United States District Court, D. New Jersey
JAMES D. BRADLEY, Plaintiff,
STATE OF NEW JERSEY, Defendant.
D. Bradley, Plaintiff Pro Se
B. SIMANDLE, Chief U.S. District Judge
Plaintiff James D. Bradley seeks to bring a civil rights
complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the State
of New Jersey for allegedly unconstitutional conditions of
confinement. Complaint, Docket Entry 1.
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 the State
of New Jersey because Congress did not expressly abrogate
sovereign immunity when it passed § 1983; and (2)
dismiss the Complaint without prejudice for failure to state
a claim. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(b)(ii).
First, Plaintiff's claims against the State of New Jersey
must be dismissed based on the Eleventh Amendment to the
United States Constitution, which provides: “The
Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to
extend to any suit in law or equity, commenced or prosecuted
against one of the United States by Citizens of another
State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign
State.” U.S. Const. amend. XI. Plaintiff may not bring
a suit against the State in federal court unless Congress has
expressly abrogated New Jersey's sovereign immunity or
the State consents to being sued in federal court. Will
v. Michigan Dep't of State Police, 491 U.S. 58, 66
(1989). Here, Congress did not expressly abrogate sovereign
immunity when it passed § 1983, see id., and
there is no indication New Jersey has consented to
Plaintiff's suit. The claims against the State of New
Jersey must be dismissed with prejudice. As Plaintiff may be
able to amend his complaint to name a specific person
responsible for the alleged conditions of confinement, the
Court will grant Plaintiff leave to amend his complaint.
Second, with respect to Plaintiff's allegations of
unconstitutional conditions of confinement, he does not plead
sufficient facts to support a reasonable inference that a
constitutional violation has occurred in order to survive
this Court's review under § 1915.
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's Complaint states: “I want the Court to
compensate me for my time in Camden County Jail from March to
the end of June . . . 2016 . . . for inhumane and unsafe
living conditions. I was sleeping under metal tabels
[sic] and chairs on the floor which was very dirty
with bugs and mouse urine and other bodily fluids, and hit my
head on the steal [sic] table waking up numerous
times. Also was force[d] to sleep on the floor practically
under toilet due to overcrowding in 1 cell. [I] had urine
splashed on my mat and clothes.” Complaint §§
Plaintiff is “looking for $1, 000.00 - $5, 000.00 for
my inhumane living conditions and emotional destress
[sic].” Id. § V.
accepting these statements as true for screening purposes
only, there is not 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 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.
Plaintiff may be able to amend his Complaint to address the
deficiencies noted by the Court, the Court shall grant
Plaintiff leave to amend the complaint within 30 days of the
date of this order.
Plaintiff should note that when an amended complaint is
filed, the original complaint no longer performs any function
in the case and cannot be utilized to cure defects in the
amended complaint, unless the relevant portion is
specifically incorporated in the new complaint. 6 Wright,
Miller & Kane, Federal Practice and Procedure 1476 (2d
ed. 1990) (footnotes omitted). An amended complaint may adopt
some or all of the allegations in the original complaint, but
the identification of the particular allegations to be