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Walker v. Rutgers Biomedical Health Sciences

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

March 26, 2019

RODNEY WALKER, Plaintiff,
v.
RUTGERS BIOMEDICAL HEALTH SCIENCES, et al., Defendants.

          OPINION

          ROBERT B. KUGLER United States District Judge

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff, Rodney Walker, is a state prisoner. He is proceeding pro se with a civil rights complaint filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Previously, this Court granted plaintiff's application to proceed in forma pauperis.

         This Court must screen the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A to determine whether the complaint is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or whether it seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from suit. For the following reasons, plaintiff's federal claims will be dismissed without prejudice for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted and this Court will decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over plaintiff's state law claims. Additionally, plaintiff's motion for the appointment of pro bono counsel will be denied.

         II. BACKGROUND

         The allegations of the complaint must be construed as true for purposes of this screening opinion. The complaint names the following defendants: (1) Rutgers Biomedical Health Sciences; and (2) South Woods Min. Unit Medical Department; and (3) Jennifer Farestad; and Jane Doe.[1]

         Plaintiff alleges that in November, 2017, he was incarcerated at South Woods State Prison (“SWSP”). He submitted a medical slip at that time because he was not feeling well. He was called-in two days later. A nurse asked plaintiff some questions and checked his sugar. Thereafter, she sent plaintiff to a hospital emergency room. Plaintiff was placed in I.C.U. A doctor told plaintiff he was lucky he had put in a medical slip because he could have died or gone into a diabetic coma if he had not.

         Plaintiff states the entire reason these events occurred was because of the negligence of the medical department at (“SWSP”), and specifically Jennifer Farestad and Jane Doe. According to plaintiff, he was not seen for chronic care visits for nine months. This caused him to develop diabetes.

         Once plaintiff was returned to SWSP, he was placed into emergency care for two weeks. He had to take five shots a day.

         III. LEGAL STANDARDS

         Under 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).

         “The 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)). That standard is set forth in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009) and Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), as explicated by the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. 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 Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). “[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 Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).

         Pro se pleadings, as always, will be liberally construed. See Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519 (1972). Nevertheless, “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).

         A plaintiff may have a cause of action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for certain violations of constitutional rights. ...


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