The opinion of the court was delivered by: ROBERT KUGLER, Magistrate Judge
Plaintiff Phillip Wood ("Wood"), a civilly-committed
person*fn1 currently confined at the Ann Klein Forensic
Center in West Trenton, New Jersey, seeks to bring this action
in forma pauperis pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Based on
his affidavit of indigence with respect to recently filed
applications for in forma pauperis status with this Court,
the Court will grant Wood'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
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. For the reasons stated below, the Court finds
that the Complaint should be dismissed.
The following factual allegations are taken from the Complaint
and are accepted as true for purposes of this review.
Wood alleges that he has been a mental patient for 25 years. He
claims that defendants, Latanya Wood El, Chief Executive Officer
("CEO") of the Ancora State Psychiatric Hospital, and John Main,
CEO at the Ann Klein Forensic Center, "allowed subordinance to
illegally incarcerate [plaintiff] when [he] did not meet the
criteria for involuntary commitment." (Complaint, ¶¶ 4b, 4c).
Wood further claims that the defendants departed from their legal
obligations by allowing psychiatrists to involuntarily commit
plaintiff to a state hospital when he did not require any
psychiatric treatment. (Compl., ¶ 6). He seeks compensatory
damages "in an amount that is fair". (Compl., ¶ 7). II. STANDARDS FOR A SUA SPONTE DISMISSAL
This Court must dismiss, at the earliest practicable time,
certain in forma pauperis 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).
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); Alston v. Parker, 363 F.3d 229 (3d Cir.
2004) (complaint that satisfied notice pleading requirement that
it contain short, plain statement of the claim, but lacked
sufficient detail to function as a guide to discovery, was not
required to be dismissed for failure to state a claim; district
court should permit a curative amendment before dismissing a
complaint, unless an amendment would be futile or inequitable);
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.
Fauver, 213 F.3d 113, 116-17 (3d Cir. 2000) (dismissal pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1997e(c)(1)); Urrutia v. Harrisburg County Police
Dept., 91 F.3d 451, 453 (3d Cir. 1996).
III. SECTION 1983 ACTIONS
A plaintiff may have a cause of action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983
for certain 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 or laws of the United States and, second, that the alleged deprivation was committed or caused by a person acting
under color of state law. West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42
(1988); Piecknick v. Pennsylvania, 36 F.3d 1250
, 1255-56 (3d
Wood's § 1983 claim alleging unlawful involuntary confinement
as against the "CEO" defendants or administrators at the state
psychiatric facilities should be dismissed since supervisor
liability is not cognizable in § 1983 actions. Local government
units and supervisors typically are not liable under § 1983
solely on a theory of respondeat superior. See City of
Oklahoma City v. Tuttle, 471 U.S. 808, 824 n. 8 (1985). "A
defendant in a civil rights action must have personal involvement
in the alleged wrongs, liability cannot be predicated solely on
the operation of respondeat superior. Personal involvement
can be shown through allegations of personal direction or of
actual knowledge and acquiescence." Rode v. Dellarciprete,