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Donna Heaney v. Nj Department of Corrections

December 8, 2010

DONNA HEANEY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
NJ DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

NOT FOR PUBLICATION

OPINION

APPEARANCES: Donna Heaney, Pro Se, 645181 Monmouth County Correctional Institution 1 Waterworks Road, Freehold, NJ 07728

Plaintiff, a state prisoner confined at the Monmouth County Correctional Institution ("MCCI"), Freehold, New Jersey, brings this civil action alleging violations of her constitutional rights. She has applied to proceed in forma pauperis, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. The Court must review the complaint, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e) 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. For the following reasons, the complaint will be dismissed.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff states that she was sentenced on September 11, 2009, to three-years "flat." On September 22, 2009, she expected to be transferred to the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility ("EMCF"), which is the only state facility to house women. But her transfer has been put on hold, and she has been in MCCI since sentencing. Plaintiff complains that in MCCI she is unable to move around as she would at EMCF, unable to take college courses, and visitation periods are shorter than they would be at EMCF. She states there is no reduced custody at MCCI, and that evaluations that would be done at EMCF right away were not done at the county level, and that she had to pay an attorney to get these things accomplished in the county. She claims that there is no counseling at the county level, and that her library time is limited. She has been attempting to get some type of community release or work release, through defendant Rogers, with no success.

Plaintiff asserts that defendant Hauck, EMCF Superintendent, is refusing to transfer her because Plaintiff's husband was a Captain in the Department of Corrections who retired in 2007. He had worked at EMCF for six months in 2003-2004. Plaintiff states that defendant Hauck claims that Plaintiff's husband wrote an email after he retired that defendant Hauck "did not approve of." Plaintiff does not specify the relief she seeks.

DISCUSSION

A. Standard of Review

A district court must 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. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A. This action is subject to sua sponte screening for dismissal under both 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A, because plaintiff is a prisoner and proceeding as an indigent.

In determining the sufficiency of a pro se complaint, the Court must be mindful to construe it liberally in favor of the plaintiff. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93-94 (2007) (following Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976) and Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520-21 (1972)); see also United States v. Day, 969 F.2d 39, 42 (3d Cir. 1992).

The standard for summary dismissal of a complaint that fails to state a claim is in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937 (2009). The Court examined Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8(a)(2), which provides that a complaint must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2).*fn1 Citing Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), for the proposition that "[a] pleading that offers 'labels and conclusions' or 'a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do,'"

Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. at 1949 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555), the Supreme Court held that, to prevent a summary dismissal, a civil complaint must now allege "sufficient factual matter" to show that the claim is facially plausible. This then "allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." See id. at 1948. Iqbal emphasizes that a plaintiff must demonstrate that the allegations of the complaint are ...


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