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Brian Keith Bragg v. Karen Balicki

February 18, 2011

BRIAN KEITH BRAGG, PLAINTIFF,
v.
KAREN BALICKI, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



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

NOT FOR PUBLICATION

OPINION

APPEARANCES:

Plaintiff, Brian Keith Bragg, currently confined at the Northern State Prison, Newark, New Jersey, seeks to bring this action alleging violations of his constitutional rights in forma pauperis, without prepayment of fees pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915. At this time, 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. For the following reasons, Plaintiff's complaint will be dismissed.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff seeks to sue various administrators and officers at the South Woods State Prison ("SWSP"), where he was confined at the time he filed this action. Plaintiff states that he is suing on his behalf, and on behalf of "other similarly situated inmates," because SWSP "has a pattern and practice of using unnecessary excessive force against its inmates." (Complt, ¶ 6 "Statement of Claims"). He asserts that:

. . . for years through data, statistics, lawsuits, citizen complaints, adverse publicity, and special investigations complaints through the special investigation division (SID), [ ] were put on notice that SWSP correctional staff had a custom or unwritten policy of unnecessarily using deadly, physical or chemical force against its inmates. (Complt, ¶ 6(2)).

Plaintiff further claims that the named defendants, Administrator Balicki, Associate Superintendent Jallah, Assistant Superintendent Powell, and Captain Redman failed to act and were the moving force behind the "brutality" at SWSP. (Complt., ¶ 6(3)). Plaintiff states that there is a "wall of silence" at SWSP, and that "what is happening" at SWSP directly bears on the recruitment, training and supervision of officers. (Complt. ¶ 6(5)). He asserts that there is an "absence of a strictly enforced disciplinary system" leading officers to believe they are above the law. (Complt., ¶ 6(7)).

Plaintiff states that the "plaintiffs" he seeks to protect in this lawsuit fear for their safety and that they will be "subjected to excessive force that runs rampant throughout SWSP." (Complt., ¶ 6(9)). He eludes to a "post-event lack of proper internal investigation," (Complt., ¶ 6(8)), but does not give facts concerning any "event." Finally, he charges defendants with inadequate supervision, and with disregarding inmates' safety. (Complt., ¶ 6(10-11)).

For relief, Plaintiff seeks a declaration that the inmates' rights were violated, a preliminary injunction ordering defendants to stop using excessive force, and any other relief deemed just. (Complt., ¶ 7). He labels his complaint: "Emergency Injunction A Temporary Restraining Order."

DISCUSSION

A. Standards for 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. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) and 1915A. This action is subject to sua sponte screening for dismissal under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) and § 1915A(b), because Plaintiff is a prisoner and is 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 ...


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