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Morris v. Metzger

United States District Court, D. Delaware

October 22, 2018

TYRONE J. MORRIS, Plaintiff,
v.
DANA METZGER, et al., Defendants.

          Tyrone J. Morris, James T. Vaughn Correctional Center, Smyrna, Delaware. Pro Se Plaintiff.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          ANDREWS, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Tyrone J. Morris, an inmate at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna, Delaware, filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.[1] (D.I. 1). He appears pro se and has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (D.I. 7). The Court screens and reviews the amended complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) and§ 1915A(a).

         BACKGROUND

         The Court screened Plaintiff's original complaint and he was given leave to amend. (D.I. 13, 14). In his amended complaint (D.I. 15), Plaintiff states that he has psoriasis, severe arthritis, and mental illness. He has had psoriasis since age 15. He alleges the lack of proper care from Defendants has caused him extreme pain and anguish. Plaintiff alleges this also affects his mental health by exacerbating severe depression and obsessive compulsive disorder to the point of suicidal ideation. Plaintiff was hospitalized for more than a week for an allergic reaction to medications prescribed to treat his conditions.

         Plaintiff alleges Defendants refuse to provide the proper amount of ointment needed for daily skin care so that he may shower. As a result, he is left with a choice between severe pain and bathing. Plaintiff also alleges that medical staff saw the severity of his skin condition, but would not provide enough ointment to cover a single leg at a time. Plaintiff alleges that, at times, he is riddled with pain and can barely move. Plaintiff complains of trouble sleeping and semi-constant twitching and itching. Plaintiff believes the denial of proper medication led to a blood infection. Plaintiff alleges that he almost died from the infection.

         Named as Defendants are JTVCC Warden Dana Metzger, Delaware Department of Correction Commissioner Perry Phelps, JTVCC Medical Director Matthew Wofford, and Deputy Warden Scarborough. Plaintiff seeks declaratory and injunctive 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 amended 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.

         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." 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. Tourscherv. 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 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, however, for imperfect statements of the legal theory supporting the claim asserted. See Id. at 346.

         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, assume their veracity and then determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement to relief. Connelly v. Lane Constr. 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. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. Deciding ...


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