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Jones v. Artis

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

August 1, 2014

FLOYD M. JONES, Plaintiff,
v.
WARDEN LAWRENCE ARTIS, et al., Defendants.

OPINION

ROBERT B. KUGLER, District Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff is a pretrial detainee at the Burlington County Correctional Facility in Mt. Holly, New Jersey. He is proceeding pro se with a civil rights complaint filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff's application to proceed in forma pauperis will be granted based on the information provided therein.

At this time, the Court must review the complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(B) 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 suit. For the reasons set forth below, the complaint will be permitted to proceed in part.

II. BACKGROUND

The allegations of the complaint will be construed as true for purposes of this screening. Plaintiff names the following defendants: (1) Warden Lawrence Artis; (2) Board of Chosen Freeholders of Burlington County; (3) Sergeant Thompson; (4) Lieutenant Hall; and (5) Captain Larkins.[1]

Plaintiff states that he has been placed on a special low sodium diet due to his high blood pressure. Nevertheless, he claims that during his time at the Burlington County Jail that he has been forced to eat meals high in sodium. As a result, he claims that his blood pressure is always high and uncontrollable. Plaintiff also complains that he is also forced to eat cold food because the trays used to hold the food are not meant to hold heat.

Plaintiff states that he has raised the issues of his meals with defendants Thompson, Hall, Larkins and Artis on several occasions to no avail. He claims that defendants Hall, Larkins and Artis have told him that they will look into the problem, yet the problems with the food still remain. Furthermore, with respect to Artis, plaintiff claims that he knew of the conditions as plaintiff personally spoke to him and that Artis did not do anything to change anything with respect to plaintiff's food issues.

As a result of the issues with his food as described above, plaintiff alleges that it has put him at risk of a stroke or heart attack in the future. He seeks $10, 000 in money damages.

III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

A. Standard for Sua Sponte Dismissal

Per the Prison Litigation Reform Act, Pub. L. No. 104-134, §§ 801-810, 110 Stat. 1321-66 to 1321-77 (Apr. 26, 1996) ("PLRA"), district courts must review complaints in those civil actions in which a prisoner is proceeding in forma pauperis, see 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), seeks redress against a governmental employee or entity, see 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b), or brings a claim with respect to prison conditions, see 42 U.S.C. § 1997e. The PLRA directs district courts to sua sponte dismiss any claim that is frivolous, is 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.

According to the Supreme Court's decision in Ashcroft v. Iqbal, "a pleading that offers labels or conclusions' or a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.'" 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). To survive sua sponte screening for failure to state a claim[2], the complaint must allege "sufficient factual matter" to show that the claim is facially plausible. Fowler v. UPMS Shadyside, 578 F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009) (citation omitted). "A claim has facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Belmont v. MB Inv. Partners, Inc., 708 F.3d 470, 483 n.17 (3d Cir. 2012) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). Moreover, while pro se pleadings ...


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