United States District Court, D. New Jersey
Harrison, Plaintiff Pro Se
B. SIMANDLE CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
Plaintiff Kiesha Harrison seeks to bring a civil rights
complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Complaint,
Docket Entry 1.
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
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).
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 brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
for alleged violations of Plaintiff's constitutional
rights. In order to set forth a prima facie case
under § 1983, a plaintiff must show: “(1) a person
deprived [her] of a federal right; and (2) the person who
deprived [her] of that right acted under color of state or
territorial law.” Groman v. Twp. of Manalapan,
47 F.3d 628, 633 (3d Cir. 1995) (citing Gomez v.
Toledo, 446 U.S. 635, 640 (1980)).
Generally, for purposes of actions under § 1983,
“[t]he term ‘persons' includes local and
state officers acting under color of state law.”
Carver v. Foerster, 102 F.3d 96, 99 (3d Cir. 1996)
(citing Hafer v. Melo, 502 U.S. 21
(1991)). To say that a person was “acting
under color of state law” means that the defendant in a
§ 1983 action “exercised power [that the
defendant] possessed by virtue of state law and made possible
only because the wrongdoer [was] clothed with the authority
of state law.” West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42, 49
(1988) (citation omitted). Generally, then, “a public
employee acts under color of state law while acting in his
official capacity or while exercising his responsibilities
pursuant to state law.” Id. at 50.
Plaintiff has not named a defendant in the complaint. The
Complaint must therefore be dismissed.
Plaintiff may be able to amend the complaint to name a person
or persons who were personally involved in the alleged
unconstitutional conditions of confinement, however. To that
end, the Court shall grant Plaintiff leave to amend the
complaint within 30 days of the date of this order.
Plaintiff is advised that the amended complaint 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 alleges
that she was confined in the Camden County Jail in 2009,
2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. Complaint § III. The facts
section of the complaint states: “When I was in the
jail over crowding in my cells no proper bedding laying on
the floor with no matts [illegible] Bugs such as roach[es] in
my food.” Id. Plaintiff further alleges:
“My shoes were not safe the rubber of my shoe came off
I fell and hurt my knee in the gymnasium and I was sent to
medical and they just gave me Tylenol for pain, I asked [to
go] to hospital cause I hit my head but they refuse to send
me out. This happen in June 28, 2015.” Even accepting
these statements as true for screening purposes only, there
is not enough factual support for the Court to infer 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 dates and length
of the confinement(s), whether Plaintiff was a pretrial
detainee or convicted prisoner, etc.
addition, to the extent that Plaintiff seeks to allege a
claim based on a violation of her right to adequate medical
care, there are not enough facts to support an inference that
Plaintiff's rights were violated in this regard. In order
to set forth a cognizable claim for a violation of her right
to adequate medical care, an inmate 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). Plaintiff's assertion that
she was not sent to the hospital when she asked to go is
insufficient to meet the pleading standard in the absence of
additional facts. If she wishes to pursue this claim,
Plaintiff should provide additional facts supporting both of
the requirements in her amended complaint.
Moreover, to the extent the complaint seeks relief for
conditions Plaintiff encountered during confinements ending
prior to November 1, 2014, namely, Plaintiff's claims
arising from her 2009, 2012, and 2013 confinements, those
claims are barred by the statute of limitations and must be
dismissed with prejudice, ...