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Dorman v. Connections Community Support Programs, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Delaware

October 12, 2018

ALAN EDWARD DORMAN, Plaintiff,
v.
CONNECTIONS COMMUNITY SUPPORT PROGRAMS, INC., et al., Defendants.

          Alan Edward Dorman, Sussex Correctional Institution, Georgetown, Delaware. Pro Se Plaintiff.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          ANDREWS, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE:

         Plaintiff Alan Edward Dorman, an inmate at the Sussex Correctional Institution in Georgetown, Delaware, filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.[1] (D.I. 3). He appears pro se and has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (D.i. 5). The Court screens and reviews the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A(a).

         BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff injured his finger on August 15, 2016 while playing basketball at SCI. He submitted a sick call clip and received treatment a few days later. The pain and swelling worsened and Plaintiff submitted another sick call slip. He was seen by a nurse who referred Plaintiff to a "medical provider." Several weeks passed before Plaintiff was seen by Defendant Dr. Curtis Harris who ordered an x-ray and prescribed Tramadol for pain. Plaintiff refused to take the medication after a few days because he is a recovering addict. Several weeks passed without action by the medical department.

         Plaintiff submitted a medical grievance on October 6, 2016, complained that he had been waiting for over three weeks for an x-ray, and explained that his finger was possibly broken and might need surgery. Plaintiff was x-rayed a couple of weeks later. Several days after that he received x-ray results in the mail, which indicated there was no damage to his finger. However, his finger was swollen, he had pain and discomfort, and could not straighten the finger or grip with it.

         Plaintiff submitted another medical grievance on November 11, 2016. The grievance was upheld with instructions for SCI medical to ensure that consultation orders were implemented in a timely manner. Soon thereafter, Plaintiff was taken to an outside surgical center and x-rayed. The x-rayed revealed a fracture and ligament damage that had healed. Physical therapy was ordered but discontinued after several sessions because there was no improvement.

         Plaintiff alleges Dr. Harris was deliberately indifferent to his serious medical needs in delaying treatment and failing to order or delaying a consult with an outside specialist. He alleges Defendant Jill Moser, SCI Medical Director, was deliberately indifferent by denying and delaying a consultation to an outside specialist. Plaintiff alleges former SCI warden G.R. Johnson was deliberately indifferent in failing to ensure the medical contract provider abided by its contract to provide adequate care. Finally, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Connections Community Support Programs, Inc. was deliberately indifferent in failing to take steps to ensure that Plaintiff received needed treatment.

         Plaintiff seeks declaratory relief as well as compensatory and punitive damages.

         SCREENING OF COMPLAINT

         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). 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).

         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 U.S. at 327-28; Wilson v. Rackmill, 878 F.2d 772, 774 (3d Cir. 1989).

         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). 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 Plaintiff 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. See Johnson v. City of Shelby, ___U.S.___, 135 S.Ct. 346, 347 (2014). A complaint may not be dismissed, ...


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