United States District Court, D. New Jersey
L. WOLFSON, CHIEF JUDGE
Joseph Hall (“Hall” or “Plaintiff”),
is a state prisoner who seeks to proceed pro se with
a civil rights complaint filed under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
(See Compl., ECF No. 1.) The Court previously
administratively terminated the action, as Hall did not pay
the required filing fee and as his application to proceed
in forma pauperis was incomplete. (See ECF
explained in the Court's last Memorandum and Order, a
complaint must generally include either a $400.00 fee (a
$350.00 filing fee plus a $50.00 administrative fee) or an
application to proceed in forma pauperis. 28 U.S.C.
§§ 1914(a), 1915(a). If a prisoner plaintiff is
proceeding in forma pauperis, the $350.00 filing fee
is still assessed, but may be paid in installments. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(b). The action was previously administratively
terminated because Hall's application to proceed in
forma pauperis was missing its third page, which would
typically have included Hall's signature and the
signature of an authorized institutional officer.
(See ECF Nos. 1-3 & 3.) I noted that Hall seemed
to assert, in a letter that was largely illegible, that he
was having some difficulty obtaining the prison account
statement required by Local Civil Rule 81.2. (ECF No. 3 at 2
n.1.) In denying his initial in forma pauperis
application, I directed the Clerk's office to mail Hall
another copy of the Court's form application to proceed
in forma pauperis. (ECF No. 3 at 3.)
has filed a letter seeking to have the action reopened,
accompanied by a handwritten application to proceed in
forma pauperis. (ECF No. 5.) Like Hall's other
fillings, these documents are in a script that is frequently
indecipherable. It appears that Hall has been unable to
obtain his prison account statements. Hall has not employed
the form in forma pauperis application mailed to him
by the Court, but instead has written that he receives $15.00
monthly in state pay, owns no property or bank account, and
has no money. He concludes this application by certifying,
“I Joseph Hall made a statement willfully and I am
subject to penalty with punishment if statements are
false.” (ECF No. 5 at ECF pp. 3-4.) Hall includes a
copy of a letter he sent seeking a copy of his account
statement, which was apparently returned to him as
undeliverable. (Id. at ECF pp. 5-6.)
new application fails to comply with Local Civil Rule 81.2,
which requires that an application to proceed in forma
pauperis “be in the form attached to and made a
part of these Rules as Appendix P.” L. Civ. R. 81.2(b).
Furthermore, the Court's last Order directed Hall that if
he was unable to procure the prison account statements
required by Local Civil Rule 81.2 he should “attach an
explanation of any difficulty obtaining records, in a form
that is easily legible.” (ECF No. 3 at 2 n.1.) Instead,
Hall's letter simply makes the conclusory assertion that
he is “having trouble seeking to ascertain a copy of
[his] account for the last six months.” (ECF No. 5 at
ECF p. 1.) The only evidence he has included is a copy of a
letter that Hall apparently attempted to mail to Northern
State Prison, which was returned to him as undeliverable.
Accordingly, his renewed application to proceed in forma
pauperis is denied.
case, even were Hall permitted to proceed in forma
pauperis, I note that his complaint fails to plead any
claim over which this Court has jurisdiction. 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 prisoner
complaints when the prisoner (1) is proceeding in forma
pauperis, see 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B),
(2) seeks redress against a governmental employee or entity,
see 28 U.S.C. § 1915A, or (3) asserts a claim
concerning prison conditions, see 42 U.S.C. §
1997e(c). The PLRA directs district courts to sua
sponte dismiss claims that are frivolous or malicious,
that fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted,
or that seek monetary relief from a defendant who is immune
from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. §§
1915(e)(2)(B), 1915A(b); 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c).
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) (per
curiam); see also Mitchell v. Beard, 492 Fed.Appx.
230, 232 (3d Cir. 2012) (per curiam) (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). 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.” Fowler
v. UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009)
(internal quotation marks 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.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; see also Fair Wind
Sailing, Inc. v. Dempster, 764 F.3d 303, 308 n.3 (3d
Cir. 2014). “A pleading that offers ‘labels and
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).
incarcerated plaintiff may state a § 1983 claim for
violation of the Eighth Amendment where institutional staff
have provided inadequate medical care. Helling v.
