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Frazier v. Bonds

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

May 6, 2019

ABDUL H. FRAZIER, Plaintiff,
v.
WILLIE BONDS, et al., Defendants.

          Abdul H. Frazier, Plaintiff Pro Se 194759E/994898

          OPINION

          JEROME B. SIMANDLE U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Before the Court is Plaintiff Abdul Frazier's (“Plaintiff”), submission of a civil rights complaint. [Docket Entry 1]. At this time, the Court must review the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915 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 such relief. For the reasons set forth below, the Court concludes that the complaint will proceed in part.

         II. BACKGROUND

         The following factual allegations are taken from the complaint and are accepted for purposes of this screening only. The Court has made no findings as to the truth of Plaintiff's allegations.

         Plaintiff, a state prisoner formerly confined at South Woods State Prison (“SWSP”), is partially paralyzed in his lower extremities due to extensive nerve damage from gunshot wounds. [Complaint ¶ 11]. An “I.V.C. filter” and mesh device are implanted inside of Plaintiff. [Id.]. Plaintiff uses a catheter and a wheelchair. [Id. ¶ 12]. He states that he takes “an elixir of medication to alleviate the excruciating pain that he endures daily, in society.” [Id.]. He alleges that his pain medication has been reduced to a level that is not able to treat his pain. [Id. ¶ 13].

         Plaintiff states that he submitted a sick-call slip on approximately August 17, 2018 complaining of pain in his back. [Id. ¶ 14]. He was examined by a registered nurse on August 21, 2018 who told him that he would be placed on a list to see a doctor. [Id. ¶ 15]. Plaintiff was never examined by a doctor, but five dollars was deducted from his inmate account as a co-payment anyway. [Id.]. Plaintiff submitted a grievance about the charge when he was never examined by a physician. [Id. ¶ 16]. SWSP refunded the five dollars. [Id. ¶ 17]. Plaintiff still did not receive an examination from a doctor for his back pain. [Id.].

         On August 31, 2018, the Special Investigation Division (“SID”) searched Plaintiff's wheelchair and found 15 pills inside the frame. [Id. ¶ 18]. Plaintiff asserts that other inmates have access to this wheelchair and the pills are not his prescribed medication. [Id. ¶ 19]. He was charged with misuse of medication and taken off his pain medication and placed on Motrin. [Id. ¶ 20]. Plaintiff submitted a sick-call slip on September 5, 2018 complaining of pain in his legs, back, and neck and stating that the Motrin was not helping. [Id. ¶ 21]. Plaintiff saw a registered nurse on September 7, 2018 and was told he would be seen by a doctor within a week, but he never did. [Id. ¶ 22]. He submitted a second sick-call slip on September 15, 2018. [Id. ¶ 23]. He also filed a grievance about not being seen by a doctor. [Id.].

         Nurse Ripley saw Plaintiff on September 17, 2018. [Id. ¶ 24]. She increased his Motrin dosage from 400 mgs twice a day to 400 mgs three times a day but told Plaintiff he would ultimately “have to ‘deal with the pain.'” [Id. ¶ 25]. Plaintiff filed another sick-call slip on September 29, 2018 due to excruciating pain. [Id. ¶ 23]. Anthony Thomas, the SWSP Ombudsman Advocate, told Plaintiff that Plaintiff was scheduled to be taken to medical to address his concerns. [Id. ¶ 24]. Plaintiff states that he has not had medical attention for his pain in spite of filing multiple requests. [Id. ¶ 27].

         Plaintiff raises claims of cruel and unusual punishment, denial of due process, and violations of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12132 et seq. He seeks damages and injunctive relief in the form of medical care.

         III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         A. Standards for a Sua Sponte Dismissal

         Per the Prison Litigation Reform Act, Pub. L. No. 104-134, §§ 801-810, 110 Stat. 1321-66 to 1321-77 (April 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. This action is subject to sua sponte screening for dismissal under 28 U.S.C. § 1915 because Plaintiff is a prisoner proceeding in forma pauperis.

         In determining the sufficiency of a pro se complaint, the Court must be mindful to construe it liberally in favor of the plaintiff. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93-94 (2007) (following Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)); see also United States v. Day, 969 F.2d 39, 42 (3d Cir. 1992). 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)). To survive sua sponte screening for failure to state a claim, [1] the complaint must allege “sufficient factual matter” to show that the claim is facially plausible. Fowler v. UPMS 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) ...


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