United States District Court, D. New Jersey
RENE D. EDWARDS, Plaintiff,
STATE OF NEW JERSEY,, Defendants.
KATHERINE D. HARTMAN ATTORNEYS HARTMAN, CHARTERED On behalf
ELIZABETH ADAMS STATE OF NEW JERSEY OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY
GENERAL On behalf of Defendants
L. HILLMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
case concerns claims by Plaintiff that Defendants violated
his constitutional rights when he was beaten and raped by his
cellmate in South Woods State Prison (“South
Woods”) in Bridgeton, New Jersey. Presently before the
Court are the motions of two defendants, the Commissioner of
the New Jersey Department of Corrections, Gary M. Lanigan,
and the former Warden of South Woods, Christopher Holmes, to
dismiss Plaintiff's claims against them. For the reasons
expressed below, Defendants' motions will be granted.
to Plaintiff's second amended complaint (Docket No. 92),
at some point in 2011 Plaintiff was assigned Raisona Boyd as
his cellmate at South Woods. On December 14, 2011, Plaintiff
complained to Officer Williams that Boyd had touched his rear
end, making him extremely uncomfortable. Even though Williams
stated that she wrote an accident report, no action was
taken, and Boyd remained in the cell with Plaintiff.
morning of December 27, 2011, Boyd learned that his parents
had passed away. Apparently out of grief, Boyd began throwing
things around in the cell, causing Plaintiff sufficient alarm
that he informed the guards of the situation and expressed
concerns for his personal safety. No action was taken, and
Boyd remained in the cell with Plaintiff. Boyd continued to
act aggressively and violently towards Plaintiff throughout
the day. Although Boyd was removed from the cell at one point
during the day, he was returned to the cell soon after.
11 p.m. that night, Plaintiff asked Boyd to stop throwing his
belongings, which led to an argument culminating in Boyd
using a metal lock wrapped in a sock to beat Plaintiff in the
face and neck. The altercation continued until other inmates
made enough noise to alert Officer Franchetta, the
Correctional Officer on duty, who arrived in time to see
blood spattered on the wall and floor, and Plaintiff nursing
a bleeding mouth with broken teeth. Without radioing for
backup or taking any action to protect Plaintiff, Officer
Franchetta left Boyd in the cell with Plaintiff while he went
to seek help. After Officer Franchetta left, Boyd anally
raped Plaintiff while he lay helpless and injured.
multiple reconstructive surgeries and many months of
intensive medical treatment, Plaintiff filed the instant
complaint naming as defendants Commissioner Gary M. Lanigan,
Warden Christopher Holmes, and each of the SCOs on duty
during the relevant time period. Plaintiff claims that the
SCOs were deliberately indifferent to his health and safety
in violation of the Eighth Amendment, and that Lanigan and
Holmes violated his Eighth Amendment rights by failing to
properly supervise the SCOs and by failing to take any action
to correct the dangerous situation Plaintiff found himself
and Holmes have moved to dismiss Plaintiff's claims
against them, arguing that his complaint simply names them as
defendants, but does not contain any facts to satisfy the
proper pleading requirements for viable supervisory liability
claims. Plaintiff has opposed both motions.
Subject matter jurisdiction
Plaintiff has brought claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
1983 for alleged violations of his constitutional rights,
this Court has jurisdiction of this matter pursuant to 28
U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1343.
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