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Treakle v. Clemmons

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

October 12, 2018

DR. CLEMMONS, et al., Defendants.


          ROBERT B. KUGLER, U.S.D.J.


         The plaintiff, Maurice Treakle, is detained at Atlantic County Justice Facility in Mays Landing, New Jersey. The plaintiff is proceeding pro se with a civil rights complaint filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff submitted for filing his original complaint, a first amended complaint, and a motion for the appointment of pro bono counsel.

         At this time, this Court must screen the amended 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 can be granted, or because it seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from suit. For the following reasons, the amended complaint will be permitted to proceed in part. In addition, this Court will direct the Clerk to appoint pro bono counsel to represent Plaintiff in the instant matter.


         The allegations of the 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 the following defendants: (1) Dr. Clemmons, a doctor at the Atlantic County Justice Facility; (2) Sheryl Dubose, Regional Director of CFG Health Systems; (3) CFG Health Systems; and (4) Geraldine Cohen, warden at the Atlantic County Justice Facility.

         Plaintiff filed his original Complaint in October 2017. In that Complaint, Plaintiff stated that on September 27, 2017, he was “called down to medical” to receive follow up treatment on his “condition.” (Dkt. No. 1, pg. 4). Plaintiff alleges that when he walked in to see the prison doctor, Dr. Clemmons, that she asked if Plaintiff was, “the one who has the blood disease?” (Dkt. No. 1, pg. 4). When Plaintiff indicated that yes, he was the individual with the blood disease and that he had a lump growing under his arm, Dr. Clemmons denied Plaintiff medical care and told him to leave her office. Plaintiff complained to the officer that was in the medical unit, and then to the prison's internal affairs, but no action was taken. In his original Complaint, Plaintiff requested that Dr. Clemmons be found liable for denying him medical attention and requested monetary compensation in the amount of 2.5 million dollars for pain and suffering.

         In the spring of 2018, Plaintiff filed an amended Complaint. Plaintiff's amended Complaint stated the following;

Defendant Dr. Clemmons was deliberately indifferent to plaintiff's serious medical needs (lymphomic cancer) when she denied plaintiff Treakle any treatment at all for his medical condition on September 27th, 2017. Dr. Clemmons was aware of the fact that plaintiff Treakle suffered from cancer as a result of the blood tests performed by defendant CFG Health Systems. As a result of Dr. Clemmons indifference to plaintiff's serious medical needs the cancer was allowed to spread further in his body, thus making treatment more dangerous to his life and reducing the chance of success for radiation and chemo-therapy.
After plaintiff Treakle was denied treatment by Dr. Clemmons he filed a medical complaint with CFG Health Systems Regional Director Sheryl Dubose (defendant #2). Defendant Dubose refused to intervene and render treatment for plaintiff, instead deferring to the wrongful actions of Dr. Clemmons.
In an attempt to exhaust all administrative remedies plaintiff appealed directly to defendant CFG Health Systems. This defendant refused to provide treatment to plaintiff on the ground that cancer treatment cost was prohibitive and the fact that plaintiff could still possibly succumb to the disease even after treatment.
Plaintiff then contacted Atlantic County Justice Facility Warden Geraldine Cohen and requested that she order medical treatment. Defendant Cohen advised plaintiff that the “matter was out of her hands”, and that she was standing by defendant CFG Health Systems' decision to deny medical treatment for plaintiff's cancer.

(Dkt. No. 4, pgs. 3-4).

         In his amended complaint, Plaintiff states that he is suing each defendant in their official and individual capacities. Plaintiff also states that he is seeking the following amounts in damages: $100, 000 against defendant Dr. Clemmons; $100, 000 against defendant Sheryl Dubose; $600, 000 ...

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