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Strickland v. Camden County Jail

United States District Court, D. New Jersey

March 9, 2017

SABRINA LINSEY STRICKLAND, Plaintiff,
v.
CAMDEN COUNTY JAIL, Defendant.

          Sabrina Linsey Strickland, Plaintiff Pro Se

          OPINION

          JEROME B. SIMANDLE Chief U.S. District Judge

         1. Plaintiff Sabrina Linsey Strickland seeks to bring a civil rights complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for allegedly unconstitutional conditions of confinement. Complaint, Docket Entry 1. Although Plaintiff does not name a defendant in the caption or in § I(B) of her Complaint, this Court will construe Plaintiff's Complaint as asserting claims against Camden County Jail (“CCJ”), based on Plaintiff's allegations against “Camden County Jail” in § III(A) of her Complaint.

         2. 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. For the reasons set forth below, the Court will dismiss the Complaint with prejudice for failure to state a claim. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(b)(ii).

         3. Plaintiff's Complaint states in its entirety: “I wasn't giving [sic] my medication.” Complaint § III(C). Plaintiff alleges “mental issue” injuries. Id. § IV.

         4. The Complaint does not identify the date(s) or time(s) of the event(s) giving rise to Plaintiff's claim(s). Id. § III(B) (blank).

         5. Plaintiff does not specify or otherwise describe any requested relief. Id. § V (blank).

         6. To survive sua sponte screening under 28 U.S.C. 1915(e)(2) 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)).

         7. Primarily, the Complaint must be dismissed as the CCJ is not a “state actor” within the meaning of § 1983. 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 § 1983). See Complaint § III(A) (“Camden County Jail”). Accordingly, the claims against CCJ must be dismissed with prejudice.

         8. To survive sua sponte screening for failure to state a claim[1], 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 added).

         9. There are not enough facts for the Court to infer Plaintiff was denied adequate medical care. In order to set forth a cognizable claim for violation of the right to adequate medical care during incarceration, a plaintiff must allege: (1) a serious medical need; and (2) behavior on the part of prison officials that constitutes deliberate indifference to that need. See Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976); Natale v. Camden Cnty. Corr. Facility, 318 F.3d 575, 582 (3d Cir. 2003). A mere assertion that Plaintiff was not given medication (Complaint § III(C)) is insufficient to meet the pleading standard in the absence of any facts. If Plaintiff wishes to pursue this claim, Plaintiff should provide facts in an amended complaint supporting both of these requirements of an inadequate medical care claim.

         10. 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 order.[2]

         11. 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.

         12. 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 ...


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