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Turner v. Connections CSP

United States District Court, D. Delaware

February 27, 2017

LEE TURNER, Plaintiff,
v.
CONNECTIONS CSP, et al., Defendants.

          Lee Turner, James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, Smyrna, Delaware, Pro Se Plaintiff.

          Michael F. McTaggart, Deputy Attorney General Deputy, Delaware Department of Justice, Wilmington, Delaware. Counsel for Defendant Warden David Pierce.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          STARK, U.S. District Judge

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Lee Turner ("Plaintiff) filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of his constitutional rights.[1] (D.I. 2) Plaintiff is incarcerated at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center ("VCC") in Smyrna, Delaware. He appears pro se and has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (D.I. 8) Plaintiff has filed a motion for injunctive relief and a request for counsel. (D.I. 6, 10) The Court proceeds to review and screen the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) and § 1915A(a).

         II. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff suffered three injuries to his shoulder and received surgery by an outside orthopedic surgeon. Following the April 18, 2016 surgery, Plaintiff recovered in the VCC infirmary for approximately 16 days. When Plaintiff was seen at his follow-up appointment, he was prescribed pain medication and physical therapy was ordered to start immediately. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Connections CSP ("Connections") was given specific instructions that Plaintiff receive physical therapy twice weekly.

         Plaintiff was discharged from the infirmary on May 4, 2016, and was told by Defendant Dr. Ellis ("Dr. Ellis") that he would be housed in SHU, that his medication would be changed due to his housing assignment, and that he would have to do the physical therapy himself because "we have no physical therapist." (D.I. 2 at 3) Plaintiff was transferred to SHU and never received physical therapy. He submitted grievances over the matter.

         On June 20, 2016, Plaintiff presented to the Christiana Gate Rehabilitation Center for a post-op consult with extreme pain, lack of mobility, limited range of motion, stiffness and weakness. Plaintiff was told that physical therapy was most important for a full recovery. Plaintiff alleges that he must wear a brace due to the effects of the failure to receive rehabilitation.

         He seeks injunctive relief and compensatory and punitive damages.

         III. LEGAL STANDARDS

         A federal court may properly dismiss an action sua sponte under the screening provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) and § 1915A(b) if "the action is frivolous or 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." Ball v. Famiglio, 726 F.3d 448, 452 (3d Cir. 2013); see also 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) (in forma pauperis actions); 28 U.S.C. § 1915A (actions in which prisoner seeks redress from governmental defendant); 42 U.S.C. § 1997e (prisoner actions brought with respect to prison conditions). The Court must accept all factual allegations in a complaint as true and take them in the light most favorable to a pro se plaintiff. See Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 229 (3d Cir. 2008); Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007). Because Plaintiff proceeds pro se, his pleading is liberally construed and his Complaint, "however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers." Erickson, 551 U.S. at 94 (citations omitted).

         An action is frivolous if it "lacks an arguable basis either in law or in fact" Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325 (1989). Under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i) and § 1915A(b)(1), a court may dismiss a complaint as frivolous if it is "based on an indisputably meritless legal theory" or a "clearly baseless" or "fantastic or delusional" factual scenario. Neitzke, 490 at 327-28; see also Wilson v. Rackmill, 878 F.2d 772, 774 (3d Cir. 1989); Deutsch v. United States, 67 F.3d 1080, 1091-92 (3d Cir. 1995) (holding frivolous a suit alleging that prison officials took an inmate's pen and refused to give it back).

         The legal standard for dismissing a complaint for failure to state a claim pursuant to § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) and § 1915A(b)(1) is identical to the legal standard used when deciding Rule 12(b)(6) motions. See Tourscher v. McCullough,184 F.3d 236, 240 (3d Cir. 1999) (applying Fed. R, Civ. P. 12(b)(6) standard to dismissal for failure to state claim under § 1915(e)(2)(B)). However, before dismissing a complaint or claims for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted pursuant to the screening provisions of 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915 and 1915A, the Court must grant a ...


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