JOHNSON v. WARDEN OF CAMDEN COUNTY CORRECTIONAL FACILITY et al
OPINION. Signed by Judge Renee Marie Bumb on 4/27/2021. (pr,n.m)
NOT FOR PUBLICATION
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF NEW JERSEY
BRANDON L. JOHNSON,
WARDEN OF CAMDEN COUNTY
CORRECTIONAL FACILITY, et al.,:
Civil No. 20-9933(RMB-SAK)
BUMB, District Judge:
Plaintiff Brandon L. Johnson, a pretrial detainee confined at
Jersey, seeks to bring this civil action in forma pauperis under
28 U.S.C. § 1915. Based on his affidavit of poverty and the absence
of three qualifying dismissals under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g), the Court
will grant Plaintiff's application to proceed in forma pauperis
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a), and order the Clerk of the Court
to file the Complaint.
At this time, the Court must review the Complaint pursuant to
dismissed as frivolous or malicious, for failure to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted, or because it seeks monetary
relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.
Plaintiff alleges that he suffered from boils and that medical
malpractice and asserts jurisdiction under 42 U.S.C. 1983, for his
claims against unidentified medical staff and the warden of CCCF.
Standard for Sua Sponte Dismissal
“The legal standard for dismissing a complaint for failure to
state a claim pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) is the
same as that for dismissing a complaint pursuant to Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6).” Schreane v. Seana, 506 F. App'x 120,
122 (3d Cir. 2012). “To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint
must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state
a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.’” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v.
plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows
the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is
liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S.
contained in a complaint.” Id.
A court need not accept legal
threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, do not
suffice to state a claim. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. Thus, “a court
considering a motion to dismiss can choose to begin by identifying
pleadings that, because they are no more than conclusions, are not
entitled to the assumption of truth.” Id. at 679. “While legal
conclusions can provide the framework of a complaint, they must be
supported by factual allegations.” Id. If a complaint can be
remedied by an amendment, a district court may not dismiss the
complaint with prejudice, but must permit the amendment. Grayson
v. Mayview State Hospital, 293 F.3d 103, 108 (3d Cir. 2002).
court must liberally construe a pro se complaint. Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007).
Claims Under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
A plaintiff may have a cause of action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
for violations of his constitutional rights. Section 1983 provides
in relevant part:
Every person who, under color of any statute,
ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of
any State or Territory ... subjects, or causes
to be subjected, any citizen of the United
States or other person within the jurisdiction
thereof to the deprivation of any rights,
privileges, or immunities secured by the
Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the
party injured in an action at law, suit in
equity, or other proper proceeding for redress
Thus, to state a claim for relief under § 1983, a plaintiff must
allege, first, the violation of a right secured by the Constitution
deprivation was committed or caused by a person acting under color
of state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 48 (1988); Piecknick v.
Pennsylvania, 36 F.3d 1250, 1255–56 (3d Cir. 1994).
Plaintiff describes himself as a “county prisoner,” and it is
unclear whether he is a pretrial detainee or a convicted and
sentenced state prisoner. (Compl. ¶1b, Dkt. No. 1.) Whether he is
a pretrial detainee, in which case the Due Process Clause of the
Fourteenth Amendment governs his claim of inadequate medical care,
or a convicted and sentenced state prisoner, in which case the
Eighth Amendment governs his claim of inadequate medical care, the
same standard applies. See Miller v. Steele-Smith, 713 F. App'x
74, 76 n.1 (3d Cir. 2017) (citing Natale v. Camden Cty. Corr.
Facility, 318 F.3d 575, 581-82 (3d Cir. 2003)). “To succeed on an
Eighth [or Fourteenth] Amendment medical care claim, ‘a plaintiff
deliberately indifferent to [his or her] medical needs’ and (2) an
objective showing that ‘those needs were serious.’” Id. at 78
(quoting Pearson v. Prison Health Serv., 850 F.3d 526, 534 (3d
Cir. 2017) (quoting Rouse v. Plantier, 182 F.3d 192, 197 (3d Cir.
1999)). A prison official is deliberately indifferent when he/she
intentionally refuses to provide it; (2) delays necessary medical
treatment based on a non-medical reason; or (3) prevents a prisoner
from receiving needed or recommended medical treatment.” Miller,
713 F. App'x at 79 (quoting Rouse, 182 F.3d at 197.) “[A] plaintiff
negligence in addressing a medical condition or a disagreement
over the course of treatment received.” Id. (quoting Durmer v.
deliberate indifference requires something “more than negligence”)
(additional citations omitted).
Plaintiff fails to state an Eighth or Fourteenth Amendment
inadequate medical care claim against the unidentified medical
staff at CCCF because he has alleged negligence in treating his
reasons, delay in treatment does not rise to the level of a
constitutional violation. The same is true for Plaintiff’s claim
against the warden. There are, however, additional reasons why
Plaintiff’s § 1983 claim against the warden, based on the fact
that he oversees CCCF, fails to state a claim. Under Section 1983,
“each Government official, his or her title notwithstanding, is
only liable for his or her own misconduct.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
677. Thus, “‘[t]here are two theories of supervisory liability,’
one under which supervisors can be liable if they ‘established and
maintained a policy, practice or custom which directly caused [the]
constitutional harm,’ and another under which they can be liable
if they ‘participated in violating plaintiff's rights, directed
others to violate them, or, as the person[s] in charge, had
knowledge of and acquiesced in [their] subordinates' violations.’”
Santiago v. Warminster Twp., 629 F.3d 121, 129 n.5 (3d Cir. 2010)
(quoting A.M. ex rel. J.M.K. v. Luzerne Cnty. Juvenile Det. Ctr.,
372 F.3d 572, 586 (3d Cir. 2004) (second alteration in original)).
involvement of the warden of CCCF in a constitutional violation.
Medical Malpractice Claim under New Jersey Tort Claims
original jurisdiction over cases that “‘aris[e] under” federal law
… and cases in which the amount in controversy exceeds $ 75,000
and there is diversity of citizenship among the parties….” Home
Depot U. S. A., Inc. v. Jackson, 139 S. Ct. 1743, 1746, reh'g
denied, 140 S. Ct. 17 (2019)). This Court lacks jurisdiction over
medical malpractice claims that arose in the State of New Jersey,
absent diversity jurisdiction. A federal court, at its discretion,
may exercise supplemental jurisdiction over state law claims if
the plaintiff has also raised a related claim under federal law.
supplemental jurisdiction over Plaintiff’s medical malpractice
claims because he fails to state a claim under Section 1983. 1
The Court will grant Plaintiff’s IFP application. Pursuant to
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), the Court will dismiss the Complaint
jurisdiction over Plaintiff’s state law claims.
An appropriate order follows.
s/Renée Marie Bumb
RENÉE MARIE BUMB
United States District Judge
The New Jersey Tort Claims Act governs personal injury claims,
including medical malpractice, brought against public entities
and employees. N.J. Stat. Ann. § 59:1.1 et seq.
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