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Lorah v. Christiana Care Hospital

United States District Court, D. Delaware

August 8, 2017

JOURDEAN LORAH, Plaintiff,
v.
CHRISTIANA CARE HOSPITAL, Defendant.

          Jordean Lorah, Wilmington, Delaware, Pro Se Plaintiff.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          STARK, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Jordean Lorah ("Plaintiff') filed this action on November 2, 2016. (D.I. 2) She appears pro se and has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (D.I. 4) Plaintiff moves to: (1) consider the HIPPA Act (D.I. 5); (2) include specific medical documentation as an admission (D.I. 6); and (3) amend the Complaint (D.I. 6). The Court proceeds to review and screen the Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).

         II. BACKGROUND

         While not clear, Plaintiff appears to complain that her medical records contain incorrect or inaccurate information, errors, false statements, false entries, and refer to medical issues that she has not been diagnosed with or for which she has been tested. She alleges that her medical history was collected on July 7, 2016, via the telephone, in preparation for surgery scheduled for the next day. She also alleges that, as of October 12, 2016, there was documentation of newly-discovered evidence regarding false medical documents. Plaintiff alleges that on February 22 and 23, May 6 and 11, June 22, July 5, August 5, 24, and 31, 2016, she was either: (1) at Defendant's medical facility for testing; (2) at a physician's appointment; (3) speaking with a privacy officer in the legal risk department; or (4) picking up copies of her lab work. Plaintiff alleges that the dissemination of false information was communicated by Defendant's employees. It appears that Plaintiff reviewed her medical records, discovered the errors, and some corrections were made, but a few medical entries remain "undiagnosed." (See D.I. 2)

         Plaintiff frames her allegations as: (1) a First Amendment violation of her right to privacy "as it misrepresents the facts of [her] present or past circumstances;" (2) a Fourteenth Amendment violation "suspect identify, regarding no legitimate purpose which deprived [her] of her citizenship and national origin pertaining to life, liberty, [and] property as it falsely misrepresents [her] identity;" (3) a HIPPA violation, as her "privacy has been invaded as she has been strictly scrutinized and isolated as if she was a health risk;" (4) Defendant's failure to comply with 18 U.S.C. § 1035(2) "false statements or false writing"; (5) a violation of 42 C.F.R. 482.24(c) "standard condition of participation medical information must support diagnosis;" and (6) a violation of 8 U.S.C. § 1324c for document fraud in preparing "a document that is false resulting in false misrepresentation and false statements."

         Plaintiff seeks mediation to resolve the dispute, as well as penalties under 8 U.S.C. § 1324c for document fraud, ranging from $250 to $2, 000 per page.

         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) 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 p. Famiglio, 726 F.3d 448, 452 (3d Cir. 2013); see also 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) (in forma pauperis actions). 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, her pleading is liberally construed and her 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), 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 Or. 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) 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 a 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, the Court must grant a plaintiff leave to amend her complaint unless amendment would be inequitable or futile. See Grayson v. Mayview State Hosp., 293 F.3d 103, 114 (3d Cir. 2002).

         A complaint may be dismissed only if, accepting the well-pleaded allegations in the complaint as true and viewing them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, a court concludes that those allegations "could not raise a claim of entitlement to relief." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 558 (2007). While "detailed factual allegations" are not required, a complaint must do more than simply provide "labels and conclusions" or "a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action." Davis v. Abington Mem'l Hosp., 765 F.3d 236, 241 (3d Cir. 2014) (internal quotation marks omitted). In addition, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face. See Williams v. BASF Catalysts LLC, 765 F.3d 306, 315 (3d Cir. 2014) (citing Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) and Twmbly, 550 U.S. at 570). Finally, a plaintiff must plead facts sufficient to show that a claim has substantive plausibility. See Johnson v. City of Shelby, ___ U.S. ___, 135 S.Ct. 346, 347 (2014). A complaint may not dismissed for imperfect statements of the legal theory supporting the claim asserted. See Id. at 346.

         Under the pleading regime established by Twombly and Iqbal, a court reviewing the sufficiency of a complaint must take three steps: (1) take note of the elements the plaintiff must plead to state a claim; (2) identify allegations that, because they are no more than conclusions, are not entitled to the assumption of truth; and (3) when there are well-pleaded factual allegations, the court should assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief. See Connelly v. Lane Const. Corp.,809 F.3d 780, 787 (3d Cir. 2016). Elements are sufficiently alleged when the facts in the complaint "show" that the plaintiff is entitled to relief. See Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679 (citing ...


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