United States District Court, D. Delaware
JASON T. O'NEIL, Plaintiff,
DR. LYNCH, et al., Defendants.
T. O'Neil, James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, Smyrna,
Delaware. Pro Se Plaintiff.
ANDREWS, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE
Jason T. O'Neil, an inmate at the James T. Vaughn
Correctional Center in Smyrna, Delaware, filed this action
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. (D.I. 3). He appears pro
se and has been granted leave to proceed in forma
pauperis. (D.I. 10). Plaintiff has also filed a motion
for injunctive relief and a request for counsel. (D.I. 6, 8).
The Court screens and reviews the complaint pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) and §1915A(a).
civil cover sheet indicates that this is an action brought
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for medical malpractice.
(D.I. 3-1). Plaintiff has a long history of psychiatric
hospitalizations. (D.I. 5 at 13). In December 2012, he pled
guilty but mentally ill to two counts of murder first degree.
(Id. at p.12). He was hospitalized at the Delaware
Psychiatric Center from January 16, 2013 until February 27,
2013. (Id. at p.13).
complaint provides Plaintiffs history of swallowing objects
which has resulted in numerous hospitalizations and
surgeries. In June or July 2013, when Plaintiff was housed in
SHU isolation, he swallowed pieces of a plastic spoon and
some pills. In July 2013, when Plaintiff was housed in the
psychiatric closed observation ("PCO") at the VCC
infirmary, he removed the metal plate covering an electrical
outlet broke it into five to eight pieces and swallowed them.
Plaintiff was placed in another PCO cell, and he removed and
swallowed another plate. Plaintiff was placed in a third cell
where he remained until he passed the metal.
September 2014, Plaintiff returned to SHU. He alleges he
informed Mental Health Director Lezley Sexton and Defendant
Dr. Paola Munoz that, if he returned to SHU, he would swallow
more metal as well as other items. True to his word, once he
returned to SHU Plaintiff swallowed four to five metal pieces
from the SHU rec yard fence. Plaintiff was placed on PCO in
the infirmary and was forced to pass the metal without pain
medication. One week later Plaintiff returned to SHU, broke
the glass light in his cell, ate the glass and metal from the
light, and intentionally cut his arms. Plaintiff alleges that
Sexton and Dr. Munoz were aware of his intent to harm himself
and he was still "placed in this environment without
protection from [him]self and was willfully neglected."
(D.I. 3 at p.7). Once again, Plaintiff was placed on PCO in
the infirmary. After Plaintiff passed glass, he was sent to
Kent General and underwent emergency surgery. Plaintiff
alleges that this occurred several times over a period and,
after the fifth or sixth time surgery was performed to remove
objects from his body, Kent General stopped accepting
Plaintiff for treatment.
24, 2017, Plaintiff swallowed a foreign object and was
admitted to Christiana Hospital in critical condition and
underwent emergency surgery. Plaintiff remained at Christiana
Hospital until September when he returned to the VCC and was
placed on a medical hold by Defendant Dr. Jackson. Several
weeks later Plaintiff began running a fever and was admitted
to Christiana Hospital with a stomach infection and then
diagnosed with MRSA. Once released, Plaintiff returned to the
VCC infirmary where he remained for two to three weeks on
alleges that several times during December 2017 to January
2018, he was left to sit with fecal matter overflowing and,
for over an hour, he was denied a replacement colostomy bag.
He also alleges that nurses were instructed to only change
the bag once every three days and that Dr. Jackson told the
nursing staff to withhold supplies due to a shortage in
Plaintiff's return to general population in January 2018,
he was assaulted by six inmates. In February 2018 he returned
to the infirmary for a weekend. From there he returned to the
same tier where he was assaulted. After he was housed in MHU,
he began to run a fever and was sent to Kent General where he
was diagnosed with a severe staph infection at the surgery
seeks compensatory damages and injunctive relief.
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 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
v. Pardus, 551 U.S. at 94 (citations omitted).
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 U.S. ...