United States District Court, D. New Jersey
CARNEL R. COLES, Plaintiff,
CAMDEN COUNTY CORRECTIONAL FACILITY, Defendant.
R. Coles, Plaintiff Pro Se.
B. SIMANDLE U.S. District Judge.
Plaintiff Carnel R. Coles seeks to bring a civil rights
complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the
Camden County Correctional Facility (“CCCF”) for
allegedly unconstitutional conditions of confinement.
Complaint, Docket Entry 1. The Court now vacates its Opinion
and Order filed and entered June 6, 2017 in this matter
(Docket Entries 5 and 6), and instructs the Clerk to file and
enter this Amended Opinion and accompanying Amended Order on
the docket. Based on Plaintiff's affidavit of indigency,
the Court will grant Plaintiff's application to proceed
in forma pauperis.
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 forma pauperis.
the reasons set forth below, the Court will: (1) dismiss the
Complaint with prejudice as to claims made against CCCF; and
(2) dismiss the Complaint without prejudice for failure to
state a claim. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(b)(ii).
Against CCCF: Dismissed With Prejudice
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 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 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.
Because the Complaint has not sufficiently alleged that a
“person” deprived Plaintiff of a federal right,
the Complaint does not meet the standards necessary to set
forth a prima facie case under § 1983. In the
Complaint, Plaintiff seeks monetary damages from CCCF for
allegedly unconstitutional conditions of confinement. The
CCCF, however, is not a “person” within the
meaning of § 1983; therefore, the claims against it must
be dismissed with prejudice. See 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 § 1983). Given that the
claims against the CCCF must be dismissed with prejudice, the
claims may not proceed and Plaintiff may not name the CCCF as
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.
Of Confinement Claims -- Overcrowding: Dismissed Without
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 added).
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.
However, with respect to the alleged facts giving rise to
Plaintiff's claims, the Complaint states: “[A]n
overcrowded facility . . . at the Camden County Correctional
Facility . . . led to an inhumane environment. To emphasize[,
] there were four inmates to one cell . . . When sleeping at
night I slept on the floor with no boat near the toilet
because there was nowhere else to sleep.” Complaint
Plaintiff states that these events occurred “January
23, 2014 - June 6, 2016.” Id. § III(B).
Plaintiff does not identify or otherwise describe any
injuries sustained from these ...