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Johnson v. SOLCO Healthcare

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

December 9, 2019

CHERYL B. JOHNSON, Plaintiff,
v.
SOLCO HEALTHCARE, U.S. and CVS PHARMACY, Defendants.

          CHERYL B. JOHNSON Appearing pro se.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER

          NOEL L. HILLMAN, U.S.D.J.

         WHEREAS, Plaintiff Cheryl Johnson (“Plaintiff”), appearing pro se, has filed a complaint against defendants SOLCO Health Care, U.S. and CVS Pharmacy (“Defendants”);[1] and

         WHEREAS, Plaintiff alleges that that she suffered adverse side effects, namely a stroke, after taking a prescribed medication called Losartan; and

         WHEREAS, Plaintiff further alleges that, as a result, she is largely disabled; and

         WHEREAS, Plaintiff seeks reimbursement for unspecified medical bills and an award of $800, 000; and

         WHEREAS, Plaintiff has filed an application to proceed without prepayment of fees (“in forma pauperis” or “IFP” application), and pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1), a court may allow a litigant to proceed without prepayment of fees if she submits a proper IFP application; and

         WHEREAS, although § 1915 refers to “prisoners, ” federal courts apply § 1915 to non-prisoner IFP applications, Hickson v. Mauro, 2011 WL 6001088, *1 (D.N.J. 2011) (citing Lister v. Dept. of Treasury, 408 F.3d 1309, 1312 (10th Cir. 2005) (“Section 1915(a) applies to all persons applying for IFP status, and not just to prisoners.”) (other citations omitted); and

         WHEREAS, the screening provisions of the IFP statute require a federal court to dismiss an action sua sponte if, among other things, the action is frivolous or malicious, or if it fails to comply with the proper pleading standards, see 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i)-(iii); Ball v. Famiglio, 726 F.3d 448, 452 (3d Cir. 2013); Martin v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2017 WL 3783702, at *1 (D.N.J. August 30, 2017) (“Federal law requires this Court to screen Plaintiff's Complaint for sua sponte dismissal prior to service, and to dismiss any claim if that claim fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted under Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) and/or to dismiss any defendant who is immune from suit.”); and

         WHEREAS, pro se complaints must be construed liberally, and all reasonable latitude must be afforded the pro se litigant, Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 107 (1976), but pro se litigants “must still plead the essential elements of [their] claim and [are] not excused from conforming to the standard rules of civil procedure, ” McNeil v. United States, 508 U.S. 106, 113 (1993) (“[W]e have never suggested that procedural rules in ordinary civil litigation should be interpreted so as to excuse mistakes by those who proceed without counsel.”); Sykes v. Blockbuster Video, 205 Fed.Appx. 961, 963 (3d Cir. 2006) (finding that pro se plaintiffs are expected to comply with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure); and

         WHEREAS, the Court finds that Plaintiff's complaint is deficient for several reasons; and

         WHEREAS, first, and as a threshold matter, the Court is unable to determine the asserted basis for the Court's exercise of subject matter jurisdiction. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a) provides that “[a] pleading that states a claim for relief must contain . . . a short and plain statement of the grounds for the court's jurisdiction.”; and

         WHEREAS, initially, the Court cannot determine whether Plaintiff seeks to assert diversity jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332. Plaintiff does not identify diversity as a basis for the Court's jurisdiction in her complaint. See (ECF No. 1 at 4 (checking box for Federal Question jurisdiction and suggesting that the United States is a party to this action, but not checking the box for Diversity of Citizenship)); and

         WHEREAS, further, the Court cannot determine whether it may properly assert diversity jurisdiction as Plaintiff's complaint suggests that Defendant CVS Pharmacy is a citizen of New Jersey, as is Plaintiff. See (ECF No. 1 at 3-4 (listing ...


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