United States District Court, D. New Jersey
Keith Michael Capers, Plaintiff Pro Se, Bridgeton, NJ.
JEROME B. SIMANDLE, Chief District Judge.
Before the Court is Plaintiff Keith Michael Capers' ("Plaintiff"), submission of a civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiff is convicted and sentenced state prisoner currently confined at South Woods State Prison ("SWSP"), Bridgeton, New Jersey. By Order dated May 19, 2015, this Court granted Plaintiff's application to proceed in forma pauperis pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(a) and ordered the Clerk to file the Complaint. (Docket Entry 2). 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 reasons set forth below, the Court concludes that the complaint will be dismissed. Plaintiff shall, however, be given leave to amend.
Plaintiff brings this civil rights action against New Jersey Department of Corrections ("DOC") Commissioner Gary Lanigan. The following factual allegations are taken from the complaint and are accepted for purposes of this screening only. The Court has made no findings as to the veracity of Plaintiff's allegations.
Plaintiff states that in September 2014, corrections officials inappropriately and unnecessarily transferred him from the Adult Diagnostic and Treatment Center ("ATDC") to SWSP. (Docket Entry 1 at 5). He was informed that he was ineligible for minimum custody status under DOC's Objective Classification System, N.J. ADMIN. CODE § 10A:9-2.1 et seq., through which he was assigned an "override E-1 custody status, " and placed in general population. (Docket Entry 1 at 5).
Plaintiff further states that corrections officers confiscated his medical braces for his leg and arm, which were injured as the result of a stroke in 2010. (Docket Entry 1 at 5). He claims that he has been suffering from severe pain and foot sores, and has been placed on high blood pressure medication and vitamins as a result. (Docket Entry 1 at 5).
Plaintiff asks this Court to order his release from custody and to compensate him for his time in custody and for medical neglect. (Docket Entry 1 at 6).
A. Standards for a Sua Sponte Dismissal
Per the Prison Litigation Reform Act, Pub. L. No. 104-134, §§ 801-810, 110 Stat. 1321-66 to 1321-77 (April 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. This action is subject to sua sponte screening for dismissal under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1915(e)(2)(b) and 1915A because Plaintiff is a prisoner proceeding in forma pauperis and is seeking relief from a government official.
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)); see also United States v. Day, 969 F.2d 39, 42 (3d Cir. 1992).
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,  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." Fair Wind Sailing, Inc. v. Dempster, 764 F.3d 303, 308 n.3 (3d Cir. 2014) (quoting Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678). Moreover, while pro se pleadings ...