United States District Court, D. New Jersey
Courtney Baldi, Plaintiff Pro Se
B. SIMANDLE U.S. District Judge
Plaintiff Courtney Baldi seeks to bring a civil rights
complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the
Camden County Jail (“CCJ”). 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
the reasons set forth below, the Court will allow the
complaint to proceed in part.
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 states: “[O]fficer Colon stripped searched me
for the second time that night when she took me in the
bathroom. I asked to step of [sic] the blanket before getting
naked again for municipal charges.” Complaint §
III.C. The complaint then indicates that Officer Colon left
the bathroom and returned with Officer Corley. Id.
Officer Corley then punched Plaintiff in the face and kneeled
on Plaintiff's arms. Id. Officer Colon proceeded
to slam Plaintiff's head into the floor twelve times.
Plaintiff names the CCJ as the sole defendant. To state a
claim for relief under § 1983, a plaintiff must allege,
first, the violation of a right secured by the Constitution
or laws of the United States and, second, that the alleged
deprivation was committed or caused by a person acting under
color of state law. See West v. Atkins, 487 U.S. 42,
48 (1988); Malleus v. George, 641 F.3d 560, 563 (3d
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, 487 U.S. at 49 (citation omitted).
The jail is not a proper defendant as it is not a
“person” 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). Accordingly, the claims against CCJ must be
dismissed with prejudice.
Construing the complaint liberally against Officers Colon and
Corley, Plaintiff has sufficiently alleged a Fourth Amendment
violation for an improper strip search. Inmates have a
limited right of bodily privacy “subject to reasonable
intrusions necessitated by the prison setting.”
Parkell v. Danberg, 833 F.3d 313, 325 (3d Cir.
2016). Plaintiff alleges two full strip searches during the
course of a single shift of guards for a municipal court
case. There are sufficient facts in the complaint for an
inference of unreasonableness. Plaintiff has also
sufficiently alleged an unreasonable force and/or excessive
force claim against the officers.
Court will instruct the Clerk to add Officers Colon and
Corley as defendants and permit these claims to proceed
Plaintiff further alleges the food at the jail had plastic
and mold in it. Complaint § IV. These general
allegations are insufficient to state a claim.
constitutionally adequate diet “must provide adequate
nutrition, but corrections officials may not be held liable
[as to claims of inadequate food] unless the inmate shows
both an objective component (that the deprivation was
sufficiently serious) and a subjective component (that the
officials acted with a sufficiently culpable state of
mind).” Duran v. Merline, 923 F.Supp.2d 702,
719-20 (D.N.J. 2013) (citing Stevenson v. Carroll,
495 F.3d 62, 68 (3d Cir. 2007)).
“Objectively, ‘[w]hether the deprivation of food
falls below this [constitutional] threshold depends on the
amount and duration of the deprivation.'”
Id. at 720 (quoting Berry v. Brady, ...