United States District Court, D. New Jersey
B. KUGLER United States District Judge.
Anthony Cagnina, is a state prisoner currently incarcerated
at South Woods State Prison (“SWSP”) in
Bridgeton, New Jersey. He is proceeding with a civil rights
complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Presently before
the Court is Defendant, Dr. William Briglia's motion to
dismiss. (ECF No. 87). For the reasons set forth below, the
Court will GRANT Dr. Briglia's motion, and dismiss
without prejudice, the federal claims against him.
the parties are intimately familiar with the facts of this
case, and because the Court reviewed the background of this
action in its earlier Opinions (ECF Nos. 6 & 75), the
Court will only articulate those facts necessary to address
motion before the Court.
case arises from Plaintiffs medical treatment, or lack
thereof, while incarcerated at SWSP, principally for his left
shoulder and back pain. Plaintiff suffered from those
afflictions prior to his commitment to SWSP on February 25,
2015. On February 27, 2015, Plaintiff advised staff of his
diagnostic scans and current pain medications. According to
Plaintiff, he complained to multiple staff members about his
pain, but to no avail.
12, 2015, Plaintiff went to St. Francis Medical Center to
have heart stent surgery. He then returned to SWSP on May 14,
2015, where he remained at SWSP's extended care unit
until December 20, 2015. While there, Plaintiff complained
often about the pain in his left shoulder and back that made
it hard for him to walk.
alleges that Dr. Briglia supervised the medical personnel at
the extended care unit and then cleared Plaintiff to return
back to general population on December 20, 2015. Thereafter,
Plaintiff complained to a staff member about the long walk
back to general population and that there was no way he could
do it without assistance. Nevertheless, Plaintiff left the
extended care unit that day and collapsed due to the pain in
his back and legs while walking back to the general
population unit. Plaintiff then received a wheelchair that
day and has since been unable to walk or stand for more than
filed his initial Complaint, pro se, against Dr.
Briglia and a number of other Defendants. Upon screening the
Complaint, the Court, among other things, dismissed
Plaintiffs federal claims against Dr. Briglia without
prejudice for failure to state a claim on March 28, 2017. The
Court found that the only specific allegation against Dr.
Briglia, that he cleared Plaintiff to return back to general
population, standing alone, failed to state a claim for
January 31, 2018, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint that
newly alleges the following, as to Dr. Briglia:
By letter dated April 8, 2016, Plaintiffs criminal attorney,
Glenn Kassman, Esq. wrote to Dr. William Briglia stating, in
part, the following: “Plaintiff ‘s client has
asked me to contact you on his behalf because he has been
suffering from debilitating back pain for nearly a year and
has not received adequate medical treatment. specifically,
Mr. Cagnina says that he was given x-rays that showed
“bone-on-bone” between his L-4 and L-5 vertebrae.
Nevertheless, despite excruciating pain, the recommendation
from a nurse practitioner was physical therapy. I am
obviously not a trained medical professional, but in my
opinion, physical therapy would seem to be contraindicated at
least until the problem has been properly diagnosed and could
potentially cause even more damage. I respectfully request
your assistance, so that Mr. Cagnina's suffering can be
relieved or at least reduced.”
(ECF No. 62, at ¶ 59). The remainder of the Amended
Complaint details Plaintiffs subsequent medical
consultations, treatment, and history at SWSP and other
locations, but pleads no further factual allegations against
Briglia now moves to dismiss the Amended Complaint under
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (ECF No. 87). Dr.
Briglia argues that Plaintiff has failed to plead facts
sufficient to state a claim against him under 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983. Plaintiff filed an opposition, and Dr. Briglia
filed a reply. (ECF Nos. 89 & 90).
resolving a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim,
under Rule 12(b)(6), “‘courts accept all factual
allegations as true, construe the complaint in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff, and determine whether, under any
reasonable reading of the complaint, the plaintiff may be
entitled to relief” Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside,578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009) (quoting Phillips v.
Cnty. of Allegheny,515 F.3d 224, 233 (3d Cir. 2008)).
In other words, a complaint survives a motion to dismiss if
it contains sufficient factual matter, ...