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Bryant v. Connections

United States District Court, D. Delaware

November 30, 2017

CEDRIC L. BRYANT, a/k/a Joseph Fooks, Plaintiff,
CONNECTIONS, et al., Defendants



         The plaintiff, Cedric L. Bryant ("Bryant"), an inmate at the Sussex Correctional Institution ("SCI"), appears pro se and was granted permission to proceed in forma pauperis. (D.I. 5.) Bryant filed this lawsuit alleging violations of his civil rights pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.[1] (D.I. 3.) The court proceeds to review and screen the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) and § 1915A(b)(1).


         On April 25, 2017, Bryant contracted a rash that started in his left arm and spread to his chest and back. (D.I. 3 at 5.) Within two weeks the rash had spread from head to toe. On May 12, 2017, Bryant was seen by the sick call nurse and given ointment and medication. (Id.) The medication did not provide relief.

         Bryant submitted sick call slips to see a physician or dermatologist. (Id.) He also submitted sick call slips for Benadryl. (Id.) During the first week of June, Bryant was seen by nurse practitioners Clauda Pierce ("Pierce") and Brad Boyer ("Boyer"). (Id. at 6.) Bryant was prescribed a cream and Benadryl, (Id.) Bryant was told that the sick call nurse would apply the cream every day. (Id.) The Benadryl provided some relief, but the itching was very bad when Bryant was in the sun or took a hot shower. (Id.)

         Bryant began submitting sick call slips and grievances. (Id.) He was called to medical on June 15, 2017, and again seen by Pierce and Boyer. (Id.) Bryant was administered a steroid injection and prescribed prednisone. (Id.) He was directed to take the prednisone in a specific manner and alleges that the medication nurses did not properly administer the medication.

         Bryant was next seen by Pierce around June 25, 2017. (Id.) He asked her if he had been placed on the list to see a physician or outside dermatologist about his rash. (Id.) Pierce checked the computer and advised Bryant that he was not on the list. (Id. at 6-7.) During this visit, an unnamed physician looked at Bryant's rash and "put [him] in for a consult with a[nj outside dermatologist." (Id. at 7.)

         Bryant has not yet seen an outside physician despite his requests. He alleges that "they keep sending a lady and she tells [him] that she can't put [him] in to see the doctor" and that he will have to wait another three months until his next appointment. (Id.)

         On July 12, 2017, Bryant met with unnamed individuals about his medical grievances. (Id.) Bryant was told that he could not pick and choose his provider. (Id.) Bryant explained the treatment he received had not helped him and again asked to be seen by a physician, "inside or out." (Id. at 7.) His request was "denied on all accounts." (Id. at 8.) Bryant seeks compensation for his pain and suffering and to be seen by the appropriate physicians. (Id.)


         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 a 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. Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 229 (3d Cir. 2008); Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007). Because Bryant proceeds pro se, his pleading is liberally construed and his complaint, "however in artfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers." Erickson v. Pardus, 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; Wilson v. Rackmill, 878 F.2d 772, 774 (3d Cir. 1989); see, e.g., 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 ruling on Rule 12(b)(6) motions. 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 and 1915A, the court must grant Bryant leave to amend his complaint unless amendment would be inequitable or futile. See Grayson v. Mayview State Hosp., 293 F.3d 103, 114 (3d Cir. 2002).

         A well-pleaded complaint must contain more than mere labels and conclusions. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal,556 U.S. 662 (2009); Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly,550 U.S. 544 (2007). A plaintiff must plead facts sufficient to show that a claim has substantive plausibility. SeeJohnson v. City of Shelby, ___ U.S. ___, 135 S.Ct. 346, 347 (2014). A complaint may not dismissed, however, ...

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