United States District Court, D. New Jersey
Mercado Plaintiff Pro Se.
B. SIMANDLE Chief U.S. District Judge.
Plaintiff Daniel Mercado seeks to bring a civil rights
complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Camden
County Corrections (“CCC”) for allegedly
unconstitutional conditions of confinement. Complaint, Docket
Entry 1. Based on Plaintiff's affidavit of indigency, the
Court will grant his application to proceed in forma
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
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).
present 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
§ 1915. 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 occurred.
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: “Inhumane treatment
where I had to endure sleeping on a hard floor that was
overcrowded with inmates. I had bugbites and frequently saw
rodents in my cell. At one point it was my turn to sleep next
to the toilet where I was sprayed with toilet water as it
flushed which was very humiliating for everyone. Guards were
constantly notified, but only could say it was “out of
their hands.” When asked who saw what happened
definitely, the correctional officers since they have
first-hand accounts. Also anyone working in the prison up to
the warden had to have known these horrible conditions
existed.” Complaint § III(C).
Plaintiff does not provide any information with respect to
dates and times of the purported events giving rise to his
respect to alleged injuries from the event(s) giving rise to
Plaintiff's claims, the Complaint states: “I have
had anxiety attacks and was prescribed medication for it. I
also was prescribed medication to aid with sleeping at night
because since those times it has been very difficult for me
to sleep. I also continue to have back pain for having to
sleep on the floor. I am currently seeking medical
treatment.” Id. § IV.
Plaintiff does not identify any relief sought in connection
with his claims. Id. § V.
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 factors are the length of the
confinement(s), whether plaintiff was a pretrial detainee or
convicted prisoner, any specific individuals who were
involved in creating or failing to remedy the conditions of
confinement, any other relevant facts regarding the
conditions of confinement, etc.
Moreover, the CCC is not a separate legal entity from Camden
County and is therefore not independently subject to suit.
See Bermudez v. Essex Cty. D.O.C., No. 12-6035, 2013
WL 1405263, at *5 (D.N.J. Apr. 4, 2013) (citing cases).