United States District Court, D. Maine
RECOMMENDED DECISION AFTER SCREENING COMPLAINT
PURSUANT TO 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e), 1915A
C. Nivison U.S. Magistrate Judge.
action, Plaintiff Daniel Ruffin, an inmate incarcerated at
the Knox County Jail, alleges Defendants have violated his
constitutional rights by restricting his diet and access to
the commissary, and by failing to treat properly a medical
condition that affected his feet.
filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis (ECF No.
2), which application the Court granted. (ECF No. 4.) In
accordance with the in forma pauperis statute, a preliminary
review of Plaintiff's complaint is appropriate. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2). Additionally, Plaintiff's complaint is
subject to screening “before docketing, if feasible or
… as soon as practicable after docketing, ”
because he is “a prisoner seek[ing] redress from a
governmental entity or officer or employee of a governmental
entity.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a).
a review of Plaintiff's complaint, I recommend the Court
dismiss Plaintiff's claims regarding his diet and access
to the commissary, and order service of the complaint on
Defendants Cichon and Knowlton on Plaintiff's medical
federal in forma pauperis statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1915, is
designed to ensure meaningful access to the federal courts
for those persons unable to pay the costs of bringing an
action. When a party is proceeding in forma pauperis,
however, “the court shall dismiss the case at any time
if the court determines, ” inter alia, that the action
is “frivolous or malicious” or “fails to
state a claim on which relief may be granted” or
“seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is
immune from such relief.” 28 U.S.C. §
1915(e)(2)(B). “Dismissals [under § 1915] are
often made sua sponte prior to the issuance of process, so as
to spare prospective defendants the inconvenience and expense
of answering such complaints.” Neitzke v.
Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 324 (1989).
addition to the review contemplated by § 1915,
Plaintiff's complaint is subject to screening under the
Prison Litigation Reform Act because Plaintiff currently is
incarcerated and seeks redress from governmental entities and
officers. See 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(a), (c). The
§ 1915A screening requires courts to “identify
cognizable claims or dismiss the complaint, or any portion of
the complaint, if the complaint (1) is frivolous, malicious,
or fails to state a claim …; or (2) seeks monetary
relief from a defendant who is immune from such
relief.” 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b).
considering whether a complaint states a claim for which
relief may be granted, courts must assume the truth of all
well-plead facts and give the plaintiff the benefit of all
reasonable inferences therefrom. Ocasio-Hernandez v.
Fortuno-Burset, 640 F.3d 1, 12 (1st Cir. 2011). A
complaint fails to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted if it does not plead “enough facts to state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570
a pro se plaintiff's complaint is subject to “less
stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers,
” Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972),
this is “not to say that pro se plaintiffs are not
required to plead basic facts sufficient to state a
claim”, Ferranti v. Moran, 618 F.2d 888, 890
(1st Cir. 1980). To allege a civil action in federal court,
it is not enough for a plaintiff merely to allege that a
defendant acted unlawfully; a plaintiff must affirmatively
allege facts that identify the manner by which the defendant
subjected the plaintiff to a harm for which the law affords a
remedy. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009).
alleges he suffers from type II diabetes, and asserts two
claims related to his diabetes.
arrived at the Knox County Jail on November 17, 2016.
Sometime after his arrival, Plaintiff requested medical care,
and he was seen by Defendant Michael Knowlton, a registered
nurse. As a consequence of diabetes, the skin on
Plaintiff's feet is subject to dryness and cracking.
Plaintiff requested an ointment for his feet, but it was not
subsequent occasions, Plaintiff requested aid, and informed
Defendant Knowlton that he had developed an open wound on his
foot. According to Plaintiff, Defendant Knowlton did not
provide any medication for the entire month of December 2016
(Plaintiff arrived at the facility on November 17, 2016).
Plaintiff asserts Defendant Knowlton recommended that
Plaintiff use the butter served on his meal tray as a foot
moisturizer, or purchase a lotion from the commissary.
Plaintiff also requested ...