United States District Court, D. New Jersey
ALPHEAUS, PLAINTIFF PRO SE
HONORABLE JEROME B. SIMANDLE JUDGE
Jannai Alpheaus seeks to bring a civil rights Complaint
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against Camden County
Police Department (“CCPD”), Camden County
Correctional Facility (“CCCF”), Camden County
Sheriff's Department, County of Camden
(“County”, City of Camden (“City”).
Complaint, Docket Entry 1.
following factual allegations are taken from the complaint
and are accepted for purposes of this screening only. The
Court has made no findings as to the truth of Plaintiff's
alleges he endured unconstitutional conditions of confinement
in CCCF during numerous periods of pretrial detention:
January 15, 2001; June 15, 2010 to July 6, 2010; February 25
to March 7, 2013; March 31 to April 18, 2013; August 10 to
29, 2013; March 18 to April 8, 2014; and April 22 to June 12,
2014. Inmate Recidivism Sheet, Exhibit to Complaint.
Plaintiff alleges: “I was subjected to several uncivil
housing conditions during each individual stay from 2001 to
2016. I was placed in a 2 man cell each time with 3-4
inmates, where I was made to sleep on the floor, at times
under tables, bunks, and near toilets.” Complaint
further alleges he was denied water and a functioning toilet
for two weeks in a cell with 3 inmates, and again was placed
in a cell with a non-functioning toilet for 2 weeks.
Plaintiff alleges that requests for the non-functioning
toilet were denied by maintenance, correction officers and
also alleges that he was held after he was supposed to be
released on both September 6 and September 20, 2016.
further alleges he was provided “substandard generic,
low quality insulin which caused my blood sugar to drop
dramatically.” Id. § IV. For this claim,
Plaintiff requests compensation for “improper medical
treatment.” Complaint § V.
also alleges that on June 2, 2015, he sustained facial
injuries after being assaulted by an inmates as several
officers on post “were unattentive [sic] and not
further alleges that on April 5, 2015, correctional officers
at CCCF performed an illegal strip search on him after he was
accused of theft of facial razors. He specifically alleged
that Officer Sergeant John Scott Stinsman ordered the illegal
search. He further alleges that Officer Rentas made the false
allegation after he had collected razors from his cell which
precipitated the search. Plaintiff further alleges that
Officer Riviera and Corderro performed illegal searches, in
which he was “stripped naked.” Id.
seeks monetary compensation between one and five million
dollars. Complaint § V.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
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
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. §
Claims Against CCCF: Dismissed With
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)).
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.
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).
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 60 days after the date this Opinion and
Order are entered on the docket.
Claims Against County and City: Dismissed Without
claims against the County and the City, Plaintiff has not
pled sufficient facts to impose liability on these
defendants. “There is no respondeat superior
theory of municipal liability, so a city may not be held
vicariously liable under § 1983 for the actions of its
agents. Rather, a municipality may be held liable only if its
policy or custom is the ‘moving force' behind a
constitutional violation.” Sanford v. Stiles,
456 F.3d 298, 314 (3d Cir. 2006) (citing Monell v. N.Y.C.
Dep't of Social Services, 436 U.S. 658, 691 (1978)).
See also Collins v. City of Harker Heights, 503 U.S.
115, 122 (1992) (“The city is not vicariously liable
under § 1983 for the constitutional torts of its agents:
It is only liable when it can be fairly said that the city
itself is the wrongdoer.”).
must plead facts showing that the relevant Camden County
policy-makers 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 Camden
County itself was the “moving force” behind the
alleged constitutional violation. Monell, 436 U.S.
Overcrowded Conditions Of Confinement Claim: Dismissed
alleges that “during the several times [I was]
incarcerated, I was housed in 2-man cell with 3-4 inmates
[and] made to sleep on floor” (hereinafter referred to
as Plaintiff's “Overcrowding Claim”).
Complaint § III(C).
detailed below, the Court will dismiss the Overcrowding Claim
without prejudice for failure to state a claim. 28 U.S.C.
§ 1915(e)(2)(b)(ii). The present Complaint does not
allege sufficient facts to support a reasonable inference
that a constitutional ...