The opinion of the court was delivered by: MARY COOPER, District Judge
Plaintiff Anthony Christopher Rodesky, confined at the New
Jersey State Prison, seeks to bring a action in forma
pauperis, alleging violations of constitutional rights pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. 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.
The Court must review 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 is subject to dismissal. But
Plaintiff will be permitted to file an amended complaint to
address the deficiencies in the instant complaint.
The facts are taken from the complaint and assumed true for
purposes of this review. Plaintiff seeks to sue the following
defendants pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983: Devon Brown,
Commissioner of the Department of Corrections; Ronald Cathel,
Administrator of New Jersey State Prison; Charles Ellis, Chief of
Staff of the Department of Corrections; and Michelle Ricci,
Associate Administrator of the New Jersey State Prison.
Plaintiff states, without specificity, he has notified these
defendants of violations of his constitutional rights on certain
dates, including: his right to access the courts; his right to
possess religious materials; his right to recreation; "illegal
placement" on a certain cell block; and his right to make legal
and personal telephone calls. Plaintiff provides no further facts
on these alleged claims. He also claims that defendants are
violating his rights under the New Jersey Administrative Code.
Plaintiff seeks an injunction and punitive damages.
The purpose of the Prison Litigation Reform Act ("PLRA") is
"primarily to curtail claims brought by prisoners under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Federal Torts Claims Act . . . many of which are
routinely dismissed as legally frivolous." Santana v. United
States, 98 F.3d 752, 755 (3d Cir. 1996). Under
28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A(b), a court must dismiss, at the earliest
practicable time, any prisoner actions that are frivolous,
malicious, fail to state a claim, or seek monetary relief from a
defendant who is immune from such relief.
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 v. Kerber, 404 U.S. 519, 521 (1972)
(quoting Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957));
Milhouse v. Carlson, 652 F.2d 371, 373 (3d Cir. 1981).
In determining the sufficiency of a pro se complaint, the
Court must be mindful to construe it liberally in favor of the
plaintiff. Haines, 404 U.S. at 520-21; 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
Sch. Dist., 132 F.3d 902, 906 (3d Cir. 1997). But the Court need
not credit a pro se plaintiff's "bald assertions" or "legal
Where a complaint can be remedied by an amendment, a district
court may not dismiss the complaint with prejudice, but must permit the amendment. See Alston v. Parker, 363 F.3d 229
(3d Cir. 2004); Denton v. Hernandez, 504 U.S. 25, 34 (1992);
Grayson v. Mayview State Hosp., 293 F.3d 103, 108 (3d Cir.
2002) (dismissal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)); Urrutia v.
Harrisburg County Police Dep't, 91 F.3d 451, 453 (3d Cir. 1996).
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. See West v. Atkins, 487 ...