United States District Court, D. New Jersey
TREMAINE R. SCOTT, Plaintiff,
CAMDEN COUNTY JAIL, Defendant.
Tremaine R. Scott, Plaintiff Pro Se.
B. SIMANDLE, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
Complaint dated October 24, 2016, Plaintiff Tremaine R. Scott
sought to bring a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 against Camden County Jail (“CCJ”)
for allegedly unconstitutional conditions of confinement.
Complaint, Docket Entry 1 (“Original Complaint”),
§ III(A). The Complaint stated in its entirety:
“Stripped search [sic][.] Slept on hard floor.”
Original Complaint § III(A).
Prison Litigation Reform Act (“PLRA”), Pub. L.
No. 104-134, §§ 801-810, 110 Stat. 1321-66 to
1321-77, requires a court to review complaints prior to
service in cases in which a plaintiff is proceeding in
forma pauperis. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2). 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 pauperis.
accordance with these directives of the PLRA, this Court
undertook the requisite screening and, by Order dated March
3, 2017 (Docket Entry 4 (“Dismissal Order”)): (a)
dismissed with prejudice Plaintiff's claims against the
Camden County Jail; and (b) dismissed without prejudice
Plaintiff's claims alleging constitutional violations as
to conditions of confinement.
March 3, 2017 dismissal of Plaintiff's claim against the
Camden County Jail was with prejudice because, as explained
in this Court's Opinion that accompanied the Dismissal
Order, correctional facilities are not “state
actors” subject to liability within the meaning of 42
U.S.C. § 1983. Docket Entry 10, at 5-6 (“Dismissal
Opinion”) (citing 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
March 3, 2017 dismissal of Plaintiff's conditions of
confinement claim was without prejudice because, even
accepting the statements in § III of Plaintiff's
Complaint as true for screening purposes only (“strip
search. Slept on hard floor” (Original Complaint §
III(C)), there was not enough factual support for the Court
to infer that a constitutional violation had occurred in
connection with Plaintiff's incarceration. Dismissal
Opinion at 12-13.
Dismissal Order granted Plaintiff leave to amend the
Complaint within 30 days of the date of the Dismissal Order
to plead sufficient facts to support a reasonable inference
that a constitutional violation occurred during his
confinement, such as: adverse conditions that were caused by
specific state actors; adverse conditions that caused
Plaintiff to endure genuine privations and hardship over an
extended period of time; or adverse conditions that were
excessive in relation to their purposes.
May 9, 2017, Plaintiff submitted an Amended Complaint, again
asserting claims arising from incarceration at “Camden
County Jail” (Docket Entry 5 (“Amended
Complaint”) at § III(A)), but differing slightly
from the Original Complaint as to conditions of confinement
facts and alleged injuries. Plaintiff states in his amended
complaint: “Defendant was arrested and held at CCJ [.]
Place to sleep on floor w/ 3 to 4 other inmates. Also, was
stripped search.” Amended Complaint, Docket Entry 5,
§ III(C). Original Complaint, § III(C).
accordance with the directives of the PLRA, the Court must
now screen the Amended Complaint to dismiss any claim that is
frivolous, malicious, fails to state a claim, or seeks
monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from suit.
Pursuant to this mandate of the PLRA, the Court now finds
that Plaintiff's May 9, 2017 Amended Complaint is
insufficient to constitute an amended complaint that survives
this Court's review under § 1915.
First, Plaintiff still asserts Camden County Jail as the
defendant in his action. As the Court stated in its opinion
dismissing claims against this defendant with prejudice, the
CCJ is not a “state actor” 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.
Second, like the Original Complaint, the Amended Complaint
still does not set forth sufficient factual support for the
Court to infer that a constitutional violation has occurred
as to conditions of confinement.
process analysis requires courts to consider whether the
totality of confinement 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.”
Hubbard v. Taylor, 538 F.3d 229, 233 (3d Cir. 2008).
Due process protections “secure the individual from the
arbitrary exercise of the powers of government, unrestrained
by the established principles of private right and
distributive justice.” Hurtado v. California,
110 U.S. 516, 527 (1884). “[O]nly the most egregious
official conduct can be said to be ‘arbitrary in the
constitutional sense, ' Collins v. City of Harker
Heights, 503 U.S. 115, 129 (1992), thereby recognizing
the point made by Chief Justice Marshall, that ‘it is
a constitution we are expounding, ' Daniels
v. Williams, 474 U.S. 327, 332 (1985) (quoting
M'Culloch v. Maryland, 17 U.S. 316 (1819)
(emphasis in original)).” City of Sacramento v.
Lewis, 523 U.S. 833, 846 (1998).
Furthermore, the Constitution “does not mandate
comfortable prisons.” Rhodes v. ...