United States District Court, D. New Jersey
J.P. BATTLE, Plaintiff,
DR. MCGANN, et al., Defendants.
B. KUGLER UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
J.P. Battle, is a federal prisoner currently incarcerated at
FCI Fairton, in Fairton, New Jersey. He is proceeding pro
se with a civil complaint pursuant to Bivens v. Six
Unknown Named Agents of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics,
403 U.S. 388 (1971). (See ECF No. 1-3). For the
purposes of this opinion, the Court will also consider
Plaintiff's “supplemental complaint” (ECF No.
9), along with his initial complaint, as one pleading. For
the reasons stated in this Opinion, the Court will dismiss
Plaintiff's complaint, declines to exercise supplemental
jurisdiction over his claims arising under state law, and
denies his motions for a temporary restraining order and
preliminary injunction and for appointment of counsel.
Additionally, the Court denies Plaintiff's motions for a
writ of mandamus as moot.
Court will construe the allegations of the complaint as true
for the purpose of this Opinion. Plaintiff names the
following individuals and entities as Defendants: (1) Dr.
McGann, Clinical Medical Director at FCI Fairton; (2) Dr.
Peter A. Sarkos, Orthopedic Specialist Contractor for FCI
Fairton; and (3) the United States of America. Although
vague, the Court will interpret the complaint as asserting
claims against the individual Defendants in both their
individual and official capacities.
case arises from Plaintiff's medical treatment while
incarcerated at FCI Fairton, for his shoulder injuries. (ECF
No. 1-3). According to the complaint, Plaintiff reported
experiencing shoulder pain on June 10, 2016. (Id. at
2). Plaintiff received a cortisone injection on June 22,
2016, an x-ray of his right shoulder on June 26, 2016, and a
second steroid injection on July 22, 2016. (Id.).
Nearly eight months later, on June 5, 2017, Dr. Sarkos
performed another evaluation, diagnosed Plaintiff with a
bilateral partial acute rotator cuff tear, and provided
Plaintiff with another cortisone injection. (Id.).
On July 5, 2017, Plaintiff received another evaluation and
complained that the injections did not relieve his pain.
(Id.). Finally, on August 15, 2017, Dr. McGann
provided Plaintiff with another cortisone injection.
unspecified times thereafter, Plaintiff “submitted
repeated sick-call slip request[s]” and grievances
requesting a magnetic resonance imaging scan
(“MRI”). (Id. at 3). Plaintiff
“exhausted all [of] his administrative remedies”
(ECF No. 1-3, at 3; ECF No. 9, at 3) and alleges that Dr.
Sarkos, his orthopedist, and Dr. McGann, as the final medical
decision maker at the prison, denied his requests for an MRI
“due to cost.” (ECF No. 1-3, at 3). Plaintiff
also implies that the refusal to provide him with an MRI is
due to “racial discrimination and prejudice, ”
alleging that white inmates at FCI Fairton, with similar
injuries, “were taken to area hospitals.” (ECF
No. 9, at 3).
contends that Drs. Sarkos and McGann have misdiagnosed him
and that his shoulder injury is getting worse and risks
permanent disability. (Id.). Plaintiff now raises
Eighth Amendment deliberate indifference claims against the
Defendants, alleging that the Defendants refused to perform
an MRI, and as a result, have not properly treated his
rotator cuff injury. Additionally, Plaintiff raises state law
claims for ordinary negligence and medical malpractice.
Plaintiff also seeks a temporary restraining order and
preliminary injunction to order Defendants to provide him
with an MRI and proper treatment.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Standard for Sua Sponte Dismissal
courts must review complaints in civil actions in which a
plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis. See 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B). District courts may 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 Id. 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)).
survive sua sponte 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). “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 [alleged]
misconduct.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. Moreover,
while courts liberally construe pro se pleadings,
“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).
1983 of Title 42 created a remedy for monetary damages when a
person acting under color of state law injures another, but
“Congress did not create an analogous statute for
federal officials. Indeed, in the 100 years leading up to
Bivens, Congress did not provide a specific damages
remedy for plaintiffs whose constitutional rights were
violated by agents of the Federal Government.”
Ziglar v. Abbasi, 137 S.Ct. 1843, 1854 (2017). The
Supreme Court created an implied cause of action in
Bivens when federal officers violated a person's
Fourth Amendment rights. Bivens, 403 U.S. at 397.
The Court extended the Bivens remedy twice more in:
Davis v. Passman, 442 U.S. 228 (1979) (holding
administrative assistant fired by Congressman had a
Bivens remedy for her Fifth Amendment gender
discrimination claim), and Carlson v. Green, 446
U.S. 14 (1980) (holding that prisoner's estate had a
Bivens remedy against federal jailers for failure to
treat his asthma under the Eighth Amendment). “These
three cases-Bivens, Davis, and
Carlson-represent the only instances in which the
Court has approved of an implied damages remedy under ...