McKinney, 509 U.S. 25, 32-33 (1993); Estelle v.
Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 104-06 (1976); Pearson v.
Prison Health Serv., 850 F.3d 526, 534 (3d Cir. 2017). A
plaintiff asserting a § 1983 claim for inadequate
medical care must show the existence of a serious medical
need and that a state actor demonstrated deliberate
indifference to that medical need. Pearson, 850 F.3d
at 534; Giles v. Kearney, 571 F.3d 318, 330 (3d Cir.
2009); Natale v. Camden Cty. Corr. Facility, 318
F.3d 575, 582 (3d Cir. 2003). A finding of deliberate
indifference requires demonstrating that the defendant
medical provider had the requisite state of mind, i.e.,
knowledge of a serious medical risk and disregard for that
risk. See Parkell v. Danberg, 833 F.3d 313, 335, 337
(3d Cir. 2016); Natale, 318 F.3d at 582; see
also Whitley v. Albers, 475 U.S. 312, 319 (1986)
(finding that an Eighth Amendment violation requires a
showing of “obduracy and wantonness”);
Palakovic v. Wetzel, 854 F.3d 209, 227 (3d Cir.
2017) (equating deliberate indifference with at least
“reckless disregard [for] a substantial risk of
serious harm.”). A mere “inadvertent failure to
provide adequate medical care”-i.e., negligent
diagnosis or treatment-will not create an Eighth Amendment
claim. Estelle, 429 U.S. at 105-06;
Parkell, 833 F.3d at 337.
construe the Complaint as alleging that defendants St.
Francis Medical Center and Dr. Gerschwin committed medical
malpractice by injuring Hall's throat during a
gastrointestinal examination. (See ECF No. 1.)
Although Hall invokes the Eighth Amendment and uses the
phrase “deliberate indifference, ” he does not
allege any acts by the defendants that could be found to rise
to the level of deliberate indifference. (See
id.) As explained herein, the rendering of potentially
negligent medical treatment does not suffice to show the
level of disregard required to make out a violation of a
plaintiff's constitutional rights. See Estelle,
429 U.S. at 106 (“[A] complaint that a physician has
been negligent in diagnosing or treating a medical condition
does not state a valid claim of medical mistreatment under
the Eighth Amendment. Medical malpractice does not become a
constitutional violation merely because the victim is a
prisoner.”). It is possible that Hall pleads sufficient
facts to support a state-law claim for medical malpractice,
but in the absence of a grounding in any federal
constitutional provision or law, this Court has no basis to
exercise jurisdiction over his claims. See generally
Kokkonen v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 511 U.S. 375,
377 (1994) (explaining that “[f]ederal courts are
courts of limited jurisdiction”).
possible, however, that Hall might be able to plead facts
that would suffice to state a § 1983 claim. Thus, if
Hall again seeks to reopen the action by paying the filing
fee or filing a complete and proper application to proceed
in forma pauperis, he may also file an amended
complaint that corrects the defects identified in this
Memorandum Opinion. If he reopens the case without amending
his pleading, the action would have to be immediately
dismissed upon screening for the reasons discussed herein.
For the foregoing reasons, Hall's application to reopen
this action is DENIED.
 The full substantive portion of
Hall's Complaint reads as follows:
On 12-14 Plaintiff was at St Francis Medical Center
for G.I. scope due to medical issue, while under going
procedure Dr. Gerschiwn jam a instrument (tool) down my
throat cutting a muscle (nerve), plaintiff sought to
complaint about issue but was immediately taken back to
prison to avoid proper investigation towards my claim.
Records will reflect and support plaintiff's claim and
injuries petitioner sustain as a result of medical abuse,
neglect and malpractice. St Francis Medical Center is suppose
to provide adequate medical care and treatment for prisoners
while in the care and custody of Department of Corrections.
This deliberate indifference in a medical sense has subjected