cir. 2012) (discussing 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c)(1));
Courteau v. United States, 287 Fed.Appx. 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
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 amendment,
a district court may not dismiss the complaint with
prejudice, but must permit the amendment. Grayson v.
Mayview State Hosp., 293 F.3d 103, 108 (3d Cir. 2002).
must liberally construe pleadings that are filed pro
se. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94
(2007) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106
(1976)). Thus, “a pro se complaint, however
inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards
than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.” Id.
(internal quotation marks omitted). “Court personnel
reviewing pro se pleadings are charged with the
responsibility of deciphering why the submission was filed,
what the litigant is seeking, and what claims she may be
making.” See Higgs v. Atty. Gen. of the U.S.,
655 F.3d 333, 339-40 (3d Cir. 2011) (internal citations
brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. To
state a claim for relief under § 1983, a plaintiff must
allege, first, the violation of a right secured by the
Constitution or laws of the United States and, second, that
the alleged deprivation was committed or caused by a person
acting under color of state law. West v. ...