United States District Court, D. New Jersey
Lawson, Jr., Plaintiff Pro Se 49 Primrose Drive Sicklerville,
B. SIMANDLE U.S. District Judge
Plaintiff Paul Lawson, Jr. seeks to bring a civil rights
complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against the
Camden County Correctional Facility (“CCCF”),
Former Warden Eric Taylor (“Former Warden”),
Former Deputy Warden Frank Loberto (“Former Deputy
Warden”), Joseph Ripa, Camden County Freeholders
(“Freeholders”), and Warden Kate Taylor
(“Warden”). 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 alleges he experienced unconstitutional conditions
of confinement while detained at the CCCF from July to
November 2015 as well as from March 3, 2017 to the present.
Complaint § III(B). The fact section of the complaint
states: “I was forced to sleep on a cold dirty floor
with a thin mattress for comfort, approximately 2 ft from the
toilet. From this inhumane event my back has constantly
troubled me, not to mention I have some type of skin
infection from sleeping in filth.” Plaintiff further
alleges that, “The Officers of the institution did
their job and placed me in these living arrangements
authorized by former warden Eric Taylor, Former Deputy Warden
construing the Complaint as seeking to bring a civil rights
complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for alleged
prison overcrowding, any such purported claims must be
dismissed because the Complaint does not set forth sufficient
factual support for the Court to infer that 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.
Moreover, Plaintiff has not alleged sufficient facts to
support an inference that the named Defendants are personally
liable for the alleged constitutional violations.
Plaintiff seeks monetary damages from CCCF for the allegedly
unconstitutional conditions of his confinement. As the CCCF
is not a “state actor” within the meaning of
§ 1983, 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
Moreover, Plaintiff has not pled sufficient facts regarding
the personal liability of the Freeholders. As the governing
body of Camden County, the Freeholders cannot be held liable
under § 1983 solely on a theory of respondeat
superior. Monell v. N.Y.C. Dep't of Social
Services, 436 U.S. 658, 690-91 (1978). Plaintiff must
instead plead facts showing that the Freeholders are
“responsible for either the affirmative proclamation of
a policy or acquiescence in a well-settled custom.”
Bielevicz v. Dubinon, 915 F.2d 845, 850 (3d Cir.
1990).In other words, Plaintiff must set forth
facts supporting an inference that the Freeholders were the
“moving force” behind the alleged constitutional
violation. Monell, 436 U.S. at 689.
Similarly, Plaintiff has not pled sufficient facts to support
an inference that the Former Warden, Former Deputy Warden,
Joseph Ripa, or the Warden were personally involved in either
the creation of, or failure to address, the conditions of his
confinement. State actors are liable only for their own
unconstitutional conduct and may not be held liable for the
unconstitutional conduct of their subordinates under a theory
of respondeat superior. Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 676 (2009); Bistrian v. Levi, 696 F.3d
352, 366 (3d Cir. 2012). Plaintiff has made no allegations
regarding the conduct or actions of either the Former Warden,
Former Deputy Warden, Joseph Ripa or the Warden.
Plaintiff may be able to amend his complaint to address the
deficiencies noted by the Court,  the Court shall grant
Plaintiff leave to amend the ...