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Corsey v. Camden County Administration

November 17, 2009

LAWRENCE CORSEY, ET AL., PLAINTIFFS,
v.
CAMDEN COUNTY ADMINISTRATION, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Simandle, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Twenty-seven Plaintiffs, prisoners confined at Camden County Correctional Facility, Camden, New Jersey, at the time they submitted this Complaint, seek to bring this civil action in forma pauperis, without prepayment of fees or security, asserting claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

Plaintiffs allege that the conditions of confinement at Camden County Correctional Facility violate the Eighth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Specifically, they allege overcrowding (four men in two-man cells) and inadequate heating and ventilation. Plaintiffs do not allege whether, at the time of the events complained of, they were pre-trial detainees or convicted and sentenced prisoners.*fn1

Plaintiffs name three defendants: Camden County Administration (which this Court construes as a claim against Camden County), Warden E. Taylor, and Freeholder Liaison Joseph Ripa. Plaintiffs seek compensatory damages and injunctive relief.

28 U.S.C. § 1915

Civil actions brought in forma pauperis are governed by 28 U.S.C. § 1915. The Prison Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Pub. L. No. 104-135, 110 Stat. 1321 (April 26, 1996) (the "PLRA"), which amends 28 U.S.C. § 1915, establishes certain financial requirements for prisoners who are attempting to bring a civil action or file an appeal in forma pauperis.

Under the PLRA, a prisoner seeking to bring a civil action in forma pauperis must submit an affidavit, including a statement of all assets, which states that the prisoner is unable to pay the fee. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(1). The prisoner also must submit a certified copy of his inmate trust fund account statement(s) for the six-month period immediately preceding the filing of his complaint. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a)(2). The prisoner must obtain this certified statement from the appropriate official of each prison at which he was or is confined. Id.

Even if the prisoner is granted in forma pauperis status, the prisoner must pay the full amount of the $350 filing fee in installments. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(1). In each month that the amount in the prisoner's account exceeds $10.00, until the $350.00 filing fee is paid, the agency having custody of the prisoner shall assess, deduct from the prisoner's account, and forward to the Clerk of the Court an installment payment equal to 20 % of the preceding month's income credited to the prisoner's account. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(b)(2).

A plaintiff granted leave to proceed in forma pauperis must pay the filing fee, and even if the full filing fee, or any part of it, has been paid, the Court must dismiss the case if it finds that the action: (1) is frivolous or malicious; (2) fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted; or (3) seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) (in forma pauperis actions). See also 28 U.S.C. § 1915A (dismissal of actions in which prisoner seeks redress from a governmental defendant); 42 U.S.C. § 1997e (dismissal of prisoner actions brought with respect to prison conditions). If the Court dismisses the case for any of these reasons, the PLRA does not suspend installment payments of the filing fee or permit the prisoner to get back the filing fee, or any part of it, that has already been paid.

If the prisoner has, on three or more prior occasions while incarcerated, brought in federal court an action or appeal that was dismissed on the grounds that it was frivolous or malicious, or that it failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted, he cannot bring another action in forma pauperis unless he is in imminent danger of serious physical injury. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(g).

Rule 11

Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure requires that each unrepresented Plaintiff sign every pleading, written motion, or other written paper submitted to the Court.

Rule 18

Rule 18(a) controls the joinder of claims. In general, "[a] party asserting a claim ... may join as independent or alternative claims, as many ...


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