The opinion of the court was delivered by: ROBERT KUGLER, Magistrate Judge
Plaintiff Jonathan Lopez, a prisoner currently confined at
Northern State Prison, seeks to bring this action in forma
pauperis pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of
his constitutional rights. Based on his affidavit of indigence
and the absence of three qualifying dismissals within
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 to determine
whether it should be 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.
The following faual allegations are taken from Plaintiff's
Complaint and are accepted as true for purposes of this review.
On or about August 20, 2004, Plaintiff was taken from a state
prison to the Atlantic County Justice Facility to await an
appearance in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division,
Upon arrival, Plaintiff was placed into the general population,
consisting primarily of pre-trial detainees. Plaintiff contends
that his placement into the general population, rather than into
protective segregation, was done with reckless disregard for his
personal safety, despite his numerous requests to be placed in
From August 20, 2004 to September 2, 2004, Plaintiff vigorously
complained to the defendants about his mental state and suicidal
thoughts. Plaintiff asked for an opportunity to talk with a
psychiatrist or to receive appropriate medical treatment. On
September 3, 2004, Plaintiff attempted suicide by overdosing on
prescription pills obtained from pretrial detainees. While
unconscious, Plaintiff was left in a cell for approximately 20 minutes, after which he was transported to a
local hospital for treatment.
Plaintiff also complains that while confined at Atlantic County
Justice Facility he was denied access to the law library and
Plaintiff names as Defendants Warden Gary Merline, Social
Worker Adrienne Landgraf, and Sgt. Hall, as well as John Does. He
seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
II. STANDARDS FOR A SUA SPONTE DISMISSAL
This Court must dismiss, at the earliest practicable time,
certain in forma pauperis and prisoner 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);
28 U.S.C. § 1915A (actions in which prisoner seeks redress from a
governmental defendant); 42 U.S.C. § 1997e (prisoner actions
brought with respect to prison conditions).
In determining the sufficiency of a pro se complaint, the
Court must be mindful to construe it liberally in favor of the
plaintiff. Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972);
United States v. Day, 969 F.2d 39, 42 (3d Cir. 1992). The Court
must "accept as true all of the allegations in the complaint and
all reasonable inferences that can be drawn therefrom, and view
them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff." Morse v.
Lower Merion School Dist., 132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir. 1997). The
Court need not, however, credit a pro se plaintiff's "bald
assertions" or "legal conclusions." Id.
A pro se complaint may be dismissed for failure to state a
claim only if it appears "`beyond doubt that the plaintiff can
prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle
him to relief.'" Haines, 404 U.S. at 521 (quoting Conley v.
Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957)); Milhouse v. Carlson,
652 F.2d 371, 373 (3d Cir. 1981). Where a complaint can be remedied
by an amendment, a district court may not dismiss the complaint
with prejudice, but must permit the amendment. Denton v.
Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 34 (1992); Grayson v. Mayview State
Hospital, 293 F.3d 103, 108 (3d Cir. 2002) (dismissal pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)); Shane v. ...