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Bell v. Holmes

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

February 23, 2015

FRANK BELL (SCOTT), Plaintiff,
v.
CHRISTOPHER HOLMES, et al., Defendants.

Frank Bell (Scott), Pro Se, Bridgeton, NJ.

OPINION

JEROME B. SIMANDLE, District Judge.

Plaintiff, Frank Bell, confined at the South Woods State Prison, Bridgeton, New Jersey, submitted a civil Complaint alleging violations of his constitutional rights and an application to proceed in forma pauperis ("IFP"). Based on the submissions, the Court will grant Plaintiff's application 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) and 1915A(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 for failure to state a claim.

BACKGROUND

The following facts are taken from Plaintiff's Statement of Claims, attached to his Complaint (Docket Item 1 at pp. 10-11 of 13).

Plaintiff states that on February 5, 2012, he was a state prisoner at South Woods State Prison ("SWSP") when he was accused of exchanging contraband (drugs) with an approved visitor. In particular, he was accused of smuggling contraband in his buttocks. Because of the accusation, he was placed in a "dry cell" from February 6 through February 15, 2012. Plaintiff's clothes were taken except for boxer shorts, as was his mattress. Plaintiff states he was "unable to sleep due to the bright lights, " and "could not bring [himself] to sleep on a cold concrete stained floor that reeked of urine and defecation."

Because he refused to sleep, Plaintiff "stayed awake on [his] feet for nine (9) days." As a result, Plaintiff suffered lower back pain and swelling of his feet, and when he received medical treatment, he was told to elevate his feet. Plaintiff refused to do so because he didn't have a mattress.

Plaintiff "personally [saw] the Administrator on 3 or 4 separate occasions within those nine days when [he] was treated inhumanely, " however, the Administrator, presumably defendant Holmes, believed there was "probable cause" for the treatment, and failed to "stop the abuse."

Plaintiff was released after nine days and found not guilty of the institutional infraction relating to drugs, but found guilty of refusing to obey an order. Plaintiff states the refusal charge was retaliation by the officers to "justify their actions." During transportation to detention, Plaintiff notes that his feet were visibly swollen and he was unable to put on his shoes. He was examined by a nurse and admitted to the Emergency Care Unit for four days of bed rest. After his stay in the Emergency Care Unit, Plaintiff was taken to administrative segregation to serve 90 days on the "charge [he] didn't deserve." Plaintiff contends that he did not disobey staff.

Plaintiff argues that because of the "draconian conditions" he was subjected to, he developed a sleeping disorder and back and foot pain, and his visitor, his girlfriend, is permanently banned from the institution, causing a strain on their relationship.

Plaintiff seeks monetary relief and for the visitation ban to be lifted (Complaint, Relief, ¶ 7). He names as Defendants Christopher Holmes, the former Administrator of SWSP, the Department of Corrections, SWSP, and the State of New Jersey.

DISCUSSION

1. Standards for a Sua ...


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