United States District Court, D. Maine
NICHOLAS A. GLADU, Plaintiff
MAINE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, et al., Defendants
RECOMMENDED DECISION AFTER REVIEW PURSUANT TO 28
U.S.C. §§ 1915(E), 1915A
C. NIVISON U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
an inmate in the custody of the Maine Department of
Corrections, commenced this action with a complaint in which
he alleged that Defendants violated his constitutional rights
because they denied him access to medical literature through
the library service at the Maine State Prison.
filed an application to proceed in forma pauperis (ECF No.
4), which application the Court granted (ECF No. 5). 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).
September 13, 2018, I recommended the Court dismiss the
complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e) and
1915A, because the United States Constitution does not
require that Defendants provide inmates with a medical
reference library. (Recommended Decision, ECF No. 9.) On
September 24, 2018, Plaintiff filed an amended
complaint.(ECF No. 10.) In his amended complaint,
Plaintiff supplements his pleadings to allege that the prison
library participates in the inter-library loan system,
through which system he could access medical reference
material, but Defendants continue to deny him access to
Plaintiff potentially asserts a claim distinct from the
claims asserted in the original complaint, the Recommended
Decision is withdrawn. Upon review of the original complaint
and the amendment to the complaint, I recommend the Court
dismiss all claims except Plaintiff's mail-related claim
regarding access to medical reference material.
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, as amended, 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).
original complaint, Plaintiff alleged that he asked the
librarian at the Maine State Prison, Defendant Weddle, to
provide him with “medical reference materials”
related to specific medical conditions, that Defendant Weddle
denied his request and advised him to request a consultation
with the medical department, and that Defendants Mathiau,
Liberty and Thornell upheld Defendant Weddle's decision
in the context of Plaintiff's related grievance.
(Complaint ¶¶ 9 - 17.) Plaintiff suggested the
requested information is related to his pending litigation
regarding the quality of the medical care he has received
while incarcerated. (Id. ¶13.) Plaintiff
specifically asserted that the medical reference materials
are necessary “to assist him in advocating for better
medical care and treatment.” (Id. ¶ 19.)
amendment, Plaintiff alleges Defendants will not permit
Plaintiff to obtain medical reference material through the
inter-library loan system, and will not permit him to receive
or purchase the material from a third party. (Am. Compl.
¶ 5.) Plaintiff contends the prison denied access due to
“a blanket ban on any and all medical or mental health
reference material” because, according to prison
officials, access to such material “leads to prisoners
making demands for unnecessary testing and ...