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Adams v. Muniak

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

February 20, 2014

QUINCELL ADAMS, RICHARD TORO, Plaintiffs,
v.
ROSELLEN G. MUNIAK, et al., Defendants.

Quincell Adams, Pro Se, 287178D/653151, Richard Toro, Pro Se, 311162E, Bridgeton, NJ.

OPINION

JEROME B. SIMANDLE, District Judge.

Plaintiffs, Quincell Adams and Richard Toro, confined at the South Woods State Prison, Bridgeton, New Jersey, submitted this complaint under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of their constitutional rights. Each Plaintiff has provided an in forma pauperis ("IFP") application and account statement. Based on the IFP applications, the Court will grant Plaintiffs' IFP requests pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a) and order the Clerk of the Court to file the complaint.

The Court must now review the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) 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 reasons set forth below, the Court concludes that Plaintiff's complaint should be dismissed, without prejudice.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiffs state that on September 13, 2012, defendant Rosellen Muniak, the Law Librarian and defendant Sargeant M. Sheppard, employees of the South Woods State Prison, along with a John Doe defendant, violated their constitutional rights by reading and inspecting and confiscating their legal materials, writing a "bogus" disciplinary report to have legal materials confiscated, restricting Plaintiffs' access to courts by correspondence, limited use of law reference materials, "deprived the Plaintiffs his [sic] responsibility to use the service of an attorney honest[ly] and fairly, " deprived them of the right to assist other prisoners, deprived them of use of photocopying services, "not informing the Plaintiffs of the rules and procedures concerning the operation of the correctional facility, " and conspired under 42 U.S.C. § 1985 and 1986. (Complaint, Docket Item 1 at p. 19).

In particular, Plaintiffs state that a violation of their First Amendment rights occurred when Defendants allegedly violated New Jersey Administrative Code 10A:18-3.2. This allegation appears to be based on Defendants' statement on a disciplinary report, which said, "During a review of data on disk, ...." (Complt. at p. 4). Plaintiffs state that the disk contained legal materials and was confiscated. They allege:

The defendant has violated the Plaintiff's First Amendment Rights by confiscating the Plaintiff's legal materials. A disc that contains legal materials of legal petitions addressed to the Monmouth County Superior Courts and Camden Municipal Courts to redress of grievances. By the defendant to confiscate legal materials from the Plaintiffs, the Plaintiffs were unable to petition the courts for a redress of grievances. The Plaintiffs has [sic] outstanding warrants [in] Monmouth County Superior Courts and Camden Municipal Courts.

( Id. ). They also allege a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment and state that Plaintiffs were "unable to work on his legal petitions for a redress of grievances that he was preparing to the courts, so that his incarceration would not restrict his liberty." ( Id.).

Plaintiffs seek monetary relief for these alleged violations of their First Amendment rights. (Complt. at p. 21).

DISCUSSION

1. Standards for a Sua Sponte Dismissal

The Prison Litigation Reform Act, 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 must 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). This action is subject to sua sponte screening for dismissal under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B) because Plaintiffs are prisoners proceeding as indigents.

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)); ...


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