The opinion of the court was delivered by: FREDA WOLFSON, Magistrate Judge
Plaintiff, Gbeke Michael Awala, initially confined at the Salem
County Correctional Facility ("SCCF") in Woodstown, New Jersey,
at the time he submitted this Complaint for filing, 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) (1998) and order the Clerk of the
Court to file the Complaint. Awala purports to bring this lawsuit as a class action on
behalf of 10 other named inmates who are similarly situated and
unnamed inmates at SCCF. These inmates have neither signed the
Complaint nor submitted complete applications to proceed in
forma pauperis.*fn1 Pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 23(a)(4), a
class action can only be maintained if the class representative
"will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class."
When confronting a request for class certification from a pro
se litigant, however, courts have found that pro se
plaintiffs generally cannot represent and protect the interests
of the class fairly and adequately. See Cahn v. U.S., 269 F.
Supp.2d 537, 547 (D.N.J. 2003); Caputo v. Fauver,
800 F. Supp. 168, 170 (D.N.J. 1992), aff'd, 995 F.2d 216 (3d Cir. 1993).
Here, it appears that Awala is a pro se prisoner without
formal training in the law. Thus, Awala would not be able to
represent the interests of the class and maintain this suit as a
class action, especially since he has been transferred to another
correctional facility. Cahn, 269 F. Supp.2d at 547; Krebs v.
Rutgers, 797 F. Supp. 1246, 1261 (D.N.J. 1992) (denying class
certification to pro se plaintiffs without sufficient legal
education). Therefore, class certification will be denied. The Court will review only the
claims asserted by Awala on his own behalf in the Complaint.
Having reviewed the Complaint pursuant to
28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2) and 1915A 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 Court
concludes that the Complaint should be dismissed without
In his Complaint, Awala alleges that certain conditions of
confinement violate his civil rights. He generally claims a lack
of access to medical treatment and poor medical care, unsanitary
food preparation and nutritionally inadequate food, and lack of
access to the courts by virtue of SCCF's inadequate law
Specifically, Awala alleges that the law librarian would
deliberately "obliterate legal work and motions" prepared by
Awala on the computer. He also asks that SCCF provide persons
trained in the law to assist the inmates like Awala, to increase
the size of the space for inmates in the law library, and to
increase the number of inmates and hours for legal research. Awala seeks injunctive relief as well as damages with respect
to the alleged claims.
II. STANDARDS FOR A SUA SPONTE DISMISSAL
The Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA"), Pub.L. No. 104-134,
§§ 801-810, 110 Stat. 1321-66 to 1321-77 (April 26, 1996),
requires a district court to review a complaint in a civil action
in which a prisoner is proceeding in forma pauperis or
seeks redress against a governmental employee or entity. The
Court is required to identify cognizable claims and to sua
sponte dismiss any claim that is frivolous, malicious, fails to
state a claim upon which relief may be granted, or seeks monetary
relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief.
28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A.*fn3
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 complaint is frivolous if it "lacks an arguable basis either
in law or in fact." Neitzke v. Williams, 490 U.S. 319, 325
(1989) (interpreting the predecessor of § 1915(e)(2), the former
§ 1915(d)). The standard for evaluating whether a complaint is
"frivolous" is an objective one. Deutsch v. United States,
67 F.3d 1080, 1086-87 (3d Cir. 1995).
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). However, 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.
III. SECTION 1983 ACTIONS
Awala brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 alleging
violations of his civil rights guaranteed under the United States
Constitution. 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, ...