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Martinez v. Marcanteino

United States District Court, D. Delaware

March 13, 2019

MICHELLE MARCANTUNO, et al, Defendants.

          Oscar Martinez, Newark, Delaware, Pro Se Plaintiff.




         Plaintiff Oscar Martinez ("Plaintiff'), a former inmate at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna, Delaware, now released, filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.[1] (D.I. 2, 6) He appears pro se and has been granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis. (D.I. 8, 26) He seeks injunctive relief and requests counsel. (D.I. 13, 20) The Court proceeds to review and screen the matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(b) and § 1915A(a).


         Plaintiff was placed on suicide watch in 2016. He alleges that following the 2016 dismissal of a complaint he had filed in the Delaware Superior Court against Defendant Connections C.S.P. ("Connections"), medical and mental health care providers retaliated against him for his continued complaints about the lack of care.

         Specifically, Plaintiff alleges that in April 2017, Defendant Michelle Marcantuno ("Marcantuno") retaliated against him when she took him off all mental health medication. He alleges that Marcantuno told Plaintiff that if he continued to complain, she would take him off the medication for two months. Plaintiff alleges that as of July 2017, Marcantuno and the entire mental health staff refuse to meet with him. He further alleges that medical staff and mental health practitioners are under-prescribing his medications. He constantly complains to seek an increase in dosage, but medical and mental health refuse to help. Plaintiff alleges that he personally told Defendant Peter Osinibi ("Osinibi") he would kill someone when he is released if his issues are not addressed.

         Plaintiff alleges that Connections fails to promptly acknowledge and provide the minimum appropriate care for mentally ill inmates. He alleges that inmates are retaliated against for being outspoken when requests for legal calls are not scheduled and sick call requests are not honored. Plaintiff alleges that he does not receive treatment in a confidential setting and the rounds in restrictive housing consist of a contractor who looks in the window without engaging in any conversation. Plaintiff alleges that Connections fails to address his mental health status and continues to threaten him with PCO (psychiatric close observation) status by placing him on suicide watch without clothing. Plaintiff feels he is in imminent danger of harm to himself and others and is frustrated with the level of care.

         Plaintiff filed his complaint on July 10, 2017. (D.I. 1) He filed an Amended Complaint ("Complaint") on July 24, 2017. (D.I. 6) For relief, Plaintiff seeks a court-ordered medical opinion by an outside medical provider, an evaluation by Rockford or MeadowWood Hospital, and compensatory damages. On March 28, 2018, Plaintiff filed a motion for injunctive relief to receive treatment for his mental illness. (D.I. 13) He also requests counsel. (D.I. 20)


         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 Or. 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 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. See Phillips v. County of Allegheny, 515 F.3d 224, 229 (3d Cir. 2008). 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. 89, 94 (2007) (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; see also Wilson v. Rackmill, 878 F.2d 772, 774 (3d Or. 1989); Deutsch v. United States, 67 F.3d 1080, 1091-92 (3d Cir. 1995) (holding frivolous a suit alleging that prison officials took 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 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 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 a 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 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). Though "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 Or. 2014) (citing Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) and Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). Finally, a plaintiff must plead facts sufficient to show that a claim has ...

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