United States District Court, D. New Jersey
Land, Plaintiff Pro Se.
B. Simandle U.S. District Judge.
Complaint dated October 24, 2016, Plaintiff Robert Land
sought to bring a civil rights action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1983 for allegedly unconstitutional conditions of
confinement. Complaint, Docket Entry 1 (“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
30, 2017 (Docket Entry 4 (“Dismissal Order”)):
(a) dismissed with prejudice Plaintiff's claims against
the defendant Camden County Jail; and (b) dismissed without
prejudice Plaintiff's claims against the Warden Owens.
March 30, 2017 dismissal of Plaintiff's claim against the
Camden County Jail was with prejudice because, as explained
in this Court's March 30, 2017 Opinion that accompanied
the Dismissal Order, Camden County Jail is not a “state
actor” subject to liability within the meaning of 42
U.S.C. § 1983. Docket Entry 3, at 4 (“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 30 dismissal of Plaintiff's claims against the
Warden was without prejudice because, even accepting the
statements in § III of Plaintiff's Complaint as true
for screening purposes only (“sleeping on the floor
with two other inmates” (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 3-5.
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 due process claim.
May 3, 2017, Plaintiff submitted a letter as an Amended
Complaint which states, “With exception of actual
damages, my resubmission document should be considered
exactly the same as my original submission, nothing regarding
my times of incarceration or the defendants in my case is
different.” Amended Complaint, Docket Entry 5.
amended complaint does not address the deficiencies noted by
the Court but rather directs the Court to look at
Plaintiff's original complaint, which was already
dismissed by this Court. Therefore, this amended complaint
must be dismissed as the original complaint, as it fails to
state a claim upon which relief could be granted.
Court will afford Plaintiff one more opportunity to amend his
complaint within 30 days of the date of this
Plaintiff is again advised that the amended complaint must
plead sufficient facts to support a reasonable inference that
a constitutional violation has occurred in order to survive
this Court's review under § 1915.
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.
Plaintiff may yet be able to amend his complaint to address
the deficiencies noted by the Court, the Court once more
shall grant Plaintiff leave to amend the complaint within 30
days of the date of this order. However, this shall be
Plaintiff's final opportunity to amend the complaint for
screening purposes. If Plaintiff elects to amend a second
time and the second amended complaint is insufficient to
survive the Court's review under § ...