United States District Court, D. New Jersey
Norman Plaintiff Pro Se.
B. SIMANDLE Chief U.S. District Judge.
Plaintiff Sequan Norman seeks to bring a civil rights
complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the
Camden County Jail (“CCJ”) for allegedly
unconstitutional conditions of confinement. Complaint, Docket
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2) requires courts to review complaints
prior to service in cases in which a plaintiff is proceeding
in forma pauperis. Courts must 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)
because Plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis.
the reasons set forth below, the Court will: (1) dismiss the
Complaint with prejudice as to claims made against CCJ; and
(2) dismiss the Complaint without prejudice for failure to
state a claim. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(b)(ii).
First, the Complaint must be dismissed with prejudice as to
claims made against the CCJ because defendant is not a
“state actor” within the meaning of § 1983.
See Crawford v. McMillian, No. 16-3412, 2016 WL
6134846, at *2 (3d Cir. Oct. 21, 2016) (“[T]he prison
is not an entity subject to suit under 42 U.S.C. §
1983.”) (citing Fischer v. Cahill, 474 F.2d
991, 992 (3d Cir. 1973)); Grabow v. Southern State Corr.
Facility, 726 F.Supp. 537, 538-39 (D.N.J. 1989)
(correctional facility is not a “person” under
Second, the Complaint does not allege sufficient facts to
support a reasonable inference that a constitutional
violation has occurred in order to survive this Court's
review under 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(b)(ii). Even
accepting the statements in Plaintiff's Complaint as true
for screening purposes only, there is not enough factual
support for the Court to infer a constitutional violation has
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).
“[A] pleading that offers ‘labels or
conclusions' or ‘a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action will not do.'”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
(2007)). Moreover, while pro se pleadings are
liberally construed, “pro se litigants still
must allege sufficient facts in their complaints to support a
claim.” Mala v. Crown Bay Marina, Inc., 704
F.3d 239, 245 (3d Cir. 2013) (citation omitted) (emphasis
respect to alleged facts giving rise to his claims,
Plaintiff's Complaint states that he was “locked
down stairs [sic] in the process room with like 25
to 30 males into one cell & then being taking
[sic] up to 7 day with like 5 males in on[e] room.
[I] had to be placed on the floor as my sleeping area [was]
near the door. [P]eople stepping over me & nasty people
with pee and feces. My stay there I stayed on the
floor.” Complaint § III(C).
Plaintiff states that the purported events giving rise to his
claims occurred “10/10/15 when I was brought into the
County Jail in Camden, NJ.” Id. § III(B).
respect to injuries related to the alleged events, Plaintiff
contends: “My back hurts hear [sic] &
there. I never went to get it checked yet.”
Id. § IV.
Plaintiff does not quantify damages for relief he seeks.
Id. § V (“not living like animals or
being treated like one”).
Plaintiff's claims must be dismissed because the
Complaint does not set forth enough factual support for the
Court to infer that a constitutional violation has occurred.
mere fact that an individual is lodged temporarily in a cell
with more persons than its intended design does not rise to
the level of a constitutional violation. See Rhodes v.
Chapman, 452 U.S. 337, 348-50 (1981) (holding
double-celling by itself did not violate Eighth Amendment);
Carson v. Mulvihill, 488 F.App'x 554, 560 (3d
Cir. 2012) (“[M]ere double-bunking does not constitute
punishment, because there is no ‘one man, one cell
principle lurking in the Due Process Clause of the Fifth
Amendment.'” (quoting Bell v. Wolfish, 441
U.S. 520, 542 (1979))). More is needed to demonstrate that
such crowded conditions, for a pretrial detainee, shocks the
conscience and thus violates due process rights. See
Hubbard v. Taylor, 538 F.3d 229, 233 (3d Cir. 2008)
(noting due process analysis requires courts to consider
whether the totality of the conditions “cause[s]
inmates to endure such genuine privations and hardship over
an extended period of time, that the adverse conditions
become excessive in relation to the purposes assigned to
them.”). Some relevant ...