United States District Court, D. New Jersey
Wallace Maurice Johnson, Jr. Plaintiff Pro Se
B. SIMANDLE Chief U.S. District Judge
Plaintiff Wallace Maurice Johnson, Jr. seeks to bring a civil
rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against
Camden County Jail (“CCJ”) for allegedly
unconstitutional conditions of confinement. 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 pauperis.
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, for 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 any facts whatsoever 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 no 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
Here, Plaintiff's Complaint states that the location(s)
and date(s) of the alleged event(s) giving rise to his claims
are “unknown.” Complaint § III(A)-(B).
Plaintiff provides no facts whatsoever regarding the
statement of his 1289, 2017 WL 26884, slip op. at *2 (D.N.J.
Jan. 3, 2017) (citing Schreane v. Seana, 506 F.
App'x 120, 122 (3d Cir. 2012)); Allah v.
Seiverling, 229 F.3d 220, 223 (3d Cir. 2000));
Mitchell v. Beard, 492 F. App'x 230, 232 (3d
Cir. 2012) (discussing 28 U.S.C. § 1997e(c)(1));
Courteau v. United States, 287 F. App'x 159, 162
(3d Cir. 2008) (discussing 28 U.S.C. § 1915A(b)). claim.
Id. § III(C). Plaintiff states that he has no
injuries. Id. § IV. He seeks
“compensation for overcrowden [sic] of county
jail, force [sic] to sleep on floor.”
Id. § V.
construing the Complaint as seeking to bring a civil rights
complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, any such
purported claims must be dismissed because the Complaint does
not set forth sufficient 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.
Plaintiff may be able to amend the Complaint to particularly
identify adverse conditions that were caused by specific
state actors, that caused Plaintiff to endure genuine
privations and hardship over an extended period of time, and
that were excessive in relation to their purposes. To that
end, the Court shall grant Plaintiff leave to amend the
Complaint within 30 days of the date of this
Plaintiff is further advised that any amended complaint must
plead specific facts regarding the conditions of confinement.
In the event Plaintiff files an amended complaint, Plaintiff
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.
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
adopted must be clear and explicit. Id. To avoid
confusion, the safer course is to file ...