Bridgeforth v. Lab Corp of Delaware et al
MEMORANDUM. Signed by Judge Gregory M. Sleet on 12/10/13. (mdb)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF DELA WARE
OTIS MICHAEL BRIDGEFORTH,
LAB CORP OF DELA WARE, et aI.,
) Civ. Action No. 13-1577-GMS
The plaintiff, Otis Michael Bridgeforth ("Bridgeforth"), filed this lawsuit on September
19,2013, pursuant to "362, 375, 410 for discrimination related to race, sec, religion, age, color."
(D.I. 2.) He appears pro se and was granted permission to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to
28 U.S.c. § 1915. (D.I. 4.) The court now proceeds to review and screen the complaint pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915.
Named as defendants are Lab Corp of Delaware, Dr. Karlo Magart, and Dr. Capuano.
Bridgeforth alleges that on or before February 2013, the defendants falsified medical records
when they misdiagnosed Bridgeforth with a sexually transmitted disease. Bridgeforth alleges
that he is inoculated and immune from virus and bacterial infection and that his use of an asthma
inhalant and pain reliever at the time of the misdiagnosis should have been considered. Finally
Bridgeforth alleges that he remains negative for sexually transmitted diseases.
Bridgeforth alleges the acts of the defendants violated his rights under the Eighth
Amendment to the United States Constitution, that the defendants committed medical
malpractice, that he sustained personal injury, and that defendants committed false claims and
antitrust violations. He seeks one hundred million dollars and the records removed from his
II. STANDARD OF REVIEW
This court must dismiss, at the earliest practicable time, certain in forma pauperis and
actions that are frivolous, malicious, fail to state a claim, or seek monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) (in forma pauperis
actions). 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 ofAllegheny, 515 F .3d 224, 229 (3d
Cir. 2008); Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007). Because Bridgeforth 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), 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.
RackmUl, 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) is identical to the legal standard used when ruling on 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 of28 U.S.C. § 1915, the court must grant Bridgeforth leave
to amend his complaint unless amendment would be inequitable or futile. See Grayson v.
Mayview State Hosp., 293 FJd 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). The
assumption of truth is inapplicable to legal conclusions or to "[t]hreadbare recitals of the
elements of a cause of action supported by mere conclusory statements." Id. at 678. When
determining whether dismissal is appropriate, the court conducts a two-part analysis. Fowler v.
UPMC Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009). First, the factual and legal elements ofa
claim are separated. Id. The court must accept all of the complaint's well-pleaded facts as true,
but may disregard any legal concl usions. Id. at 210-11. Second, the court must determine
whether the facts alleged in the complaint are sufficient to show that Bridgeforth has a "plausible
claim for relief." 1 Id. at 211. In other words, the complaint must do more than allege
Bridgeforth's entitlement to relief; rather it must "show" such an entitlement with its facts. Id.
"[W]here the well-pleaded facts do not permit the court to infer more than a mere possibility of
1A claim is facially plausible when its factual content allows the court to draw a
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). The plausibility standard "asks for more than a sheer
possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Id. "Where a complaint pleads facts that are
'merely consistent with' a defendant's liability, it 'stops short ofthe line between possibility and
plausibility of 'entitlement to relief. '" Id.
misconduct, the complaint has alleged - but it has not shown - that the pleader is entitled to
relief." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2».
Bridgeforth filed his complaint pursuant to 362 Medical Malpractice, 375 False Claims
Act, and 410 Antitrust, all of which are nature of suit codes contained in the Civil Cover Sheet.
He also invokes the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution which forbids cruel and
unusual punishment. The complaint, however, fails to state a claim under the Eighth
Amendment. In addition, allegations are conclusory and, in this court's experience, do not state a
plausible claim for relief. Finally, the court does not have diversity pursuant to 28 U.S.c.
§ 1332 as the parties are not diverse. Therefore, the court will dismiss the complaint as frivolous
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i).
For the above reasons, the court will dismiss the complaint as frivolous pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(i). Amendment is futile.
An appropriate order will be entered.
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