United States District Court, D. New Jersey
Marilyn Mont-Jones, Plaintiff Pro Se.
B. SIMANDLE Chief U.S. District Judge.
Plaintiff Marilyn Mont-Jones seeks to bring a civil rights
complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the
Camden County Jail (“CCJ”). Complaint, Docket
Section 1915(e)(2) requires a court to review complaints
prior to service in cases in which a plaintiff is proceeding
in forma pauperis. The Court 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
the reasons set forth below, the Court will dismiss the
complaint without prejudice for failure to state a claim. 28
U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(b)(ii).
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)).
Plaintiff presumably seeks monetary damages from CCJ for
allegedly unconstitutional conditions of confinement. As the
CCJ is not a “state actor” within the meaning of
§ 1983, the claims against it must be dismissed with
prejudice. See, e.g., Grabow v. Southern State Corr.
Facility, 726 F.Supp. 537, 538- 39 (D.N.J. 1989)
(correctional facility is not a “person” under
Plaintiff may be able to amend the complaint to name state
actors who were personally involved in the alleged
unconstitutional conditions of confinement, however. To that
end, the Court shall grant Plaintiff leave to amend the
complaint within 30 days of the date of this order.
Plaintiff is advised that the amended complaint must plead
sufficient facts to support a reasonable inference that a
constitutional violation has occurred in order to survive
this Court's review under § 1915. The complaint
states in its entirety: “Had to sleep on the floor, 4
women in a 2 man cell.” Complaint § III. She
further alleges that corrections officers illegally searched
her. Id. Even accepting these statements as true for
screening purposes only, there is not enough factual support
for the Court to infer a constitutional violation has
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 factors are the dates and length
of the confinement(s), whether Plaintiff was a pretrial
detainee or convicted prisoner, etc.
Moreover, Plaintiff has not sufficiently alleged a Fourth
Amendment violation for an improper search. Under the Fourth
Amendment, inmates have a limited right of bodily privacy
“subject to reasonable intrusions necessitated by the
prison setting.” Parkell v. Danberg, 833 F.3d
313, 325 (3d Cir. 2016). This right is very narrow, however.
Id. at 326.
“The test of reasonableness under the Fourth Amendment
. . . requires a balancing of the need for the particular
search against the invasion of personal rights that the
search entails. Courts must consider the scope of the
particular intrusion, the manner in which it is conducted,
the justification for initiating it, and the place in which
it is conducted.” Bell v. Wolfish, 441 U.S.
520, 559 (1979). A prisoner search policy is constitutional
if it strikes a reasonable balance between the inmate's
privacy and the needs of the institution. Parkell,
833 F.3d at 326 (citing Florence v. Bd. of Chosen
Freeholders of Cty. of Burlington, 132 S.Ct. 1510, 1515,
Plaintiff's cursory allegations that she was
“illegally searched” is insufficient to state a
claim for relief. In the absence of further facts regarding
the circumstances of the search, the claim cannot proceed at
this time. Plaintiff may amend this claim in an amended
Plaintiff may be able to amend her complaint to address the
deficiencies noted by the Court, the Court shall grant
Plaintiff leave to amend the ...