United States District Court, D. New Jersey
Denyell Marshee Rodgers, Plaintiff Pro Se
HONORABLE JEROME B. SIMANDLE JUDGE
Complaint dated October 18, 2016, Plaintiff Denyell Marshee
Rodgers sought to bring a civil rights action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1983 for allegedly unconstitutional conditions
of confinement. Complaint, Docket Entry 1 (“Original
Complaint”), § III(A). The Complaint stated in its
entirety: “I was made to sleep on the floor of the
jail” (id. § III(C)) at “Camden
County Correctional Facility” (id. §
III(A)) during “year of 2012 as well as 2016.”
Id. § III(B).
Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), Pub. L.
No. 104-134, §§ 801-810, 110 Stat. 1321-66 to
1321-77, requires a court to review complaints prior to
service in cases in which a plaintiff is proceeding in
forma pauperis. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). 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.
accordance with these directives of the PLRA, this Court
undertook the requisite screening and, by Order dated
February 24, 2017 (Docket Entry 4 (“Dismissal
Order”)): (a) dismissed with prejudice Plaintiff's
claims against the defendant correctional facility; and (b)
dismissed without prejudice Plaintiff's claims alleging
constitutional violations as to conditions of confinement.
February 24 dismissal of Plaintiff's claim against the
correctional was with prejudice because, as explained in this
Court's February 24, 2017 Opinion that accompanied the
Dismissal Order, correctional facilities are not “state
actors” subject to liability within the meaning of 42
U.S.C. § 1983. Docket Entry 3, at 2 (“Dismissal
Opinion”) (citing Crawford v. McMillian, 660
F. App'x 113, 116 (3d Cir. 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
February 24 dismissal of Plaintiff's conditions of
confinement claim was without prejudice because, even
accepting the statements in § III of Plaintiff's
Complaint as true for screening purposes only (“I was
made to sleep on the floor of the jail” (Original
Complaint § III(C)), there was not enough factual
support for the Court to infer that a constitutional
violation had occurred in connection with Plaintiff's
incarceration. Dismissal Opinion at 4-5.
Dismissal Order granted Plaintiff leave to amend the
Complaint within 30 days of the date of the Dismissal Order
to plead sufficient facts to support a reasonable inference
that a constitutional violation occurred during his
confinement, such as: adverse conditions that were caused by
specific state actors; adverse conditions that caused
Plaintiff to endure genuine privations and hardship over an
extended period of time; or adverse conditions that were
excessive in relation to their purposes.
March 22, 2017, Plaintiff submitted an Amended Complaint,
again asserting claims arising from incarceration at
“Camden County Correctional Facility” (Docket
Entry 5 (“Amended Complaint”) at § III(A)),
but differing from the Original Complaint as to conditions of
confinement facts and alleged injuries:
a. First, as to conditions of confinement facts, the Amended
Complaint contends that Plaintiff: (i) was “not
supplied with an ind[i]gent packet” during “7 day
lockdown for 23 hours per day”; (ii) “wasn't
supplied with any form of washcloth to shower with so I had
no way of keeping up with my hygiene during this time”;
(iii) “was not given any toilet paper”; and (iv)
“had no soap.” Amended Complaint, Docket Entry 5,
§ III(C). Unlike the Original Complaint, the Amended
Complaint contains no allegations concerning Plaintiff being
“made to sleep on the floor” while incarcerated.
Original Complaint, § III(C). In short, the Amended
Complaint does not adopt the allegations in the Original
Complaint as to conditions of confinement being challenged.
b. Second, as to alleged injuries, the Amended Complaint
contends that Plaintiff “sustained a rash on bottom and
private area that was later treated with a vaginal
cream.” Amended Complaint § IV. Plaintiff denied
sustaining any injuries in the Original Complaint. Original
Complaint § IV (“N/A”). In short, the
Amended Complaint does not adopt the allegations in the
Original Complaint as to Plaintiff's purported injuries.
accordance with the directives of the PLRA, the Court must
now screen the Amended Complaint to dismiss any claim that is
frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim, or seeks
monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from suit.
Pursuant to this mandate of the PLRA, the Court now finds
that Plaintiff's March 22, 2017 Amended Complaint is
insufficient to constitute an amended complaint that survives
this Court's review under § 1915.
First, whether referred to as “Camden County
Correctional Facility” (Docket Entry 1 § III(A);
Docket Entry 5 at 1; Docket Entry 5 § I(B)) or
“Camden County Jail” (Docket Entry 1 §
I(B)), Plaintiff's claims against the defendant
correctional facility where Plaintiff was incarcerated cannot
survive dismissal with prejudice.
order to set forth a prima facie case under §
1983, a plaintiff must show: “(1) a person deprived him
of a federal right; and (2) the person who deprived him of
that right acted under color of state or territorial
law.” Groman v. Twp. of Manalapan, 47 ...